Peter flew out of his body at breakneck speed, catching a brief glimpse of his neck and back. His thought-form squinched its eyes, fighting off wave after wave of gut-churning nausea…
And then he was surrounded by fluttering wind.
He opened his eyes. Everything hazed at the edge of his vision, blurring into a film of colorless tines. The 101 sped by, a blast of asphalt and lane markers, then ANOS’s facility came surging into view.
Peter halted in the air, twenty feet up, a dozen yards back from the boxy structure. Dissona’s fog-form loomed above, marring the sky with enormous blotches of solid black. The Timekeeper’s circuitry had spread across her, but it was flickering and sparking, shorting out a node at a time. The demigod was still fighting, throwing combos with his sun-fire staff.
Peter cupped his hands around his mouth. [HOW CAN I HELP?]
The Timekeeper turned and stared. His expression went from shock to fury. [I told you to RUN!] A tentacle reached for him, but he swung his weapon in side-to-side circles, cutting it into a mess of fragments. Four more tendrils swooped in, wrapping tightly around his wrists and ankles, then stretched him out, forcing his body into a supernatural crucifix. His glimmering staff fell from his grasp, fraying apart into a drift of sparks.
[NO!] Peter willed himself forward, summoning wedge-shaped blades that extended a foot from his knuckles. A horde of tentacles arrowed toward him but he flew backward and sliced them to pieces. They pursued the teen with dogged persistence, unspooling and replicating faster than he could cut them.
[RUN, Peter!] the Timekeeper screamed. [You don’t stand a—]
[It’s okay!] Peter yelled back. [I’m anchored—I can re-don my body at a moment’s notice! The three of us cast a—]
[You mean this little trinket?] A tendril dove at him, forming into a wicked barb before it plunged into his skull.
[AAAAA!!!] Bright pain flashed through him, like someone holding a hot iron against his brain. As he fell and spun, he saw the tentacle holding a glowing Tri-Force from its hooked end.
[Guys!] He reached out to Kora and Eun. [I’m in serious trouble here!]
The Timekeeper, now enveloped in pitch-black fog, let out a furious roar: [RUAAAAAHHHH!!!]
The shroud around him shook and quivered. Glowing cracks formed across it, burning fiercely with eye-searing light. Spears of brilliance erupted from the mist, thickening into wide, glaring streaks. Somehow, Peter could sense they were made out of music; glorious song was pouring forth, splitting Dissona into bright-lit clouds.
The Timekeeper’s circuitry began to rally, coating her once again in diode-rich tech. Peter’s heart leapt in his chest. [FUCK YEAH!] He punched the air with an astral fist.
The Timekeeper and Dissona screamed together, filling the aether with melody and assonance. He sounded like Elvish poetry mixed with an electronic harpsichord, while she emitted a sound that could only be described as Orcish rap. Arcane wind howled through the lot, buffeting Peter with emotional extremes. Suicidal to joyous to furious to content…all in the space of a split-second. He wanted to help, but he was locked in place by a torrent of feeling.
Gotta move, he thought. Gotta—
The shroud broke into a tesselate mess, sweeping him away in a flood of light.