Chapter Thirty One

(POV: Porter)

 

Porter was instantly on his feet as the explosion echoed through the dungeon, and for a few seconds he panicked at the thought of the roof caving in on them.

 

"What's going on?" Sarah shrieked, trying to get to her paws. She didn't have Porter's balance, and ended up falling on her side. Her eyes were red, even though she'd only slept for a few minutes.

 

Everything fell still, and Sarah hesitantly got to her paws again. "What was that?" she asked, her voice shaking.

 

"Shh," Porter said, holding up his hand. He looked at the ceiling, straining his ears to hear... anything. As deep as they were under the city, though, no other sounds made it down to their cell.

 

"It's exactly what you think it is," he answered at last. Behind him, Sarah sucked in a frightened breath.

 

"You mean..."

 

Porter nodded absentmindedly, still looking around warily, as if he expected something to break through the walls at any moment. "They followed us. We thought we'd lost them, but somehow they managed to track us all the way to the Sanctuary."

 

Suddenly, Sarah was by his side. "No!" she yelled. Porter looked down, and saw that terror was etched onto every inch of her face. "No, the Slayers can't be here. My parents are here!"

 

"Sarah, calm down!" Porter ordered. She closed her mouth, but couldn't keep from hyperventilating through her nose. Porter looked at the door again, and knelt down to look her in the eye. "Okay, listen to me. We're going to get out of this cell. We're going to find Tick and your parents, and we're all going to get out of the city together."

 

Anxiously, Sarah got up and threw her weight against the door. "How?" she demanded when it didn't budge. "We're stuck in here, and my parents are out there with... with them!"

 

Tears were streaming down her cheeks now, and in desperation she began to run her claws down the door, like a cat begging to be let out. Watching her, Porter could feel his own heart breaking.

 

"Move," he said gently, nudging the sphinx out of the way. Then, bracing himself, he slammed into the door as hard as he could. The door still didn't give way even an inch. This was a Mythic prison, built to house creatures ten times as strong as any human. The entire right side of his body throbbed with pain, but Porter took a step back and threw himself at it again.

 

"Stop!" Sarah yelled, coming to stand between him and the wall before he could do it a third time. "You're going to hurt yourself!"

 

Porter complied, leaning against the wall and rubbing his shoulder. "We can't just stay in here, though. We have to get out."

 

Sarah was breathing heavily again, and she stared unblinkingly at the door. "I know, but there's nothing we can do right now. We just have to..."

 

She couldn't finish her sentence, because at that moment her emotions finally overcame her self-control. She collapsed on the floor, covering her eyes with her paws, and started to sob. Porter watched her for a few seconds, and then knelt down to wrap his arms around her neck. She turned to bury her face in his orange shirt, but didn't say a word.

 

We have to get out of here, Porter thought as he patted her on the back. We can't just sit here and wait for them to find us.

 

"You should have taken my offer!" the Other Porter cackled.

 

Porter looked to see his mental doppelganger leaning against the opposite wall, but he ignored him. Other Porter's offers of freedom didn't even tempt him anymore.

 

You would have left Sarah behind, he thought back, knowing he didn't have to speak for his clone to hear him. If you didn't kill her.

 

Other Porter shrugged, and looked eagerly at the door. "Doesn't matter. Once they find you, that'll be the end of it."

 

They'll kill us all! Porter yelled inside his head. If I die, then so do you.

 

Sarah continued to cry into his shoulder, unaware of the argument that was taking place.

 

"They'll kill her," Other Porter clarified, pointing at the sphinx in Porter's lap. "But not us. We're one of them, after all."

 

Not anymore, Porter argued. Even if I got my memories back, I'd never join them.

 

Other Porter smiled conspiratorially. "Yeah, but they don't know that. Once they find you, they'll kill your fuzzy little lover, and bring you back to Red Castle with them."

 

And they'll kill us there.

 

Other Porter's smile grew even wider. "Oh, no, they won't. Mortoph's got too much riding on you to just chop your head off and be done with it. I think once he finds out what's happened to you, he'll put things right back the way they're supposed to be."

 

Mortoph... Porter echoed back, and shivered. That name's important, isn't it? Who is it?

 

Other Porter chuckled. "You'll find out soon. Trust me."

 

With his stomach still roiling with anxiety, and Sarah still crying in his arms, Porter looked up at the door again. They had to get out.

 

They had to...

 

 

 

(POV: Sarah)

 

Fifteen minutes slowly passed in the cell, and Sarah eventually withdrew from Porter and dried her eyes. It wasn't that she felt any better, she had just run out of tears, it seemed. Terror still rolled like a storm inside of her, fear for herself as well as her family, and it was all she could do to keep from jumping up and clawing at the door again. But since all that would have gotten her was two paw's worth of broken claws, she forced herself to stay seated and watch the door.

 

It can't end like this, she thought. Not after everything we went through to get here. Something has to happen. Somebody's going to unlock the door, or the mountain will shake again and break it off its hinges. We're not just going to sit here until they find us. We're not!

 

But deep inside, Sarah knew the truth. They were as far below the city as they could get without having to dig new tunnels. All of the guards were undoubtedly in the city fighting the Slayers. And even if somebody were still here, why would they let loose Jellaska Kob Lertan's two most dangerous criminals? They wouldn't, which meant that they were either going to stay in that cell until they died of starvation, or the Slayers would find them and...

 

Sarah shuddered, but still couldn't banish the images from her mind. If they cut off her head, would she still be able to see through her eyes? Would she have to watch her own body fall over, headless, until death took her? The thought made her want to throw up...

 

Only one thought managed to comfort her, though it was a very weak comfort: if the Slayers did come down here to find them, they weren't going to have an easy time of killing them. She might not have had any experience in fighting, but she would do her best. More importantly, Porter would too.

 

Looking up at the young man, who was watching the door with eyes as sharp and fierce as a falcon's, her heart fluttered a little.

 

I love him... she thought. She had accepted that fact, but she was still having trouble wrapping her head around it. The boy who had burned down her home and killed her maid was the same one she had fallen in love with.

 

Does he love me back? she wondered. Probably not, especially after what he'd gone through in the courtroom. "Probably" wasn't good enough in this situation, though. With death looming over them, ready to fall at any moment... she had to know.

 

"Porter?" she asked in a timid voice.

 

"Hmm?" he asked without taking his eyes off the door.

 

"Do you..." before she could ask, she hesitated. Was now really the time for that? It would just take his mind off of what was going on, and that might be enough to get them killed. She would keep it to herself for now. When they got out... if they got out, then she would ask him.

 

"Maybe you should summon Flicker," she said instead. That would be a small comfort, at least.

 

Porter shook his head. "I can't, I've tried. It's like something's broken my connection to it."

 

The pit in Sarah's stomach suddenly felt a little heavier.

 

"I think it's part of the prison," he went on. "I mean, they can't have their prisoners pulling weapons out of-"

 

Before he could finish his sentence, a rattle came from the cell door. Instantly, they were both on their feet. Sarah saw that, despite what he'd just said, Porter still reflexively clenched his fist, trying to summon his sword. It didn't come.

 

"Get behind me," he said, and Sarah complied. Her heart was pounding in her ears now. How many of them were there? Would Porter be able to take all of them on without a weapon? Could she help, or would she just be getting in the way?

 

The door finally unlocked, and it swung open with an eerie creak, revealing...

 

"Come on, hurry!" Mogul said, waving them out through the door. "It won't be long before they come down here."

 

 

 

(POV: Porter)

 

Porter blinked, and watched as the snake-headed guy turned and dashed away. It took a prod from Sarah to convince him to chase after him.

 

"Who are you?" Porter asked once he had caught up.

 

"Mogul, sir," he replied, tipping an imaginary hat. His legs were so long that Porter had to sprint just to keep up. "I understand that, under recent circumstances, Sarah probably hasn't had the chance to tell you about me."

 

Porter glanced back at the sphinx, who was two steps behind them.

 

"So, why are-"

 

"Hush!" Mogul said, coming to a sudden stop. He grabbed Porter by the collar before he could run past, and yanked him so that his back was against the wall. Sarah skidded to a halt and hid as well.

 

Silently, Mogul pointed a long scaly finger down the corridor. Porter looked, and saw a gang of five Slayers standing at a crossroads. His heart began to beat faster. He hadn't doubted that the Slayers were behind the commotion, but seeing them right in front of him was another thing.

 

The Slayers stood at the intersecting hallways, arguing about which way to go. Porter tensed his hand, ready to summon Flicker if the need arose. Now that he was out of his cell, would the sword come to him again? Or was there something else keeping him from summoning it?

 

A few seconds later, one of the Slayers finally pointed down the branch going left, and the others followed him. Porter breathed a sigh of relief, and let his hand relax.

 

"I," Mogul said, holding a hand dramatically to his chest, "am the one who helped Sarah discover her love for you."

 

Sarah made a choking sound, and Porter looked to see her face turning scarlet.

 

"He's a matchmaker," she grumbled, trying not to look at the gorgon. "He might have, you know, pushed me in the right direction."

 

Mogul grinned and stood a little taller.

 

"Okay," Porter said, glancing back down the corridor to make sure they were still alone, "what are you doing here, then?"

 

"I'll explain on the way," Mogul said, taking off running again. "We don't have any time to waste!"

 

"Can we trust him?" Porter asked.

 

"Yeah," Sarah answered without hesitation. "He's a drama queen, but he's on our side."

 

"What are you waiting for?" Mogul called, stopping at the intersection the Slayers had been at.

 

Porter and Sarah went after him, and Mogul led them down the hallway leading right. All the while, his multicolored shirt and pants fluttered behind him, making him look like a psychedelic flag.

 

"Love like yours isn't something that happens every day," he explained, leading them up a flight of stairs. "I've never seen anything like it. It's like something out of a romance novel!"

 

"That doesn't explain why you're here," Porter interrupted him.

 

Mogul sniffed. "Doesn't it, though? I can't let love like yours be wasted by a bunch of simpletons too stupid to see what they're looking at!"

 

As they ran, it struck Porter just how disinterested Mogul seemed to be about the Slayer attack going on above them.

 

"You're breaking us out of prison because it's romantic?" Sarah asked.

 

"Why are you complaining?" Mogul snapped. "Should I go put you back where I found you?"

 

"No," Sarah amended. "It's just that..."

 

With a sigh, Mogul came to a halt again and turned so that he was facing Porter and Sarah, blocking their way.

 

"Look," he said, holding up his hands, "you aren't just two lovebirds who've taken a fancy to each other. You're a human, and you're a sphinx. Don't you get it? You bridge the gap!"

 

Porter shook his head. "What gap? Can't we just-"

 

"The species gap!" Mogul yelled, and then took a deep breath to calm down. Porter tensed up, and turned to see if any of the Slayers had heard him. "The gap between the humans and the Mythics. Don't you understand how important that is? Don't you see the possibilities?"

 

Porter shook his head again. "No, not really. Right now, we just want to find our friends and get out of here."

 

Mogul seemed to wilt a little. "More simpletons," he muttered. "I should have known when I came to live in a mountain that it would be full of cavemen!"

 

"Oh, get over it!" Sarah snapped, coming to stand between the two men. "Just show us the way out, will you?"

 

"There's some!"

 

Everyone froze, and turned to see the Slayers from earlier running towards them.

 

"Looks like we're out of time," Mogul said, pushing both the kids aside. "Take the third door to the right, and climb the stairs until you reach the Judgement Hall. From there, you're on your own!"

 

"What about you?" Porter asked. Mogul may have gotten them out of their cell, but the tall, lanky Mythic didn't look like he was capable of taking on a single slayer, much less five.

 

"I'll hold them off," he answered. "You need to go before more of them show up!"

 

"But we-"

 

"Porter, we don't have much time!" Sarah interrupted him, already facing the other way. "We've got to go!"

 

Porter looked back at Mogul, and made up his mind.

 

"Thank you," he said, and turned and ran.

 

 

 

(POV: Mogul)

 

Mogul watched as the two youngsters ran off without him, and then turned to face the Slayers.

 

I hope they make it out okay, he thought. Love like theirs... it can't be wasted. It has to be preserved.

 

They didn't see the possibilities. In truth, Mogul wasn't sure anyone else did. But if he was right, then the two of them were more important than they could ever realize. They had the power to change things.

 

The Slayers were drawing nearer.

 

"You're right, Porter," he said to himself. "I couldn't fight my way out of a paper bag. But there is one thing I can do."

 

With that, just as the whites of the Slayers' eyes became visible, Mogul whipped his hand up and pulled his sunglasses off.

 

"Don't look at..." the closest Slayer yelled, but was stopped midsentence as he failed to take his own advice. His skin turned gray and hardened into stone, and he froze midstep, never to move again.

 

Three of the remaining Slayers hesitated when they saw the fate that had befallen their comrade, and that was all Mogul needed to do the same to them. The fourth one, however, didn't fall for his trap. He held up one arm, shielding his eyes, and charged past the newly made statues. Covering his face like that, the only thing Mogul was able to see was his bushy red beard...

 

The Slayer swung his sword, and the cold still slid through Mogul's skin and bone. Mogul opened his mouth and gasped. Then his head slid off of his neck, and fell to the floor. His body joined it half a second later.

 

"I have avenged you, brothers," Granger said solemnly, lowering his arm. "May you rest in peace."

 

 

 

(POV: Porter)

 

Porter squinted as he and Sarah burst through the doors of the Judgement Hall, trying to adjust his eyes to the sudden light of the artificial sun. When he opened them again, he was greeted with a scene straight out of a nightmare. Burning buildings, bodies piled high in the streets, and...

 

"Slayers!" Sarah shrieked, skidding to a halt. Porter instinctively put himself in front of her, just in time to see a band of the black clad warriors heading their way.

 

"We can't fight them," he decided, thinking quickly. "Run!"

 

Sarah didn't need to be told twice. Without a word, she turned and raced the other way, with Porter right behind her. She led him on a zigzagging path through the streets, and when Porter looked back he breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't see the Slayers chasing them.

 

That wasn't much of a comfort, though, seeing as how the entire mountain was full of them.

 

"Where do you think your parents are?" he asked, speeding up so he was running side by side with her.

 

"I don't know!" she answered, sounding on the verge of panic again. "Maybe at the house. We can start there!"

 

A twinge of worry pinched Porter's gut. Sarah's parents could be anywhere in Jellaska Kob Lertan... if they were even still alive, that is. He didn't mention that to Sarah, though.

 

"What about Tick?" he asked. "Any idea where he'll be?"

 

"He was staying with-"

 

Whatever she said, Porter didn't get to hear it because a hand reached out of a nearby alleyway and grabbed his shoulder. The grip was inhumanly strong, and Porter grunted when it forced him to come to a sudden halt. The arm pulled him into the alley, and threw him against the brick wall. The world spun around him for a few seconds, and Porter had to put his hand on the wall to keep from falling down.

 

"Stupid human!" a familiar voice spat at him, and Porter looked up to see who had sidetracked him.

 

"Vesper!" he exclaimed.

 

The white cloaked elf was livid. "You ruin everything!" he said in his broken English, pointing an accusing finger at him.

 

Porter shook his head, and tried to go around him. "I don't have time for this! The Slayers are-"

 

Vesper's fist slammed into Porter's gut, and he stumbled backwards again, gasping for breath.

 

"What are... you doing?" he asked, just as the elf lunged forward and wrapped his hand around Porter's neck.

 

"This supposed to be my day," he hissed, using his hand to keep Porter pressed against the wall. "You ruin it!"

 

Porter fought against his captor, but the elf's supernatural strength was too much for him. In a fair fight, he would have been able to beat him, but not in a contest of sheer muscle like this. Breathing heavily, Vesper reached into a pocket sewn into the inside of his cloak.

 

"Can still be fixed," he muttered, sounding more like he was reassuring himself than anything. He pulled a syringe full of a thick, black liquid out of his pocket. "I can still be hero."

 

Porter's blood ran cold when he saw the stainless steel needle protruding from the end of the syringe, and he began to squirm again. Vesper pulled him back and slammed him into the wall again to still him.

 

"What- what is that?" Porter demanded.

 

"I can still be hero," Vesper said, more loudly, "and you can still be Slayer!"

 

Suddenly, Other Porter materialized next to Vesper. Even though the elf couldn't see him, Other Porter leaned right up close so he could see the syringe.

 

"Is that..." he asked in disbelief. His eyes grew wide. "It is. It is!"

 

A manic look came over the clone's face, and he turned to Vesper.

 

"I want it!" he screamed. "Give it to me. Give it to me now!"

 

Vesper may not have known Other Porter was there, but he obeyed anyway. With one quick motion, he stuck the needle into the side of Porter's neck, and pumped the ominous looking potion into his vein. Then he let go and backed away, and Porter fell to his knees. He could feel the potion, whatever it was, oozing through his veins. Other Porter began to chuckle, which gradually turned into a crazed laugh.

 

"What," Porter gasped as a strange sensation came over his neck, right where the needle had punctured him, "did you do to me?"

 

"Finally!" Other Porter howled, raising his fists to the sky in triumph. Then he disappeared.

 

The sensation in Porter's neck grew even stronger. It felt like pressure was being built up in it, pushing outwards, and... Porter put his hand to it, and froze when he felt a bump growing where Vesper had stuck him.

 

"What did you do to me?" he asked again as the bump grew larger... and larger. The pressure became even worse, and it felt like Porter's neck was going to explode, splattering his innards all over the alleyway. He grunted, and pounded his fist on the ground in agony.

 

And then, just like that, the pain stopped.

 

Porter opened his eyes, and saw that the bump had fallen off. It now lay on the ground, as big as his fist, and still swelling. With a gasp, Porter rolled over and scooted away from it as quickly as he could.

 

"Yes!" Vesper cackled, watching the scene from a safe distance away.

 

The... thing looked like nothing more than a pimple the size of a person's head. The mound of flesh wiggled on the ground like it was alive, and Porter could see veins of the tar-like potion pulsing underneath the skin. He put his hand to his neck again, and found that he couldn't even feel where the bump had been growing, as if it had never been there.

 

And then the thing began to take form. It drew in on itself, becoming less blob-shaped, and more like a... person. Porter's stomach turned over in disgust as the unmistakable shape of a human baby appeared on the ground in front of him. But the potion wasn't done yet. As soon as the infant's body was fully formed, it began to grow.

 

A shrill cry erupted from its lungs, but it quickly deepened into a child's voice. Within seconds, the baby looked as if it were five years old, and then ten. With each scream it uttered, its voice deepened a litter more as it aged, until...

 

Black hair sprouted on top of its head, and its arms and legs hardened as muscles formed underneath the skin. For a few seconds, the thing lay on the ground facing away from them, still in a fetal position.  Then, slowly, it reached its arms out and pushed itself upright.

 

"What is it?" Porter found himself whispering, feeling as if he were going to throw up.

 

It stood up on wobbly legs, having to brace itself against the wall to keep from falling, and finally turned to face them.

 

And Porter found himself staring straight at his own face.

 

"Oh no..."

 

The new Porter blinked, like a newborn animal that was surprised to have suddenly appeared in the outside world. Then, he bent over and vomited a stream of thick, black slime onto the pavement.

 

"Perfect," Vesper said, walking right up to it. From another pocket in his cloak, he withdrew a square of black fabric and held it out.

 

"Get dressed," he said, and shook the cloth. It unfolded in his hand, revealing that it was a trench coat.

 

Sluggishly, the new Porter took the coat and put it on. Though it took him a few tries, eventually his fumbling fingers managed to button it up.

 

Next, Vesper drew a sword.

 

"Go kill," he ordered, holding it out as well.

 

The new Porter looked at the weapon for a few seconds, blinking stupidly. "Go kill," he echoed.

 

"Go kill," Vesper confirmed, nodding. "Be Slayer!"

 

The new Porter took the sword from Vesper's hands, and held it up to look at it.

 

"Be Slayer," he said. "Okay."

 

Before Vesper could react, the new Porter lunged at him, driving his sword into his chest all the way up to the hilt. Vesper gave a wet gasp, his eyes bulging out of his skull in shock, and slumped against the trench coat-wearing boy. He shuddered once, a small trickle of blood leaked out of his mouth, and then he died.

 

"No!" Porter exclaimed as his clone raised a foot and pushed the elf off of his blade with it. That caught his attention, and he grinned.

 

His eyes alight with sadistic glee, the new Porter... no, the Other Porter, slowly walked up to him. Porter tried to get up, but he was still too weak from the potion's effects. He could do nothing but look up as his dark side, finally released, stood over him, grinning down like a nightmare.

 

"Come and get me, hero!" he said, and then kicked Porter in the face.

 

After one last moment of panic, darkness overcame Porter's vision and he passed out.

 

 

 

(POV: Sarah)

 

Gotta find them, gotta find them, gotta find them!

 

The phrase echoed endlessly in Sarah's head, like a chant of desperation, as her paws carried her through the streets of Jellaska Kob Lertan. She may have only lived there a couple days, but she still knew exactly where to go to get home.

 

"Porter, when we get there, I need you to..." she glanced over her shoulder to look at him, but found that she was all alone.

 

In her shock, Sarah stopped running, and her momentum threw her off balance, sending her rolling head over tail until she collided with the curb. Ignoring the scrapes she had gotten, she scrambled back to her paws and looked around.

 

"Porter?" she called. "Porter!"

 

It was useless, though. All she could see in every direction were burning buildings and the bodies of those who hadn't escaped the Slayers. The bitter scent of blood mixed with the smoke, making it impossible for her to even smell if he was nearby. Sarah began to tremble. Without Porter to protect her, the danger suddenly became even more terrifying than it had been before.

 

Where had she lost him, and when? She had been so focused on finding her parents that she hadn't even noticed when the young man had disappeared. Had they just gotten separated, or... No, she couldn't let herself think like that!

 

As she stood there, fighting back the panic, a long, mournful howl rang out from further down the street. Sarah immediately turned towards it, and a laugh of relief escaped her mouth. She would know that howl anywhere.

 

"Misoki!" she called, running towards where the sound had come from. It only took a few seconds for her to catch sight of the young werewolf. "Misoki, over here!"

 

Misoki was standing in the middle of the road, the fires burning on either side of her casting two long shadows that stretched forward and seemed to surround Sarah. It was almost like she'd been waiting for her.

 

"Misoki," Sarah said, coming to a stop in front of her friend. "I can't believe I found you! Are you all right? Do you know where my-"

 

Before Sarah could finish her sentence, Misoki bared her teeth and pounced at her. Had Sarah not honed her reflexes hunting in the wild, the werewolf's teeth would have sank into her throat, opening her veins.

 

Sarah blinked a couple times, unable to believe what had just happened. "Wha- what are you... It's me, Sarah!"

 

"I know," Misoki growled in reply. "I just don't care!"

 

She pounced again, and this time she managed to strike Sarah. Sarah was bigger than she was, but the werewolf's strength was still enough to throw her off balance. Then, with agility Sarah had never seen her friend use, Misoki spun around, extending her back legs, and knocked Sarah's paws out from beneath her.

 

Sarah grunted as she hit the ground. "Misoki, what are you doing? I'm your friend!"

 

Misoki glared at her and bared her teeth. "Oh, I'm your friend again now? I thought Porter was the best friend you've ever had!"

 

Lying on the ground, Sarah stared up at her. "That doesn't mean you're not still my friend!"

 

Misoki took a step closer. "It doesn't matter. I have to kill you anyway."

 

Sarah looked into her friend's eyes, and saw nothing but cold, hard hatred.

 

"What are you talking about?" she whispered.

 

This time, Misoki paused, and seemed to hesitate. "Because that's why I'm here," she answered, finally. "That's why I've always been here."

 

Sarah stared at her, uncomprehending.

 

"It was you," she said at last, her voice numb with disbelief. "You're the one who told them where my house was."

 

"And led them straight to you!" Misoki finished for her.

 

Sarah got back to her paws, and shook her head. "But why? After everything we've been through together..."

 

"You," another voice called out, "are not supposed to be here!"

 

Both of them turned to see a Slayer round the corner, dressed in his thick black coat. This one was gigantic, Sarah realized. A true mountain of a man.

 

When Misoki saw him, her face lit up with joy.

 

"Daddy!" she exclaimed, and pranced toward him, leaving Sarah forgotten.

 

The Slayer's foot shot out, kicking Misoki in the chin so hard that she flipped over backwards.

 

"What have I told you about calling me that where others can hear you?" he yelled.

 

"I'm sorry!" Misoki said, picking herself up with her tail between her legs.

 

"Who are you?" Sarah asked, and shivered when the muscular man turned his eyes on her.

 

"Drake Mortoph, Master of the Slayers," he answered, and then pointed at her. "And you are the sphinx who's been causing me no end of trouble."

 

Master of the Slayers. Finally, Sarah began to understand just how much trouble she was in. She began to back away, looking frantically for an escape route.

 

"Misoki." Mortoph snapped his fingers.

 

She looked up at him with wide eyes full of love. "Yes, Daddy?"

 

"Kill this miserable creature, and then return to Reaper's Wait."

 

Sarah had no idea what Reaper's Wait was, but that didn't matter much to her as Misoki advanced on her again. Her claws and teeth were bared, and there was murder in her eyes.

 

"No, please," Sarah begged her. "Don't do this!"

 

"Master Mortoph, don't let it kill the sphinx!"

 

Again, everyone froze and turned just in time to see Porter make his way into the scene. Sarah's face broke out into a wild smile. Porter had finally found her, and he was going to save her!

 

And then she realized he was wearing a Slayer's coat.

 

And he had called Mortoph Master.

 

"Porter?" Mortoph asked, obviously just as confused as Sarah was.

 

"At your service, sir," he said, bowing at the waist.

 

Sarah's face turned pale. "Porter, what are you doing?"

 

Porter ignored her. "Master Mortoph, I ask for the honor of finishing the assignment you gave to me."

 

Mortoph's eyes narrowed. "Explain yourself, young man."

 

"I'm just going above and beyond the call of duty, sir. You ordered me to kill the sphinx, but I decided to take a gamble, and it paid off. I pretended to befriend the monster, and it led us to not one, but two Sanctuaries."

 

Sarah's mouth fell open. This couldn't be real. Those words couldn't be coming out of Porter's mouth!

 

After a few seconds, Mortoph's mouth rose upwards in a smile. "Porter, I never should have doubted you! Yes, of course you may kill the beast."

 

"Thank you, Master Mortoph," Porter said, and turned his cold eyes on Sarah. They were the same eyes that she had looked into the night her mansion had been attacked.

 

"Porter, why are doing this?" she demanded, tears now running down her cheeks. Everything she thought she had known was collapsing all around her. "Stop it!"

 

"It's your own fault," Porter said, flicking his sword up so the point was in Sarah's face. "You should have left me out there in the woods. But I guess there's one small consolation to all this..."

 

Sarah looked as hard as she could at his face, searching for anything that resembled the Porter she knew.

 

"At least you get to be killed," he said, grinning, "by the one you love!"

 

Hearing those words, something inside of Sarah broke. Sucking in a lungful of air, she screamed and ran away as fast as her paws could carry her.

 

 

 

NEXT TIME: Whoa, plot twists! Plot twists everywhere! Other Porter is loose, Misoki's a traitor, and Sarah's on the verge of stress-induced insanity! And we haven't even seen what Azkular's up to. What's gonna happen next? I'll tell you this: it's gonna be awesome! Tune in next week to find out.

 

 

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