Chapter Twenty-Seven: School’s Out

Miguel, Rosemary, Simon and Miranda fought their way past the last of the guards; reaching the sick bay at the end of the corridor. They entered cautiously, but there was no one there.
‘Jason? Are you there?’
As Miguel and Rosemary made their way towards the heavy metal door at the back of the room, Miranda paused. Something didn’t seem quite right about the situation.
With a scream, Nurse Ellis leapt at Miranda and knocked her to the floor with a powerful kick.
‘Go, I can handle her!’ The immortal shouted, pulling herself quickly to her feet. Rosemary, Simon and Miguel ran off down the hall towards the Director’s inner sanctum while Miranda and Nurse Ellis engaged in a furious hand-to-hand melee. Ellis delivered a crippling blow to Miranda’s face, knocking her back into the medical table.
‘You played right into our hands you silly girl.’
Miranda feigned weakness before she elbowed the Nurse hard in the stomach, hissing like a wildcat.
‘Girl? I think I’m more than a few years older than you, harlot.’
Miranda wiped the blood from her face and prepared for the Nurse’s next attack. At times like this, she wished she had been granted Alexander’s sorcerous talents as well as his immortality.
‘Oh I know all about you. Miranda Warwick, the young woman swept off her feet by an immortal sorcerer, like something from an old romance novel.’ She snickered, an action that was both childish and malicious, picking up a scalpel in her right hand. Slashing wildly at Miranda, she drove the immortal back towards the pool.
‘Or perhaps immortal is the wrong word to use?’
Miranda did not reply, she merely dodged Ellis’ clumsy stab and hit her hard in the face with her palm, sending the evil woman sprawling backwards, causing her head to collide with the table, knocking her unconscious.

After running tirelessly down the hallways, the trio finally reached the red door to the Director’s office, and stood outside, breathing heavily.
‘Rosemary, go with Simon and find the rest of the captives. I’ll handle this.’
Simon nodded and headed off down the hallway, but Rosemary hesitated.
‘Come back to me in one piece, understand.’ she said simply, kissing him softly on the cheek.
‘You’d kill me if I didn’t.’ he laughed. Rosemary followed Simon down the hall, not noticing that her husbands eye remained fixed on her until she disappeared around the corner and out of sight.

Drawing his sword and taking a deep breath, Miguel kicked down the door to the Director’s office. The Director stood behind his desk, his back turned to Miguel. Jason and Bianca sat prone in two chairs next to him, unresponsive.
‘Put your hands in the air Doctor.’
‘I was wondering when you would put in an appearance.’
‘You’ve lost, human.’
The man turned slowly and removed his glasses, revealing deep obsidian black eyes that flashed with malicious intensity.
‘I think not Miguel. I think not.’

Sprinting through the hallways, Dr. Alan Mutor, better known as Cornelius, tried to keep calm. He had felt no guilt in betraying his master over the life of Jason Fortuno, William Griffon had not been his friend for many years. When he defied the Conclave and declared war, the necromancer offered Cornelius his freedom, but the raven had refused. He had stuck by his master through thick and thin, they kept each other going through the difficult times. Even when Griffon had faked his death to escape the sorcerers, Cornelius had accepted the pain and followed his master. He tried not to feel pity when Fortuno was to be killed, but grew distant from the cruelty of his master, and when he died, Cornelius felt at peace. But William Griffon was not the kind of man who would stay dead. As his methods grew crueller, and his madness became more evident, Cornelius began to feel disdain for his master. He just wanted it all to end.
Breathing heavily, Cornelius turned into the canteen, where only the head of security and three guards remained.
‘Maurice, the Director wants you at the front of the troops.’
Maurice raised a sceptical eyebrow. Amos, his owl familiar, blinked at the doctor, who did not react.
‘I shall remain here with the children.’
Maurice scowled, but he strode out of the canteen nonetheless. He paused for a moment, before remarking.
‘If anything happens… it’s your head on the plate, not mine.’
‘Of course.’
Maurice left the room with haste, and Cornelius breathed a sigh of relief.
‘All students are to follow me through to the rear exit of the Facility.’

‘You just won’t stay dead will you?’
Griffon gave a brief, mirthless chuckle.
‘I tried. But it seems someone thinks it is not my time.’ From his sleeve, the man drew out a dagger, the same one he had used to slit Fortuno’s throat.
Miguel thrust his sword at the man, who sidestepped and brought his knife down on the sorcerer’s arm, pinning him to the table. Miguel grimaced and attempted to remove the blade, but it was stuck fast. Griffon continued speaking as if nothing had happened.
‘I wandered, shapeless, for so many years. I could not reconstruct my physical form, so I was forced to take refuge in this fragile human body… a doctor of some repute apparently, but there’s nothing left of him now. I thought that with a body I would return to the way I was, but I was wrong. Only the power of a true sorcerer could rebuild who I once was… and here you are.’
‘These children… they’re all of sorcerous blood, why were they not sufficient?’ Miguel grunted, exerting all his willpower into freeing himself.
‘Not strong enough… most of them come from mixed blood. I need a pure source, and one untainted by necromancy. I took the children to form my new army, and in the hope that one day, some foolish sorcerer would play into my hands and search for them.’ Griffon smirked. ‘I never imagined it would be you.’
Miguel scowled at him and glared from beneath hooded eyes, his usually melodic, pleasant voice a harsh, rasping whisper.
‘You’ll never be able to succeed. For all your grand speeches, all you really are is a misguided idealist with a cold, vicious streak… who’ll murder anyone who stands in his way as simply as a another man might swat away a fly.’
‘I’m not the only one with such a streak Mr. Carrera, as both of us know.’ The Director, Griffon, remarked enigmatically. Miguel ignored him.
‘A new world can’t survive on the power of ideas alone…and soon, you’ll face an enemy too big for even you to take down.’
‘A most astute observation. Which is precisely why I need you.’
Grinning like a madman, he placed both hands on Miguel’s rapier-staff, unleashing a blast of energy which exploded outwards, bending shape and light as it sought its targets.

Every sorcerer and necromancer in the Facility fell to their knees as the heat of the white beams touched their skin. Their life energies shot through the air faster than the speed of light. The human staff and guards averted their gaze in terror, unable to bear the glow’s intensity.

The Director yelled in agony and ecstasy as the energies of the students began to course through his entire body, making it glow with a terrible light. The man’s body, now an enormous conduit for the immense power, started to flake, as though burnt by an intense heat. With a final, victorious yell, his body exploded in a burst of white light, which shot up and out of the office, reducing it to rubble. The walls of the facility soon followed, disintegrating into dust.

Miranda was the first to uncover her face. All of the young students were lying prone on the ground, only Miguel and Simon Liberthine had managed to stand the force of the blast. Turning with dread towards the ruins of the Director’s office, Miranda witnessed a chilling sight. From the Director’s shattered form, the shape of another man arose, a man whose face made Miranda’s blood run cold.
‘Hello my dear.’