Mercenary Magic Page 51

Flames licked the walls and slid across the ceiling, swallowing the block of ice. Steam filled the room. She bathed in the wet, hot air.

“Sera.”

She grinned at Kai. His hair was sticking up at a dozen different angles. “You look funny.”

“The fire.”

“Disorderly.”

“You need to stop it.”

She giggled. “If you could only see yourself, you’d flip out at the messiness of it.”

He pinched her hands.

“Ouch!”

“You’re drunk on magic.”

“Nope.”

“You need to rein it in, or you’ll kill us all.”

She stared into his eyes. They were just so…serious. She exploded into laughter.

“Ok, let’s try this a different way.” He coughed. “Reach for water. Use it to put out the fire.”

“Why would I do a silly thing like that? I like fire. I like making things burn.”

“Burning things is fun.” He leaned into her, his words feather-light against her cheek. “But it’s nothing compared to the high you get when exploding that fire into steam.” He slid his hand down her arm. “Fire is intense. It burns out, and then it is gone. Water lingers. It’s smooth and soft, seducing you with its touch until you can’t even remember fire’s name.”

“Ok.” Sera blew him a kiss. “I’ll give this water fellow a try.”

She scraped her hands across the floor, searching it out. She found something else entirely.

“Oh, hello, you,” she purred, tugging on the magic. It wasn’t as old as an element, but it was far more exotic.

“What is it?”

“Glyphs. They’re going stale, though.”

“I don’t see them.”

“Of course not. They’re hidden,” she told him.

“Can you reveal them?”

“Sure. Why not?”

She peeled away the invisible cloak, and the concealed glyphs pulsed to life beneath them before fading.

“They are not lit up,” said Kai.

“You need to pour your magic into the glyphs.” Her head was clearing, at least enough to realize that the air was drenched in smoke. “That’s how you activate them.” Sweat slid down her face. She coughed. “This air is awful.”

“Welcome back.”

She threw his hands off of hers. “I didn’t go anywhere.”

“No?” Kai winked at her. “How about we all get out of here?”

“Sounds splendid.”

He jumped up. He dragged Callum to the glyphs, then Tony. He was going back for Dal when a glowing ball of silver magic shot through the flames protecting the door and hit him square in the chest. He lost his hold on Dal, and they both tumbled down.

Burst after of burst of silver light shot out of the flames, like someone had found a way to stuff magic balls into a futuristic ray gun. The swarm of them whooshed overhead and hit the wall, splattering like bugs against a windshield. Keeping low, Sera grabbed a hold of Kai and Dal and dragged them onto the glyphs.

“Hey.” She climbed over Kai to look him in the face. “Are you awake?”

He cracked open a single eye. “Barely.”

“I need your help. You’ve got to activate the glyphs, so we can get out of here.”

“Can’t,” he muttered. “I’m dry.”

“What do you mean, you’re dry?”

“No magic left. I need to recharge.”

“How long?” she asked him.

“Longer than we have.”

Past the flames, angry voices were screaming curses and spells. Large chunks of the walls exploded, raining down broken shards and burning ashes on everyone in the room. A vampire was squeezing through the window. Behind the beast, at least three more were waiting. All were hungry. The roof shook with heavy tremors.

They’d run out of time.

Sera looked down at Kai. His messy hair didn’t seem so funny anymore. His collapse was the writing on the wall, the message that the last defense had fallen. Even the dragon could no longer fight. She was all they had left—she and her abominable magic. If only she knew what she was doing.

Mages, fairies, vampires, beasts… They flooded into the room, their eyes promising death. Death, not pain. They were the cleanup crew, Sera realized. They were going to make sure none of them lived to speak of what had happened here.

“Stop!” Sera shouted out, surprised when they actually did. But it was only a matter of time before they realized that she did not command them.

She wasn’t going to wait for that time to come. She slapped her hands down hard on the floor, pouring her magic into the glyphs. She drew out everything she had, everything she’d spent years burying. It flooded her, burning through her veins. It gushed into the glyphs, and they swallowed it all up greedily, bursting to life with a sapphire glow. The lines spread across the floor, the blinding blue light swallowing the room whole.

Sera’s stomach lurched, then she landed with a thud, sliding against an icy marble floor. Tony was there beside her, and Callum and Dal and even Finn too. But where was Kai? She pulled herself across the floor by her hands, scouring the room for him.

She found him under the desk, his eyes closed. She tapped his cheek to wake him.

He caught her hand. “Sera.” His eyes opened. “This looks like my office.”

“Yes.”

“The others?”

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