Malachi awoke. Faint rays of light were filtering through the mouth of the cave. His sleep was fitful, partly because his sword kept pulsing and flashing grey if he pulled it out from his blanket.
Only Brego was awake. Malachi quietly crept forward to where he stood on guard duty. “Can I go pee?” asked Malachi. Secretly, he planned to explore a little. He was just too curious.
“Only if I come with you,” whispered Brego. His tone indicated they should keep quiet. “Remember, we are in some danger here. I’ve spotted gargoyles in the air not more than a mile away.”
Brego woke Duman. “Malachi and I are going to scout within 200 yards.” Duman gave a nod.
Soon, the two were climbing over the boulders near the cave entrance. They dropped into a group of long needled pines which hid the cave entrance. Scrapper, always eager, followed Malachi as he picked a path through the branches. The greyish pulses on Malachi’s sword were growing stronger with every step.
After meandering through the trees for a couple of minutes, they came upon a pile of large stones which seemed to go all the way up as high as the treetops.
“This was once a tower,” said Brego. They picked their way slowly upward. “This was used to defend the outskirts of Adelphia during the Sarbadian Wars.”
Soon, Scrapper had discovered a path among the stones. “Good boy,” whispered Malachi. He began to run eagerly after the dog. When they came out at the top, he was indeed level with the tips of many trees. Looking around, he saw a cracked cannon ball, bones and even a skull from some forgotten battle. Looking up, he saw Mount Marat to the south as it picked up the rays of the morning sun. Back to the north, he noticed some small black birds flying in the sunrise.
Suddenly, many things happened at once. Malachi had climbed more quickly than Brego had anticipated. Brego yelled, “Malachi! Get down! You’ll be spotted!”
Malachi waved to Brego, and was about to say, “I’m fine,” when he realized that he wasn’t. What had been black specks a few moments ago were now three hideous gargoyles speeding through the air toward him. He turned to run back down the ruined stairs, sword flailing above his head. But he was not fast enough. The gargoyles swooped in at full speed, the weight of their bodies giving speed beyond ordinary birds.
Brego leapt toward Malachi, thinking to roll him to the ground and shield him with his body, but one of the three gargoyles scooped up Malachi in vice like talons. Brego attempted to grab its wing and prevent flight. But a second gargoyle hit Brego Street on with its beak and pinned him to the ruins, the wind knocked out of him.
“Heelllp!!” Yelled Malachi, flailing frantically. As Malachi rose into the air, he saw Duman standing at the cave entrance with his Longbow at full draw. But he did not shoot. “Of course, they don’t want to risk hitting ME,” thought Malachi.
He had been caught from behind and so was facing downward, watching the trees disappear below him. The third gargoyle had actually caught Scrapper.
Malachi’s head was spinning: “turn over and kill it?” he thought to himself. With a quick squirm, he reversed his body in the talons, and he still had his sword arm free. The Ramfaya blade was a grey fire. Had Malachi known it, he was creating a grey fiery streak in the sky. The sword was showing his exact direction of travel to Duman and Brego. He was just about to strike at the gargoyle in the face, when it spoke:
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, kid,” it said.
Just in time, Malachi realized that if he killed the gargoyle, he would surely die as well. No good falling from a half-mile in the air. Then it came to him. He knew this gargoyle. It was one of the three from the side of the archway on the Adelphia Cathedral. Still in a fury, Malachi was sooo tempted to just swing his sword and end it all. He remembered the words from Dad back on earth, “Malachi, think it through. Use your wits! Don’t just lash out in frustration!”
Malachi looked over his forhead to see where they were going. No doubt about it, upside down, he could see a black mountain far off in the distance. “Think, think!” he thought to himself. The dizzying height was beginning to make him faint. Then another thing came to him, what Ezra had said: “They’d rather be sunning themselves on their gutter spouts.”
“Are you Blig, Blag or Blog?” Malachi yelled over the wind.
That got the creature’s attention. “How did you know that?” It asked.
“Because…; you were one of the three gargoyles missing from the Adelphia Cathedral.”
“Oh, yeah,“ it said, pretending not to be surprised.
“I bet you’d rather be sunning yourself on the Cathedral right now,” said Malachi.
The gargoyle began to falter ever so slightly.
“When was the last time you had a nice bit o’ fresh water going through your mouth?” He paused for effect. “Did you know Zlig, Zlag and Zlog are back on their sunny gutter spouts?”
The frantic beat of the creature’s wings began to slow. “Yeah, well, we can’t get back to our gutters. There’s a barrier around the city,” said the gargoyle. It flapped its wings in silence.
Malachi also remembered what Miriam had said: “In their natural state, gargoyles love to hear singing from their perches on churches.…singing confuses them” Malachi began to sing the Psalm Miriam had taught him.
To interrupt the singing, it sneered, “Bet you can’t guess which one I am!”
“Oh, yeah? You’re Blog,” replied Malachi without hesitation.
“Ain’t tellin’,” it said.
“You know,” said Malachi out loud, “you really don’t have to be a slave of Chaozz …”
With this, Malachi began humming the Psalm again and tried to act relaxed, putting his arms behind his head.
“You shut up, kid!” said Blog. “Wait till Chaozz gets a hold o’ you.”
“I bet you’d rather be Zlig or Zlag right now,” said Malachi as if he hadn’t heard. “It’s a sunny day and there’s no better time to be a gutter spout! In fact,” he continued after humming the Psalm a little more, “I’ll bet the people are walking by admiring their wings right now. Zlog probably has that wonderful feeling of being admired and waving to them without waiving because he’s just blissfully…”
“You stop that!!” Blog couldn’t take it anymore. He squeezed his talons and said, “I told you, there ain’t no way for me to get back.”
“King Titus would let you through if I convinced him,” said Malachi.
“Yeah, sure he would!”
“But Chaozz ‘ll catch us,” said Blog.
“Not if we turn around right now,” said Malachi. “You don’t have to be his slave. Anyway, I could stab you with my sword right now. I’d rather die than go to Chaozz.”
That did it. Seeing his advantage, Malachi knew what to do. He began again to SING the Psalm with all his heart!
“Change of plans, boyz,” said Blog. “Looks like we’ve nabbed a ticket back to our gutter spouts. This little one can get us back.”
With that, three sets of wings headed back for Adelphia…