Chad, He heard Voxx telepathically call to him, even as the sight of the top of her pink helmet disappeared in the maw of a fat-looking minion. You have to help us.
I can’t! He thought back. I’m stuck! There’s too many of them! He’s so much bigger than I am!
You must! She was adamant—and so much more calm than Chad would have expected for someone in her situation. You are our only hope!
But you guys are so much more powerful than I am! Chad protested.
By now, Ferristral’s minions had effectively trapped every single one of the six heroes. Ferristral laughed maniacally as his body expanded to exceed the height of the building. He was now capable of bringing the whole structure down on top of them. Time was running out…
Chad, you have something in you more powerful than anything we could do! Your power is the one that gave us our powers in the first place.
Huh? What do you mean? Chad found himself less frantic, as he listened to the even tone of Voxx’s voice. I don’t have any power.
It’s the power of belief, Chad. You believed that we could have these powers, and that we could come to life, and we did.
Chad blinked in surprise. Belief? That’s a superpower?
It is to us, and it is the thing that will save us! Voxx assured him.
What do I do with it? Chad asked her, and blinked as a pink blur suddenly blasted out of the grey lump, blowing it all to pieces.
Voxx immediately made straight for Chad, but there were too many minions.
“You have to believe the truth!” she called to him, even as Ferristral sent more minions after her. She finished the rest of her message telepathically. Ferristral has fooled you into believing that he is stronger than you, and that you are weak and powerless. You must believe in us, Chad! Believe that we can defend you!
I believe it, he thought back readily.
Say it! She responded, as the minions threatened to overrun her a second time. Out loud! Right to his face!
Chad looked up at Ferristral, who had sensed that there was something going on in the little boy’s mind, and now watched him keenly.
“Ferristral,” Chad’s voice squeaked a little bit because of the ribbon of clay wrapped around his throat, “You are no match for the heroes!”
Suddenly, the ground rumbled, and Illuminus burst out of his prison of clay. The figurine expanded till he was the same size as Chad.
“That’s the way, Master!” He cheered, raising his hand in salute.
Ferristral wasn’t convinced. “Do you not see me, boy?” He menaced, leaning over. “I am more powerful than all of them put together!”
“No!” Chad shot back staunchly, full of that resolute obstinacy that makes children so unwilling to see what is right before their faces. He used that to his advantage now, refusing to acknowledge Ferristral’s obvious dominance. “We are going to defeat you!”
Another earthquake, and Marquiam blasted out from the grey mass around him. Like Illuminus, he had grown to human size. Chad grinned at him, and he felt the sky lightening overhead as his perspective—his belief—began ever so slowly to change.
“That’s right!” he kept on yelling at Ferristral, as the heroes worked themselves free and grew larger to face the giant. “I’m not weak any more! You can’t bully me! Not when my friends are around!”
Voxx, Chariostes, and Tecchon came to stand around him. They were larger than the minions now, and Chad felt the hold of the grey, deformed appendages loosening around him, as now it was the minions turn to shrink instead of growing.
“You’ll never win, Ferristral!” Chad shouted as he stood up, free of the minion’s grasp. “I’m not afraid of you!”
He glanced over to where the minions still pinned Zandor to the concrete—but the leader of the heroes did not move. Why didn’t Zandor grow like the others? Hadn’t he said enough?
That one small concession, that tiny seed of doubt, was all the invitation Ferristral needed. He had not shrunk, in spite of the fact that the heroes had grown, and now he laughed long and hard.
“You foolish boy!” he crowed over the young human. “You think that mere words can defeat me? You thought you could get the best of me just by saying it?” With a rumble, all of the small chunks of grey clay scattered around the area each reconstituted into a new minion, and they quickly overran the heroes once again. Marquiam attempted to fly away and avoid recapture, but a stout minion lobbed a ball of clay at him and shorted out his wings, causing him to crash back to the pavement.
Voxx pushed him out of the way of the thrashing, writhing tentacles of the clay octopus headed her way.
“Run, Chad!” she yelled. The octopus overtook her, and Chad was left to stumble over the pavement alone. He tried to get as far away as he could, but it was too late.
Chad only managed to reach the door of the stairwell before two huge fingers caught him around the waist. He screamed as Ferristral hauled him high into the air, Chad’s own fear rejuvenating him and filling him with energy.
“You see?” he held the boy twenty feet in the air, in the palm of his huge hand. “I have still won. You have no weapons to fight me. I am more powerful than anything you could possibly believe in! Nothing can stop me!” He spread his hand, and even more minions sprang to swarm the valiant heroes. “You wanted revenge, little human?” he roared over the noise of the raging storm. “I, Ferristral, will show you revenge! I will be more powerful than you ever thought possible—and soon,” he lifted Chad closer to his face and spoke very softly, “Soon I will be your Maker!”