Mercenary Magic Page 37

Harrison Sage glared out through the wind curtain, his hands tugging against the wall of magic. His malachite-green eyes gleamed with that now familiar manic energy. Beside him, Olivia’s eyes glowed like boiling honey. More mage zombie puppets for Team Apocalypse. But where was the puppet master? And how had he managed to place two first tier mages under his spell?

“You cannot break free,” Kai said, watching Harrison’s war with the wind.

Harrison’s malachite eyes began to pulse with sick, nauseating magic. They looked like a pair of lightbulbs with a loose connection.

“Creepy,” Tony commented, and the other two commandos nodded in agreement.

A translucent, semi-solid glob of magic oozed out of Harrison’s hand, slid down his leg, and rolled across the floor onto the array of glyphs. There it dissolved, letting off a whiff of lemon-scented magic as it melted into the arcane symbols. In unison, Harrison and Olivia swung out their fists to punch through the wind barrier. The punch didn’t shatter the whole thing—Kai’s magic was too strong for that—but it did tear a sizable hole in it. Before Kai could seal the gap, the Sage siblings jumped through the glowing glyphs and disappeared. The portal snapped shut with a heavy pop, sucking all the magic out of the room.

Free of their tornado prison, the remaining three mages stepped forward with demented grins. Flames burst to life in the elemental’s hands, singeing the cuffs of her jacket. She was dressed in a black skirt suit that belonged in some fancy New York City high-rise office, not a dusty, dirty storage room. She was wearing high-heeled pumps, for heaven’s sake. Battle wear it was not.

On either side of her, the summoner and the shifter unrolled their power. Ribbons of glowing magic swirled up from the summoner, spitting out a swarm of seagulls that swerved and spun overhead like a bunch of bats out of a horror movie. Muscle rippled across the shifter’s body. A low, deep growl rumbled deep in his chest. A werewolf. Shit.

“We don’t have time for this,” Kai said, growling back.

Most mages who could change shape took at least a minute to shift. This one had only half-morphed into a werewolf when Kai exploded into a dragon. And an explosion it truly was. One moment he was a man and the next…he was something very inhuman. Dragon Kai was well over twenty feet tall, so enormous that his shift had taken down a sizable chunk of the roof. He was as black as pitch with a dark blue-green sheen to his scales and wings, like a dragonfly. His eyes were that same devastatingly beautiful shade of electric blue.

The flock of seagulls turned into a steep dive, angling for Sera. The dragon snapped out his jaws, swallowing them up in a single bite. As the summoner fainted, the elemental shot a fireball at Kai. It bounced off his scales with a melodic clink. Rolling his enormous eyes, the dragon smacked her against the wall. She didn’t get up. Now alone, the werewolf stared up at the prime predator, his eyes growing wide. Then he turned and made a run for it.

He wasn’t fast enough.

The dragon raised his foot, lethal yet still somehow elegant, and stomped down on the fleeing werewolf. Yelp. Crunch. Holy shit.

Magic snapped, unwinding the layers of dragon until Kai was a man again—well, in the shape of a man again. The dragon was still lurking inside of him. That dragon stared out at her from behind magic-charged eyes.

“What the hell is the matter with you?” Sera demanded.

He blinked, apparently surprised. Maybe no one had ever dared to tell off the big, bad dragon before.

“He was retreating,” she pushed on. “You did the equivalent of shooting him in the back.” But with a crunch. She cringed.

“You kill monsters for a living. Don’t tell me you’ve suddenly decided to be squeamish,” he said, disapproval in his voice.

“It’s not the same at all. That was a man, not a beast. And you are a psychopath.”

Kai shrugged. “He’s not dead.” His eyes flicked over to the broken body she was making a concentrated effort not to see. “He turns into a werewolf. He’ll heal.”

“And you turn into a dragon. So it’s ok if I poke you with my sword?”

Kai flashed his teeth at her. “You’re welcome to try, sweetheart.”

She rolled her eyes. Dragons. “Whatever. We can duel it out in your dungeon later.”

Magic flickered in his eyes.

“Uh, that didn’t come out right.” She cleared her throat. “Let’s just concentrate on our more immediate problem. Harrison and Olivia got away. With the Priming Bangles.”

“I can feel them.” His lids dropped. “They’re close. But where?” He grabbed a hold of her hand.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“Shh,” he said, taking her other hand. His magic poured through their joined hands, pulsing through her body. “I need you, Sera.”

Her breath caught in her throat.

“…to help me find them,” he continued. “If we combine our magic, it will be easier to track them down.”

“But—”

“No buts. The men won’t say a thing about your magic.” He opened his eyes to look at the trio of commandos.

“Nope.”

“Not a word.”

“Our lips are sealed.”

“There you go,” said Kai.

It wasn’t the commandos she was worried about. She believed them when they said they wouldn’t snitch; the look in their eyes said they’d follow Kai’s orders to their graves. No, they weren’t the problem. The problem was Kai. Kai the dragon. Kai the insanely powerful mage who sat on the Magic Council. He was the one she had to worry about. He just didn’t know it yet.

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