The second twistor installation was six projectors in the open, with no particular attempt to hide anything. They melted nicely. The third installation was tented like the first, and no more trouble. The fourth was in a glass dome underwater, and we whipped the lake into a shardful niobium-rich froth when we broke the dome and released its batteries. The fifth was three projectors on short and very heavy rails, so that they could be hidden in a mountain in case of rain, snow, or enemy attack, and if they had been inside we might have had to work a bit more. The sixth was back in the open again. By then we had found our rhythm, and demolished it in three pairs of breaths.
We’d been flying around plenty, and were pretty sure that the Tresteans couldn’t see us through the Esrret-Sky-Painted (since they hadn’t shot us yet), and we had gotten used to being invisible. The seventh, Cone of Heaven Park, was another tented one, like the first. The hoven soldiers had already started to flee before we got there; we assumed that the word of the first six emplacements being destroyed had started to get around. We swooped down, melted two engines, and circled a bit waiting for our whefô to refill (Ythac) or blasting engines with lightning (me).
And the whole sky roared danger to us, huge terrible dragon-breaking danger.
Well, we knew what to do about that. We cracked the air and sped away as fast as eight wings and two Melismatic Tempests could carry us! Which was the right thing to do. We were no more than three miles away when two dozen Peace Everywhere beams played over Cone of Heaven Park.
We turned and watched. This wasn’t the simple second-hand destruction that had come to Ze Cheya, nor the clawtip pricks that we had used to ruin the first few projectors. The huge batteries were scattered around, the mighty engines ripped into shards and shavings, and no stone was left atop another stone nor plastic atop another plastic. Ythac and I together could work no such devastation, nor a twelfth part of it, or not as fast at least. Probably our parents couldn’t either.
“I suppose we ought to thank them, for finishing the job for us,” said Ythac, very quietly.
I didn’t feel flippant though. I started reciting in Grand Draconic: “Xhê tśiīaő šsyẵiąỳśś Ếsrŕyů…”. Which is to say, “Thou art Esrret, with thine own wings dragging a molten star from heaven to fall among us. Thou art the Morliu; when we bit off thy forepaw, thou cast thine blood into our eyes to blind us. Thou art Elelizet, locking thine jaws in death in our throat. Thou art Shirivve, carrying the Narnu to the depths of the sky to keep it from us…” After a few words, Ythac joined me, and we recited the whole thing in unison.
It’s a praise-song for an enemy willing to accept the most terrible wounds in order for revenge (Esrret, Elelizet) or giving a child a chance to escape (the Morliu) or hiding a sacred vessel (Shirivve), or various other purposes in various other lines. One has to be very impressed indeed to say it to small people. But the Tresteans had just shown that they commanded more-than-draconic energies. And that they were resourceful enough to use the few moments in which we could be located to attack us. And that they were willing to pour out their strength and even their lives to strike at us — somehoven must have been in the control booth, on the telephone, telling the other Peace Everywhere emplacements that we were there, and that one could not possibly have survived.
“Not that anyone that ‘thou art’ in that song actually wins,” said Ythac.
“I don’t plan to let the Tresteans win! Besides, didn’t Elelizet survive? She was the mother of Ghanimaan, wasn’t she?” I said.
“Wasn’t that the other Elelizet? Smerdaleon’s wife? Or am I getting them confused?” said Ythac.
“I don’t remember my ancient draconic history very well,” I said. “It’s all from before we got astral magic. Not very important anymore.”
“It’s an important part of our cultural heritage!” he said. “You know that! You’re the one who started reciting it first!”
“True. I’ll learn more … oh … when I have a hatchling to teach it to,” I said.
“Fair enough. … I had better find some other reason. Llredh and I won’t have hatchlings.”
“No, you won’t.”
He hissed at me. “I’m just glad he wasn’t here, Jyothky. He doesn’t have dangersense. He’d likely not have gotten away in time.”
“Now we’re back to you being disgusting, Ythac,” I wisely and kindly pointed out.
“Right. Never mind that then,” he said.
“Well, I guess we don’t need to worry about Cone of Heaven Park, in any case. Where’s next?”
He cast a finding spell. “Dark Snake River is closest.”
“How about a different question. Which one is the closest one that doesn’t have other giant twistor cannons aimed at it? Can your spell find that?” I said.
“Good thought!” He poked around with a spell. “Osmogoth Point, off the other direction.”
So we flew to Osmogoth Point, which was only half-built, with just one projector working. I hissed at Ythac when we were half a dozen miles away, “You stop here. I’ll go melt it alone.”
He hissed back at me, “What, what? That’s silly! I’ve got plenty of fire breath!”
“You’ve also got a husband to mourn you if you get twisted apart. I’ve just got some suitors who’ll probably be nearly as happy without me,” I said.
He blinked at me. “Did you just forgive me or something?”
“Do your wings hurt terribly? No? Then I have not! … But my best friend’s husband is my best friend’s husband. Even if it’s disgusting. Now, stay here and be useful and play with information magic and tell me if they start aiming anything dangerous at Osmogoth Point, will you?”
He levitated there, half a mile above nowhere in particular, while I flew down and breathed three very narrow needles of flame into the bowels of the Osmogoth Point projector. None of the playful devastation of the previous times, not there. The Peace Everywhere Array was a mighty and wily foe, not a simple small person city to destroy at leisure.
But we did destroy it. Very slowly and carefully. We’d fly to one side of Trest, and I’d break a few projectors as quickly as I could. (Lightning will usually ruin the generator, though not destroy it beyond repair as fire will. Cold is useless without darkness breath also.) Ythac would watch for the rest of the Array hearing about it and starting to point their weapons at me. When they did, we’d fly off to another emplacement, a sixth of the continent off maybe. It was all rather like killing a huge sluggish giant armed with a huge hammer. One hit from the hammer and I’d have been dead. But a bit of caution and I’d be out of range whenever he started to raise the hammer, much less swing it. Not that I’ve ever fought a giant at all, much less one like that, but it sounds a lot more plausible than a small person military system.
After a day and a half of hard work, none of the Peace Everywhere Array worked any more, and neither did the main stocks of replacement parts. We flew back to Khamrou Psulcho, clutching the our ragged Melismatic Tempests (which aren’t really supposed to last that long or work that hard). I curled up in a deep cave and slept in a deep sleep. Ythac, I believe, coupled with Llredh enthusiastically, and got Arilash so excited that she coupled with every drake but Tultamaan. Or that’s the story I heard the next morning. The cave didn’t smell of very much sex at all.