I needed to do several things simultaneously. Any timing error could easily spell failure and any serious timing error could just as easily result in my death. Death was becoming a habit that I really needed to kick.
My weakened body and physically demanding situation denied me of the ability to take a deep breath, but I tried to do the mental equivalent to prepare myself for a high-risk display of badassery. My mind was clear and focused. I didn’t have a lot of time anyway, but I figured I was as ready as I could ever be. I went into action.
The first thing I did was set Sylnie’s hand on fire—as gently as I could. She shrieked in surprise and, obviously, pain, and released her grip on Azraal’s arm, allowing him to lean more pressure into his painstakingly slow attempt to spear me through the heart.
The second thing I did was telekinetically pull the Firstborn blade from Azraal’s grasp. I didn’t have a lot of mojo left in me, so I tried to make the movements as efficient as possible. I simply popped the blade out of his fingers, flipped it around so it was pointing upward, and lowered it so its base rested against my chest.
The last step was to stop resisting. The first two steps of the plan had been pretty draining anyway, so it wasn’t difficult to let my exhaustion take over and let my muscle strength slacken down to almost nothing.
Azraal’s eyes went wide. He had quick reflexes, and he was sharp enough to realize what had happened. But the force of his relentless assault added to the absence of resistance and the everpresent force of gravity were all drawing his body inexorably downward toward the tip of the Firstborn blade. He was probably preparing to teleport out when my backup plan kicked in—Sylnie’s throes of agony from her scorched hand had thrown her balance off and she collapsed onto Azraal’s back, her added weight propelling him just a little faster toward his doom.
I could sense the psychic energy he was calling up to whisk himself off to safety, but he never got the chance. The Firstborn blade pierced his skin, ripped through his heart, and erupted violently from his back as he landed heavily on my chest.
“You slick little fuck,” Azraal whispered in astonishment.