Chapter Thirty Four
“Porter, we have to do something!” Sarah’s voice shouted into the boy’s head.
“But… what?” he asked, staring at the enormous abomination in front of them.
Terror roiled inside of him, making his legs feel like lead. He knew he needed to do something before Uthas Drall managed to take out both armies, but what could possibly work against something like him?
“We’ve come too far to give up now!” Sarah scolded him. “We have to keep fighting!”
It was strange, hearing such brave words come from her mind. Usually he was the one encouraging everyone. He could still feel the fear in her, at least as much as he felt himself, but she was managing to force her way through it.
And if she could do it, so could he.
“All right,” he said at last. “Where are you?”
“Behind you,” she answered. “Turn around.”
Finally taking his eyes off the Fear Feeder, Porter spun around and could dimly see Sarah standing fifty feet away. She had taken off her helmet, and her red hair was blowing wildly in the wind. She waved at him, and he ran to her while Uthas Drall was still busy attacking the Mythics.
“Are you okay to fight?” he asked, noticing the way she was holding her chest. He could feel her pain through their connection. Mortoph had definitely managed to crack her ribs, perhaps even break a couple of them.
“I don’t have much choice,” she replied grimly. “What are we going to do?”
Porter looked up at Uthas Drall again.
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “Everything they’re throwing at him doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all.”
“I know how you can beat him!”
Startled, Porter and Sarah both turned to see a scrawny young man with ratty brown hair staggering in their direction. He was naked, and trying to cover himself with a couple pieces of a shredded black coat.
“You!” Porter exclaimed, stepping forward to put himself between Sarah and the real Drake Mortoph.
“Please, don’t hurt me!” Drake pleaded. He took a step backwards, but didn’t leave.
“What do you want?” Porter demanded, trying to look threatening even though he wasn’t carrying a weapon. He hadn’t been able to find his sword after the fake Mortoph made him drop it.
“I- I want to help you beat that thing,” Drake answered, motioning feebly towards the gigantic monster.
Porter felt bitter suspicion drift from Sarah’s soul to his, and it matched what he was feeling perfectly.
“Why should we believe you?” she asked, her voice icy.
“You shouldn’t,” Drake said, speaking quickly, “and I don’t blame you. But that thing trapped me inside my own head for more than thirty years. I don’t love it any more than you do!”
Porter’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t care about the Mythics or the Slayers at all, do you? You just want us to kill Uthas Drall out of revenge!”
Drake shook with fear and agitation, but didn’t deny it. “Does it really matter?” he asked. “Either way, we all get what we want.”
For a moment, Porter was tempted to tell the pathetic little man to get lost. Accepting help from the one who had started all of this in the first place was just wrong. With an exasperated groan, though, he forced himself to put aside his feelings and look Drake in the eye.
“All right,” he said. “Tell us what to do.”
Drake turned and pointed at the monster. “You know that Uthas Drall can feed on fear, but not any of the other emotions. Your djinn friend was able to hurt him by using anger. There’s one thing that will hurt him even more, though.” He turned back to give them a meaningful glance. “The polar opposite of fear: bravery.”
He allowed this revelation to sink in before continuing. This time, he pointed at the Mythics that were still shooting arrows and magic at the Fear Feeder.
“The Mythics are hurting him more than they realize,” he said. “By standing up to him, they’re showing that they’re not afraid of him. Well,” he amended, “not as afraid as he’d like.”
“So, why aren’t they killing him?” Porter asked.
“Because they’re still using long ranged attacks,” Drake answered. "They’re too scared to attack him from up close.”
“What does that—”
“It means that he doesn’t work by the same rules we do!” Drake snapped. “How powerful an attack is doesn’t matter as much as the way you attack him.”
“I get it,” Sarah said suddenly. “Attacking him from up close is more dangerous than attacking from long range, which means you would have to be even less afraid of him to do it.”
Drake nodded. “And that, itself, would hurt him more than shooting arrows at him.”
“So,” Porter mused thoughtfully, “all we would have to do is attack him with our swords instead of arrows, and that would kill him?”
“Eventually,” Drake confirmed. “But you don’t have that much time. You need to finish him off as quickly as you can.”
Porter turned to him. “How?”
Before Drake could answer, another roar shook the ground, nearly making all three of them lose their balance. Drake sucked in his breath, and hesitantly turned to see that Uthas Drall was now looking directly at him— and he didn’t look happy.
“You figure it out!” he yelled, his nerve instantly abandoning him. He pushed Porter out of his way and ran, never once looking back.
“We should stop him,” Sarah said, and Porter felt her desire to chase after him, but he put a consoling hand on her shoulder.
“Let him go,” Porter told her. “There’s nothing he can do to us now.”
Then he turned his attention back to the monster.
“Let the little coward run,” the Fear Feeder said, his voice reaching them without him having to raise it. “I will deal with him later.”
“There’s not going to be a later for you,” Porter said, knowing that he could hear him even from the other side of the field. “This ends now!”
A sadistic chuckle came from the monster’s throat. “You wish to fight me, little hero?”
“No,” Sarah said, stepping forward to stand beside him. “We both do.”
For once, Porter didn’t argue with her. If he was going to kill this thing, he would need her help.
Uthas Drall flexed his claws in eager anticipation.
“Come, then,” he challenged them. “Come and face the god of fear!”
He took a step closer, and the clouds grew even darker. Thunder rumbled, and lighting flashed, making the monster look like a living nightmare— which, in many ways, he was. Without thinking about it, Porter reached out and took Sarah’s hand in his.
“Are you feeling brave?” he asked.
“No,” Sarah answered. “But bravery isn’t about what you feel. It’s about what you’re willing to do.”
“Fear for other people,” Porter agreed. “Fear that drives you to protect what you value most.”
Uthas Drall took another step toward them, and the ground shook beneath his power.
“What do you value most?” Sarah asked.
“You,” he answered immediately. “What about you?”
Even with a terrifying beast staring them down, Porter felt a flutter of happiness in Sarah’s heart.
“You,” she said as well.
A feeling of dread began to spread through the air as the Fear Feeder tried to intimidate them again. There was no doubt about it, though: it was weaker now than it had been before. The Mythics’ attacks on him had done more damage than he’d thought. Holding Sarah’s hand, Porter was able to keep the fear from burrowing its way under his skin. He needed to focus on fighting this thing for Sarah’s sake— for the world’s sake.
“You’re the Protector and I’m the Peacemaker,” Sarah said to him with a sudden burst of realization. “But are they really that different? Right now, they both mean the same thing.”
“That we have to kill Uthas Drall,” Porter agreed.
“Doing that will protect the world, and bring peace to it too,” Sarah concluded.
“And I think I know just how to do it,” Porter said, turning to her. Without a word, he let his thoughts show her what his plan was.
She took a deep breath. “That’ll be dangerous. Are you sure we can do it?”
“I’m not afraid. Are you?”
With a shake of her head, Sarah answered, “No.”
Then they both turned to look at Uthas Drall. The Fear Feeder, as if sensing their intentions, spread his arms defiantly.
“Make your move, children,” he taunted them.
Porter nodded. “If you insist.”
As one, they both spread their wings. The wind came alive at their command, lifting Porter off the ground and leaving Sarah behind.
“Just remember the plan,” Porter said as the distance between them grew. “Everything will be fine!”
“Porter, I love you,” came her reply.
“I love you too.”
With that, they put their plan in motion. Porter flew to the monster’s left, going in a wide circle. Uthas Drall’s hand shot out to intercept him, but he altered his momentum so that he soared deftly between his fingers. His course soon carried him all the way around so that he was behind the monster.
“Sarah, now!” he said.
Looking past his enemy, he watched as Sarah rocketed into the air as well, following the same path he had taken. Luckily, Uthas Drall’s attention was on Porter, so he didn’t see Sarah take off. The monster’s other hand swung up to meet him, and this time Porter felt his rough, leathery skin brush the soles of his shoes as he just barely missed it. Uthas Drall growled in annoyance.
“You are both just flies to me,” he said to them. “I will swat you out of the air!”
“Follow me!” Porter shouted in his head, but this time he wasn’t talking to Sarah. He was speaking to the wind, and it obeyed his command. The wind that was carrying him suddenly grew stronger as more air rushed to follow behind him. He flew faster, and had to react more quickly when Uthas Drall swung his hand at him again. Behind him, he heard Sarah give the same command.
“Porter, are you sure this is going to work?” she asked in a sudden moment of doubt.
“Yes!” he answered. “It has to! Just believe that it will!”
He began to beat his wings now as he continued to circle the monster. He knew they were too weak to carry him on their own, but the effort helped to spur him onwards. He ordered the wind to go even faster, and the ground beneath him became a blur. Had he not already planned this out in his head, he would have become lost. As it was, he was able to keep Uthas Drall on his right side at all times.
“What do you think you’re doing?” the Fear Feeder demanded. If Porter wasn’t mistaken, he thought he could detect a trace of uncertainty in his voice now.
Their plan was beginning to come into effect. The winds carrying Porter and Sarah were so strong now that the Mythics below them had to either back down or be blown off their feet. It wasn’t as hard as it should have been since Uthas Drall’s storm was already blowing strong winds around the battlefield. All Porter and Sarah had to do was redirect them.
“Faster, faster!” he thought, and the winds obliged. His wings were beginning to hurt. Not only were they too weak for unassisted flight, but they weren’t built to fly at speeds like this in the first place. He could feel feathers being yanked out by the winds, but he ignored the pain. If this worked, it would all be worth it— and it would work!
Now even the mighty Uthas Drall was having trouble keeping his balance as Porter and Sarah’s winds blasted him. He flailed his arms in every direction, trying to catch either him or Sarah, but the two of them were flying too fast. Whenever they came too close to one of his clawed hands, they would alter their direction to either go under or over them. Uthas Drall roared in anger.
“Stop this!” he demanded. “Fight me!”
“We are fighting you!” Porter yelled at him, unsure if the monster could even hear him over the wind. “And we’re going to win!”
And with that, what he had been waiting for finally happened: the winds became so strong that they formed a tornado around the Fear Feeder. It pulled grass, dirt, and stones from the ground as it seemed to take on a will of its own, becoming so strong that Porter and Sarah had trouble flying in it.
“Ride it!” Porter said to Sarah. “Don’t fight it, just go with it.”
The tornado itself wasn’t enough, though. They watched anxiously, waiting for the final part of their plan to kick in. They didn’t have to wait long. The tornado became stronger and stronger, reaching up into the sky until it connected with the Fear Feeder’s storm above them. The clouds were sucked into the vortex as well, forming a dark gray tunnel that stretched all the way to the ground.
And then it happened. With a roar that was drowned out by the twisting winds, Uthas Drall was lifted off the ground. He flailed his arms and kicked his long legs, but was completely helpless as his own storm took possession of him, raising him high above the ground.
“Now, Sarah!” Porter shouted urgently.
Being careful not to fight too hard against the wind’s current, Porter angled himself upwards so that he was flying towards the top of the tornado. He could vaguely see Sarah doing the same thing on the other side. The spiraled upwards, above Uthas Drall as he watched them, his eyes filled with rage and fear.
The two of them reached the highest point of the tornado at the same time. With every circle they made, they came closer to each other, until Porter was able to look directly into Sarah’s eyes.
Time seemed to slow down.
“It began with a Slayer and a sphinx,” he thought.
“Now it ends with the Protector and the Peacemaker,” she thought back.
No more words were needed. Their hands shot out, and they grabbed ahold of each other. Pulling themselves tightly together, they folded their wings against their backs, and commanded the wind to stop. Instantly, through their combined efforts, the tornado ceased to exist, and they looked down at Uthas Drall.
“Let’s do it,” they thought together.
Their hearts and minds working as one, they angled themselves down so that they were diving towards the monster below them. They both extended their right arms, their hands still clasped together. At Sarah’s command, Flicker appeared, and they were both holding it. Uthas Drall’s eyes widened in terror as he finally realized what they were planning.
Uthas Drall was falling fast. If they wanted to do this, they would need to fall even faster. Once again, a gust of wind hit them from behind, propelling them downwards at a blinding speed. Spiraling around and around, Flicker’s blade looked like the bit of a drill as they plunged towards the monster.
“No!” the Fear Feeder had time to scream before they struck him.
Flicker’s tip drove itself into his chest, piercing his skin like a knife stabbing water. Sarah and Porter didn’t stop there, though. Their momentum drove the sword inside him, and they went with it, flying straight into the darkness of the Fear Feeder’s wicked heart.
For half a second, they thought they could see Drake Mortoph in the shadows, raising his sword in one last desperate attempt to kill them.
“We’re not afraid of you,” Porter and Sarah said in unison.
Mortoph exploded in a blinding flash of light, and they flew into it— and exploded out of Uthas Drall’s back. Above them, Uthas Drall gave one last cry of pain and fear before he died, evaporating into smoke and shadow before he even struck the ground, his voice fading to silence.
“Pull us up!” Porter commanded, and the wind changed direction at the last moment. They snapped their wings open again and pulled out of their dive so that they soared over the heads of the Mythics and Slayers that were watching them below in awe. Little by little, they released the wind until they both touched down gently on the grass.
Behind them, the Repurposed Mythics all collapsed, the spell on them broken.
Breathing heavily, Porter looked up at Sarah.
“We did it,” he thought in disbelief.
“We did it!” Sarah agreed, and beamed at him.
Above them, the dark clouds disappeared, letting sunlight shine on the field once again. Staring at the redheaded chimera in front of him, bathed in the light of day, Porter didn’t think he had ever seen anything so beautiful in his life.
They were both startled out of their thoughts, though, when a loud, roaring cheer broke out behind them. They turned and saw that every eye on the field was looking at them, and they were the ones they were cheering for. Mythic, human, and Slayer alike were shouting to the heavens, celebrating the same victory. Looking out over them all, a smile rose to Porter’s face, and he laughed.
“We did it!” he said again, out loud this time, and turned back to Sarah. He grabbed her underneath her arms and lifted her off the ground, spinning her around and around in his happiness. “We did it!”
He didn’t get to say anything else, because the moment he set her down, Sarah pulled him close and kissed him.
“We did it.”
NEXT TIME: They did it, they did it, they did it! Yay! Lo hicimos! They did it! *ahem* Uthas Drall is dead, the Slayers are disbanded, and the Mythics have been revealed. What happens next? Be here next week to find out!