I started to mumble curses as Jack started Part One of Plan Getting Himself Ripped Up — which was great news, because it meant my heart had restarted, my lungs had at least sealed off the perforated bits and begun re-inflating, and my nervous system was answering its calls again. But that also meant my pain sensors were about to go back online, so I started pulling myself to my feet. When the agony hit, I wanted to be in motion.
The Tome would have noticed that, especially when the agony did hit and I started screaming my throat raw, except for the way it was trying to fend off Jack with three tentacle-stumps. Which was harder on my partner than it sounds; those stumps were fairly dexterous and had fairly razor-sharp edges. Poor Jack’s skin was a nightmare of lacerations and visible bone by the time I half-leapt, half-staggered onto the ball of sullen malice that was the Tome’s final protection.
At first it didn’t hurt that much, which worried me. Was there permanent nerve damage? That would be inconvenient — but then, thankfully, the pain hit, and something inside me relaxed a little as I started shoving my hands through the ball. I was now back on familiar territory. Now it was just a question of who wanted to win more: me, or the Blasphemous Tome.
It’s me, I thought as my bleeding hands grabbed the Tome and twisted it free of its links to the outside world. It’s always going to be me.