Mercenary Magic Page 44

“Are my clothes really so bad?”

A predatory gleam flashed in Olivia’s eyes. She thought she had her. “Not if you’re fashioning yourself to spend your life as a hobo. But why anyone would choose to spend their life in such idle, filthy laziness I cannot even imagine.”

“Oh.” Sera scooted back again. “Well, I was planning on buying some new shoes.” Scoot, scoot. “After I get paid for this job.” Scoot, scoot. She bumped against Kai. Bingo.

“I have a feeling you won’t be getting paid, dear.”

Sera stretched her hand back to touch Kai’s arm. She could feel the thin film of foreign magic wrapped tightly across his skin. Whatever it was, it sure was potent. That must have been the seven-mage sleeping spell. Funny, it had bounced right off of her. She’d never been immune to magic before. Maybe it was a fluke, a side effect of her weird magic. Or was this because Kai had told her to turn her magic barrier inside out? Was she reflecting magic like the prison bars had done to her? If so, her shield wasn’t affecting any of the mages in the room. She didn’t see anyone keeled over in pain.

“Soon Kai won’t be in any condition to pay you,” continued Olivia.

Which meant they expected to either bankrupt him or kill him. Kai had too much money and magic to make either of those an easy feat.

“Hush, you’ve already said too much,” Harrison scolded her.

“She won’t be around to tattle.”

“I don’t know. She might still be useful.”

“Useful as what? Planning to clean her up, put her in a lacy nightie, and use her as your bedroom battle maiden ornament?”

Harrison frowned at her. “Don’t be crass.”

As they were busy bickering, Sera slid her fingers along Kai’s wrist, tugging on the magic layer. A corner came loose, and she grabbed onto it, slowly peeling the film away. She unraveled it strand by strand, piece by piece, until she could feel him start to wake up.

“Getting defensive of your new ornament, are you?”

“Why do you always have to be the center of attention, Olivia? Why?” Harrison demanded.

“This isn’t about me.”

“No, it’s not. But you’re trying to make it be.”

One of Kai’s eyes blinked open, meeting Sera’s gaze. She gave his hand a squeeze, willing him to brush off the final remnants of the sleeping spell.

“Oh, I’m sorry if you can’t seem to get Mom and Dad’s attention, no matter what silly nerd award you win,” Olivia said.

“They know they don’t need to worry about me. They’re too busy cleaning up after your messes anyway. It must be exhausting to be a nonstop, one-person train wreck for the tabloids.”

Kai kept his eyes on Sera as a ring of fire flared to life around the mages. The Sage siblings just kept on bickering, completely unaware that they’d been cut off from their army.

“You’re just jealous that you don’t get to be in the newspaper.”

“I’m on the Magic Council. I have no need to toss my panties at the media to get their attention.”

“I never—”

“Don’t even deny it. It made the front page of Supernatural Times.”

A sly grin spread across Olivia’s coral lips. “Oh, right.” She shrugged. “What can I say? The reporter was hot.”

“I can’t believe you managed to get the Priming Bangles out of Kai’s vault without making out with his guards.”

Harrison turned, and his exasperation melted into cold fury when he saw his army trapped behind a wall of fire. He spun around to glare at Sera, and his mouth flopped open when he found Kai standing beside her.

“You’re supposed to be asleep,” Harrison told him.

“The bed you provided was uncomfortable.” Kai looked at Sera. “Try to wake up the others.” He turned back to Harrison. “You will tell me what you’re planning.”

“You don’t give orders here, Kai.”

Deep vibrations echoed beneath the ground, rumbling the floor under their feet.

Harrison folded his arms across his chest. “And you’re not going to intimidate me.”

Having freed Tony from the sleeping spell, Sera set to work on peeling it off of Dal. “Threaten to step on him,” she told Kai. “That’ll make him talk.”

“I thought you didn’t approve of stepping on people.” His magic was freckled with amusement.

“For those two, I’m willing to make an exception. Especially her.” Sera glared at Olivia. “She said I looked like a hobo. And called me a bedroom ornament.”

“Why on earth would you do a thing like that?” Kai asked her.

Olivia shrugged. “I speak only truths. I can’t be blamed if she doesn’t like it.”

“You’re lucky she didn’t hack your arm off with her sword,” Kai told her.

“That brute?” She sneered at Sera. “She wouldn’t even dare.”

A tendril of fire snapped at Olivia’s arm, making her squeal and hop away. Kai looked back at Sera.

“Hey, stop hijacking my fire.”

Despite his reproving words, he sounded more intrigued than annoyed. Sera didn’t have a clue how she’d done it. She’d had a cruel desire to crack a fiery whip at Olivia, and the flames had simply complied. She helped Callum up, then reeled in her magic again. Letting it out had been a very bad idea. Her magic had a will of its own. Now that it had played a bit, it didn’t ever want to go back inside and hide.

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