I tried to regain my balance even as my features began to melt like wax. I could hear Qli pleading for help on the aether transmitter, and in the distance I heard my father, Dr. Jeremiah Mason, roaring in anger from inside the Haunted Dollhouse. The Children of Death were trying to rip the soul from his undead form for failing in their deadly game. The serpent head that erupted from under his clavicle was the remaining extension of the demonic Hydra that clung to his form...it was hissing in protest as well, unbalanced by the disappearance of its twin.
I had met Father...and the collective that seethed within him...in that cursed house to rescue my first-built daughter. Too dangerous in the lion's den for direct attacks, we played a deadly game. We tried to cause each other to slip in the rules of a child's game, the Tea Party. He sought to poison me, or rouse my anger. I had Qli serve him tea from a blessed pot, and the holy water seeping down two throats burned him as he spat it back at me with his curses.
I musn't panic, I thought. Think, Darien. Think through the blinding pain. Hemlock or no, no mundane poison is this strong..and acid this strong surely would have dissolved the pot. The snake..did it spit venom at me? No. The Hydra injects its venom. Even if its poison sac exploded from the holy water it wouldn't..
The holy water is burning me? That can only mean I'm..
I took the opportunity to panic, since I assumed I would never have the chance to again.
To Be Continued.