Authors: Matthew Burkey
Ethan whirled around just as one of the Teckali demons charged toward him. He sidestepped the attack and spun around as the creature came at him again. Ethan dove to the right, just as a snout filled with razor sharp teeth scraped against his armor, throwing off sparks. The Teccali demon didn’t waste any time and brought its clawed foot around, only to have Ethan knock the attack away.
Tony leapt up and landed on its back, causing the demon to cry out in annoyance. It started bucking heavily and nearly tossed the Guardian off, at least until Tony’s katana sliced through where the neck connected to the body. He flipped off the dead demon as it fell to the ground.
“Well, that’s one down.”
As he spoke Everett and Gabriel sailed through the air, slamming against the far wall with a loud thud. They hit the ground hard, coughing and sputtering. Tony and Ethan turned around just as the hybrids came charging toward them.
“Well, this isn’t going to end well,” Tony sighed.
Day shifted back to his human form as soon as they hit the top of the stairs.
“Down this way,” Day pointed.
Cody and Elise fell into step behind him with Payton bringing up the rear. Several vampires appeared at the end of the hall. Their weapons snapped up to fire but they were soon reduced to dust and floating embers as Cody’s arrows found their mark. Another two charged forward and soon encountered the edges of Payton’s axe, reducing them to ash.
“Bloody hell,” Cody grinned. “You’re pretty handy with that thing, remind me not to piss you off.”
Day barreled through the door that he had indicated earlier, dumping them into a small office.
“I need two minutes,” Day said, rushing to the computer. “Do you guys think that you can handle that?”
“Shouldn’t be all that hard,” Cody responded. He spun around and drilled a charging Unkari through the head before turning back around to Day. “I mean we are pretty bloody brilliant.”
“Cody, get your head back in the game!” Elise called out.
Unkari and vampires boiled through the door. The first line never even made it all the way into the room. Cody, Payton, and Elise dispatched them with ease. The second wave didn’t fare much better, though they actually made it slightly into the room before they dropped. Cody used his bow as a melee weapon, smashing it across the face of several incoming Darklings. Elise’s axes chewed through anything that got in her way and Payton’s weapon cut a path of destruction.
“Day, how’s it going over there?” Elise asked. She sent a Darkling bouncing through a window and to the ground below with a powerful kick. Several swords thrust toward her, though none manage to get around her defenses.
“I’m working as fast as I can!”
“No rush or anything,” Cody grunted. He fired another volley of arrows. “It’s not like I had had other plans tonight or anything!”
“Do you always talk this much?” Payton grunted. He was swung his axe through the air, cleaving a group of charging Darklings in two. More Unkari surged forward. Cody intercepted them, raining down a series of blows with his bow. He ducked down, hooked it around the ankle of another one and pulled it down and stabbed it with an arrow he pulled from his quiver.
“Keeps things interesting,” Elise responded. She threw one of her axes, burying deep in the chest of an Unkari. The weapon wretched itself free and landed smoothly in her hand, allowing her to spin around and slash the weapons across another attacker.
The wall around the doorway exploded outward. Day looked up and muttered a string of colorful metaphors as a hybrid burst into the room, brandishing a large axe that gleamed with the look of an immortal blade.
“Bloody hell,” Cody yelled. “Mate, how much longer?”
“Don’t rush me,” Day snapped.
“Don’t mean to be a git but this isn’t getting any easier!”
Another vampire exploded into dust as Cody shot it through the heart.
“Is there anything that you can tell me about these things?” Payton asked, as the hybrid started slowly toward them.
“Try and not get dead,” Elise said.
“Sound advice,” Payton responded.
Payton and Elise ran forward, while Cody hung back and fired off several arrows. The hybrid moved fast, knocking several of Cody’s arrows from the air. Two hit home, burying themselves deep in its shoulder, causing it roar out in annoyance.
Elise arrived first, daring in with her axes an attempt to get at the hybrid’s chest. The creature was faster however, moving his own weapon to block the incoming strikes. Payton leapt toward the creature but was knocked from the air as the hybrid lashed out. Cody skirted around the lumbering creature, trying to get a shot off at its head. Sadly, everything that he fired was deflected.
“Well, this went arseways real quick,” Cody grumbled. He spun around and punched one so the remaining Darkling’s so hard that it sailed through a window to land on the ground below.
“These guys are good,” Payton panted. He back flipped away from an attack and then brought his axe around, blocking another blow.
“We’re better!” Elise snapped.
Cody buried another arrow in the hybrid’s shoulder, causing to whirl toward him. Payton and Elise took advantage of the attack and jumped back into the fray. Sparks exploded as their weapons slammed off each other. The hybrid seemed to be able to block every attack that the Guardians and the young demon could throw at it.
“I really hope that they are having a better time than us!” Gabriel yelled. He brought his sword around, blocked another blow and then shot forward, intending to stab the hybrid in the gut. He never got the chance, however, as the hybrid smacked him in the side, sending him sailing across the room and into the wall.
The remaining Teckcali demon was dead, leaving just the two hybrids, who were proving to be more than enough trouble at the moment. Everett sent a pulsing blue glyph at one, sending to tumbling backwards but otherwise unharmed. Ryan, Ethan, and Marissa leapt toward it as Tony and Gabriel engaged the other one.
They were holding their own but it wasn’t easy. All of them were bleeding from cuts and scrapes. Tony’s armor was dented where the second Teckcali demon had bit into him and tossed him about like a dog’s chew toy. Holding two of the things at bay was difficult, even with most of the Guardians focusing on them.
Marissa’s whip cracked out, wrapping around the hybrid’s wrist. She yanked on the weapon, the serrated length of coil slowly but surely sinking into the hybrid’s skin, momentarily taking that arm out of the fight. Ryan and Ethan dashed in, blades gleaming in the dim light. Ryan dove toward the hybrid’s legs, slicing along the thighs with his daggers. Ethan jumped up, intending to bring his swords stabbing down through the monsters chest. He didn’t get time however, as the creature wretched his arm free and swatted Ethan out of the air.
Ethan barely got out a muffled curse as he was slammed into the ground. Ryan darted in, spinning and slicing away in an effort to give Ethan time to get back up. Ethan flipped backwards and out of the way.
“This isn’t working!” Ethan shouted.
Lighting flew from Everett’s fingertips, dancing up the side of the hybrid, throwing sparks. It roared and lunged toward him but was sent off course as Ryan and Marissa slammed into the side of it with their shoulders.
“This thing has to have a weakness!” Gabriel yelled. He dodged sideways, blocked an incoming blow and then went on the offensive. The hybrid blocked almost all of his attacks and those that he did get around its defenses did only minimal damage.
“Yeah, cut its head off!” Tony snapped.
“That’s assuming that we can get anywhere near his head!” Gabriel shouted back. He back flipped away mere milliseconds before the large sword crashed into the ground in front of him. “Right now, I’d say that’s a long shot!”
As the fight raged on around him, Gabriel was very much aware of that warm feeling starting to grow in his chest again. He tried to remember what it was that Imogene told him, about harnessing that power and not being afraid of it. She told him that he needed to concentrate, of course that was a lot easier to do when there wasn’t a massive thing trying to take him apart.
He dodged right and then rolled away as the large black/white glowing sword took another chunk out of the ground. Tony leapt above him, bringing his sword down on the hybrids shoulder. It screamed in anger as the blessed metal sliced through skin and bone, dropping the arm that was holding the sword to the ground.
Gabriel sprung to his feet, launching himself at the hybrid’s chest. He slammed into it, knocking it off balance and causing it to topple backwards. He lashed out with his blade, jamming it right through the hybrid’s skull. It gave one final roar of rage before falling silent.
“You’re getting way too good at this,” Tony grunted, looking at the dead hybrid.
“Beginners luck,” Gabriel panted in response.
“Little help over here!” Marissa yelled.
The remaining hybrid seemed to become enraged at the death of his partner and went on the offensive, swinging his massive axe in a whirlwind that sent Guardians tumbling away.
“I’ve had just about enough of this guy,” Ethan grunted.
“Sure,” Ryan panted. “I’ll just remind him of that!”
Ethan jumped over another stab and landed in a crouch. He flipped backwards, avoiding the giant axe again. The rest of the Guardians leapt into the fray, weapons sparking as the hybrid fended off the assault.
The hybrid went on the offensive, he charged forward, knocking several of the Guardians away like they were bowling pins. Ryan twisted around in the air and landed on his feet but quick enough to avoid the hybrid’s leg that slammed into his stomach. He dropped to one knee and rolled out of the way as the large sword carved out a chunk of the floor where he had been moments before.
The hybrid pounced on him again. This time though he wasn’t as fast and the sword sliced through his suit on the outside of his thigh, opening up a bloody wound. The hybrids leg came around again, smacking Ryan off his feet and sending him slamming into a wall. He bounced off it and hit the ground.
“Ryan!” Gabriel yelled.
Marissa charged in, her whip cracking out and leaving long burning scars on the flesh of the hybrid. The creature whirled around, striking her with enough power to send her flying sideways as well. She gave out a muffled grunt as she hit the wall. Marissa was on her feet again, flipping away as the sword stabbed into the wall. She tried a jumping spin kick but the hybrid was faster. It grabbed her leg and threw her across the room.
Ethan launched himself up, jumping off the wall and bringing both his swords down hard into the creature’s chest. Using his momentum, Ethan swung his legs up and around the hybrids neck, locking them in place. The hybrid reached up to tear Ethan off but Ethan was already moving, he reached down behind him, grabbed his swords and yanked them free. The hybrid roared, the final sound it made as Ethan brought both his blades slamming into the side of the hybrids head.
He flipped off it as it fell to the ground.
“There,” Ethan grumbled, sheathing his weapons. “Now, that wasn’t so hard was it?”
Everyone was breathing heavy and sweating; no one looked amused at Ethan’s remark.
“Let’s check and see how Day -”
Everett never finished his sentence. The glass in the office area overlooking the warehouse below exploded outward as a large body came crashing through it. The hybrid hit the floor, arrows sticking out both its eyes and with Payton’s axe embedded in its chest. A gurgling sound came from its throat before a final glowing arrow buried itself in his head.
“Did you get it?” Ethan asked, as the other team came running down the stairs.
“Yeah,” Day nodded. “But we need to go, they’re going to have reinforcements here soon enough.”
Ethan helped a still dazed Ryan to his feet while Cody rushed over to Marissa. They were almost to the door when a curious beeping started softly echoing through the warehouse.
“What is that?” Everett asked, looking around.
“Well, that can’t be good,” Gabriel snapped.
The massive metal plates slammed down over the doors and windows, essentially trapping them inside.
“That’s really not good,” Tony muttered.
“Everett can you blast us out of here?” Ethan asked.
“The beeping is coming from them,” Gabriel said, pointing toward one of the dead hybrids.
“Everyone close to me!” Everett shouted.
“What’s going on?” Elise asked.
And that’s when they saw it. Energy began to dance and roll over the bodies of the dead hybrids, cascading into each other and throwing off sparks and bright flashes of light. A whine started to course through the air and static electricity set everyone’s hair on end.
Everett started chanting a spell, creating glyphs that swirled around the small knot of Guardians and their werewolf and demon allies. The glyphs sped up, rotating around the group in a blur as the whine from the glowing hybrids continued to build.
And then it happened. The hybrid’s bodies pulsed once and then exploded, sending out a wave of energy that tore through everything in the warehouse. Fire and light washed over the spinning glyphs as Everett struggled to keep the deadly energy at bay. The explosion ripped through the walls, sending the building tumbling down around them but still the glyphs managed to hold the deadly debris at bay.