The rest of the group ascended the hound at Col's insistence and Lorenzo's pleas. Marque bid a tearful goodbye to his master, certain he would never see him again. The grizzled playwright maintained a grim determination as he faced his foe. He held back the screeching winds with everything he had. Even in the midst of the storm, he managed to nod in acknowledgement.
The hound howled in distress, but Lorenzo soothed it with skillful hands. When it had calmed down Lorenzo directed it forward. It began to rush ahead. However, as it moved, its path took them directly toward the struggling man. Suddenly it opened its large maw, clamped down on Gardevoir's cloak, and hoisted him into the air! His eyes widened in surprise as he glanced up at the large hound. Then he began to laugh, "Mad beast! You simply couldn't let me take my final curtain with a hero's end, could you?!"
He continued to laugh bobbing from the dog's mouth as they ran along. His protective barrier still enveloped the entire group. Then the dog tossed Gardevoir into the air behind it. The man reached out with his free hand and clasped Marque's. With his pupil's assistance he settled down onto the beast's back. After catching his breath he addressed everyone, "This was my plan all along, of course."
He gave Marque a knowing wink.
Afterward, he turned his attention behind them. The entity turned its head with them as they whisked past. It began to break apart into very fine grainy particles. The winds began to lift pieces of it into the air. The same consistency and shape of sand. Countless pieces ascended high into the atmosphere and blew outward. They encroached ever further. Taking up more and more sky. Then...they began to descend.
Gardevoir's face turned from surprised delight into solemn soberness. He spoke while staring into the darkening sky, "We are not out of this act yet."
He took his staff and tapped different pieces of the group's equipment. Lorenzo's arrows, Bastian's sword, Col's shield, and Marque's mask. They all glowed reddish orange and emanated a very warm feeling. Physically and emotionally. "Once we reach the tower we will be safe."
Up ahead their path took a turn.
Lorenzo could take one of multiple routes. Some safer, but slower and others faster, but more dangerous. He was their driver and their lives were in his hands.