Valorie stepped back as the rod came out, but nothing happened. Adam had frozen to the spot, was staring up ahead. Valorie looked.
Locusts, mantises, moths, flies, butterflies, hundreds of insects all flying together. Charley’s insects flew over her head, buzzing wildly. Adam tried to run, but the bugs were on him in an instant. He fought against them, firing sparks into the air. Still they continued to attack him, biting and tearing with their long sharp legs.
Charley was running towards them, and Valorie could see other Wizards painfully picking themselves up, preparing to fight again. She spun, seeing Adam waving some of the smaller insects away. The mantises were made of stronger stuff, however. They were elite, trained, and would die before they gave in. They bit and bit, and Adam bled.
More people were gathering, and some got close enough to hit and punch. Adam screamed, furious at being suddenly outnumbered.
Charley came to stand over him.
‘This is your last chance, Adam Quinn,’ he said in a slow, dangerous voice. ‘If you so choose, you can surrender now and allow us to take you to be arrested. It’s up to you. Decide.’
Adam looked up at him in pure loathing and contempt.
‘I’ve been wanting to do this for three years,’ he said, and spat up at Charley. It hit him in the eye.
As Charley reeled backwards, trying to wipe it away, Adam pointed the rod squarely at Valorie’s face.
Valorie realised she was going to die.
No, she thought. You won’t die. You have one last chance to save yourself. To save everyone.
The rod was pointing at her. Better think fast, she chided herself. You don’t have much time left. Come up with a plan.
Valorie knew what she had to do.
The end of the rod exploded. A small spark, a burst of flame that quickly faded, and then the beginnings of a bright red beam.
Now was the time.
Valorie concentrated, clenching her muscles, focusing on what she had to do. She blinked once. She saw the rod’s beam in negative. This was good. It meant it was working.
Valorie exhaled. One last mental stretch, and she felt the pulling sensation in her belly.
She concentrated. WHOOSH.
She was out of her body, looking down at Adam. Good. She wqas out. The beam was still streaking towards her real body down there, so she had to be quick. No time to lose.
Valorie concentrated, and she glided forward. It came to her so easily, she wondered why she had ever had problems with it before.
Adam was beginning to realise what had happened, was moving his head up slowly, slowly to regard her etheric presence.
Valorie stretched forward, reached out a hand.
The rod was outstretched. She could still do it. She had a chance.
Valorie reached out, knowing that she could do it.
And she did.
Her hand closed tightly around the rod in Adam’s hand.
His grip was slipping. Valorie was strong. The rod slipped into her own hand.
She had it safe. She felt it warm in her hand, still warm from where Adam had held it.
Ther red beam streaked towards Valorie’s empty shell. Time to go back.
She concentrated. It wasn’t hard.
Valorie exploded outwards, hearing Adam’s howl of despair. She felt herself rushing backwards, but this time it was different. It wa happening so slowly, so gradually…
She said goodbye to the scene of terror that was playing out in front of her. She waved.