Mei Ying frowned ever so slightly, her porcelain-white forehead crinkling under the red mark painted there. The ley line shimmered, not far away. Even here it was easy to imagine one could hear the whispers of the ancestors. Nonsense of course. The lines channeled the life force, the ki of the ancients...but their souls, and every thinking part of them had gone to other realms by now. Even so, it was hard not to feel a sense of connection to them while feeling that power flow through one.
But it was too far from here. Doing battle with demons would require that power if she was to keep it up for long.
"Go towards the ley line," she said calmly. "With as much haste as you can."
Lance blinked at her, aggrieved both by the unruffled tone and the content of Mei's command. "Weren't you listening? The ley line's as dangerous as the demons in the Magic Z..."
"We do not have to be on the line. Just near it. I will tell you when you may divert course again."
The pilot shook his head as he started to bank back towards that blue river of light. "...we're never gonna make it before those things are on us..."
Mei Ying reached down to the floor alongside her seat, where the Wayferer's Staff was resting. The old wood felt warm in her hands, welcoming. It approved of this journey, as it did all journeys. Looking around the flyer's cabin, she reflected there was very little spare space. It might be necessary to visit the ley line after all...risks or no risks.
In the meantime though...something to slow the demons down.
"Feng zhi men," she murmured, then with increasing volume, "open and let your voice be heard. Roar with the fury of the heavens and bring judgement down on the heads of those cast down!"
Blue whorls of light, bounded by spinning runes or glyphs, exploded into being around the TK Flyer. Four of them, one above, below, and one to each side. From each whorl emerged a being of howling wind, of cloud and smoke. Lance recognized them right away; they weren't that uncommon in the air above the Magic Zone.
Mei gestured with her staff towards the oncoming demons. "Go. Attack and destroy."
The living whirlwinds zoomed away, but Lance looked at Mei Ying worriedly. "That's not enough to kill that many."
She shook her head. "It should be enough to slow them. Even so, fly quickly."
As if to underscore that point, the air behind them erupted with furious screeches, and the rushing roaring of gales. It didn't last NEARLY as long as one might have wished.
Lance gave Mei Ying a look and said, "We're getting close...when can I turn?"
"Go up. Fly over the line."
Now he looked confused. "What good's that gonna..." then he realized what she was on about. "You're joking. Look, this is your show, but I don't get paid the full fare if I don't get you there in one piece!"
Mei Ying shook her head. "Do not be afraid. You will be safe flying above. I will use the power of the line to destroy these, and you can descend and pick me up again."
He grimaced and wrestled the controls, bringing the flyer on a steep climb. "You'd better know what you're doing..."
The mage's smile was bright...the expression of someone who'd just gotten a fine compliment in a relaxed setting. "Yes."
Then she threw herself out of the plane.
Plummeting was an oddly peaceful sensation. All feeling of weight vanished. The wind in one's face could be annoying, but activating the protections in her robe shielded Mei Ying from that. Perhaps one day she would learn to fly, just to zoom up to the edge of the air, and fall back down again. Safely, of course. Then again...for one who truly felt the power of the Dragon Lines, learning to fly was more of an...option than a necessity.
The air around her became suffused with a thin blue light that strengthened as she fell. Mei-Ying spread her arms, and heard the demons shriek behind her. Not far now. Not far.
But not close enough.
Radiant plumes of light exploded from her hands, from her arms, from her back....creating massive sheets that rippled over her and out from her sides like the northern lights, constantly changing hues. Her downward plummet slowed as her forward motion sped up. There, enfolded in the power of the ancestors, Mei Ying swiveled to face the oncoming demons.
"Wuxian ji lian," she called out, "Infinite cascade!" The ley line's light strengthened around her, making a kind of blue sphere that encapsulated the shifting 'manta ray' of pearly, rainbow light she'd created to fly. It bent towards her, responding to her need for power.
"First gate: Mirror of thrice-shattered jade!"
From overhead, a portal blazed to life, and a huge green crystal emerged. Immediately following it was a titanic jag of lightning that struck dead center, causing cracks to spider outwards along its craggy surface. In seconds it exploded into a rain of chunks, leaving only three smaller portions to descend to equal level with Mei Ying. Each piece was smooth, almost sculpted...and as it uncurled, was revealed to be an almost exact copy of Mei herself, albeit carved from glowing green stone. Each looked at her expectantly.
"Second gate: Rage of the Living Tempest!"
Each of the three duplicates smiled and turned to face outward from Mei Ying, now in their center. Each of them began casting their own spells, and were encompassed in massive surges of blue-white light that crackled like lightning bolts. Portals began to open. Much like the portals Mei had opened in the flyer before to delay the demons.
This time there were fifteen of them.
Thunder cracked, winds howled, and fifteen air elementals came soaring through the portals. Mei Ying pointed at the demonic horde, now nearly upon them...her jade doubles did likewise...
As one, the living tempests attacked!
Mei Ying drew on the lines again, refreshing herself, and lobbed sprays of different elements into the fracas...destroying any demon that seemed to get the bright idea of leaving the melee to come after the four mages hovering not far away. The three duplicates hovered there, watching their charges, directing their actions to best distract and destroy demons.
Low creatures such as these would not keep Mei Ying from her path!