“I don’t understand, I thought reapers were a positive force?” Kali backed away apprehensively.
“They can be. It’s just a matter of which ones arrive.”
Unlike before, the change was willing. A shroud of green mist obscured Kyrik, allowing the change to go without witness. Kyrik never felt anything whenever it happened. One minute, he was flesh and scale. The next, a long serpentine creature made of bone. At least here, no one could see his flesh melt away and bone protrude through the soupy meat as it vanished into the mist.
Raw power flowed through Kyrik’s bones as the mist balled itself inside his sternum. Glowing green eyes stared like a candle in the dark. Kyrik’s claws warped into long, scythe-like appendages, the fingers melded with the blade. Around him, a black shroud bound by chains billowed ominously.
“Kali,” Kyrik’s voice turned raspy and aggressive, spooking the already wide-eyed dragon. “Do you see underneath the phantom?”
Previously unnoticed in his panic, Kyrik detected a small phylactery underneath the phantom. Not unlike a lich – or Kyrik’s own SoulSaver – it server as a source of power. If destroyed, the phantom would be too.
“Yes.” Kali’s voice wavered.
“Don’t be afraid.” Kyrik tried to reassure her. “I’m going to attack, and when I do, you need to smash it. It’s weak, and a strong elemental blast should break it.”
When she nodded, Kyrik balled his reaper energy at the tip of his maw. Bigger and bigger it became with each passing second. The phantom watched, daring Kyrik to unleash the attack he charged.
FWOOSH! A beam of white-silver erupted from the ball, lancing toward the phantom with a high-pitched whine. Death Beam, Kyrik called it, as it was made of death magic. A stronger version of his Necrobolt, it would decay flesh and scale, if not outright kill someone unprotected. To top it off, it was one of the first things Kyrik learned, coming as easy as breathing.
To have access to such an ability so easily, it was one of the reasons why Kyrik never liked transforming. One accidental misfire, one mistake, and someone would die. He’d have broken his promises; used his power to cause harm.
But against a phantom, an aberration that was keeping Kyrik from Methir, there wasn’t problem.
It smashed into the Phantom, flinging it away from its phylactery. Kyrik chased after it as the scythe it held rocketed toward Kyrik; a gust of wind flung it away. In this form, Kyrik’s latent abilities doubled, leaving little doubt of his ability to take on the phantom.
Back and forth the two dueled, the reaper magic infused into the phantom’s being keeping Kyrik at bay but not enough to reach Kali. Each swipe of its scythe struck toward Kyrik’s soul, only to be repelled by a ward or dodged.
However, Kyrik didn’t anticipate it to fire a death beam of its own. It launched toward the church; was it going to destroy itself to take out Kali? CRACK! It split the tower, sending it crashing below. Anxiety jumped through Kyrik like electricity until he saw a black shape flying away from the destruction.
“Did you destroy it!?” Kyrik shouted.
“I dropped it and it broke!” Kali replied through the mist. “Does that work!?”
No need to hold back anymore. If he’d destroyed it before, it’d only reform where Kali was, and it may get the jump on her. With its respawn point destroyed, well…
Working in harmony with the reaper side, Kyrik spread his arms wide, pale light emanating from the tips of the scythes. At the phantom’s location, tiny swirling portals opened up underneath and above, following its every move. As it lunged toward Kyrik, a pillar of light erupted from both sides and consuming the phantom.
The blow was fatal, the scythe dropping from its palm and fading into the ether alongside its owner. Kyrik watched with satisfaction and growing concern, knowing that while this fight was easy, what it signaled was far from good.
“May as well remain in this state.” Kyrik used the winds to hold the bone before him, feeling it tug to the west. “I want to end this as soon as possible, and right now my split personality isn’t trying to take over.”
“I see.” Kali flew up beside him. “Where now?”
“You aren’t bothered by this form?” Kyrik shifted an eye to her.
“You are still yourself, and right now we have bigger concerns.”
Kyrik couldn’t show it, but he was shaken – in a good way – by her words. Someone who was still a stranger to him accepted his transformed state, even if it took this to do so. In truth, he didn’t know what to do with her acceptance. He was so devoid of positivity with it that it felt as alien as Kali. Jirmen and in a much lesser extent, Methir, always showed hesitation.
This was the first someone willingly trusted him.
“You’re right.” Kyrik forced out to prevent a silence. “We need to find the next phantom. Hopefully Azulia caught onto this, too.”
“I do not think that is a concern.”
“True. Let’s go.”