It's finally here! I know you guys have been waiting forever for this ending, and trust me, it's a happy one! The problem was figuring out how on earth Nathaniel could possibly survive...I had to back up in the book a bit, as you can see. Hope you like it, I have a few more ideas coming ASAP!
She pointed to the scratch on her cheek. "Some thanks that is. Anyway, I had to come by and see how you were…doing…" Her eyes fell on Nathaniel's side; they widened. "What the hell?"
"According to Bartimaeus, it's nothing," Nathaniel said blandly.
She bent close. "Oh my God. We have to get you out of here."
"I don't think so," Bartimaeus said through him. "In case you haven't noticed, Nouda's just about done wreaking havoc in the Glass Palace. He'll get bored soon enough; in case you haven't realized, this is the spirit that destroyed Persepolis…he's got an awful track record."
"We know," said Kitty, who was eyeing Nathaniel concernedly. "But how are you supposed to fight him in this condition? I hate to be blunt, and I'm no medic, but if you don't get out of here fast you could die."
"I'm actually not worried about that," said Nathaniel quietly. "More about saving this city's population, which includes you. I wouldn't try to drag me, if I were you."
Looking into her eyes, he saw tears gathering in their corners. Wincing as he readjusted his position, Nathaniel tried to reassure her.
"I'll be all right, honestly."
"At least take the Amulet!" she choked out, unable to stop the flow of tears down her lined face.
"You know I can't do that," he said, closing his eyes.
Open up! said Bartimaeus. His eyes snapped open of their own accord.
Kitty gripped his hand.
"I'm not leaving you here to die," she said. "How much time have we got before Nouda moves out?"
"I'd estimate ten minutes," Nathaniel and Bartimaeus said together, looking through the bush at where Nouda was blundering around, screeching for Faquarl. Commoners ran out of his path, terrified.
Kitty's grip on his hand was firm despite her weakness, and so he allowed himself to be brought out of the Glass Palace. Once out on the street, they were surrounded by some of the remaining magicians (which included, to his surprise and relief, Ms. Piper) and a few of the commoners. He looked around.
"Where's Ms. Farrar?" he said, his voice weakening.
"She went for her wolves, apparently," said Piper brusquely, taking him from Kitty's hold and leading him to the only park bench left undestroyed. "Are you hurt?"
"Somewhat," he said through gritted teeth. "But we need a plan. The only way to destroy Nouda right now would be to use the full, uncontrolled power of the Staff; he's just absorbing anything smaller we throw at him. Ow!"
Piper had taken out someone's first aid kit and was bandaging his side to the best of her ability.
"Sorry, Mr. Mandrake, sorry!" she said.
"His name is Nathaniel," Kitty said. Nathaniel tried to smile at her, because that meant a lot to him right now. He wanted the magician who was John Mandrake to disappear. Piper grinned, but then her expression became serious.
"Can you feel this at all?" she said.
"It's kind of gone numb, if that's what you mean," he said tensely. "Is that bad?"
"Not if we get you out of here," said Kitty.
Nathaniel forced himself to his feet with Bartimaeus' aid.
Thanks, he thought to the djinni.
No problem, was the reply. It's been swell.
"We need to destroy Nouda first," he said. "But if I break the staff and unleash the entities here, the street is likely to blow up with us and not touch him at all."
"We need to somehow blow it away from us," said Bartimaeus. "Preferably at the roof. That's made of iron, that is, and he won't like that on his essence."
Piper frowned, and most of the commoners looked rather confused.
"Did you just speak twice?" she asked, looking at him as though suddenly worried about his sanity.
"That's Bartimaeus," said Nathaniel. Say hello, he told the djinni, but please don't embarrass with the kind of things you were doing in front of Kitty.
Come on, you enjoyed that, came the sarcastic voice in his head.
His hand shot up and wiggled its fingers. Staring at it for a moment, Nathaniel nodded.
"I see," said Piper, her brow furrowed. "Why hasn't he just taken over your mind like the other magicians?"
It was Kitty who answered.
"They're one in the same now," she said. "I trust Bartimaeus, and so should you."
"Oh, so we're trusting demons now," said one of the lower magicians darkly. "Aren't they the ones destroying London presently?"
"Come on!" Nathaniel tried to yell, but his voice was faint in his own ears. "If we don't do something other than argue, the city will be destroyed."
"Nathaniel," said Kitty suddenly, "couldn't Bartimaeus make an explosion that will break the staff and blow it away from us?"
"Perhaps," he said, thinking hard. "I'd have to say the words of dismissal at the exact right moment…and the Detonation would have to go off no more than a second afterwards…"
"I think I can swing it," said Bartimaeus. "You use your mouth, I'll use your arms."
"All right," Nathaniel murmured weakly, his face grim and set. "We'll have to try."
Piper bent over him.
"What did you say?" she asked. "I can't hear you."
This time Bartimaeus used his voice.
"I said, we'll have to try."
At that moment, Nouda burst out of the entrance of the Glass Palace.
In the moments that followed, I really didn't know what to think. I knew that if we had remained in the Palace, Nathaniel (and perhaps me as well) would probably be very dead. On the other hand, Nouda would have perhaps already been destroyed; what we had to do now was much more complex.
They were all trying to be brave, I could tell, but I could see the worry in the eyes of all the random people surrounding. I had to hold Nathaniel up with all my strength, but I could still feel his limbs shaking; he wasn't going to hold much longer.
Then Nouda crashed out of the big Glass Palace, and I knew our thinking time was up.
Despite this, Nathaniel acted immediately, beginning the Words of Dismissal for the many great entities still trapped inside the Staff. Can't imagine what it would be like, really, to be trapped in a great long stick with someone else for about one hundred years…still, nothing compared to my three thousand years of enslavement.
I waited patiently for my cue…if I didn't hit the Staff after exactly the right syllable, we'd all be killed by the explosion, if not by Nouda.
Kitty stepped up beside us, a blank expression on her face. She put a gentle hand on Nathaniel's trembling shoulder, and I immediately felt his hormones go into overdrive. What was stirring between these two? Honestly, I've just never understood human social needs.
But then Nathaniel's concentration was broken as Nouda spotted us.
"Bartimaeus!" he cried in deep, resounding tones. "I see you!"
Nathaniel thought something…what was it? Then he said it so quietly I could barely hear it. I got the gist, however, and gladly proclaimed it for him.
"I am Nathaniel!" we shouted. "I am your master! I am your death!"
That's the sort of goad a seventeen-year-old needs to come up with everyday…I was proud of him, in that moment.
He spoke the final words and I sent off my most powerful Detonation from his outstretched hand. The Staff was propelled through the air towards Nouda and exploded with a resounding CRACK! I supposed that Gladstone would have winced at that.
The roof of the palace cracked as well, and I winced myself as the iron rained down upon Nouda, who let out a resounding cry that in a lesser entity might have been labelled as a whine. His essence was too vulnerable, too exposed…combined with the terrifying, unleashed power of Gladstone's staff, he was destroyed utterly.
I lost my grip on keeping the poor boy up, and he collapsed sideways into Kitty. She grabbed him just in time, and the girl called Piper helped them both up.
"We did it," said Kitty, her eyes wide and – there was no help for it – glistening with new tears. Oh, bother.
"Nice of you to state the obvious," I said, and Nathaniel clapped a hand over his mouth. He obviously hadn't meant this most meaningful moment to go like this.
Bartimaeus…he said to me mentally.
What now? I replied boredly. You going to try to punish me again? Because you know, in your own body that might be pretty painful.
No, he thought. I - believe that time is well past. I'm going to let you go.
Now that part surprised me. In our entire career together, Nathaniel had never dismissed me before receiving intense reminders and even terrible threats on my part. I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly.
Yeah, right. I told him. You just want me out so you can get the girl to yourself.
To my puzzlement, there was no reply, just the carefully placed incantation of my own dismissal. He was watching Kitty again, and I could feel tears in his own eyes…weird emotions to have at the end of a great victory. I always found gloating satisfactory, myself, and I had thought he favoured governmental promotion.
But I thought I knew the cause of it all, as my bind to the earth and to him lessened. When I soared above all their heads at last in a billowing white cloud of essence my vision was obscured, but everything I had sensed in my last few moments as a slave painted the perfect picture of a kiss.
Haha, I've decided that nearly all my endings will end with a kiss! For all people reading my other fic, new chapter coming as soon as I can! I haven't been neglecting you all!
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