"Well, I did not expect you to drop in."
My dragon and I had crashed through several walls, and now stood in a large room with a pool of red liquid in the middle. The dragon had not survived the crash, but I got through with only a few bruises. Standing in the middle of the pool was Bob, waist deep in the fluid.
"Bob, what are you doing here?" I staggered to my feet, feeling exhaustion take hold.
"Did everyone seriously think that the Abhorians could unite together and start a war? They're barbarians; they don't have the intelligence to do anything like that."
I fell to my knees. The crash had hurt me more than I'd realized, "We have to get out of here, Bob. I need medical attention."
"No, that wouldn't be possible."
"What? I could die, Bob. Please, help me get out of here."
"The answer is no. Just die so I don't have to deal with your whining." Bob cupped his hands in the fluid and poured it over his head.
"Why? Why won't you help me? We're allies."
"Allies?", Bob scoffed, "You must have hit harder than it looked. I'm not your ally, I'm your enemy."
"That's impossible! Why?" I tried to stand again, only to fail.
"At the academy, I was weak. No one feared me, so my power never left the confines of my mind and when it did, the opponent always got the upper hand somehow. I tried everything and failed. I was given the lowest scores and put into the lower tier because I never showed my true potential."
"You left because you were weak?" I finally was able to get to my feet, but had to lean against the wall.
"I left because it wasn't fair. I pleaded with the teachers to give me a chance to use my powers to the fullest, but they never gave in. They told me that if my power did not activate than the fault was mine. I did not accept that, and I vowed to take my revenge."
"You're a filthy traitor, and a weakling." I was breathing heavily but slowly the pain in my head began to subside.
Bob laughed, "The system is flawed. The people with out abilities are executed when they reach nineteen, and the weakest of us are sent to the mines. There is no equality in the system, it's the strong survive and the weak are forgotten. I would gladly become a traitor to that."
"So, why the villages? Why the human settlements?" I had to keep him distracted till my head was clear enough for me to find a way out, or I was recovered enough to kill the bastard.
"I don't discriminate. Instead of allowing only the strong to survive, I'm just going to kill everything. First the Gods, then the human settlements, and finally the Sprites; none of them will survive."
"You're sick." My knees buckled and I almost fell to the floor again, "How are you controlling the Abhorians?"
"I'm the God of Fear, Christina. When I'm in the presence of these Abhorians, things change. My ability becomes supercharged. These creatures allow me to do things I'd never thought possible. I can show you, tell me . . . what do you fear most?"
Immediately, Mardockt surfaced in my thoughts. I felt goosebumps on my arms just thinking about what he'd become. Just Mardockt's eyes after the resurrection filled me with a dread I'd never knew could exist.
"That's very unusual. Why would you fear him? Why Mardockt? Isn't he dead?" His eyes widened, "Mardockt isn't dead, is he? Something else happened that forced him to be exiled. I wonder if he left for the same reason I did?"
"Bob, don't." My voice had no strength.
"Well, no matter, I'll take care of that later. Right now, I'm going to help you with your fear. Once I do that then maybe I can convince you to join me. With your strength, maybe I wouldn't have to worry about losing this war."
"I'll never join you, Bob. I'd sooner kill myself than become a murderer."
"You're already becoming a murderer! Once you earn some say on council matters, then you'll do the same things they do. They train us for this our entire lives, Christina. They make us in to them and then we make the next generation in to us." Bob's face had gone red with anger.
"This isn't the right way, Bob. This is wrong, can't you feel that?" My headache was nearly gone but my knees still shook beneath my weight.
Bob waved his hand toward me, "Maybe you'll think differently when you're not controlled by your fear."
A new headache erupted and I fell to the ground. The stone against my cheek only served to make the headache worse.
"The pain won't last long, Christina. You'll be better than fine. You'll be powerful, unstoppable. Nothing will - Oof!"
I looked through my pain-filled eyes to see Patrick standing where Bob had been. Bob was pulling himself to his feet and sneering at Patrick, "You shouldn't interrupt while I'm inside your friend's head, anything could go wrong if I make a mistake. You wouldn't want her to be a vegetable, would you?"
The pain in my head grew to a new intensity, and I could swear my head was splitting open. I opened my mouth to breathe but only screams escaped.
"All this time you've wanted to fight me Bob, and now that you have the chance you're hiding behind a hostage." Patrick tried to remain calm. If he didn't than he would use too much force. Patrick's power was related to his emotions, though I wasn't sure exactly how. If he got too angry this would get very messy and he'd have to explain to the council why he didn't bring the target back alive.
Bob took the bait and ran toward Patrick. He didn't release his hold, and I could feel him shifting things around in my head. The increasing pain of the headache made sweat drip from my forehead to the floor. It paralyzed me completely while I watched.
It was over in seconds, as I knew it would be. The pain subsided quickly as Bob fell to the ground unconscious. For some reason I already knew what had happened; Bob never finished removing my fear and because of this, I would never see ham the same way again.
Exhaustion, pain, and trauma from the ordeal took its toll and I fell to sleep.
I woke up back in the museum looking into the eyes of an Abhorian as he raised his fist to smash my face in.