The code between Kyrus and Dukir, and Glass Mountain exploded in lava flows and mercury rivers. Kyrus sat heavily in his coded saddle, sagging in exhaustion. *I can't fight that.* He conjured up a heavy, fireproof shield and then let it evapourate.
Dukir, scorched, singed, sitting a trifle lopsided, from the code injuries he'd taken guarding Kyrus's back. *That's... right.*
*I refuse to give up. I refuse to surrender. Almost a million people are depending on me... on us, to shut down this attack. I. Will. Not.*
*Radiance... Radiance wait!* Dukir threw out a hand that expanded to stop Kyrus from his intended plunge into the deadly mess blocking their way. *There might be a way around this.*
Kyrus had dropped his reins, stopping his bird dead, turning in weary rage as the old man stopped him. *What?* He shook his head and straightened. *Don't just stop there, Dukir.*
Dukir had both hands knotted in his hair, the helmet he'd conjured long since vanished in the fight. *Diryish... he... said...*
The Emperor clenched his hand, refraining from shaking the memory out of his spymaster. That kind of behaviour never worked. Instead he threw up his gauntlets up over their heads and created a gigantic roof over the two of them, as Prime's code began raining acid on them from orange clouds. *Not to hurry you, feather-spitter, but I'm running out of will and energy both.*
*Mom! Mom!* Agadore's warning usurped Terence's higher functions for a nanosecond. *Get out of there!*
*I cannot move, Agadore.*
*INCOMING. CLEAR THE AREA.*
*Several of my patients are not yet stable. I am at capacity. I cannot divert to any kind of movement.*
*INCOMING. 400 201 2 AND 99 ALL DETONATED. INCOMING METEOR* FireDrake One's send was strong enough to make Terry wince.
*Mom if you do not move you will lose all your patients. Back them up and restart them later.* Fifty two sounded almost plaintive.
*Negative. Capacity at 100 percent.*
*Incoming incoming incoming impact in one hundred seventy seconds*
*Radiance, Secundus and Tertius had code control centres. Diryish said the Prime believed them destroyed.*
One of the security dragons had found them and after trying to burn them out was raising its head and pounding on the shield Kyrus held – barely – with its chin. *Please. Get. To. The. POINT. Dukir!* He had almost no voice, no force as his bird evaporated under him and he was forced to his knees and Dukir flattened himself completely.
*Find the ruins of Tertius and you could just shut this whole battle down.*
*Oh. Good. Help me here. Dig us an escape tunnel.*