Allspades’ tried to move his arms again, but even with all his strength he couldn’t pull them free from beneath the pillars that had once held the library’s balcony above his desk.
He didn’t even remember the building falling down around him. The last thing he remembered before waking up was the sight of King’s sickly smile as he’d blasted the pillars with something bigger than he’d ever been able to move before.
He took a deep breath and arched his back off the ground. His legs weren’t pinned, but a piece of floor fad fallen across them and he could barely bend his knees before they banged against the rubble. He pressed them as hard as he dared against the floor and forced himself even higher. He could feel the pillars starting to rise off the ground, but almost immediately they stopped. He tried to pull even harder, but they wouldn’t budge.
There was sweat dripping into his eyes, and his lungs were squeezing through the last of their air, but it wasn’t until he felt his shoulders threatening to rip from their sockets that he let himself collapse back onto the ground.
“Dammit…King,” he panted. “You said…he was dead.”
“King is dead,” Paige’s voice echoed in his head. “He died the same night the rest of us did.”
“The same night Knight died. I get it. One of these days we’re going to have to work on your communications skills.”
She didn’t answer. She’d been talking a lot less lately; he’d be worried if she hadn’t been helping him calm down when he was angry.
“Is there anything you can do about these?” He wiggled his arms.
“I don’t do anything.”
He groaned and let his head rest on the ground. She’d been saying the same thing ever since they’d made it back from Confluence. Between what Stalker had told him, and what Hawthorne said he told her and Will, the white light that came from Paige. But she insisted that she couldn’t do anything.
“Dammit, King,” he said. “What the hell happened to you? You were supposed to be the sane one.”
Paige stayed silent again. It wasn’t right. Paige had always had an answer for anything. Now he had too many questions.
King had survived. Despite being face to face with the bastard that had killed all of them, he’d been able to walk away. They’d had a gun against his head; he’d seen them pull the trigger.
Not only had he survived, he had left them. Allspades and Paige had fought against those gangsters for a half an hour before her shield failed. King had been alive, and he’d let her die.
Allspades’ hands tightened beneath the pillars, slowly crushing the bits of them he could grip. His brow tightened and a pressure built up behind his eyes.
The image of Paige’s falling body that had been burned into his mind flared up with a clarity that he’d thought he’d lost. The balcony had been behind her, the place where King’s body should have been laying. It was completely empty.
He’d let her die.
The shadows around him vanished and every nerve in his body started to scream. What came out of his mouth couldn’t be called a scream; there wasn’t enough air in his lungs to express the pain that was shooting and stabbing and burning him alive.
Again his back arched off the ground and his knees slammed into the rubble above them. But he didn’t have to lift. His vision turned white as his scream was drowned out by the rush of air and light shoving the fallen building off of him. He rose off the ground, the mysterious force that no one seemed to control righting him.
The light didn’t stop at the rubble. It shot up into the sky, becoming a pillar of raw magic so thick that even the least sensitive minds felt their dreams turning towards it.
And then it vanished; leaving nothing but a hole in the clouds.
Gravity returned, and Allspades stumbled when his feet slammed into the ground. The library was gone, only the farthest wall remained standing. He stood in the center of the crater that had once been his desk.
“Thank you, Paige.”
Silence greeted him, but he could see the image of her shaking her head stretching itself into his mind.
The sound of engines reached his ears, but he would be gone before they reached the library. They were either cops or enemies and either way he didn’t have time to deal with them.
King was out there, and Allspades wanted answers.
He could feel the light, boiling beneath his skin at the thought of finding King. He pressed it just a little, and1 felt it flaring out of his fingertips uselessly.
The light was willing to help him, but if King had really bumped his powers up as much as it seemed, then he wouldn’t be able to go against him alone.
Allspades had no way of knowing who would be awake and who wouldn’t, but if he’d been the only one awake then he would have defaulted to the best defended place in town.
With a the power still simmering beneath his skin, Allspades knew he could reach anywhere in the city in just a few short hops. WHatever army king had brought with him had no hope of stopping his assault.
“I’m coming for you, King.”
Allspades prepared to leap, and the power vanished.