Part 24

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PART TWENTY-FOUR:

Dream Into Action

IF AUGWAK'S EYES had gotten any bigger they would have fallen from his head.  He opened his mouth and all that came out was a tiny squeak.

Beside Charmian, Drake echoed this sentiment.  "Holy shit."

The white Ocryx responded by pushing herself off from the ground, soaring toward the stunned GeeBee.  A split second later her hand met his face, slamming across his cheek so hard his head spun.  He flew through the air from the force of the blow, crashing into the rock and sliding to the ground in a crumpled heap.  All he could do was let out a little puff of breath, blood streaming from his mouth.

There was barely time to take this all in before she had turned in midair, zooming upwards.  The other GeeBees hung at all angles, eyes gaping.  Only now did a few of them panic and try to escape.  The Ocryx's snake tail slammed into one, cracking his spine and sending him crashing to the ground facefirst and unable to move.  Claws raked across the face of another, gouging his eyes--he screeched and flung up his hands, vanishing immediately.  Most of the rest finally started disappearing into little gusts, but several more were not so lucky.  One made the mistake of trying to swing at the Ocryx, and missed; a second later her teeth had clamped on his neck and with a horrid shredding sound she had torn his throat open.  The GeeBee gurgled with surprise and collapsed, his body dissolving into dust.  Two more, too slow to escape, found themselves slammed into the treetops, cracking through the branches.  And one final GeeBee shrieked and started babbling incoherently, pleading for his life, before a horn through the chest finished his plea, and he was tossed through the air as easily as Mitchi Manitou had tossed X.  Once he hit the ground he too crumbled into dust.

There was the briefest silence before the white Ocryx whirled around to face Augwak again.  Her chest heaved and her nostrils flared; red lined her muzzle, the same color as her eyes which glowed like blood.  Her teeth showed and a guttural growl rose in her throat.

Augwak pushed himself up weakly, shaking and frightened.  He reached over to pick up the stick, lying beside him; at first Charmian thought he meant to run her through as well, but when the Ocryx started to approach he let out another squeak and turned, scrabbling at the rock, before vanishing.  A tiny gust of wind twirled through the air; the demon swept at it, breaking it apart, and Charmian could swear she heard the faintest "Ow!!" before it disappeared entirely.

Now that it was over Charmian had the chance to see everyone's expressions.  And everyone looked exactly the same as she felt.  X, Silver Eagle Feather, Old Mother Manitou, Drake, Pakwa stared goggle eyed at the bloodstained clearing.

"Charm..." Drake asked in a faint voice.  "What just happened?"

She didn't get to answer.  The white Ocryx glared around the clearing, searching for more GeeBees, before her gaze fell on Tal Natha.  Her eyes widened as if just noticing him.  She threw back her head with a gasp and started shrinking, the blue fiery glow surrounding her, until it faded away and she was once more Red Bird, falling to her hands and knees and panting weakly.  She stayed that way for a moment before lifting her head.  "Tal Natha," she whispered, then, louder, "Tal Natha!"  She pushed herself to her feet and stumbled toward him, collapsing beside him and lifting his head in her hands.  "Tal Natha!  Tal Natha!"

Charmian could finally feel her legs again.  "Down!  Down!" she said, holding up her arms; Pakwa picked her and Drake up and glided down into the clearing, setting them on the ground.  Charmian made sure her legs could hold her before running over to Red Bird and Tal Natha, kneeling beside them.

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