Chapter 104: King no More

The glow had returned, but Allspades didn’t care about that.

He could feel his bones resetting themselves from his fall, but Allspades didn’t care about that.

There was a building flying towards him, but Allspades didn’t care about that.

Allspades ran straight for King. The building wasn’t an obstacle. The glow stretched out in front of him and drove a tunnel through the steel and concrete.

There was a clarity in his anger. The trip through the building lasted seconds, but he learned enough about the glow in those moments to match the first few months he’d had his strength. He could feel the way the glow flexed and flowed around him, focusing the full force of his strength on just the right spots to craft his path.

King didn’t look surprised, but he had lost the smirk that never left his face. His face had been twisted into a perfectly stoic expression like a perfect sculpture of poured steel.

King slowly reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin. There was a twinge in Allspade’s left knee, where he still had the scar from one of their spars.

The glow could have matched the coin King had shot that day, it might be able to match a coin he could shoot today, but so far the glow had operated purely on instinct, and his gut was screaming at him to dodge.

There was a slight sparkle as from King’s hand. The glow pushed against the ground, throwing Allspades into the air. In the clarity of the glow, he caught a glimpse of the moment the coin hit the ground where his foot had just been. There was a brief flash of light, and the ground disappeared in a cloud of dust. A noise, something between the sound of crumbling rocks and the sound of grinding iron, slammed into Allspades.

Allspades landed, and nearly fell backwards into the bus long and minivan deep crater.

Under the cover of smoke, he felt the glow shrinking until it barely danced over his skin. He could still feel it pushing off with every one of his steps, letting him move twice as fast as he ever had before.

Another con shot past him, blowing the smoke away.

King was only a few feet away. He’d lost his shirt at some point since he drank the ambrosia, and Allspades could see the way his muscles still squirmed beneath his skin.

“You missed.”

King pulled a nail from his pocket and raised it towards him. “I am not yet used to my new strength, Mason.” If his face had turned to iron, then his voice was even worse. “But I haven’t missed a target I could see in quite some time.”

It had been three years ago, the last time they sparred before they were put on missions around the clock. Allspades had broken King’s shoulder that day, and he’d had the worm-like purple and pink scar ever since.

The scar was gone now. All of his scars were gone.

“You’re really gone, aren’t you? King died back in Confluence.”

“King? No, Mason. Your friend King died before we ever set foot in that disgusting city. King died the moment Plask asked how much his friends were worth to him, and I answered.”

“What?” The glow started retreating, and Allspades’ heart froze. He madly tried to keep it alive, and the struggle must have shown on his face.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Despite everything, a part of you always believed the lies they told us. You had to. It was the way you survived.”

The glow was fading even faster. Trump’s words kept breaking his concentration and Allspades couldn’t hold onto it.

“For what it’s worth. You three were the best part of those days.”

There was a glitter of light and the nail few from Trump’s hand.

And struck the glow exploding from Allspade’s body.

Allspades was beyond words. Once again, the only things that mattered were him and Trump. The glow stretched farther that it ever had. It reached for Trump.

But it wasn’t enough.

Trump spread his hands out and dozens of small pieces of metal shot out, ramming into the glow. Allspades felt each and every one of them and, against his will, the glow flinched back from them.

The glow reached out again and again, and each time it was beat back.

And then, there wasn’t any more metal flying towards him.

“I didn’t want od do this.” Trump raised both arms, and Allspades was flying back, into the building he had tunneled through before. The walls and floors came down around him. Burying him in rubble.

The glow was at work before the dust settled, pushing and breaking the debris until he shot out of the half destroyed building.

This time, he was flung into the sky, and there was nothing the glow could do to slow him down.

He was failing. The glow retreated into him, wrapping itself around his bones and vitals.

He landed in the branches of a tree.

The tree slowed his descent; it wasn’t by much, but it let him land on his feet. The glow handled the rest.

Burnout had already reached Trump. Trump was trying to push him, but with his new wings he as able to press against the attack.

Hawthorne landed next to him. The roots around her injured leg had grown thicker, and he could see them moving more than the ones on the other leg. “Thanks for keeping him distracted. He hasn’t gotten to too many buildings.”

The glow wrapped around him again. “It’ll be hard to get close.”

“We’ll manage.”

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