Mercenary Magic Page 32

“Alive. They’re unconscious. So I need the Extraction Team, not Disposal,” she said. “Two elemental mages, early twenties and pretty high on magic. They seem to favor fire, so tell the team to wear fire-retardant gear.”

“Ok.” His voice cracked.

“Fred?”

“Yes?”

“Do it now, please. And tell them to hurry. The mages could wake up at any moment.”

“Ok, Sera.”

She hung up, then looked at Riley. “You stay here.”

“Where are you going?”

“It will take the Extraction Team at least five minutes to get here. Probably ten.” She took two decorative ropes off the side of the smoothie building. “In the meantime, I’m going to see what I can find to restrain our friendly fire mages.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Pier 39

“WHAT HAPPENED TO you at Smoothie Elixir this morning?”

Sera looked across the table at Naomi. The noonday sun shone down on her, making her silver hair sparkle like the ribbons that streamed from the handlebars of a child’s bike. Behind her, bands of tourists flooded the passages of Pier 39, and cross-legged hippies sat smoking magic weeds. A light breeze slid off the bay, cool and salty.

“When you asked me to meet you here for lunch, I hadn’t expected an interrogation,” Sera replied.

“When I asked you to meet me here for lunch, you hadn’t yet been attacked by a duo of fire-hurling mages. Is it true one of them kept up a fire stream for a good two minutes?”

“It sounds like you already know everything.”

“Not everything. The attack was on the news in the Mayhem rec room.”

Sera swore under her breath.

“The details were sketchy—and probably played up by the media.”

Probably. The media was always all over supernatural events, but they cared more for the wow factor of magic than the hard, cold facts.

“So, what happened?”

“Riley and I went out for a run. We stopped for smoothies, and those bozos just attacked us.” Sera tore a corner off her sourdough bowl and dunked it into her soup. “But if you were at Mayhem today, you must have seen the Extraction Team bring in the mages.”

“They didn’t bring them in.”

The bread slipped from Sera’s fingers. “What? I waited at the scene for them to come. I saw them load those mages into the truck as Riley and I left.”

“Before they drove off, some fancy lawyer arrived,” Naomi told her. “She works for one of the big magic dynasties.”

“Which one?”

“Sage.”

Go figure.

“Anyway, she had some papers signed by the Magic Council stating that the Sage Dynasty was taking responsibility for the delinquents, and they would deal with their punishment. Our team had no choice but to hand them over.”

So Harrison Sage had sent the fire mages to…to do what? To silence Sera? He hadn’t spoken one word to her last night, and yet he’d somehow come to believe that she knew something that threatened him. Maybe he’d had her and Kai followed. Maybe he knew they were working together. Well, if he’d sent people to deal with her, he was worried. And only people who were up to something had a reason to be that worried.

But none of that bothered her like the mention of the Magic Council had. Were they a part of this too, or had they just blindly signed off on one of Harrison Sage’s projects? Kai had said that Harrison was on the Council.

“Does this attack have anything to do with your job for Drachenburg?” Naomi asked her.

“How do you know about that? Simmons never spills the details of the big cases. He thinks that gives them an air of mystique—and us the drive to strive to be better so we can land them.”

“Yeah, that’s what he says, but it’s all talk. He pays well, but not well enough to stop gossip,” said Naomi. “Sera, everybody at Mayhem knows about your big case. Especially Roberts. Cutler also, but I think he’s more jealous of Drachenburg than of you. He’s been going around telling everyone that you and he are going to celebrate at Liquid when you’re done with the case.”

“In his dreams.”

“Cutler’s kind of on his own plane.” Naomi’s eyes drifted off for a moment before she steered her gaze back to Sera. “So does this have to do with your job for Drachenburg or not?”

“Maybe. Or maybe I just pissed off someone who likes to hold a grudge. We’ve put away a lot of supernatural delinquents.”

“You could have asked the fire mages what they wanted.”

“I was pretty busy dodging fireballs, but next time I’ll be sure to make time for smalltalk,” Sera said drily.

Naomi chuckled, and her hair went blue. “How is your assignment going?”

“Well, in the last twenty-four hours, I’ve been attacked by telekinetics and elementals, teleported across the Golden Gate Bridge, had the backs of my legs turned into ground beef—”

“The Hello Kitty bandages look great, by the way.”

“Thanks.” Sera tore another piece off her bread bowl and ate it.

“The Drachenburgs are like the most famous magic dynasty—anywhere. What’s it like working with one of them?”

“You don’t work with a Drachenburg. You work for them. Kai is an arrogant, self-entitled control freak with enough destructive magic spilling out of him to bring on an eternal winter.”

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