His eyes were black as night. There were no hints of his hazel eyes with the outer orange irises. From his movements, down to his voice, Maria could tell they were not his own. Looking below, each of the workers stopped and stared towards Hobbs patiently awaiting their next move. Maria tried not to let her knees clasp. Blythe reached to pull out her swords.
“Don’t.” Maria slid her hands over Blythe’s to stop her from charging. “He’s been injected,” She practically cried.
They’ve found a way for it to work on demigods. Maria gulped.
His voice projected further. “I do quite appreciate the sacrifices you’ve brought to me,” A slow smile stretched his possessed face.
Just behind him Ezra sat bound, and gagged. Fear rang through his eyes. She could feel protection splash over her. If he thought she was leaving him, he was out of his mind. Maria glanced at the surrounding areas. They were trapped on the small balcony. On the ground below stood creatures of all sorts waiting for them to move ahead with an attack.
“Yes, I found a use for the worthless mortals. Wonderful isn’t it?” His voice boomed through the room.
Maria turned towards Blythe. “How many of those things do you think you can hold off?”
“The whole lot I suppose.” A wicked smile spread across her face.
Maria had to return the grin. “You distract the henchmen, and I’ll go after them.” She pointed towards the balcony.
“Sounds like a plan to me. We’ll start on the count of ten,” confirmed Blythe.
“Maria, child, you interest me. You’ve managed to shut down two of my operation centers single handedly.” The possessed Hobbs turned his head to look at her. “Even my blade switched its alliance to you.”
“One,” Blythe said under her breath.
“Quite curious indeed, for a child who cannot figure out who her father is,” his words struck Maria like a blade.
“Two,” Blythe continued.
Anticipation filled her veins. The person behind the attack was the previous owner of her sword. A titan managed to create this much chaos. Whose sword is this? She asked herself. Clearly he was trying to get her distracted, upset even. Did she pose that much of a threat to the titan?
“Would your father be proud of this person you’ve become? Or will he be mortified his daughter took to a life of death and murder? Not so different from us titans are you? ” A cynical grin spread across his face. “You could join us you know? I will always have a spot in my troops for a cold blooded killer.”
Rage burned through her. Without thinking she lunged down the steps to get to Hobbs. Not even feeling her blade, she slashed through the creatures in front of her. There had to be at least fifty monsters between Hobbs, Ezra, and her.
Within a split second she found Blythe at her side. The grace she had while fighting was, breath taking. It was like watching an award winning dance performance. Maria sneaked a look as she smashed the skulls of the gorgon like creatures progressing on her. Gorgon’s were as tall as a grown man, but had the strength of a demigod. Their hair was made of snakes and their face to ugly to look at. Most of the time they weren’t the smartest, but these gorgon’s were created, so she wasn’t sure how they would react. Their dull brown skin and misshapen facial features made them a sight for sore eyes. Their bottom jaw sat two inches out from the face, displaying large teeth dripping with drool. Maria cringed at the thought that these used to be beautiful women.
Maria watched as one charged at her, stepping to the side at the last possible second she sliced the head from its body. Two others attacked at the same time, a club hit her in the back. Not taking the time to let the pain seep in she moved in quickly, avoiding the attacks from the other gorgon’s clubs. One gorgon took a dagger to the throat; another took the blade of her sword. With the gash from her blades, the snakes on top their head stop hissing.
The last one got up to charge her. Maria took the whip from her belt and swung it high, and hard. Allowing the creature to get the full lash, it staggered backwards upon contact. She wound the whip again and let it hold a tight grip on the gorgon’s neck. She tugged hard, and watched as its face turned from a muted brown to a bright purple. After a moment, it lay breathless on the floor.
Blythe had a pile of bodies stacked around her. The girl was quicker than a flash. At times, Maria could have sworn she split off into three versions of herself to battle all those around her. Maria tossed the whip towards Blythe who caught it, and laughed at her challengers. Scathe in one hand, and whip in the other, Maria pitied the monsters that got in Blythe’s way.
Continuing towards the balcony, Maria pushed her way through the bodies. A giant serpent with four legs waltzed out to stop her. It had olive green, and dull yellow scales lining its body. The creature looked to be a mix of a dragon, and a snake. It eyes were definitely human, remains of mascara still settled on the eye lashes. It lunged towards her; and fire erupted from its lips. Doing a back flip to get out of the way, the creature roared an ear curdling sound. It lunged again. The teeth in its mouth were razor sharp, and looked as if it had several blades lining its gums.
It slashed at her again. Maria jumped to the side striking at its head as she moved. Where her sword hit, it left a dark charcoal spot. A cry was heard from the balcony above. This hybrid was big, but Maria was small, she would make it work to her advantage. She dashed through its legs and under its torso. Snapping towards her the creature followed with its long neck. As she ran to the other side of the room, she knocked a large machine onto the neck of the creature trapping it in its position. Fire flew rapidly, burning anything standing directly in front of it. Luckily for Maria, they were just more critters planning to attack her. She took the blade and struck the creatures neck. A loud cry of pain escaped from its mouth, as the charcoal stain spread around the spot of insertion.
“No more, take one more step and he gets it.” Hobbs angry voice rang through the room. A syringe of blue liquid held in his hand. Maria panicked for a moment. She would not let this titan harm Ezra too. More creatures progressed on her. She slowed her murderous breathing, and felt this tapping feeling boil. A sharp pain shot through the back of her leg. One of the wolves bit her.
The room blackened for a moment. Maria was furious with herself for dying, and leaving everyone else there to fend on their own. Tears of self-hatred dripped from her eyes. Ezra, Blythe, Hobbs, they needed her, and she let them down. Two warms hands felt like they were holding her. Blinking, a white light came towards her. The image of her diseased mother came into her mind. The long flowing chestnut hair came into view.
Maria my darling, you’ve done wonderful.
How? I’ve let everyone down.
No my sweet child, you have not.
I died, leaving Ezra, Blythe, and even Hobbs to a dreadful fate.
Just like that her vision came back. The wolf that bit her was the hellhound who she freed in the alley. It winked at her and fell back in the abyss of creatures. Hobbs had his back to her standing over Ezra. The syringe implanted firmly in the right side of his neck. Ezra’s body twitched as the serum made its way in. The small howl of pain set Maria into a murderous haze. A lethal wrath burned through her. Crying out loudly, the room stopped. Forcing her heavy breathing to steady itself, she stared at the possessed Hobbs with a now surprised look on his face. A pulling sensation overcame her body. With the rage she felt she pulled harder at the sensation.
Movement came from all around her. The half torn apart bodies twitched back to life. No not life exactly, undead was more like it. They piled in around her. Not knowing what to do, she raised her sword. They imitated her movement. Testing a theory, she spun around. What creatures could spin followed her lead. Excellent, she smiled. She forced her undead army to help Blythe with the living creatures still under the titan’s control.
The large serpent like animal opened its mouth to breath fire, and Maria shot a strand of frost into the opening. It choked back on the ice that was now firmly planted in the back of its throat. A large cry came from Hobbs.
He grabbed Ezra, and retreated into the long tunnel behind the balcony. Maria stared for a moment, and then turned towards Blythe.
“Go! I’ve got this,” She urged her on.
Maria moved with all of her might up the steps, and into the dark tunnel. Pain filled her every movement. She could feel herself drained from the use of her new powers. Still pushing forward she crept along the passage where the two had vanished too.
A circular room, with big bay windows was where the tunnel dead ended. It was still night time so she was hid by the darkness, so long as she stayed out of the moonlight. In the far corner she saw Hobbs giving commands to the newly injected Ezra. Not missing a beat, Ezra did all the tasks asked of him.
Hobbs stood still for a moment as if listening. Turning, he came to examine the room around him. As he neared Maria, she readied herself. She front kicked him launching the man backwards. Cursing, he jumped up and attacked her. Rolling on the ground he plunged a fist at her face, Maria bit back the pain, as she kneed his genitals.
His reaction was purely instinct. Grabbing his manhood while hunching over, momentarily he gave away his pain. Perhaps there is still some part of Hobbs left in there, she hoped. The titan must have realized the same thing as Hobbs no longer acted human. He stood up tall and walked stiffly towards her. Maria readied herself. Bamboo sticks in hand, she flung them about wildly. The possessed Hobbs had one of his inventions fly towards Maria. It looked to be a toy helicopter, until she saw the blades surrounding it. Lining up a stick she swatted the machine towards the wall.
This time Hobbs stood still, and stared for a moment with his pure black eyes. The shadows surrounding his eyes made the appearance complete. He looked as if he were straight out of a horror film. An evil grin appeared on his face as he twisted his head back. He threw a small blade that pierced her side. Biting back pain, Maria jumped to her feet.
“Ezra, my slave finish her,” He demanded.
Ezra slowly moved from his seated position. His chin was still touching his chest, and his body stiff. A large staff was grasped with his right hand. Maria was horrified. She would either have to defend herself, killing two people she let in to her world, while crushing her on the inside. Or, she would have to die at their hands, never releasing them from the titan’s grips. She bit back tears as Ezra drew closer. The toughest decisions were the ones that had the heaviest consequences. Drawing her thin black blade, she held it firmly in front of her waiting for the attack.
Ezra began to charge toward her. Before she could swing her sword, he dropped to the floor, kicking his foot into her ankles. She let her senses down. She was now going to die because she let the possessed Ezra get the better of her, and couldn’t strike him. A dagger flew to the right side of her head, missing by centimeters. Ezra looked hard into her eyes. They were still green with the pink iris. Winking, he bent down quickly placing his lips to hers, before the enchanted Hobbs could see.
“Is it done?” Hobbs called from the other side of the room.
Ezra shook his head towards Hobbs. Careful not to reveal his true nature, he stepped across the room to join him. Hobbs now had his back towards Maria working, on a computer screen. Muttering orders to faces that stared back at him.
“Marvelous work slave,“ he spoke to Ezra. “This is a new era as we know it. Without that impertinent little brat that my demigod host is attached to, we’ll be one step closer to releasing the titans. Cronus was right to choose me as commander. I single handedly created the idea for his army of misfits.”
A cough came over Hobbs. For a brief moment through the very tight crack of her eye lashes, she thought she saw a hint of orange around the outside of his iris. The coughing became violent.
“Iapetus,” Was spoken so soft, from the raspy scratchy voice of Hobbs, that Maria almost wasn’t sure she heard it. Dread filled her stomach. If this titan was Iapetus, the titan of mortal life, then they were all in big trouble. Zeus threw him into Tartarus for aiding Cronus, his brother, in battle. Maria feared for their future, Iapetus already had small controls over mortal lives, demigods included since they too would eventually meet death. With the serum, he would be unstoppable. She needed a plan.
It was a huge risk, but one she had to try. She grabbed the handle of the dagger, and slowly pulled it out of the floor beside her. Not even the smallest of sounds could be heard. Channeling all her energy, she put herself in action. Jumping onto her feet, she threw the dagger, while the movement of the jump forced strength into her throw. A shriek came from the other side of the room. Hobbs’ gave her a surprised look. Before he could move towards her, Ezra swung his long staff, knocking Hobbs off his feet.
The blue liquid slowly dripped out of Hobbs’ body, mixed with a stream of red blood. Ezra held him down, while Maria faced him. Pain broke through periodically from the titan’s mental hold.
“It’s weakening, their connection,” She told Ezra.
“Hobbs, I know you’re in there. Please come back Hobbs’, you’re the only family I have left,” Pleading to the strong man who she knew was in there, she saw he was fighting the titan’s hold in his mind.
“You buffoon. I’ll make sure every single person you love is massacred while you are stuck in Tartarus forced to watch with the rest of the useless gods.” Iapetus growled from Hobbs’ body.
Maria watched as his eyes flickered from light, to dark. Agony was ripped across his face. To restrain Hobbs while he was still under Iapetus’ control, they stabbed him with three more daggers, and clenched his hands together. Blood was flowing everywhere. Even if Hobbs was released from the titan, Maria wasn’t sure he’d live long enough to know it. He was losing a lot more blood then serum, at a fast rate.
Ezra sent waves of comfort to both Maria, and Hobbs. It was draining him by the moment. The floor creaked behind them, and Blythe dropped to her knees near Maria. The girl was covered in blood of every color. She saw little pieces of fur stuck to the whip.
That’s it, she thought. When she plunged her blade into the hellhound it released the toxin. Reaching behind her for the blade, she slowly pulled it down by the hilt. The sword again felt only like an extension of her body. Carving a wound into his stomach, she watched as more of the electric blue juice flowed from his abdomen. His body began to droop. The color in his eyes was returning. Iapetus swore, and then seemed to scatter. She watched as his chest slowly started rising. Cool frost left her fingers covering the wounds on his body.
Ezra and Maria each took an arm and hoisted him up. His limp body made it difficult to advance. The hustle from the room below was no longer filling their ears. Biting the sides of her mouth, Maria tried to ignore her own pain that her body now screamed at her. Blythe took the lead as they progressed, with weapons in hand. Several mutilated bodies lie motionless on the ground.
“So much wasted life,” Ezra said with hard eyes.
Maria nodded unable to speak the words. Her grandfather was now among Iapetus’ army. The creatures he still had living, no longer occupied the building. Aside from the four of them, everything else was dead. She kicked aside limbs making way to drag Hobbs. A green slime mixed with blood the filled the ground reeked of decay. Red, green, and blue, a different serum for the different species of test subjects, she noted.
Each step towards the exit felt like a year of her life. The nasty blond ringer leader vampire got away. No doubt to be with her master. Maria would kill them both, make it as slow, and painful as she possibly could. Maria, Ezra, and Blythe had cuts and bruises all over their bodies. Hobbs had depleted energy, which was very deadly for a demigod. For now, at least they were alive.
The three, with a limp Hobbs, grazed the level s of the building. It was completely empty. Iapetus must have been here, Maria growled to herself. All the cells doors were wide open. It looked as if the place had been abandoned for weeks. Even the wrath that had once been her grandfather was gone.
Cursing to themselves, they pushed forward towards the exit. Blythe sliced a few more lingering guards to shreds, and left a vampire tied to a street lamp to burn in the sun. Maria pulled up the Dodge Challenger, and pushed everyone in. Time to go home, she thought to herself.