There were psychic… there were psychicsprites in the city.
He’d only found them because he’d followedSally. If he’d remained at the pub….
There was no time to think. One sliced inclose.
They were quicker somehow. Devastatinglyso. The sprite brushed past his face with a punch. His mind almost stopped. Hedidn’t think he’d ever felt a more debilitating force.
He’d fought plenty of psychic soldiersbefore, and every situation had been bad, but… he’d lose now, wouldn’t he? Loselong before the Academy forces got here.
He had to….
One went to grab his face, then itflickered slightly. Some kind of force rushed through it.
In a wave of sparks, it lost its edge. Itwas like its power was cut by half
It disrupted Joseph for a moment, and thesprite grabbed him. It tried to draw on his psychological traumas, but it didn’tbring up Master Deus.
He saw the Queen running through thecorridor again. Saw his hands reaching out to her, heard his cracked throatcrying her name.
It didn’t last. He brought his knee up,screamed, and kicked the sprite out of the way.
It went flying.
Joseph couldn’t directly fight sprites. Heneeded to find the psychic generator creating them.
He got the feeling it had to be close. Sohe ported. As he did, he put his cloak back on.
He appeared on the rooftops.
He surveilled them. Nothing. He saw shipsstarting to take off from the Academy grounds, though.
Forest would be sending her strongestforces to help. He’d need to end this before they got here.
Where the hell could the generators be?Joseph had a chance to think that, then the ground shuddered.
It brought his attention to a specificbuilding. It was low and about 100 meters away.
He couldn’t deny the sense that gathered inhis mind as he ported toward it. He arrived near a wall, and he pushed rightthrough. Right there was the psychic generator. It was guarded by 10 sprites.They were massive, and they pulsed orange. He could tell they were strong –twice as strong as the sprites outside – but still nowhere near as powerful asthey’d been before that strange fluctuation had crossed through everything.
Joseph let out a scream. He twisted around,opening his hand and sending out continuous blasts of subspace energy. Hecouldn’t reach the psychic generator yet. It was shielded.
One of the sprites came at him. The guyslashed close to Joseph’s face, and he reached out a hand as he attempted tograb Joseph’s neck.
But Joseph kicked the hand out of the way,flipped in the air, then transported behind the guy. He slashed down with hisblade for what good that would do.
… Sorry, for what good that would do?
Out of nowhere, sparks flew. His subspacefield actually interacted with the sprite.
There was no way it should do that. But itstill worked.
The sprite was thrust back. He powered intothe wall, shook, then turned. He didn’t have a head like an ordinary person.Psychic sprites could resemble whatever you wanted them to. But they weren’tconstrained by muscles and tendons. So this guy spun his head around as if itwas nothing more than a flag in a gale. He screamed and came at Joseph again.
Joseph wasted too much time floating there,staring at his sword, trying desperately to understand what happened, but atthe last moment, he screamed and ported again.
He was keeping a continuous connection withForest. She’d know what was going on here.
She’d know… that out of nowhere, for noreason at all, Joseph could suddenly interact directly with sprites.
The only other people who could do thatwere actual psychics. And trust him, Joseph was not one of those.
With another roar, he transported right tothe top of the ceiling.
There was more than one way to fight thisgenerator.
He suddenly embedded his blade into thestone ceiling, then dragged a chunk down. He caught it, spun around, and threwit at the shields. They spluttered.
Another one of those sprites came at him.He didn’t hold back this time. Usually when he fought sprites, it wasterrifying. Now he twisted his blade around and caught the guy right under hischin, an actual smile spreading Joseph’s lips.
Sparks erupted everywhere. He ported again,reached the ceiling, and got off an opportunistic shot. He opened his hand wideand sent a rippling blast of subspace particles into the shield. It began tobuckle. A few more attacks, and it would be done.
Joseph was beset by three of the sprites atonce.
He slashed wildly. He opened his hand andcreated another subspace blade. He came at them like a flurry.
One of them screamed and jolted in close,but Joseph brought both his blades down across the creature’s chest – and itdisappeared. It fluctuated then exploded. But the damage wasn’t contained withthe sprite’s destruction.
The generator’s energy suddenly dimmed. Itwas clearly connected to the sprites – it didn’t just create them. If hedestroyed enough of them, he’d destroy the generator.
With a new plan, he went on the attack.
He shot toward the ceiling again, flyingwith ease. Then he twisted around, planted his feet against it, and shoveddown. He twisted his blade in a great arc, slashing through two psychic spritesat once. Both of them exploded. The generator energy dimmed yet again. Threedown, seven to go.
Joseph opened his hands as wide as theywould go and switched his attack. He sent continuous blasts of subspace energypulsing into them. He would’ve looked like some kind of manic robot. He would’vehad the expression to match. Because this… this was crazy.
Joseph was fighting psychic sprites.Actually fighting them and winning.
What the heck had happened to him?
He took down two more. That left three.
They amassed around the generator, clearlyattempting to protect it in their final act. It wouldn’t count for anything.
With another earsplitting scream, Joseph openedhis hands wide, and he sent subspace charges rippling out in every direction.It caught the five remaining sprites, lifted them high, and smashed them intothe shields. Everything buckled.
The generator was revealed. It started towhir up and down as if it was about to explode, but Joseph would give it ahand.
He ported right above it, formed onemassive crackling sword in both hands, and stabbed it down. It exploded allaround him. Force ruptured the walls, blasting them out. It did nothing to him.It didn’t even move a hair on his head.
When the act was done, he floated down intothe crater he’d created.
He… he’d done it.
He stared at his hands.
Joseph had somehow acquired a new skill.
It made no sense.
He knew he had to wait for Forest. Therewas something far more important.
He shot out of the wall beside him.
He floated up.
He had to get to Sally. She’d be safe,right?
Everything the E Club thought they knewabout Sally would suggest that she would’ve run, and she would never havelooked back. Instead, she was only one laneway away.
She stood there nervously, craning her neckback in his direction.
At one point… it almost looked as if shestared right up at him. Not that she could know where he was.
He smiled. The move came from somewhere.Someplace he couldn’t understand and someplace he couldn’t stop.
He snapped a salute. Then he ported backdown to the scene of the crime.
Psychic sprites had appeared on Earth, andhe would have to find out why.