You bless both Grutar and Ride as they run into the fray–!>>761197
As you and Ride sprint past the boundary of the crumbling outer wall, the world about you shudders and wavers, and you stumble and shudder along with it, as if you had just belly-flopped straight into a pool. When your vision settles, you see that eight of the nine Herbs have collapsed into a single one, who dual-wields a pistol and a dagger.
"–aaaaaaaaaagh!" Herb snarls – as if he had already been screaming, and you just didn't hear it. He raises his weapons at you and Ride, and you can see, through his visor, that his eyes are deeply lined, and red-rimmed, with fury and frustration. For a brief, few moments, you and Ride weave around gunfire and knife stabs and slashes, as Herb, animated by a sudden hatred, tries to sink the both into the two of you. Billy at the last moment manages to bestow a protective crystal shield on you and Ride, just in time to absorb no fewer than three gunshots apiece – this gun is an automatic, and Herb, a skilled marksman.
With a combination of jabs, feints and grabs, you and Ride, rushing him from either side, manage to disarm him, twisting his hooves behind him as if you were about to reverse hogtie him.>>761195>>761196>>761198>>761199>>761200
But, to the lot of you – it appears that Ride and Grutar completely vanish. The nine Herbs freeze for an instant, before you see each and every one of them restrained in nine different positions by nine different Rides and Grutars. The restrained Herbs all thrash at the helmet, bobbing up and down in concert with his frenzied talking, but you cannot hear them.
The disharmonious singing draws near, from the west and south…! Ride's team draws their weapons, grouping up together with clear apprehension…
"We should get to cover!" Dorya shouts. "They're coming!"
"We're too exposed out here," Gimmel says. "Where the hell are we gonna go!?">>761197
"Idiots! You total idiots!" Herb snarls. "Godsdamnit, didn't you get my Concord calls!?"
"Wh–" Ride begins.
"Nevermind!" Herb barks, now practically crying. "Get back, get back beyond the wall! You might still have time! It might not have–"
But then, like an earthquake in the air, a rumbling pounds your inner ear, and you and Ride both stumble, nearly folding up upon yourselves as the rumbling destroys all semblance of balance and direction you had. Ground becomes sky becomes horizon. You are as uneasy on your legs as a newborn babe would be.
"Oh, gods…!" Herb gasps. "We were so close… the prom was tomorrow…!"