Rhaelgyr continued to boost me with his own energy, taking some of the strain off me. I drew a deep breath, vision returning.
Everything was a mess. The sky was covered in storms, heavy and pendulous, laced with purple lightning. Winds shrieked with inhuman voices. The ground heaved and pulsed with unholy life.
Steven stood amongst his beasts, weary and bleeding. He stared through the gap, wisps of Between and torn walls coming between us. "How's it?" he asked in a cheerful voice. He still didn't realize there was any danger.
I panted, slumping in the dragon paw. "Bad. The dimension's about to collapse. It's going to take your whole planet with it." I was impressed at my ability to form complete sentences.
Steven's elation fell, and he frowned sharply. "Really?"
~She's not lying,~ Rhaelgyr filled in when I couldn't speak. The earth shook, tremors rattling my soul. ~She's trying to save everyone else.~
The Chaos Lord stepped toward the cracks, coming against the stasis wall. "I can't get out."
I knew he couldn't get out. The stasis shields I was upholding were too strong, too restrictive. Letting them go would spell doom for this planet. Maybe even the entire solar system.
Unless I repaired the walls, Steven had to stay locked away to save everyone else.
My silence told him everything. His power rose, mirroring my shields, forming a bubble within a bubble. "Let go. Get out of there."
"No," I said, voice cracking in disbelief. "I can fix this, and you can leave then. Just hold on."
He shook his head. "You can't feel it from my side. It's done, Morgan." The Chaos Lord chuckled, hanging his head. "I've condemned everyone."
"No you haven't." I struggled in Rhaelgyr's claw, trying to get closer. The dragon wouldn't release me, and I whined with effort. "We'll fix it. We'll make it better."
Steven sighed, leaning against our shields. I felt his hands on my face, got a wave of his sorrow, and I started crying. "I wish that were true, babe. But you know it's not."
I sobbed and screamed, shields faltering as my focus faded. The ground shook, the air rumbled, and electricity crackled all around us. Rhaelgyr drew his wings closer, sheltering us as scalding rain fell. "No, the wall can be put back."
"No, they can't." I couldn't recall Steven ever being this solemn.
"Besedie did it. He made that realm." Rhaelgyr didn't let me go, even clamped down to keep me in place. "We can do it too."
"There isn't time." Rocks rose, circling the cracks. A vortex of power gathered around the damaged walls, hungry for destruction. "I can't fix it, but I can close it."
"No!" I denied his actions, denied his judgment. It could be fixed, and Steven wouldn't have to sacrifice himself.
Because I wasn't ready to lose a friend for a planet of humans.
"Rhaelgyr, get her out of here."
The dragon rumbled, spreading his wings. I shrieked, trying to break free as he carried me away. I couldn't drop my shields to teleport away. All I could do was watch as Rhaelgyr bore me off.
Steven smiled, holding my gaze as he shrank. "I love you." Then he was out of sight.