Odd Ball 2: The One
Disclaimer: This is a story of pure fiction. If you are not allowed to read this in whatever part of the world you are living, then try not to get caught, and legally you shouldn't be reading this. If you are not 18 or older then again, do not read. Lastly, this will contain gay sex between consenting people and if this offends you then click back and ask why you're on here in the first place. This story is property of myself, the author, and may not be copied or used on other sites without my express permission. All characters are fictional. For those of you who recognise the sword that I describe in this chapter, my apologies for bastardising the true mythology behind it.
All comments to ME, greatly appreciated
Earlier today, it had been hot and muggy with clouds hiding the sun. In retaliation the sun had later splashed heat across Sydney in spiteful glee with everyone paying the consequences if they didn't have air conditioning. Now it was nearing midnight and the smell of rain was heavy in the air. Everyone was fast asleep and I moved stealthily towards Leila's room.
Entering without a sound, I wrapped a telekinetic shield around the room, preventing sound and intrusion from unsuspecting family getting in. Deep inside, I could feel the pulse of Fae magic swirling like thick syrup inside my soul. The Winter Queen was approaching.
Leila was deeply asleep on her side and all her friends had left earlier that day with hearty wishes and promises of having another girl's night. I pushed my power into her to make sure that she remained asleep. I didn't want her in the crossfire when the Winter Queen came and, if I ended up in a fight, I had an escape plan for Leila. If she were conscious she would more than likely hurt herself and her child. This way I had a better chance of controlling the factors.
I had become sensitive to the time of midnight, or what was called the witching hour. It was a time where the realms of Fae aligned with ours. As human technology expanded, the Fae were reluctant to live in our world and, as the years passed, they felt more comfortable staying within their own realms. But, for tonight, I knew that the Winter Queen and possibly some of her minions would be out.
With that thought, the world shifted around me and I knew the witching hour was upon us. I sat down on the floor and closed my eyes. My psychic tendrils had been set up around the house in an intricate web over a mile radius. It would give me plenty of notice. I had disarmed and released many of the wards that had a connection to the Fae realms. They would not go against any of the Queens, and it was easier that I released them for the duration.
However, I had other traps in store, ones that I had made personally. Just to be on the safe side, I brushed over them to reassure myself. If my psychic trailers were triggered anywhere in the system I had installed my specialty: Molotov cocktails to take care of unwanted visitors. I also had iron buried in a complete circle around the house. I knew it wouldn't affect the Queen very much, but most of the minions she bought would find it very hard to walk across that threshold. For those with enough power to make it past that had to contend with the next fortification my nether-realm barrier.
I had tossed and turned, worried about whether keeping the rest of the family within this house was safe. After all, it would soon be a war zone. But my precog had warned me to keep them close, so I sent my healing talent out to keep them all sleeping peacefully. I had installed a nether-realm barrier around each room as another safety measure. Was it arrogant of me to keep them unaware of what was happening? Not really. My precog had been a little leery about me making them aware of the predicament because they wanted to enter the fight and, if they did so, one of them was going to get hurt. My precog had been emphatic on that point. I didn't want any casualties. It was safer this way. I also had Pounamu on standby to whisk them away if things went pear shaped. I was pulled from my ministrations when my perimeter psychic sensor, from the north, was triggered. I compressed my lips grimly. It was show time.
The shaking of the ground was my first indication that I had company. My psychic trailers were more than just sensors. They lashed out like sharp barbs, attacking the hordes of Fae that were rushing out of a rift just outside my perimeter. I had felt the Queen try and create a portal directly into the house earlier. My defences had been more than enough to prevent that. However, I had lost the advantage of surprise but I had factored that into my equations.
Closing my eyes once more, I used my psychic trailers as my eyes and ears. It is hard to explain the experience, but I saw and heard everything within a one-mile radius. Like thousands of images were condensed into blocks on a large screen, showing a jumble of images and yet being able to absorb it all at once.
I watched as thousands of Fae creatures ranging from the phouka, to the banshee roamed the land for the first time in centuries. Australia was not a place where many of the Fae creatures held sway and, because of this, I had also sent out a call to the watchers of this land: The Aborigine Elders within the Dreamtime.
For over ten thousand years, they had been the caretakers of Australia, guiding their people. Although their powers were not as active or destructive as the Maori, theirs was a power that held you gently, soothing and calming until it was too late to pull away. Their power was not a physical manifestation the way mine could be. But, for this invasion, they were going to help protect this land in the only way they could. In astral form, they rose out of the ground, covered in red soil with white markings depicting their ancestry and the secrets they held. These were the ancient people that travelled what was called the `Dreamtime;' the weavers of Aboriginal knowledge. When the Europeans came over to colonise Australia, many of the original inhabitants were cut off from their dreamtime knowledge, with the help from the Fae and many of the other ancient Gods who followed their people to this new world. The Dreamtime Elders wanted revenge, and I was going to help them get it.
The dreamtime was a place that could only be reached during meditation or sleep. However, the doors to all this knowledge were guarded and well hidden and only the `chosen' knew of their location. Just like the Fae lands, and even the nether-realms, the Dreamtime was a dimension all its own, with close ties only to Australia.
The aboriginal Elders could not hurt the Fae physically within the Earth realm, but they had other means. The Dreamtime was a dimension consisting of shiny webs that acted as paths towards understanding and knowledge. However, in order to attain knowledge, you had to overcome great odds and obstacles. I smiled smugly about what the Elders had in mind. I felt the land hum beneath me and, connected to my psychic web the way I was, I saw what the Dream-Time Elders were doing.
With each step the Fae made toward me, the land changed beneath the their feet, from grass, to dry red sand until, in only moments, a third of the attacking Fae were in a dimension that only the Dreamtime Elders could access. The only way those Fae were ever going to get out of that dream was if they walked the path to enlightenment. In order for them to achieve that, they would be judged and have to endure what ever punishment was given for their transgressions against the Elders and their people.
Behind the remaining hoard of Fae, I felt the presence of the Winter Queen. Her wrath was instant. Ice covered the land in a shiny coat with almost a direct path to my house. Anything in its path froze and then shattered until nothing but a road of ice could be seen. The northern quadrant of my psychic trailers died under the onslaught and the Dream Elders who had been in its direct path wailed as the land they were bound to froze under them. They were trapped here, stuck in a form of limbo until the Winter Queen decided to stop tormenting them, or until the land heated up again.
I gritted my teeth realising I was responsible for this and needed to find a way to help my allies. Tied to my psychic trailers the way I was left me slightly dizzy and disorientated when I pulled back into my body. Nevertheless, I rallied my power around me and sent out new trailers to replace the ones that had been destroyed, and sent soothing energy towards the Elders. I didn't have the power to control the elements, so they were stuck there until they thawed.
I was filled with restlessness as denizens rushed through the break in the outer perimeter and directly into my Molotov traps. There were screams of pain as Fae were sucked of life or turned to dust or just ripped apart. It was effective, but there were still more rushing through the gap. I didn't have enough Molotov balls for all of them.
Meanwhile, my psychic trailers now blazing with energy wove and attacked the horde, reducing the enemy slowly but surely. Again, the Queen lashed out, smashing through my defences like they were putty. The horde was nearly half a mile in already, and heading steadily towards the house.
I astral projected to confront any Fae at the front of the invasion. They saw me and rushed forward. I dug my feet into the ground and crouched, waiting for them. My hands glowed as I gathered my power into me. Deep inside, my tree of talents began to sway. I had drawn a lot of power for the defences already in place, but I needed more and I could feel the strain. The closer the Queen came, the stronger was that pulse within me, indicating my Fae magic was beginnig to beat like a steady drum.
I was grateful to note that the Queen's power hadn't been able to break the nether-realm barrier I had established two hundred metres around the house, but I wasn't going to rely solely upon that to stop her. Calling upon the power of the universe itself, its power rushing through me like an untamed horse, and I gritted my teeth at how harsh that power felt beneath my fingertips. Regardless, there were too many of my family member's lives at stake to worry about a little bit of pain.
I rushed forward and threw my hands out. I had been working on this little psychic technique for some time. It was a combination of my nether-realm barrier, with healing converted to absorb and kill anything in its path, combined with telepathy and empathy to turn any of the survivors into raving husks of their former selves.
I shouted as my spell rushed out of me like a frenzied creature. I could feel it hit my enemies and there were screams as I watched their skin peel from their bodies, their innards exploding outwards. Others crumbled to the ground looking like parched paper as their bodily fluids were drained from them. I smiled grimly and pushed further. The first three hundred caught the full potential of my spell but, as it travelled over those behind their deceased comrades, it lost its potency. The more gruesome aspects of my power faded, only to leave many crawling on the ground in madness. Some of the Faery creatures thrived off madness and they bounded forward unheeding.
I was panting and drew another burst of power out of me. I had maybe four more before I would have to fall back. After all, I hadn't even confronted the Winter Queen yet. I threw the psychic spell in front of me again, and went racing right behind the destruction. I called upon my telekinesis and created kinetic daggers, swirling them around my body. For those who had managed to avoid my burst of power, I ploughed into them as they turned towards me only to have a dagger slice pieces off of them. In my own hand, I had a slender kinetic rapier and if my daggers didn't make short work of things, my sword did.
I felt a small sense of satisfaction as I pushed my empathy outwards to cause fear and dissention amongst the fighters. In general, these creatures were not used to fighting side by side and I was only drawing out their normal natures. Soon, fighting ensued in their ranks and I hacked down those that continued to obey orders. I almost felt confident that I was going to win this battle before it got to the house, but all my plans went out the door when I saw something dark and solid rushing toward me like an oncoming wave.
I gulped as everything including the Fae was swallowed up in that encroaching piece of blackness. My precog was screaming in my head. I remembered this darkness from my dream when I rescued Saetan and Aurora. This was the power of Darkness. One of the Winter Queens' unique and most powerful weapons. It could suck the life and energy out of everything, consuming the soul in the process. My psychic trails died under that onslaught. The darkness rose above me like a billowing cloud rushing inevitably toward me. For a moment, I forgot that this was only an astral projection of myself, and stopped from fleeing to think rationally. I had to see if any of my talents would be able to penetrate this evil.
Standing with legs shaking. I raised my hands and called upon my empathic, telekinetic and nether-realm powers to create a shield around me. I wrapped my telepathy around me in case this darkness had a way of also breaking my mind. I was as prepared as I was going to get in the limited time I had. I threw empathy, telekinesis, and telepathy into the oncoming path.
For a split second my power pushed against it, and then it brushed my power away like an annoying gnat. That dark shadow raced over me and I buckled under the pressure. None of my arsenal was strong enough to hold against it. I felt my astral self shredding as I lay under the immense pressure placed upon me. Inside that emptiness of night, I heard the Winter Queen's voice upon the winds. Her laughter and mockery echoed through my skull and I shuddered at the thought that, without my telekinesis barely holding my mind intact, I would be a raving madman.
Fingers of ice wrapped around my mind and scraped along the walls of my inner shields. I screamed, feeling her cold touch tormenting me. I felt icy claws dig into my psyche, grazing back and forth as I tried scrabbling away from the torment. Her laughter echoed through my head again, and there was complete arrogance and utter contempt. I shivered and curled in on myself. I was trapped here and she wasn't going to let go.
The chill of winter sank, not only through my mind, but also deep into my soul, turning the world into dark wintry night. I huddled in on myself as I fell deeper into this hinterland. I felt the Queens presence in this desolate land and her gleaming white coat brushed against me. I moaned my pain as that cloth ripped like sharkskin across my flesh. Her cool hand lifted my face towards her.
Above her head glowed a luminescent radiance and it shone through her pale blue skin like light behind a coloured crystal vase. Through her strange glow I could see those stunning cool eyes staring imperiously at me. Her lips curled and I screamed with pain as her power lanced through me. I tried to return to my body, but she held me in her sway.
"Did you really think you could stop me? I knew of your ambush before I even arrived."
I snarled at her in retaliation. Her laughter rocked her body backwards, and it was enough for me to slip from her grasp. My Astral self dissipated and I felt myself fall back into my body with a shuddering gasp.
I fell to the floor, hyperventilating. There was ice all over me and my mind was sluggish as hypothermia set in. Pushing my healing through me, my body began to return to its normal skin tone, but my mind was so very fragile. I could still feel those icy claws raking my mind with painful precision.
Outside, I felt my trailers fade faster and faster the closer that darkness came to the house. I called to Pounamu telling him to get everyone out of the house. He appeared and began teleporting them one by one.
"James, Leila can't be moved. There is something holding her to this house."
I turned sharply to him, fear etched plainly upon my face. "I can't stop the Queen. You have to get Leila out of here!"
Pounamu shrugged helplessly. "I'm sorry, James."
I turned away from him to think. Any moment now and the Queen would be upon us. I felt the ground shudder as the darkness hit against the pure iron around the entire house. "Go, Pounamu, I don't want you trapped here either."
"Come with us. Leila will be okay. It's the child the Queen is after."
I looked at him, my face set in a cold mask. "You will never say that to me again."
With those words I sprinted toward the doors and rushed out onto the back porch. I could see iron partially buried in the ground glowing bright red as if it were being overheated. Outside of my iron circle the darkness roiled back on itself like it was bouncing off a solid wall. Out of that darkness the Winter Queen walked gracefully toward me, covered in an ermine coat. The iron began to hum the closer she came.
I hadn't been able to stand up against the Summer Queen without nearly getting myself killed. I had no chance of stopping the Winter Queen for very long either, and I was still puzzled as to why Mother Nature had not given me any backup. I was ill equipped to take on a Goddess.
The Winter Queen lowered herself to the ground gracefully, with a stick in her hand. She pushed at one of the iron pieces and started dislodging it. I raised my hand and pushed the iron back firmly in its place. The Queen looked up at me and, with a flick of her hand, I was sailing back through the door. My body hit the wall and pain burst up and down my spine.
I snarled and got back to my feet, sprinting towards the door once more. Chill winds pushed against my face, slowing my progress like a firm hand. I growled deep inside my chest and my warrior responded. My leg muscles bunched and contracted and I raced towards the Queen. My telekinetic daggers were already out and I shot them at that winter hag with a vicious yell.
They sliced into her skin like butter and she screamed as her blood, which was a shiny white liquid, trailed down her face. I pushed more of my knives into the rest of her body. Her screams pierced my eardrums and I cupped my hands over my ears and briefly closed my eyes in reaction to the pain.
She gave another ear splitting scream and, as I opened eyes, I was confronted by the Winter Queen breaking the circle. The oncoming darkness was filing through. It swallowed her and went gliding toward me. I wanted to run. I wanted to hide and wish that someone else were here to face this thing instead of me. But there was nobody, not even Mother Nature to lend her support against something that was much more her domain than mine.
I walked off the porch and dug my feet into the ground just as that darkness rolled over me. It moved over my body like heavy silk. It should have felt wonderful, but my skin crawled at the sensation and I heard the Queen's voice surrounding me in that darkness. I prayed as I drew upon my power. I opened my empathic ability and felt the world respond to my plea. I almost felt the touch of Mother Nature as the power of the universe filled me. The Queen's darkness lunged at me trying to absorb the power I was generating. I screamed as that darkness leached away at me. My knees collapsed to the ground. More of my power trickled away as the darkness began to get heavier upon my shoulders.
I dove deep into my mind. In front of me was a door with strange symbols carved around the frame. Behind that door I heard the call of all that faery power that was now a part of me. Another door appeared right beside the first one. This one had a brick frame with a plain wooden door. I heard whispers behind these doors and a part of me responded to those whispers. Beside the second door, a third appeared. It was pure marble, shiny and clean, and I took a deep revitalising breath as I felt the energy reaching out.
In synchronisation all three doors opened and I embraced what each had to offer. Ice and Fire slithered through my veins from the first door. With the second door I felt the rage and need to destroy fill my soul and yet, I knew I was master of my emotions and mind as my third source filled me, combining and blending the other two into one whole.
I opened my eyes and everything was in hyper acute focus. I felt the pressure of the darkness and I shrugged my shoulders. It recoiled from me as the fae magic within hissed and lashed out at it. I realised that this darkness was alive just like me although not alive in any sense that human's could understand. But there was a sentience to it that I hadn't been able to pick up on before.
Fire and ice bubbled through me and I hissed as it flowed out of me. The darkness screamed as my power attacked it, clearing a space around me. Light appeared and I was surprised to realise that it came from me. I stared down, shocked to see flames licking up my hand. There was no pain and I stared at it, fascinated. Creatures screamed in the dark and my flames responded by burning brighter.
I could feel creatures huddling and the flames upon my hands wanted to seek them out and devour them. They fed the darkness within my own soul and without thought I let them fly. They shot out of me faster than the eye could follow; starting as a small arrow and then spreading out like a sheet. Laughter bubbled out of my mouth as my empathy fed off the pain and fear, and my own darkness gorged upon the dead as the flames made short work of them.
Something white appeared in my peripheral vision and the Winter Queen was upon me. Long serrated claws made of ice encased her fingers. She slashed at my face, but my body was already dodging her attack. My kinetic knives came out looking like flaming daggers swirling around my body. It gave the Winter Queen pause and I used that to get the upper hand. I threw them at her and she contorted her body, looking like a ballerina as she avoided my attacks. I threw more and as they flew towards her I forced them to split apart. There were too many even for her to dodge, and her banshee wail reverberated through my head as my knives hit her.
She lashed out with a spell of her own. Blue and green trailing comets flew toward me. I felt my hand rise and fire shot out on an intercept path, consuming the blue and green spells with rich, yellow and red flames. I felt my empathy power the flames and through it feed upon her spell. She gasped as my flames continued toward her. She tried to evade but they acted as magic-seeking missiles following towards the source.
Fire consumed her. I assumed she would scream. Instead, she laughed. The fire died and I saw the burn marks heal across her face and body. She stared at me with murderous intent. Ice travelled across the ground and the queen flung her hands out. Her darkness surged around and behind me toward the open doors of my house. I snarled and slammed the door shut. I called upon the nether-realm barrier between this world and that of my ancestor, Lucifvar, and felt its power slam into me. The barrier wavered and shimmered between the two realms and I heard the call of lucifvar's minions howl their glee as they felt the barrier weaken.
The Winter Queen attacked, trying to distract me. I dodged her attacks and felt the fae power within lash out at the darkness, keeping it at bay as I continued swallowing the power of the nether-barrier inside me. I felt her power pushing against me, trying to get to the house. The Winter Queen screamed her outrage and, behind her facade, I sensed fear. My empathy fed off it and my lips curled into a smile as I strengthened her fear.
She began hyperventilating and a portal ripped open, spilling out more of her loyal subjects. Onward they came. There were so many their faces were indistinguishable. My skin began to glow as my empathy and fae magic responded to my urgency. A gold mist surrounded me and out of it marched my golden army. They met the screaming horde head on and their whispering swords sliced into the Fae's armour like soft butter. Just like Kevin's Redemption, these swords had iron components and the Fae fell under the onslaught. I watched with disassociated calm as the swords ate at the Fae's souls and magic, feeding and maintaining my army without drawing upon my reserves.
With a sudden click that echoed inside my mind and soul I knew I had full control of the nether-barrier. I felt invincible and stared at the Queen imperiously with all that magic flowing inside my veins. Before I forgot the purpose of why I called upon the full power of the nether-barrier, I wrapped its protection around the entire house. The building disappeared in a flash, hiding in a pocket dimension. It wasn't in the nether realms, nor was it entirely on the earth plane, but on the cusp between the two worlds; unreachable by either except through me.
Leila and her son were behind the best defences they were ever going to get. Even if I died, the Winter Queen would never gain access to my nephew. It gave me heady pleasure knowing I had thwarted her in this plan. She howled, her voice deepening until it sounded like the sound of dogs baying. The Darkness around me stilled. A howl responded to her plea. Soon more voices joined the first.
Just like that, the Queen's fear cut off. My empathy brushed against her and she was now as untouchable as the ice she was named after. Her emotions were buried behind her calm fašade and, as enhanced as my powers were, I wasn't going to draw any more emotion out of her. After all, as the Winter Queen she prided herself on her cool and collected exterior. The Summer Queen may have raged and ranted and lost her head, but the Winter Queen was meticulous and calculating in her rage.
With that realisation, the sounds of many dogs baying came closer. I tried peering through this false darkness but, even with my golden army and its golden glow lighting up the area around us, I was in deepest night. The Winter Queen stared at me with smug satisfaction behind her own moonlight glow.
From out of the gloom, dogs, horses and the Wild Hunt appeared. After all those Fae we had destroyed, there was now a new horde perched atop horses with glowing green eyes. Each one held a weapon and my teeth chattered as the energy of their weapons grated against my bones. My army attacked, only to be mowed down by the Wild Hunt. I could feel their form of glamour trying to induce fear in me, but I was the master of Empathy. I had my own ways of controlling my emotions and these bastards were not going to control me.
Sharp teeth, hooves and piercing weapons rained down upon me and my men. The Queen, not to miss out on the fighting moved in and out of the ranks like mist, attacking and retreating strategically. In hindsight, I knew what she was doing; at the rate we were fighting I would be exhausted within the hour. I was channelling a great deal of power but I needed more.
I dug deeper and gritted my teeth as raw energy flooded into me. It felt like my body was going to tear apart as the nether-realm barrier responded, super charging my empathy and vice versa. My Wild magic came rushing to the fore as I closed my eyes and wished. I wished for these interfering Fae to go home and find something better to do than attack me. I wished for the Wild Hunt to return to its slumber, and I wanted the Winter Queen to face me alone with her powers diminished and without her army doing it for her.
I was tossed around as the Queen hit me and my fae magic responded to my plea. I heard the Winter Queen scream in rage as her minions were ripped from her. She threw another spell at me and, because I was sluggish from the spell my own magic was creating, I couldn't avoid hers.
My back arched as my lungs collapsed from lack of air. She was queen of Air and Darkness and the air I breathe was ripped from me. I struggled futilely trying to stagger away from her magical attack, but I had made the wish and my magic was going to deliver even if it killed me. My chest burned and black spots began to appear across my vision. My hands scrabbled for any purchase and then another spell hit me and I could feel the queen's magic tugging at my soul. I mentally screamed, trying to stop her, but a lot of my strength was focussed on my spell. It left me defenceless.
She ripped with magical hands and part of my soul was pulled from my body. I was stubborn and fighting her, but it was a losing battle. Darkness overwhelmed me. Kevin would not forgive me for leaving him. Dad, my friends from school, my uncles; I would be failing them all and I cried at the thought of them suffering because of me. As I felt my body weakening and my soul being lifted out of my body, I knew that once the Winter Queen devoured my soul, she would have access to all my power and abilities. She would have access to the nether-realm regions and unleash hell on earth, indefinitely. I couldn't allow that.
I forced my eyes open. The Queen was above, me her hands placed on my chest. She had a supreme look of confidence as I felt my essence being absorbed. But I wasn't going to lie down and allow this bitch the satisfaction of seeing me capitulate. I snarled and grabbed hold of her wrist. With touch, my empathy was far superior and instead of shoving fear, I shoved compassion, love and laughter into her. Instead of the harsh touch of flame, I used the gentle touch of a warm summer's day.
She looked down at me and there was surprise and uncertainty as I pushed those tender emotions into her. Her fingers dug deeper and I felt blood trickle down my body.
"Stop what you are doing," she snarled.
I closed my eyes to concentrate further, and she shook me trying to distract my concentration. That was all I needed as my original spell was finally complete. The Darkness cleared and I stared at the sun shinning down upon us. Yet there was stillness in the air. The world seemed to be waiting on the cusp of great change.
Gone were her and my minions, including the Wild Hunt. Her fingers loosened and she backpedalled from me with fear etched plainly upon her face. She raised her hands to her face. "What have you done to me?"
In thoughts and images my power showed me what it had done as it came winging home. I felt so alive as my full power filled me once more. I looked at my blood still upon her fingers and smiled. My blood contacting her skin had been the catalyst. I would never have the power to match her. She was born a Goddess; I was mortal, regardless of the powers I wielded and those belonging to the Fae.
She was still breathtakingly beautiful, but that inner glow that allowed her skin to shine from the inside was gone. Her eyes were the closest things to normal that I had seen on her so far, and she stumbled as if her weight or maybe gravity was something she was not used to.
She gave an inarticulate groan and collapsed to the ground. "What have you done to me?" she screeched.
This time her voice didn't cause my eardrums to burst. It was still pitched high enough to hurt, but it was lacking the oomph it once had. I stalked her, my body in full alert and power riding me. She crawled backwards a little more as she stared at me.
"I've made you close to human." I moved nearer until I was standing above her. I wasn't stupid enough to let my guard down, so I crouched just out of range.
It was her eyes and not her body that betrayed her intentions. She used a technique I hadn't seen her use. Ice daggers shot from her fingertips toward me. They smashed into my telekinetic shield and it was all the impetus I needed to finish what I had started. Kinetic daggers flew to her heart, and throat. The decapitation was so fast, it sliced cleanly through her throat without blood spraying. Her head bounced once and then twice before it rolled and stared unblinkingly at the sky. Her blood was no longer white, but a pale red as it soaked into the ground beneath her.
Pounamu appeared beside me with future-Kevin and Jay beside him. They stared at my handy work and Jay whistled while Kevin wrapped his arms around me. I was expecting to see condemnation in his eyes, but I saw grim satisfaction. I hugged him tighter; he was changing as surely as I was.
"It's time to go," Mother Nature said as she, too, appeared beside us.
I nodded my head, turned back to see where my house was, and pulled it out of the dimension I had placed it in. Mother Nature smiled, before she waved her hand and I felt the power that had been sizzling through my veins slide away. I collapsed, barely conscious. Kevin grabbed me before I hit the ground and hefted me into his arms.
I stared up at Mother Nature as she came into my view. "Thank you for the use of your power." She smiled once more, before darkness claimed me.
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Thanks as always goes to Richard for his fine work in editing!