The moment I saw Edmond bit Potilia's ankle, I knew all hell was about to break loose. Her scream of shock and surprise came with a blast of power that radiated outward like an atomic blast made up of rainbow lights. The ghost creatures that had been hovering nearby all disappeared in the intensive magic.
If I hadn't been in the protection of the magical shell that had also trapped me, I think I would have been dead. Lord Cayman had thrown up a shield that shattered the magic that came at him, but I wouldn't have been able to cast such magic. With a frantic turn of my head, I looked for Edmond and found that he stood behind the cover of my protective shell, hunched down as though he could melt through the floor. Some of his fur had been singed, but finding him protected gave me hope.
Lord Cayman hadn't waited for the wayward magic to end before he leapt in for the attack against Potilia. His magic drove her back -- once, twice -- but the third time she stood her ground and the fourth attack did little more than send a dusting of pretty light against her. She smiled and limped forward. Her ankle bled. Edmond needed to get out of here because this wasn't going to end well.
I had expected Lord Cayman to do better, but now I realized he had been trapped in this light for a long time. It drained power; I could feel the power leaving me in a little trickle and wondered how that kept the city floating. I supposed I was going to have a long time to find out.
Lord Cayman backed up, his hands lifting, but I saw worry in his face.
"Go," I said. "Go while you can!" He glanced my way and looked uncertain. He shook his head. "Go! Take Edmond!"
He took another step back. Potilia smiled but it was not a friendly look. This was a woman who took great joy in overcoming others. I didn't want to think what she would do to Edmond. If Lord Cayman couldn't get him, maybe I could pull him in with me. Keep him safe for a while longer. Hope for another answer.
Lord Cayman backed up again. I saw resignation in his face and he poised ready to move again as Potilia came closer.
"The boy will do," she said with a dismissive wave of her hand in my direction. "Go while you can, oh Great Lord Cayman. Leave here -- but I won't let you open a door to help others escape."
"I --" He sounded uncertain.
"You cannot fight me. And you don't have to." The magic at her fingers danced in a pretty patterns. "Go now. I will not give you another chance."
He stood for a moment, then started to turn, his shoulder's slumped, his head down --
Potila glanced my way, her smile bright and predatory --
Lord Cayman spun, grabbed her arm and shoved her forward into the wall of light.
She must not have realized I could get out. I saw a look of shock and dismay as I leapt backwards. Then she came at me, her emotions changing to rage. She reached to try and grab me by the neck, but I was one step out of the light and tripped over Edmond, which probably saved my life, though I fell hard enough that I hit may head and saw lights --
No, that would be magic. I scrambled up again and saw Lord Cayman shoving the woman's arm back into the circle and enclosing the prison with another wall of his own.
Potilia screamed and reached out towards Lord Cayman.
And the city began to fall.
I yelped, but so did she as she spread her hands and caught hold of the magic again.
"So, here we are," Lord Cayman said. "You have choices, Potilia. You can step out and try to kill us, of course, but then the city falls and I'll guarantee that Mark and I will survive it. You might as well, but your city will not. Or you can stay there and keep your city in the air . . . Or choose to carefully lower it back to the ground where it belongs. I leave that in your hands. Mark? Oh, and do grab that cat."
I had already started to pick up Edmond. The cat was looking rather smug again.
Potilia screamed as we hurried away. I glanced back when the city dropped a few feet, but she got it in hand again. She looked at me and the rage in her eyes hit me like a blow. Lord Cayman caught hold of my arm and pulled me away.
In a hurry. I realized, suddenly, that we didn't have a lot of time to get away. I knew she was taking the city down and once it had settled, she was going to come after us.
Ellin and the rest of the fae still fought off the griffins. I'd forgotten that problem. The creatures appeared more frantic now, so they knew what the city going to ground meant. I wondered how Potilia had kept them happy.
Nothing else moved in the city. I thought it had been a beautiful place once. Even now, the light caught the buildings and they glowed with a magical beauty. But I thought of a term I remembered from school. Cenotaph. This was a monument to others who were long gone.
The thought of school felt odd, as though that had been someone else. In all the time since I'd left, I hadn't thought about math and history . . . Or about what the others thought when they learned I'd killed Tommy Creston. He'd been truly a monster, but no one else knew it.
That life was over.
But I still had to survive this one.
To Be Continued. . . .