Geralt stood outside of Johann’s courtyard with a contingent of soldiers behind him. Exzenter stood to the side, drinking mana potions.
“How do we stop him?” a soldier asked. Johann was clawing the floor and bellowing into the air. His wings quivered as he struggled to fly, but kept crashing back against the ground before he could get a foot into the air. His claws left parallel rifts in the ground as he pulled himself off the floor over and over.
Geralt snorted. “This is why I told the king to keep a closer watch on this beast,” he said as he tightened his grip on his sword and shield. “We’ll hamstring it. Cut the tendons in its legs and wings. The first phalanx will be responsible for keepings its attention on them, while the rest of us focus on its limbs.”
“Y-yes, sir!” the soldiers behind him said and saluted. Their orange swords shone in the sun as they trekked through the entrance to the courtyard.
Exzenter narrowed his eyes and stared at Johann. Wind swirled around him as he began chanting. A giant clock’s face appeared underneath Johann’s body and began to move in reverse. “He’s slowed,” Exzenter shouted to Geralt. “Luckily he’s not resistant to magic like most dragons.”
Geralt grinned as he circled behind Johann and slashed towards his hind leg. Johann’s tail blurred and slammed into Geralt’s body, flinging him against the wall. His body let out a cracking sound and he coughed out a mouthful of blood. “Damnit, Exzenter!” Geralt roared. “You said he was slowed!”
Exzenter scratched his head. “I did use slow, though,” he said and frowned. “Unless I casted haste? I wouldn’t make such a rookie mistake. Hold him off as I cast a stop spell.”
The soldiers ground their teeth as they took a step back from Johann and readied their shields. Soldiers flew as Johann smacked against them with his claws and tail. A few unlucky ones were torn to shred by his teeth. Cuts gradually accumulated along Johann’s legs, leaking bright red blood. A worm fell crawled out of a wound and lunged towards a soldier.
“What the hell is this?!” The soldier bunted the worm with his shield and bisected it with a single slash.
“Watch out! It’s still moving,” the man next to him said. The front half of the worm flew towards the soldier’s face before he could raise his shield.
“Stop!” Exzenter shouted. The worm froze mid-air and the soldier hacked it to pieces. Johann let out a bellow, unaffected by the time magic.
“Magic’s not working on him,” Geralt said. “Regardless, we can still stop him. He’s wounded and our white mages will be here to heal us soon. We’ll win in a battle of endurance. Keep it up!”
Johann’s body shuddered as his eyes closed. He stopped moving as Geralt’s men advanced and hacked at his tendons. Geralt laughed. “I guess it gave up knowing it would lose,” he said. “Kill these worms, men. I don’t know what they are, but they’re disgusting me.”
Johann’s eyes snapped open. The bleeding flesh on his wounds started to wriggle and writhe. They grew and expanded outwards, the severed tendons reconnecting. Johann bellowed and flapped his wings, no longer struggling and thrashing.
“This…” Geralt said as his brow creased. “Fall back! Everyone, fall back!”
Johann roared and slammed his claws onto the ground. A storm of lightning rained down on the soldiers. He swiped his claws towards the ones who were lucky enough to avoid the bolts. Green blades shot out of his claws, cutting into the soldiers.
“He’s using magic,” Exzenter said with wide eyes. “That’s impossible. He’s not imprinted. What’s going on here?” Wind swirled around Exzenter and his body disappeared. He reappeared on a roof and fell over backwards. “It’s you?”
“Hello, Exzenter,” Lindyss said. “Running away?” Grimmy sat on the roof with Lindyss, Tafel, and Vur. They watched Johann fight against the soldiers, crushing what remained of them.
“We’re not fighting that,” Grimmy said. “Forget the treasury, I’m rich enough.”
Vur frowned. “But-“
“No buts. We just came to assess the situation,” Grimmy said and stretched his neck. “He’s resistant to magic and can cast spells. I would stop him if that was it, but he’s seriously infected by those parasites. I refuse to get close to something like that.”
Lindyss nodded. “I’m sure the humans have some safeguards to deal with extreme threats,” she said. “Let them handle it. There’s no need to sacrifice ourselves. I do wonder where those worms came from, though.” She narrowed her eyes. “The demons brought over a batch from Fuselage. I wouldn’t be surprised if the humans did the same and something went awry. You reap what you sow; we’re leaving.”
“Wait!” Exzenter said. “Please, help me stop him.”
Lindyss frowned. “Didn’t you hear any of what I said? We’re not risking our lives to clean up someone else’s mistake.”
“You won’t be at risk,” Exzenter said and lowered his head. “Please. I just need you two to feed mana into me so I can perform a large enough area teleportation spell.”
“He’s resistant to magic; did you forget?” Lindyss asked. “Where would you even teleport him to?”
“I’ll teleport him to Fuselage,” Exzenter said. “As long as I teleport the whole space around me, he’ll be included in the spell, regardless of resistance. I just need more mana.”
Grimmy raised an eyebrow. “You’re sure?” he asked. “You’ll be stuck on Fuselage too, you know?”
Exzenter nodded. “I swore an oath to protect the kingdom,” he said. “If I ran away now, then I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” He knelt on the floor and lowered his head to Lindyss and Grimmy. “Please.”
Lindyss sighed. “The humans don’t deserve someone like you,” she said and shook her head. “We’ll help.” She slid off of Grimmy’s head and grasped Exzenter’s hand. Grimmy placed the tip of his claw on Exzenter’s head. Vur and Tafel looked at each other before grabbing Exzenter’s other hand. Exzenter’s veins bulged and his hair fluttered as streams of mana flowed into his body. Blood started to drip out of his pores, leaving a layer of red on his body.
“Thank you,” Exzenter said with clenched teeth. “Save my room in Konigreich for me. I’ll be back.” His bloody body disappeared from the four’s grasp and reappeared on top of Johann. A moment later, the courtyard vanished, leaving a crater on the ground. The wind howled as it rushed in to fill the empty void.
“Crap!” Charon shouted as his book dropped to the floor. “I was supposed to stop myself today!”
His naked body vanished and reappeared on the roof behind Lindyss’ group.
His eyes narrowed as his gaze landed on the crater. “Well damn. I screwed up.”