Lucy looked towards her left. Three of her vampires were fighting three of The Scarlet Lord’s. The first wave of her ghouls had fallen to the gunfire of his mortal followers and The Scarlet Lord was cutting down the ghouls to her right despite their overwhelming numbers. Bullets struck her as well, but she ignored the ineffective stings since none of them were loaded with silver. The Scarlet Lord’s prohibition against his followers being armed with weapons that could be turned against him was now costing him and despite his orders, a few of his followers, including Omari who she saw standing behind him, were clearly angered enough with her to disobey him.
For a moment, she stood still, taking in the battle around her. She had not wanted to fight her own subjects, or to see them killed by those in rebellion. Then she struck with the speed of lightning, her sword cutting down The Scarlet Lord’s followers rapidly. She was nearly within sword’s thrust of Nyarlathotep when, from the corner of her eyes, she saw three of his followers at the outer edge make a break for the door of the building that Nellie and Dr. Paine had entered moments earlier. With a graceful leap, she jumped over the street and landed at the bottom of the steps and beheaded the nearest just as the first one entered. He collapsed from gunfire within and the next one in the doorway was preparing to fire as she ran him through with her sword’s point.
Lucy looked inside and saw Dr. Paine leaning over Nellie on the floor. “You two alright?” she asked. The Doctor nodded and Lucy ordered the three nearest ghouls to protect him and Nellie.
The Scarlet Lord finished off the last of the ghouls to her right and he sprang upwards to hunt for Beau. Lucy jumped as well, her wings tight against her back so that she flew bullet-like at him.
The move caught him by surprise and he barely raised his daggers in time to parry her sword’s thrust before she crashed into him. Their momentum carried them up beyond the roofs of the surrounding buildings. With their limbs entwined, Lucy sank her fangs deep into The Scarlet Lord’s throat and he bit into her right shoulder just as an explosion rocked the street beneath them, hurling debris of rock and bricks as well as the ghoul’s bone and body fragments. The biting was vicious as each sought to kill the other. The Scarlet Lord had dropped the dagger in his left hand to grab her sword arm. They began to fall and Lucy spread her wings wide to slow their descent while she wrapped her legs around him to prevent his escape. The Scarlet Lord transformed into his non-corporeal mist-like form and broke her hold. She cursed as he flew away from her. She kept close behind him until he reached the roof top and solidified. His left hand reached for a sheathed dagger in his belt and she immediately recognized it. The blade was her late husband’s and The Scarlet Lord had stolen it from her coffin after she was taken prisoner. Lucy’s eyes flashed red. She stabbed at him and he ducked. They fought with a dazzling speed. Both had inflicted numerous wounds on the other. He drew back briefly. He had swung a blow that had sliced her from her right ear to her left jaw line, leaving a purple trail of her blood flowing though the wound healed quickly. However, only her blinding fast reflexes had saved her from a decapitating strike that he had swung because he had become caught up in the ferocity of the fight.
“You cannot beat me,” he said as he licked the blade clean of her blood. “I was always the better fighter. I will wear you down and you will be our prisoner again.”
“You’ll have to kill me first,” she said. “Kill me and I win because that thwarts Nyarlathotep’s plan. If I kill you, I win because you’re a disloyal bastard. Either way, I win.”
Suddenly the building shook. Screams of humans and ghouls came from the street below. Lucy took her eyes off The Scarlet Lord momentarily to look down.
Below her, in front of Nyarlathotep, an alien being appeared with a massive height of 30 feet and multiple tentacles were swaying like the branches of a bare tree in a wind. A tentacle reached out and hurled a ghoul upward and then another while other tentacles tore out chunks of brick from The Scarlet Lord’s temple and hurled them at the creatures below him and towards Beau on the rooftop about a half of a block away. The being began to move towards him with strides that shook the buildings.
“Good Lord!” Lucy shouted to Seth. “A Dark Young of Shub-Niggarath!”
At the same time Nyarlathotep also began his transformation from a mortal shape to The Crawling Chaos. On the street, one of the vampires, Edwin, who had crossed over to Lucy’s side, rushed the Dark Young and was caught instantly by several tentacles. The tentacles ripped his head off from the body and dropped both to the ground. The steady pace of gunfire from Dr. Paine and Nellie and Seth had stopped and she heard a strange buzzing in the distance. Lucy stood paralyzed at the site of Nyarlathotep’s true form climbing up the wall towards her while the Dark Young neared Beau. Already the first of the Dark Young’s tentacles were stretching over the roof towards Beau. Grace’s fire sword moved with a blurring speed to keep up with the tentacles reaching for Beau who still performed the banishment ritual.
Lucy leaned over the edge of the roof, paralyzed by the sight of Nyarlathotep’s true form. Then she saw from the corner of her eye a biplane banking in the night air and she recognized the sound she had heard earlier. The twin machineguns opened up and strafed the Dark Young. As the biplane pulled up, a parachute flare was thrown out to better illuminate the pilot’s target. Lucy recognized Wade behind the flying goggles. Wade banked and began another turn.
“Your Majesty!” Rhiannon shouted a warning. The Scarlet Lord rushed across the rooftops towards Beau and Lucy raced to intercept him. With Grace’s attention on the tentacles and Lucy too far away, it appeared as if The Scarlet Lord would reach Beau before he could be stopped.
Rhiannon, however, had also moved to intercept him. Lucy saw the young vampire lunge at The Scarlet Lord, who stopped to dodge her blow and then swung the blades. Lucy saw Rhiannon’s head cut from her neck. The young vampire had not had a chance against an elder vampire like The Scarlet Lord, Lucy thought. But Rhiannon’s attack had slowed The Scarlet Lord enough that he was forced to turn to defend himself from Lucy’s attack. They battled back and forth while behind them The Crawling Chaos reached the rooftop and the flames spit from the ends of the biplane’s twin machine guns in the eerie red light of the slowly descending flare.
The biplane pulled up again from the strafing run, but this time a tentacle stretched upwards and caught the cables between the two wings. As the mortally wounded Dark Young fell, it dragged its killer to the ground with it. Wade saw as if in slow motion the right wings ripped from the plane and felt the aircraft suddenly slide sideways in the air. The plane landed with a sickening thud and slid down the street before overturning, leaving a trail of flames from the ruptured fuel tank in its path.
No more help would come, Lucy thought, not that bullets would save them from The Crawling Chaos.
With a demonic fury, Lucy parried The Scarlet Lord’s blow and grappled him, knocking him to the pavement. She would kill him at least to avenge her subjects and then she would destroy herself before Nyarlathotep reached her.
Lucy pulled his wrist to him and bit deep and with all of her force. He screamed as her fangs snapped his hand off and as it fell, still clutching her husband’s dagger, she caught it by the bloody stump and swung the blade through his neck. His purple blood sprayed over her and his head twisted at an impossible angle as the blow had not quite severed it. His eyes had turned towards Nyarlathotep who pulled himself along on his giant tentacles just as a portal opened beneath him.
With a whistling like a gale-force wind, the portal grew wider. Nyarlathotep’s grabbed the corners of the building in a desperate attempt to hold on, but the magic of the banishment ritual dragged him through and he was gone.
The last thing The Scarlet Lord’s eyes saw before Lucy finished severing his head was the banishment of Nyarlathotep. His one hand reached up as if to touch her one last time. She took a wooden stake he had dropped, smacked his hand away and drove the stake through his heart, ending his undead existence.
Lucy rose. Either from the structural damage or The Scarlet Lord’s passing, she could feel the temple building tremble as it began to collapse. Lucy looked around for Seth and saw he was near Beau further down the street. She pulled the sheath off The Scarlet Lord’s belt, raced to Rhiannon’s body, and took to the air just as the building and the pyramid within collapsed into rubble. She landed on the rooftop with Beau, Grace and Seth. She lowered Rhiannon’s decapitated body and pushed the wooden stake through the vampire’s heart to give her a final release. Then Lucy turned and rushed to Beau’s arms. Blood flowed from cuts to his forehead and cheeks from shards of the bricks the Dark Young had hurled, but Grace and Seth had kept him safe.
Continue to Chapter 33.