The problem with being more or less as powerful as a “baby” Artificer was that I wasn’t yet powerful enough to hurl energy at whatever that thing was and also snap back to my body.
Unsure what good it would do, I moved as much of me as possible behind the strand, thinking it was better than nothing, and betting I wouldn’t be able to do any of the defensive exercises I knew either.
Pushing whatever of me was in this place out, I felt the barriers begin to thin as the blob came into my vision. It had left the security of its own strand to swing out to the side and fly in my direction.
Glowing with spiderweb-like patterns inside where the creature must have been absorbing energy, it roared toward me, the broken mouths on its body open and ready to bite.
Part of me wanted to attack or at least shield myself from it, but I knew that I was already going and the best thing I could do to avoid being attacked was to not be here.
I put all of my effort into fading out, but maybe I didn’t put in enough. Maybe I hesitated. I know I tried to get out, but I didn’t know Kee’s exercises the way I knew martial arts or the Rocket suit.
It caught me.
I couldn’t say it was the worst pain of my life. The time a dragon almost burned my arm off was right up there, but this felt in its league.
Many small mouths bit into me and I could feel myself losing something wet. Blood? In this setting, I didn’t look much different from the blob. Ichor, maybe—whatever that was.
Whatever I lost, it hurt. I wanted to scream and maybe I did. I didn’t have time to pay attention because I was having a hard time concentrating on the most important task—leaving.
I pulled at the ambient energy that Kee had taught me to tap again, sending it directly into leaving and maybe a little into burning everything around me.
That last part wasn’t intentional, but it happened. Whether some bit of my training had become reflexive or whether it was a side effect of throwing power through myself with abandon, the blob stopped its gurgling and sucking to screech.
With that, I was gone, back into my body, and falling toward HQ’s concrete floor. Hands reached out, catching me.
In my mind, I felt Daniel’s amazement and shock, What was that thing? I felt it as you came through.
No idea, I thought back.
Opening my eyes, I found that Haley and Amy were letting me down to the floor. Everyone else stood around us, all of them looking down.
“What was that?” Amy stood above me as Bloodmaiden. “I saw something else with you—“
“You’re sure it’s gone?” I asked.
She clenched her gauntlet and the blood red gemstone portions of her armor glowed brighter. I felt something as she looked up and down my body.
“It’s gone, but you’re hurt. It took pieces out of you,” she peered at my chest and then further down—spots that weren’t much different from where I remembered hurt in whatever that other place had been.
His hood now over his head, and partly faded, Adam said, “She’s right. You been bitten all over. That’s as bad as some of the worst fey nightmare creatures… Did it fly and try to tickle you?”
“What?” I stared up at him. “Tickle me? No. That’s weird.”
Adam faded back in and took off his hood, “You’re going to have to trust me, but there are nasty creatures out there and some of them tickle people.”
Haley glared at Adam, and then back at me, “You zoned out and then you screamed and fell. What happened and what attacked you?”
I pushed myself upright, “I don’t know. I felt something related to what Lee told us about and then I was in another place. I assumed it was only in my mind, but there was something there. I thought it might be Magnus, but it could be something else. An otherworldly animal or something? Maybe some guy who can go wherever that was? Your guess is as good as mine.”
At the point I mentioned Lee, Haley’s eyes widened, but then she said, “I guess my guess is as good as yours because I don’t have any idea either. Do you think it could do something to you again?”
I took a breath, “I don’t think so. Not unless I go there again.”
Adam looked from Haley and Amy to me, “I’m going to need more information on this if you expect me to help. What did Lee tell you about and what does it have to do with this? Also, what about Magnus?”
“You know how we told you that we didn’t feel comfortable giving out information on something because it could end the world?” I looked over at him, “It’s more of that.”
He met my eyes, “If it can attack you out of nowhere and leave this kind of damage, I think I need to know.”