Logan aimed the bow directly at the demon lord’s heart. The thing hesitated, the twin beasts circling one another over the swirling fight beneath them. Any normal archer would have had difficulty keeping the bow level, let alone nocked. A wizard was another one entirely.
“Throw the bolt,” Logan cried, “and I promise you you’ll strike the ground before it does!”
Merah shook his head roughly. “Just skewer him.”
Then Korrok swung his dragon off their pitch and shot straight towards them.
In the flurry of scales, wings, and magic that surrounded both of them Logan lost his sighting and let the arrow fly.
At the same instant Korrok threw the bolt not at the tower but at Merah’s left wing.
But when the dragon had dived, he’d rolled that way, leaving Logan in place of where the target had been. The arrow shot Korrok’s bolt and detonated it only a few feet away from him.
“Col shun shimara,” Logan said as the arrow shot away. Another arrow appeared.
But no scales? No demon sword?
In the same instant Logan heard a crack like a lightning bolt had broken next to his ear. Blaze’s high-pitched scream drowned out the ringing in his ears and nearly shocked him into loosing the arrow into Merah’s back.
“What is it?” Merah cried. “What happened?” He was too busy concentrating on where he was going to look.
Logan saw a thin stream of black smoke twisting like a dried shoelace towards the ground. Logan squinted; he could see that a good slice of Blaze’s neck, upper back, and right wing were the source of teh smoke. The glitter he saw must have been fire, because it was too bright to be his scales. Logan wondered if even a fall of such height could kill Korrok, or Blaze. “Blaze caught fire! I don’t know how!” Logan yelled.
Logan’s eyes widened. Through the smoke and the fire, he saw only Korrok’s saddle.
He heard a hiss like a cottonmouthed snake and smelled sulfur. Logan swung around, then fell back against Merah’s spiny ridge as the copper-black blur dove towards him.
Logan’s shot passed Korrok’s left shoulder, then the bow broke under Korrok’s evil sword.
Barely enough. Logan screamed as Korrok’s black sword sliced through his armor as he passed. A fiery glow of red shone off the blade as the point barely nicked his skin.
“Are you all right? Logan!” Merah yelled.
“I’m here,” he gurgled, from deep inside his belly. Logan’s vision fogged, and he nearly passed out as Merah roared and climbed around to face the demon lord. *Magic in the blade. I’m barely cut, but it’s killing me.*
The demon lord sang an awful, dirgelike battle song but sang it gleefully.
“No human who’s faced me has ever had the privilege to know they were beaten,” he cried. “They died too quickly! Congratulate yourself, wizard!”
The poison was spreading. He didn’t have time. Logan shook his head. On reflex, his mind was focusing all the magic in his body to fight the accursed contagion that spread from the cut across his chest. He lost all sense of magic, but the disorientation cleared.
“Hang on.” Merah flapped once, twice, and tucked his wings. “I want to make a pass to keep him off balance.”
Logan did, wondering if, from here on, it would be better for both of them if he cut away his harness. Merah wouldn’t have to worry about bruising him, and at least by falling to death he could save his soul if not his life.
Logan hugged the dragon’s back and pressed his head against his shoulder. Merah understood and gyrated over as he barrelled toward the demon.
Logan coughed. “He nicked me, but the blade was enchanted. I can’t use my spells.” He drew the sword that the paladin had pointed to before she died.
The metal gleamed as he drew it, and then the sword vibrated in his hand! Gentle, not enough to weaken his grip. It tickled when he loosened his fingers. Korrok stopped singing. The vibration gave the blade a musical sound, like a flute.
“The singing sword! You have it!”
He did? A flute — singing!
*Can I use its power if I’m fighting the curse?*
The blade sang across the space between them. In a spray of black blood and carcass-smelling steam the demon lord’s hand became a chunk of aerial flotsam.
“It tickles, doesn’t it!” Logan cried.
The demon lord circled away, but barely kept distance from Merah. The dragon could smell the kill. Logan had first learned to recognize the smell from living among dragons. He couldn’t smell it yet.
Korrok held up the stump of his wrist for them to see. It burst in an explosion of blood and demon flesh that made even Merah shudder. A new hand seemed to be forcing its way out.
“Fuck me,” Logan breathed. He readied the sword and prayed that the thing couldn’t do that forever.