When Carter staggered out into the hall, he gasped, staring at the extent of the damage that had been done as the Dragon Knight and the Paladin fired their auras at each other and struck hard. Then he noticed Weston and Astrid were there, watching a fight that was fast and nearly too powerful.
“What the hell is this?” he demanded.
Weston stared right back at him, noting that he was smudged with dust. "What happened to you?"
Carter looked at himself. "Just disarmed a bunch of losers who couldn't match up to me. They were the attackers from the stairs."
"You handled them?"
"Yeah. Don't worry about that."
"Are you sure?" Astrid asked, worried. "No one chased us."
"Perhaps it was more because the three of you altogether are pretty fast-"
Then Weston grabbed him and they jumped aside with Astrid the same moment a blast of energy from Zack shot by.
“Sorry!” Zack gasped, noticing that he missed.
“Where are you aiming at?” Sawyer came in front of him again, and swung his sword, Dragos, at Zack.
Zack deflected and attacked back. “You only ever dodge late on purpose with your back towards my friends so I might hit them instead!” he growled. “I told you, don't hurt my friends!”
“Is that anger because I defeated the girl earlier?” Sawyer asked, with a dissatisfied frown. “Spare me, I was sure she happily decided to fight me just now.” He raised his sword and swung it down.
Zack yelped, taking the brunt of the blow on Galadhar, and he sprang away. “Astrid wanted to fight you?”
“And lose at the same time,” said Sawyer, and grinned as he thrust the sword at Zack.
Sawyer's smile almost made Zack freeze in place; it was one that would have belonged to someone evil.
But he managed to side-step in time and now brought his sword towards Sawyer's face.
“Zack!” Astrid yelled.
Sawyer stopped the sword with his right hand, and Zack gasped, seeing blood spring forward. With Zack staring at that, Sawyer raised his leg and struck a kick at him, catching him in the stomach.
Zack stumbled backwards.
“Zack! We should go!” Astrid shouted, her voice cutting into the fight. “We have to get to Sky now! It's only eleven minutes before the time limit! You've got to hurry!”
Zack froze. “What?”
“It's already that time?” gasped Weston.
“And what were you planning to do? Convince the Director to not accept the request from Euphoria?” Sawyer asked, as he looked at his right hand. The blood was still flowing.
Zack frowned. “Doesn't that hurt?”
“It'll hurt for now,” said Sawyer. “It's not enough to kill me. And at least, I'm left-handed.”
Zack ground his teeth. He knew a few things about the previous Dragon Knight, Rune Deatherage. Enough to remember that Rune Deatherage himself, who was famous for a volcanic temper as a Gladiator, and that he was left-handed. Just like Sawyer.
“Yeah, sorry, you're right, Astrid,” said Zack. “We gotta go soon.” He raised his sword towards Sawyer, and his aura began to surge around him, with a heavy power. Heat began to radiate off Zack, the aura turning into flames.
“Fire?” said Astrid. “It's really like fire. It burns . . .”
Weston and Carter both stared.
"Was Zack this kind of person? Even in fights, I haven't seen that part of him," said Weston, awed.
Sawyer put both hands onto his sword's hilt.
But before Zack could move, there was a loud cracking sound.
With a loud snap, Zack disappeared into a hole that appeared below him, and there was a crushing sound below them.
Weston, Carter, Astrid, and Sawyer froze in surprise.
“What?” Weston gasped.
“Zack!” Astrid yelled, sprinting towards the hole.
Zack lay at the bottom, on his back.
“Zack, you okay? Move! Speak!” Astrid shouted.
Her voice echoed around but was definitely loud to him as he shifted in the dust. He rolled over and curled up into a ball and coughed hard twice, and spat blood.
“Troublesome to be a Paladin sometimes,” he grunted.
Before seeing a blast of green lightning slashing through the air over Astrid's head.
Astrid gasped and saw it attacking Sawyer, who stared at it in shock, realizing that he was, impossibly, too slow to see it coming.