Disclaimer: The Teen Titans characters and animation are the property of Glen Murakami and Warner Bros. Animation.
Chapter 4 – Gilly Show
Raven didn't get much sleep in the few hours she had afforded herself. Normally, this would be attested to her demon father trying to enter her mind. No, this time was part overwork, part dark dragon, and part possessed child.
Yeah, she gave up almost immediately.
Rorek had said that Malchior's power was getting stronger, and that after the next night, his power would be too overwhelming to contain. She still wasn't sure just what the connection was between Mumbo and the dragon, but at this point, she couldn't think too much about it. Time was almost up.
"Man, Raven, you look like crap."
Apparently, there was enough time for Beast Boy to keep making jokes.
"Gee, thanks, Beast Boy," she responded as she took a sip of her tea.
"Did you stay up all night with your new bestie?"
"We're not 'besties', whatever that means." Raven glanced across the counter at Starfire and Rorek's soul self engaged in conversation. "That would probably be more appropriate for Star, though."
Beast Boy gave her a quizzical look. "Are we really going through with all of this hocus pocus with that dragon? We barely beat him the first time."
"But we did. And we can do it again. We just need a little help, that's all."
"From your boyfriend, right?"
Despite her face slightly reddening, Raven gave him a cold stare. "I'm not going to dignify that with a response."
Robin and Cyborg chose that time to enter the common room. Robin shared the same look that Raven did; Cyborg's was physically impossible to replicate.
"How are you feeling, Raven?"
"Like a million dollars."
"You must be fine; your sarcasm is just as obvious as before," Cyborg quipped. "What are those two talking about over there?"
"I heard her mention something about glarpnags. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any idea what those are."
Robin took a swig of his coffee. "So what's the plan?"
"Other than rescuing a ten thousand year old person from Starfire's culture?"
Raven put down her mug. "We're going to go as soon as everyone is ready. We don't have much time left, and we need as much of it as possible. Malchior shouldn't be expecting us this early."
"Isn't today the last day we have, though?"
"Technically, yes," Raven answered. "But the hour of dusk is considered to be when magic is its most potent. That's probably when Malchior will be at his strongest, and we need to avoid that."
"Aaaand how do you know all of this?"
The spellcaster looked away. "Because that's what Rorek told me last night."
Beast Boy narrowed his eyes, his grin becoming even wider. "What else did he tell you last night?"
She couldn't miss an opportunity like this. "That none of your jokes were funny."
"Friends!" The four Titans turned to their fifth member, who had Rorek and his book in her hands. "I have been informed by friend Rorek that our time to act is fast approaching."
"Man, I can't make sense of all of this magic stuff," Beast Boy sighed. "Can I get a re-explanation? It feels like it's been months."
"It has been only one night, Beast Boy," Rorek reminded him. "I can understand your confusion, however. A lot has happened in a very short period of time. Unfortunately, we are out of time. We must make haste to Malchior right now."
The Titans nodded together. "Are you ready, Raven?"
She turned her gaze out the window, the dark sphere still present. "As ready as I'm ever going to be."
"Is there anyone around?"
"Doesn't look like it."
"Very well. Let us get into position."
The Titans got out of Cyborg's car and gazed up at the ominous bubble, still present after the past couple of days. Now that they were up close again, Raven's feeling of dread as back tenfold.
"Please position yourself around Raven. Now that we are here, we need to move quickly. Robin, do you have the candles?"
"Good. Hand one out to each person and light them."
Cyborg's pointer finger opened up to reveal a lighter, putting a flame on each candle.
"Assemble yourselves in a circle around Raven. Raven, place me down in the middle and start the incantation."
Raven put her hood over her head and sat down with Rorek's book in front. Closing her eyes, she started to mumble the chant that he had practiced with her last night.
The apparition of Rorek turned to the remaining teens. "The rest of you can set your candles down. I believe now would be a good time for you to draw your weapons."
"Why do you say that?" Robin asked.
"Because we are about to be joined by some very unpleasant things very shortly."
Cyborg cocked his sonic cannon, Starfire made a couple of starbolts, Robin drew his staff, and Beast Boy turned into a polar bear.
"What Raven is doing right now is forcibly opening a doorway into the Shield of Staldar. The children of your city, whom have now been corrupted by Malchior, are going to notice it, and thus come to protect their master. We have to hold them off until Raven is done with her incantation."
The sky began to get darker as electricity started to crack around the sphere. Beast Boy cast a worried glance at Raven.
"Uhh...I hate to be the downer, but these aren't exactly magic beasts we're fighting. It's kids. We don't want to hurt any of them, right?"
"All we're doing is protecting Raven," Robin said, turning the staff in his hands. "Once she's done, we'll make a break inside. Hopefully, we'll be able to evade them once we get in."
A loud shriek interrupted the Titans as several runes appeared under Raven's floating body.
"It is almost time. Be ready to move-"
The portion of the shield in front of Raven smashed into pieces, paving the way for their dramatic entrance...if it wasn't for the huge wave of bodies coming out from inside.
The force of the wave pushed the entire team back, almost throwing Rorek's book into the water. Beast Boy clutched it out of the air in hawk form and flew back to Raven, who was just coming out of her trance.
"Is it open?"
"Yeah," Cyborg answered her question, but with a worried look. "But I think they have something to say about it."
Raven looked up in the sky. All around the team was a mass amount of children, all dressed in very similar cloaks to hers. Just like May, all of them had glowing eyes and darkened skin, with some laughing in a demonic manner.
Rorek's apparition appeared on her shoulder. "Raven, look."
She looked back at the Shield to see that the hole she had made in the side was starting to repair itself. "We do not have much time before the doorway closes again."
"Anybody have a backup plan?" Beast Boy said as the crowd began to draw closer.
"I have one." Starfire glanced around at the enemies, and made a grab for Raven's hand. The spellcaster looked at her inquisitively...
And had to grab on to her tome for dear life, for Starfire reared back and threw Raven's body through the air, right at the hole in the wall.
"Many apologies in advance, friend Raven!"
She couldn't properly respond, probably because she was careening through the air, the force of the throw emptying her lungs. After a long moment, she slammed into the ground, just as the doorway repaired behind her.
"Star!" Raven coughed up some dirt as she got up. Realizing where she was, she ran up to the barrier, now with her friends on the other side. "I'm not leaving you guys behind!"
"Raven, we do not have the time to argue about this!" Starfire replied, her eyes now glowing green. "You are the one with the knowledge and the magic. You and friend Rorek are the only ones who can stop Malchior! We will keep a distraction up so that you may take care of the business."
"Star's right, Raven," Robin agreed. "You need to go. Don't worry about us. We'll be fine."
"They are right." Rorek appeared again on her shoulder. "Your noble friends will take Malchior's attention away from us. We need to go."
Raven knew they were right. Steadying herself, she turned her back toward the group, but not before one last parting statement.
"Stay safe, guys."
With that, she was off into the unknown, the sick feeling in her stomach now threatening to overtake her.