Crystal opened her divine sight as she ran, equations whirling around herself and Moloch. King. Crystal still couldn’t process that it was really him.
She slid under Moloch’s first blow, her sword flying out to cut him across the calves. Moloch hissed in pain, bringing his talon up to kick Crystal away. She rolled away from the blow, bringing her sword around in another frantic slash. He leapt over it, and she redirected her cut upwards. She felt it bite into Moloch’s skin, but he whirled away before it could get purchase. He’s still just a god, Crystal reminded herself. This wasn’t like Enki. Moloch’s reserves of power may be vast, but if she could just get in a fatal hit she could-
Moloch managed to hit her in the chest, hard enough to send her flying back. “So you figured out how to watch the equations too,” he said, walking over to her.
“King…” Crystal gasped. It felt like he’d broken one of her ribs. “You don’t have to…I didn’t have a choice.”
Moloch shook his head. “There’s always a choice, Crystal. You chose to end the world. You chose to kill my family, my friends.”
“There was still time!” Moloch roared, and he reached out to strike Crystal with bands of lightning. “There was still a chance! You couldn’t wait. You were so damn eager. I think you were looking forward to it.”
“I hated it.” Crystal spat as the lightning dissipated. “I never wanted to do it.”
“And yet, you did, and here we are.” Moloch sighed. “You did it, Crystal.”
“There was no other-“
Moloch kicked her . “It’s just a rock, Crystal. You saved a damn rock. Maybe you’re right. Maybe there was no hope left! Who gives a shit?”
Crystal looked up at him, her eyes wide with more than pain. “What?”
“If everyone dies anyway, what’s the point of saving the damn rock everyone lived on? What does it matter? All you accomplished was killing everyone slightly earlier than scheduled!”
Moloch’s next kick sent Crystal flying. She felt something else break when she hit the ground. Get up, get up…”Humanity still-“
That was the wrong thing to say. Moloch leapt the distance between them, landing on her back, his talons digging in. “You don’t get credit for that, Crystal. You killed an entire world to allow another to possibly exist, and got lucky.” Moloch leaned down and grabbed Crystal’s head, forcing her to look at the others. “Look at them, Crystal. Look at these apes you sacrificed our people for. You love them so damn much?”
“Yes!” Crystal shouted, “Bloody hell, yes.”
“Then you get to watch them die. The same gift you gave me.” Moloch opened his mouth to say something else, but his words were cut off by a gargle. An arrow erupted from his open mouth, having punched through the back of his skull to shoot out between his teeth.
Moloch whirled around. “You talk too much,” Artemis said. She fired three arrows in rapid succession, hitting Moloch in the chest, right where the heart would be. “And I’ve spent centuries locked up with the gods of Olympus.” Another two arrows, one to each knee. “I’m somewhat of an expert in talking too much.”
Moloch began to slump over. Artemis strode forward.
Crystal’s felt hope fade. “Artemis!” Crystal shouted. “His heart is on the other side!”
The warning came too late. Moloch stood up in a swift motion, pulling the arrow out of his mouth and ramming it into Artemis’ chest. The goddess managed to twist so it only hit her in the shoulder instead of puncturing a lung.
Frantically, Crystal scanned the Elysian Rest for some sign, any sign, that Artemis was part of a vanguard of Greek gods, that the rest were coming.
The halls of the Elysian Rest sat silent. The defenses Artemis must have lowered were back in place.
No more help was coming, and Artemis couldn’t shoot anymore.
Without her bow, Artemis posed as much threat to Moloch as any of the other gods had so far. She had drawn a gladius, but Moloch just reached out and twisted, hitting her with several walls of force, each stronger than an onrushing train.
Artemis was bowled over and sent rolling back across the landscape with each blow. “Poseidon was supposed to keep you all occupied,” Moloch muttered as his mouth healed, then looked around. “Anyone else?” he shouted at the raging war of monsters around them. “Does anyone else think they can fight me!”
Crystal caught a glance of something in the melee, between the legs of a Cyclops and a twisted monstrosity made of teeth and claws and little else. She kept her eyes on Moloch and hoped she was right about what she dare not look at.
“There’s one other,” Crystal gasped, managing to raise herself to a seating position.
Moloch frowned at her. “Why would you tell me that?”
“I’ll show them to you, Moloch, if you promise me something.”
Moloch scoffed. “What do you think I’ll give you?”
Crystal glanced at Ryan. Isabel had managed to reappear and had taken the form of a saber toothed tiger, standing over Ryan protectively. Crystal turned back to Moloch. “I know you want me to suffer. I deserve that. He didn’t do anything to you. Don’t kill him.”
Moloch sighed. “The sun is going to destroy the world, Crystal. You have to fail. It’s only just.”
Crystal nodded. “Fine. Then…promise me you won’t make him suffer.” C’mon, you arrogant bastard, let me do this…
Moloch paused to think, then nodded. “Agreed,” Moloch said. “Now. Who else is going to get in my way?”
“I’ll show you,” Crystal reached out and began to twist, moving slow so Moloch could see what she was doing, know it wasn’t a trap. She was just making a series of lenses. Moloch stared into them, his forehead furrowing.
“Her name,” Crystal said in triumph as the lenses fell into place, “is Medusa.”
Moloch brought a hand up to cover his eyes as he found himself staring directly into the gorgon’s face.
As Crystal watched, Moloch’s hand started to turn grey.
“No!” Moloch shouted, “No!” He looked around the battlefield wildly. He locked eyes with Crystal, and in that instant, he looked exactly like he had so many years ago, right before he dashed out to save his children.
The grey crept up his arms, reaching his face, and that expression became the one Moloch would make for eternity.