Stop him, you wretched humans! The Core’s mental scream tore along Karen’s nerves like fire. From the groans she heard from the others, it was affecting them the same way. Only Kyle seemed unaffected as he stalked towards the now open gate.
“They’re a little tied up,” Kyle said mockingly. “It’s just you and me now.” Water swirled around his hands as he charged extra power into his next shot. He leapt to one side as a glowing blast of energy shot at him from the gate. “Tsk, you’ll have to be faster than that. Now why don’t you tell them about how you only haven’t killed off humanity yet because you need them to fight the dragons for you?”
And I’m beginning to wonder if dragons are as dangerous as humans. It blasted at Kyle again and he sidestepped again.
“Kyle! Think about what you’re doing, please!” Karen yelled. “If you destroy it, lots of people will die! Maybe you’re right, but we need it as well.”
Kyle didn’t even acknowledge her. He just raised the sphere of water he’d formed, obviously intending to shoot it through the gate. Karen looked frantically at the others and, despite still being bound up, threw all of her energy at Kyle. The others â€“ except Sean and Zilah â€“ fired simultaneously. But Kyle was ready and his shield flared up with surprising strength, shrugging off all of their attacks.
Kyle raised the sphere of water again but just as he was about to hurl it through the gate, Darya appeared in front of him in a flash of blue light. The merman grabbed Kyle’s wrists and met his eyes.
“No, Kyle! Stop! This isn’t the answer… you know this isn’t the answer,” Darya said softly. “This is my home. I’d like it to stay intact.”
“Darya, whaâ€“” Kyle shook his head in confusion. “Your home… this…” The water sphere crashed to floor and splashed the walls harmlessly. “I-I’m sorâ€“”
The Core chose that moment to strike at Kyle again and the two of them were so distracted that neither he nor Darya tried to sidestep. Before Karen could even cry out a warning, Sean leapt forward to block it with his shield. The attack burst through and blasted Sean directly.
Zilah gave a heart-rending scream and galloped out of the exit, though she wouldn’t get far. Not with her heart friend taking such a blast. Sean had said he’d been dying in his mother’s premonition and it looked like she’d been right. Karen bit her lip and tried not to cry.
It’ll be okay, Kaz. Everything went perfectly, Sean said in her head. Then he exploded into a storm of metal shards and was gone.