And then it happened.
From out of the water shot another tremendous head and neck.
Through the hazy, roiling steam he could see that it looked nothing like its malevolent brother. It looked in fact like ancient illustrations portrayed it. It launched skyward like a pillar of heaven. The mutant shot lightning at it.
The Selaki floated between the two enormous necks, utterly helpless. Seawater from the second Keeper's emergence rained down on him, flooding the deck and washing him back down the stairs to his cabin. Oddly, the water wasn't slimy, but seawater cold and pure and clear.
Red lightning glanced the second’s neck, which struck out at the mutant with its bottle-shaped head, slamming nose first into its neck, knocking it backwards. The lightning ceased. The noise of the collision was like two fleshy landmasses coming together in a world-ending earthquake, so potent that he could feel the downward pressure of it on his prone body.
The Selaki lifted out of the water again. It heaved to port, coming to a sudden jarring halt full on its side and throwing him overboard like so much litter.
He spun head over heels twice and landed on his head. His momentum carried him to his back, where he slipped and slid amid giant piles of moss and barnacles for an unknown distance until he stopped next to the top of the mainmast. He crawled like a soaked and dazed rodent towards it, the life buoys strapped to his chest. He could reach it if he could just stand! He growled against shooting pain like hot needles in his legs and looming unconsciousness; he scooched and writhed on his belly, whimpering. But exhaustion was claiming him: the muscles of his arms were so spent he could not lift them! He got over on his back and started pushing himself with his shattered legs, shrieking with effort.
He wasn't going to make it.
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Illustration: Keeper Battle by KJH Cardinalis. All copyrights are hers.