Mercenary Magic Page 43

They passed several rooms, some empty and some stocked with piles of wood. Oak, like at the Palace, and a lot of it. The mages were planning on brewing up some heavy duty protection magic. The question was why? What were they trying to protect?

“We’re close. There.” Kai pointed at the closed door at the end of the tunnel. “They’re in that room.”

Tony pressed his hand to the door. “I see eight mages.”

“There should be dozens. Where are all the rest?” Sera asked.

Kai shook his head. “I don’t know. But they can’t be far away. Callum, come stand in front with me. The two of us are going to put up a wind barrier to shield us from whatever magic they try to throw at us.”

As Callum moved beside him, Kai continued, “Dal, I need you to cast a protective net behind us, just in case some of their friends are hiding back there, ready to rush us.”

With Dal in place, Kai hit the door with a blast that ripped it off its hinges and shot it into the room. Subtle he was not. It was no wonder he liked tanks.

The wind barrier roared to life as they stepped into the room. Behind them, a net of sparkling gold lights materialized. Sera didn’t know what it was, but something told her it could take a whole lot of damage. They were as ready as they’d ever be to take on the mage zombie cult.

Except the mages didn’t attack. They just stood there, their crazed eyes watching them with demented delight. And it was only when Sera tried to take her next step that she realized why.

Her foot wouldn’t move. Around her, Kai and the commandos jerked, also stuck. Sera looked down, but what she saw wasn’t tar, or quicksand, or even magic tar or magic quicksand. It was something a million times worse: glowing glyphs. She didn’t even have a chance to kiss that dingy dungeon goodbye before she and the others were sucked up into darkness and spit out into another dingy room.

Sera fell forward, tripping over a pile of broken bricks, but at least she managed to stay on her feet this time. She realized how irrelevant that was the moment she got a good look at the room—and the army of mages before her. She reached back and drew her sword. She’d never taken on this many mages, especially not ones juiced up on some crazy mix of joo joo. But as Kai was so fond of mentioning, he could just turn into a dragon and step on them. The three commandos didn’t strike her as lightweights either. Kai Drachenburg was not the sort of man to employ lightweights.

Sera looked back at Kai, knowing that he’d shoot her a confident smirk. But he wasn’t smirking. He wasn’t even standing. Kai and the three commandos were lying unconscious on the floor, and she was all that stood between them and the army of mad mages.



THE LINE OF mages parted, and Olivia the crazy telekinetic stepped through.

“Now, aren’t you interesting,” she said, looking Sera over. “Why aren’t you napping?”

“I don’t nap.”

Olivia arched a perfect eyebrow. “Oh, no?”

“Nope, no naps,” Sera told her. “I usually don’t even go to bed before midnight. I’m firmly in the insomniac camp.” She was spewing nonsense, but none of that mattered. She had to keep Olivia talking long enough to…

To what, Sera? So what if you’re good with a sword. There are two dozen of them, and only one of you. Every single one of those mages is drunk on magic. You don’t stand a chance.

Sera knew the voice in her head was right, but she ignored it anyway. She had to think of something. If she couldn’t fight, maybe she could at least figure out a way to wake the others. Five to twenty weren’t great odds, but it sounded a whole lot better than one to twenty.

“Insomniac, you say?” Olivia laughed. “More like a freak of nature. That sleeping spell was cast by seven first tier mages. It even works against smug mages who fancy themselves a dragon.” She sneered down at Kai before returning her haughty gaze to Sera. “But not you. What are you?”

“Sera Dering, mercenary.” Grinning, she pushed out her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

Olivia turned up her pouty little nose. “What are you, retarded or something?”

“I have no magic, and I kill monsters for a living.” Better to let them think she had no magic. After a lifetime of pretending just that, it was an easy act to play. “My intelligence has been questioned on occasion. And my sanity too.”

“It’s no wonder Kai has a thing for you. He’s a deranged little dragon,” said Harrison, stepping up beside his sister.

“She’s a regular nutcase herself.”

Harrison’s eyes panned down Sera’s legs. “I think she’s rather cute actually.”

“Please. Don’t tell me you’re chasing after Kai’s leftovers.” Olivia frowned. “Again.” She swept out her hand.

The pile of bricks beneath Sera’s feet tumbled down, and with all the grace of a tripped elephant, she landed hard on her butt. Above her, Olivia snickered.

“She’s nothing special. A freak. And one who is in desperate need of a makeover.” She looked down on Sera, distaste oozing out of her exfoliated pores and dripping off of her. “My dear girl, hasn’t anyone ever told you that the ghetto look is out this year?”

Yeah, Olivia Sage really needed a punch to her pretty face. Sera was happy to deliver it, but not just yet. She’d never cared what stupid mean people thought of her, and she wasn’t going to start now. But maybe she could use this to her advantage. Sera gave her torn, dirty clothes a mortified look and scooted away from the telekinetic princess.

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