Falk could not take his eyes off the window.
With his hands clasped behind his back, he watched his checkmate playing out with unprecedented satisfaction. Much as it was inevitable, almost as if pre-destined by the enormity of his genius, it was still all the more real now that it was actually unraveling before his eyes.
And yet, he could not fully appreciate the moment. He checked the scroll yet again, with a half grunt of frustration.
The Street Rat had not reacted to his threats and explanations, or to his challenges and arguments. She had allowed him to ramble on and now there was nothing on the scroll but his own writing, which made it seem like he was writing to nobody.
It was a thorn in an otherwise perfect conclusion to all his plans and aspirations. But it was there, prickling at his sense of success. It nagged at him.
Something was definitely off.
With Albert in his hands and out of commission, that left only the woman mage, he forgot her name. She was the only one left capable of casting the teleportation spell. Yet, near an hour had gone past since he had caused and confirmed the death of the final threats to his plan, the Warlock, and the Darkness.
Near an hour had passed, and no action had been taken by the Shadow Conclave using the woman mage. He was prepared for it, he had sensors and traps ready to trigger the demise of the woman plus whatever warriors would be accompanying the Hunter. They would obviously be sending the Hunter.
Falk knew they knew he was in the penthouse, the Chancellor’s mansion in the sky. From there, he was watching the ruined city of Neyrk, and the anchored ships which were harboring what was left of the people that had called him mad and evil while expecting him to shrug off such words and do what they wanted. Prove them wrong.
Falk felt no sympathy for any of them. But still, they knew it, and Shu would have told them he would not allow them to escape.
Why do they take no action?
The building shook, but he shrugged.
One way or another, everyone in that island would die. Every beast, woman, man, and child. Whether that happened on his last breath, after his last heartbeat, or whether that happened inside that building, by his own hands, was the only difference.
But there was the thorn. Something was off.
If only he had shot the Shadow, if only she hadn’t been so quick to jump out of the ship, she would be dead, and his mind wouldn’t be nagging.
He looked at the scroll again and hummed, tapping on it with his finger, remembering the brat’s words since they were no longer displayed on it. Also an unhelpful factor.
Could the Shadow be alive? Could she be coming for him? Could she have a way of stopping him?
Falk ran scenarios in his head but, admittedly, he knew even less about the shadow arts than he did about magic. It had never seemed relevant since they all stopped working once there was light, a counter which was remarkably easy to employ in those days, as Griff had demonstrated.
Falk chuckled at himself.
“You are at the end, Falk. Why would you take the chance?”
Soon, the building would fall.
He would press against his chest, and the clock would thus engage a very aggressive fission inside the nuclear power cell that was fueling his machinery. It would explode magnificently. It would latch onto what was left of Jakariah’s amulet, he had disintegrated part of it to perform the attack on top of Eliza and the Darkness, to mix its effects with the already destructive force of…well, itself.
It was an amazing send-off.
The Beasts would forever remember him, humanity would be over, and possibly, the island would remain uninhabitable forever, thanks to the radiation that would be plaguing the environment for centuries to come. It would be a lasting reminder of Falk, the man they had called obsolete.
Falk would put all that at risk by not flipping a switch? Hardly.
Promptly, Falk walked over to the wall and flipped the switch, turning on the lights to the penthouse. They flickered momentarily, but steadied on, and brightly. He then returned to the window, his confidence at an all-time high.
It’s checkmate. No matter what the brat says, Falk thought. There is no move left to them. No agent left alive that can challenge me.
The more Beasts he caught in the blast, the better. That meant waiting. For either the building to collapse or for the ships to try and sail away.
I could do with more waiting…
Falk grinned in anticipation, watching his airship. It still hovered near the building, piloted by the poor bastards who had no clue about their situation, the ones left alive after his altercation with Eliza.
Falk watched it explode.
The engines caught on fire which caused a cascade of explosions that damaged its ability to stay afloat. Slowly and terribly, it came crashing down near the skyscraper.
The whole thing took whole minutes, and some fools even tried jumping out of the burning airship. He enjoyed every second of the show, witnessing the airship collapsing all over the ground, to then blow up even further. The surroundings to the tower were set ablaze at such a volume it made it seem like a volcano had erupted.
Falk grinned victoriously.
It crashed right on top of the Beasts. It would make their work more difficult…it would delay them, and that was all well and good.
To wait some more.
It was the best kind of waiting, really. He had the opportunity to watch every single intelligent being on the planet one hundred percent focused and dedicated on stopping him. On bringing him down.
Falk had an opportunity to see them all fail.
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