Mercenary Magic Page 2

“Idiots,” Naomi muttered, but the hint of a smile settled on her lips. She just couldn’t help herself. It must have been her fairy blood. Fairies loved basking in people’s admiration. And people loved admiring them.

Sera returned her attention to the mage. The field of cyclones had settled down somewhat, maybe enough for her to make a run for him. He closed his eyes and rolled back his shoulders, lowering into his knees as he raised his hands in the air.

Uh-oh.

Not only could the mad mage create tornados and toss fire balls, he was a summoner too. The cyclones drew closer to him, as if they were being sucked in. They spun faster and faster, even as they merged into a single spinning wall. It encased him, shielding him as he stood motionless in a summoning pose.

Sera exchanged worried glances with Naomi. She didn’t know what the mage was summoning, but chances were it wasn’t good. There were many flavors of magic. This mage’s flavor was highly destructive elemental magic. It was super unlikely that he summoned cute kittens and bunnies.

“How about you fly in from above?” Sera suggested.

Naomi shook her head. “His cyclone wall is over ten feet tall. I can’t fly that high. I’m only half-fairy.”

“I’ll give you a boost.”

Naomi gave her a look that said she’d rather eat gravel. “The last time you gave me a boost, my butt landed in the Pacific Ocean.”

That again. That particular mage had turned out to be a short-range teleporter. Like Sera could have predicted that.

“He looks too busy summoning the creature of our destruction to teleport away,” Sera said. “And he’s not about to abandon that door, not after all the effort he’s gone through to get to it. Come on. I’ll give you a boost over the wind wall, then you just flutter down beside him and blast him in the face with some Fairy Dust. Easy-peasy. It will be fun.”

“Sera, you and I have strikingly different ideas of what constitutes fun.” Naomi sighed. “But I don’t suppose we have much of a choice anyway.”

Naomi backed up as far as she could, which put her back flush against the fence. Fingers poked through the gaps in the chain-link pattern as everyone tried to squeeze in a lucky rub. Naomi didn’t flirt with them this time. She burst into a sprint, picking up speed with every stride. She sprang up, kicking off the launch pad Sera had formed with her hands. Sera pushed up to give her that extra boost—then held her breath as Naomi shot toward the wind wall. If she hit it, she’d bounce right off and get hurled clear across the parking lot. And that would be a whole lot worse than landing in the ocean.

Naomi slipped over the lip of the wind wall, narrowly missing it as she rolled upright. She fluttered down gently into the eye of the storm and landed right beside the mage. As she set down, she threw out her hands, blasting him with a shot of Fairy Dust. Sera could just make out the cloud of twinkling gold and silver particles through the windy barrier. The mage swayed to the side, but he did not go down. The storm weakened for a second before blaring up again, stronger than ever.

“Uh, Sera,” Naomi called from behind the wind curtain.

Damn. The mage was too strong. As in, really, really strong. Sera had never seen anyone resist a blast of Fairy Dust, especially not a blast to the face. The mage spared Naomi an irked look, then returned to summoning whatever beast he was about to unleash on the world. The wall of wind was growing. It was up to twelve feet now. A band of flames licked the upper rim. Sera could just make out the fiery form of a dragon forming within the barrier. It was only half the height of the wind wall but growing fast. Sera had to do something. And fast. If she waited until the dragon finished forming, a lot of people were going to get hurt.

She backed up to the fence. Their audience didn’t try to rub her. They were, however, shooting videos of the slowly coalescing dragon. Sera made a run for the barrier. She’d have to coordinate this just right, or the whole world would witness the magic she’d spent her whole life trying to hide. And then it would only be a matter of time before the Magic Council figured out what she was and sent assassins to kill the ‘abomination’.

A fiery tail swept out from the barrier, swinging toward Sera. She hopped aside and drew her sword, swinging the blade down to sever the phantom tail. The barrier shook, and the mage stumbled back. But the effect lasted only a moment. The dragon was made of magic, not flesh. The air sizzled and cracked, stinking of sulfur. A newly regrown tail whipped toward Sera’s head. She rolled to avoid a fiery beheading, then slashed out to sever the nasty appendage once again.

A roar of pure fury erupted from the mage’s mouth. He’d fallen back to the rear side of the building, which blocked out most of their eager audience’s view. Most, but not all. Sera caught a glimpse of Naomi, held in place by a fiery tentacle wrapped around her ankle. The mage was almost done summoning the dragon. And a whole dragon was a hell of a lot worse than a wayward tail. Sera had run out of time.

She darted forward, aiming straight for the stormy barrier. She reached out with her senses, trying to get a feel for its magic. Every type of magic sang a unique tune, a magical musical fingerprint. This barrier sang of arctic winds and scorching fire. It sang of forgotten days and ancient beasts. The song was powerful. It rumbled and roared through Sera’s ears. It burned her nose and froze her tongue.

A cool soothing film slid over Sera’s skin, invisible but potent. And when she slammed into the barrier, the mage’s spells snapped, their magic pouring across her. His eyes wide with shock, it took the mage a moment to lift his hands up once more. It was a moment too long. Sera punched him hard in the head, and he went down, his magic dissolving into thin air. The fire and wind were gone. The dragon too.

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