“If there’s nothing more to say, then let’s just get this over with,” Fallor said.  “I’ve been waiting.

“Fine by me,” replied Nick.

Fallor acted first, causing several orbs of light to pop into the room and streak toward the group.  Quiet Joe moved to block, and the orbs faded before they reached him.  At roughly the same time, Fallor released his focus on that attack, unleashing a wide torrent of shadow.  Maytee was able to counteract this attack with a great beam of light, which met the darkness and halted it.

Now Nick had a chance to cast, and water began to seep from the floor, quickly reaching knee-level.  It rose no further, and after a suitable pause, a geyser erupted right under Fallor.  Fallor, however, had seen this coming.  He leapt aside, and resumed his offense, even as more torrents burst around him with force that would have taken a limb off.

Fallor began dodging around the room.  Maytee and Quiet Joe were able to establish a point of defense that Fallor couldn’t penetrate, but they couldn’t keep him down either; he was able to predict every move and react to it before any of them could even think about it, and on the few occasions he did take a hit, it would punch a hole in him or tear something off and he would regenerate nearly instantly.  It was a stalemate.

It looked like a stalemate.

“Uh, Nick…” Maytee started, after several minutes of the fight had passed.

“What’s up?” Nick said, not looking at Maytee, continuing to blast at Fallor.

“Were we standing here a second ago?”

It was at this point that they realized that during the fight, they had moved away from the door and been constantly approaching the center of the room.  With every step they took away from the walls, Fallor gained a bit more room to maneuver; he was guiding them now, actively herding them to a point where he would be able to singlehandedly surround them using nothing more than his prognosticative ability.

Nick wasn’t happy about this, but showed no sign of fear.  “He’s been preparing; this is his territory; of course it looks like he has the upper hand.  But maybe,” he said, “there’s something he hasn’t considered.  Maybe the longer this keeps up, the more time I have to unleash my secret weapon.”

Fallor hesitated at this, still dodging attacks but otherwise seeming unresponsive.  He continued this way briefly, but soon seemed to snap out of it.  “Interesting,” he said.  “Whatever your secret weapon is, you’re managing to keep it hidden from me.  Doesn’t matter, though.  It’ll never come into play.”  He waved his hand, and a wall of equal parts light and shadow rose around the three.  Maytee and Joe tried attacking it, but couldn’t get through; Nick merely stood by calmly.

“So what’s the idea here, Fallor?” he asked.  “Just pen us up?  You’re making this easy.”

“Oh, just hold on a minute,” Fallor responded.  “I just want to make sure you and your secret weapon stay put until I’m ready.”

As Fallor began preparing his spell outside, the water in the room slowly evaporated.  A ball of similar composition to the wall formed in his hands, and slowly began to grow.   Maytee and Joe redoubled their efforts to escape, but found no way out.  Nick didn’t even react.

Soon the ball was larger than they were and still growing.  Fallor looked like he was testing something in the weight of the ball, which seemed odd because it should have been weightless.  Suddenly, he pulled it back behind him with one hand.  As he threw it, a hole opened in the wall, large enough to permit it through.

A hole appeared in his forehead.

This didn’t seem to cause significant harm to Fallor by itself.  What it did do was make concentrating completely impossible – which had exactly the result Nick, his arm still extended from the blast, had hoped for.  The ball began to destabilize, and shortly thereafter, it completely lost integrity.  In a flash, the ball was gone, and Fallor with it.

With that done, the wall also faded.  Nick stepped forward to examine the spot where Fallor had been; no trace of him remained.

“Nice bluff,” Maytee said.

“Yeah, I was counting on him trying to figure out what the secret weapon was instead of whether or not we had one.”

A sound, grating of stone on stone, came from the distant walls.

“What did he mean when he said he would win in the end?”

“I dunno, but it wasn’t a prediction.  A bluff, maybe.”

There was a pause, and finally, Tom and James approached from the door that had opened to the left, Zeke following a bit.  The rest came a little later, from the right.

“Things are all set up on our end,” said Zeke.

“Yeah, we got things covered too,” Zac added.

Nick nodded.  “Okay, then let’s hurry and get out of…”

“Hold on,” Lee interrupted.  “Set up for what?  And why do we need to get out?  Shouldn’t we secure this place as a base or something?”

Tom shook his head.  “Are you kidding?  This place is an evil stronghold, and a labyrinth at that.  If we leave it standing someone’s just going to try taking over again.  It needs to be destroyed before -”

“I should remind you all that this place is in fact in the process of being destroyed,” Nick interjected as the grinding increased.  “If we’re going to get out of here, we should do it now.”

Tom and Lee worked their magic; the entire group was transported out of the fortress.  As they watched, stones fell from the walls.  Large parts collapsed, and finally the whole thing fell in on itself.

As the ruin dissolved into mist, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  With Chris gone, they were safe.  It was time to return to campus to spread the news.

It was time to go home.


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