Benedict felt the ground begin to tremble,
then the rumble grew to fill the air.
When the wolf opened its jaws, the rumble
leaped in volume and it felt as if
the entire world was shaking.
Then there was a boom; Chase and the wolf
were thrown away from each other
as Benedict and Lilian bounced roughly
off the ground. The wolf regained his footing
first and charged at Chase with unbelievable speed.
But as the wolf neared his prey, Chase roared,
“NO!” and lightning exploded from his raised hand,
a bolt so bright that Benedict turned away.
The wolf yelped in pain as the blast flung him
past the girl and the priest, bouncing him
limply across the clearing… and he lay still.
“NO!” Chase repeated, and another blast
crashed into the wolf’s limp body.
It skidded a bit further across the ground
and the wolf did not get up. Chase just laughed.
Benedict strained to hear the wolf’s breathing
and he did, weak though it was. He felt so helpless!
This tragedy was of his own doing, and now
his friend would suffer for it.
Must he? a voice whispered inside his head.
Are you sure there is nothing you can do?
Chase’s voice interrupted his thoughts. Deeper,
fuller, rougher than a human voice now, victory
colored it with contempt. “Now, my enemy,
my foolish hound, at last I have my day!
Many’s the time we battled, neither able
to gain the upper hand… until today.
Compassion makes you weak, and your weakness
makes me strong. Today I consign you
to the bowels of hell forever, and I shall
take my rightful place in this mortal realm!”
And with those words, he placed his hands together
and a fiery sphere began to glow around them.
“Burn in hell, you foolish hound of heaven!”
NOW! the voice in Benedict’s head cried…
and suddenly the priest knew what to do.
He flung himself between Chase and the hound
just as the fireball sprang from Chase’s hands.
It slammed into his body with an crushing thud
and he spun wildly through the air,
landing, broken, at the wolf’s side.
And as he landed, the wolf turned his head
slowly to see his friend—to see him
with the eyes of Dietrich. And when they met
the eyes of the priest, Benedict merely smiled.
He could do no more, and he knew it.
Chase’s laughter fell silent as the wolf’s body
slowly began to glow. It floated from the ground,
its dark fur transfigured by the power.
Chase shielded his eyes with one hand
and, when the light at last subsided
enough for him to lower his hands and see,
he faced his longtime enemy once again…
but as he had never seen it before.
The wolf that stood before him was white,
a white so pure that the dark simply fled
from its presence, and its azure blue eyes
flickered like fire as they fastened on Chase.
Chase’s knees buckled under their gaze.