Kalesta Ariadne stood her ground, staring what she supposed might be her death in the face. It did not frighten her. She had come knowing what she had to do, and she was going to do it, regardless of the price.
Gana Lyriest, on the other hand, found this plan far less impressive. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” they asked.
Kalesta looked her companion in the eyes, her expression unreadable. “Confident,” she answered.
Gana remained dubious. “This plan is terrible.”
Kalesta nodded. “Yes. It is, however, the only plan that could possibly be had.”
“Are you certain?”
“Yes, I already said that,” Kalesta snapped. “Now come quickly. We haven’t got long.” She turned away from the cliff she had been staring dramatically over and started in the opposite direction. Gana followed, but hesitantly.
Meanwhile, Art Farian stood at the edge of a cliff that was similar, but not quite the same. At the exact same moment as Kalesta turned and started heading towards the Core, Art too turned, but he walked instead towards the menacing fortress that hung precariously on a narrow ledge. It was the sort of fortress that a villain would live in, which was very convenient, since Art was in fact a villain. He was going to end the world, and he was proud of it.
He didn’t know why he was going to end the world, but it seemed like the thing to do. He had set his trap, and when those dumb heroes finally reached the Core, when it was at its weakest point, he would take that moment to strike at it would explode or something else dramatic, and his fortress would fold into submarine form and go off to the Farlands while the entire population of the Centerlands would die horrid, fiery deaths.
That was nice. Art smiled to himself. He liked fiery deaths. And after the entire population of the Centerlands was dead, he would go take over the Farlands and they would not be there to stop him. And perhaps, eventually, he would take over the Fragments too.
But probably not. Anyways, he had work to do. The heroes were nearing the Core, and it would only have a moment of vulnerability.
“Finally,” Kalesta whispered. She and Gana stood in front of the blazing Core, and she had put together the last pieces of the puzzle.
Kalesta prepared to win. Gana prepared to run.
Kalesta inhaled sharply and threw herself into the fiery mass of the Core. Gana raised one hand and teleported out of the now shaking halls of the cave. When they reappeared they were standing high on the highest mountain in East Orlery, watching the world unfold, or perhaps refold.
It did not go to plan. It did not go to Art’s plan either, though. Gana dropped to one knee, focusing all the energy they had on halting the oncoming explosion. And it worked. Somewhat. It stopped the destruction, but it also stopped everything they had worked for.
"Fuck," they muttered. Then everything went black.
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