A heavy power held down her body like immovable shackles she couldn't break no matter how much power she used. Dieos had thrown her to the edge of the chamber, and she stared across the vast space to where Dieos was standing, a look of disgust on his face, as if she was a problem he didn't want to deal with. Ikarios stood on the other side of the black-walled chamber, his focus solely on monster that stood between them
If she couldn't move, she wouldn't be able to protect herself or distract Dieos. Without her fighting, Ikarios wouldn't last long enough to find a way to get into Dieos's mind. Was this it?
Were they going to lose here?
Was she going to...die here?
She bit her lip, doing her best to keep down the panic welling in her chest. She was still alive, right? There had to be something she could do. Evos was sending calming feelings her way, but it like sprinkling water on a raging fire. With her heart pounding in her ears she could hardly even hear herself think.
"After all that spirit you showed," Dieos said, looking down at Tavia with a bored expression. "I had expected at least a little more fight from one with the Ageless Sword. I guess the power from all those years ago was just a one-time thing. Can't hold you to that standard."
Tavia pushed and pulled, trying to twist her body to free her limbs from the force holding them still. What was it? It fell like being encased in stone. Dieos walked up to her, every step sending a tremor down her spine until he was standing just above her. She stared up at him, a grimace spreading across her face.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked. "What do you plan on doing to Edelheiss?"
Dieos stared at her, his jaw flexing, and then he sighed.
"Revenge, I suppose? I died here, once before." he said. "Though, even I admit that's just an excuse. This power is mine, and I should use it as I see fit. Aren't you doing the same with the power you've been granted?"
"It's not the same, I'm not doing this for myself," Tavia snarled. "I'm—"
Dieos held up a hand, and the bindings on Tavia tightened around her limbs. Her voice but off as pain shot through her arms and legs.
"I don't actually care," he said. "Now, you may be able to cut through Althier, but if you can't swing that monstrous sword around, there's no way for even you to break through."
Dieos reached his hand out to grab Tavia's throat, but before he could touch her, he froze. He gave an impatient groan, and then turned around.
"You really want to die that badly?" he asked Ikarios. "Fine, if you want me to deal with you before the woman, I can manage that. It's not like she'll long survive you."
Dieos looked back at Tavia one more time, and his eyes narrowed slightly at her in a silent threat, before he walked away. After being thrown, she was all the way across the room from Ikarios, but she could see the way his features were tense and his shoulders raised.
Dieos stood before Ikarios, his back towards Tavia. If she could just move she would be able to get him, but he was holding her in place. How?
Why hadn't he done this from the very beginning? If Dieos could just trap Tavia and deal with her later, like a spider with its prey, why not do that right away? Why deal with her attacks in the first place?
Tavia gritted her teeth. Ikarios was talking to Dieos, but she couldn't hear the words, could only see Ikarios's mouth moving. She had gotten the shield down and everything, but it must have been repaired by now, because it wasn't even flickering any more.
It wasn't flickering at all?
Tavia squinted at Dieos, watching his back, particularly where she had cut the shield. Nothing. She couldn't see any sign of damage. Considering how long the damage from her first attack had lasted, there should have been at least some sign of it.
Tavia tried to move her right arm again, but like before it was stuck in place. Dieos hadn't put his shield back up, he had used it instead to trap her—or rather, the energy he was devoting to his shield, he had instead used to trap Tavia.
Right now, Dieos really was unguarded. She just needed to get to him.
Wasn't there anyway to get out? Tavia couldn't move the sword. As Dieos had said, she couldn't cut through the force holding her in place, but what if she didn't need to? There was a way to escape this, wasn't there?
"Evos," Tavia said, soft enough Dieos wouldn't notice.
She felt a stirring in her mind. He was paying attention.
"Can we try Jumping?"
Evos was startled, and for good reason. Tavia hadn't been able to Jump even once without something going wrong, and she would much rather not have had to rely on it. She didn't like the way it felt, the darkness, the senselessness of that place between starting and ending the jump, but at the moment, it was her only hope. Several seconds passed, and then Tavia felt Evos's agreement.
Tavia tried to keep her breathing steady. This time... this time she needed to get it right. She couldn't afford another mistake. If she messed up here, Dieos wouldn't be giving her any more chances. Behind Dieos—at just the perfect distance, that was where she needed to end up.
She gritted her teeth, and the spell activated. The light blinded her, and the world fell away. She kept her eyes open in the darkness. Everything was spinning, and she could feel Evos concentrating as he guided the spell. Tavia searched the darkness, feeling for the spot she wanted, and then... she leapt.
The world flashed back into existence, and she was greeted with the sight of Dieos's back right in front of her. The world was still for just a moment, before exhaustion sent it spinning around her, and the corners of her vision grew dark and hazy. Tavia bit back a gasp. She couldn't pass out now. Not yet.
Ikarios's eyes widened, and Dieos began to turn around, but Tavia raised her sword, and slashed straight across Dieos's back, left shoulder to right hip. The Althier edge of the Ageless Sword cut through his body like it was water. Tavia had never killed anyone before, had never even tried to, but she was sure it wasn't supposed to be this easy.
There was no blood; the Althier on the edge of the Ageless Sword cauterized the wound, leaving behind the smell of burnt flesh and clothes. Tavia staggered backward, holding a hand to her mouth and trying not to choke on the smell.
Dieos dropped to the ground, falling first to his knees, and then forward onto his chest.
Was he dead?
Dieos didn't give any last words, didn't even give her one last condescending stare. He just lay on the ground, still and silent.
Tavia's hands trembled on the sword. Ikarios stared at her over the fallen body of Dieos, and then looked down at the body. His face contorted into a snarl, and she looked down.
Scarlet Althier was swirling around the man's body, gathering into a small orb above his injured back. The orb pulsed, beating like a heart, and then, it began to fade.
"His soul," Ikarios said as he met Tavia's eyes. "You should—"
The room shook for a moment, and Tavia looked up at the ceiling. An earthshake? The room settled, but small chunks of stone fell from ceiling, dislodged by the shaking.
"There's no time. We need to get out of here," Ikarios said.
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"All that Althier used to make the barrier? Now that Dieos is gone, it's going wild," Ikarios said. "It'll likely collapse in on itself."
Tavia turned away from Ikarios, ignoring his shouts. She had to find Izak. She ran to where she had seen the bed. It was surrounded by boxes and empty vials, but when Tavia pushed her way through them, she let out a heavy breath.
Izak was there, still sleeping, still deathly pale, but otherwise uninjured.
"Hurry!" Ikarios yelled as another tremor shook the room.
Tavia grabbed Izak and slipped him onto her back. She almost lost grip on the Ageless Sword as she maneuvered Izak's limp body, but though it might have been easier to have Evos change back to human form, She needed the extra strength the sword gave her to carry Izak. Without it, she doubted she'd even be able to walk properly at this point.
She returned to Ikarios.
"Let's get out of here."