Mercenary Magic Page 45

“She’s insane,” Olivia whined, massaging her arm. “Kai, are you going to let her treat me like this?”

“You stole from me, and you want my sympathy?”

She pouted out her lips. “Yes. We’re equals. The magical elite. We play. We fight. We make up.” Olivia pointed her fake fingernail at Sera. It was a top-of-the-line fake fingernail, but it was fake nonetheless. “She is not our equal. She is a nobody. You don’t need to slum it with that trash.”

The flames snapped out at her, and this time it wasn’t Sera’s doing. The fire began to twist until a funnel of flames broke off from the barrier, skating toward her like an enraged tornado. Olivia planted her feet and refused to move. She glared at Kai through zigzag-cut bangs.

“You wouldn’t dare.”

Kai met her stare, his merciless eyes unblinking. A few seconds before the fire tornado would have collided into Olivia, she jumped aside.

“You son of a dragon’s whore!” she screamed at him, raising her hands. Broken shards of brick rose into the air.

“Time to fight, boss?” Dal asked Kai as he and the other two commandos came up behind him.

The brick shards were humming softly. The countdown to their explosions into micro splinters had begun. This was going to hurt.

“There is no point in fighting,” a voice echoed.

A gust of magic swept across the hollow husk of a room, putting out Kai’s fire and grounding Olivia’s bricks. Sera squinted her eyes, struggling to see past the smoke and shadows. A man stepped out of the darkness, flipping down his hood. It was Finn Drachenburg, and he was holding the Priming Bangles.


An Ancient Purpose

KAI STOOD VERY still, his eyes frozen over with cold fury. And those eyes stalked his cousin as he crossed the room. Finn took his place between Harrison and Olivia, handing each of them one pair of the Priming Bangles. Then he turned a smug smile on Kai.

“I thought you had people watching him,” Sera whispered.

“I did.”

“They decided to take a little nap,” Finn told him, his smile growing wider.

“What do you think you’re doing here, helping these miscreants?” the dragon demanded. His voice was low, his words oozing venom.

“Helping them?” A demented laugh burst from Finn’s mouth. “No, no. You are mistaken. I’m not helping them.” He stood taller. “I’m leading them.”

Kai’s face went blank, but his eyes were boiling over with volcanic vengeance. “Explain yourself.”

“You’re not in charge here, Kai. I am. In this room, I am king, and you are nothing. Your position is irrelevant. Your magic is irrelevant. Except in how it can serve us.” Finn smirked at him. “And you will be helping us.”

Kai folded his arms across his chest. “No. I will not. Unlike all of you, my mind is not weak. I can fight the mind control you could not.”

“You misunderstand. Everything.”

“I’m still waiting for you to start making sense.”

“I’m not controlling them,” Finn said. “They’re acting of their own free will.”

“The madness in their eyes indicates otherwise.”

“That is not madness. It is magic unfettered, broken from the bonds that have held us back for far too long.”

Sera looked into his eyes. That spark—it was not magic intoxication like she’d thought; it was the spark of a fanatic. “You lied to us.”

And her magic hadn’t picked it up. Neither had Kai’s. Finn was dabbling in some seriously strong magic.

Mock shock washed across the fanatic’s face. “Did I? Oh, dear.”

“There’s no magic apocalypse coming, is there?”

“A revolution, yes. An apocalypse, no. I might have played up the death and destruction a bit.” He shrugged. “But how else could I lure Kai out of his protective perch in that ugly office building?”

“You were in control of your own body that day I fought you at Magical Research Laboratories.”

Finn dipped his chin. “And what a glorious fight it was. You shattered my wind barrier with a single touch. A Magic Breaker. It’s a rare skill, and their magic tends to be too weak to break any spell of consequence. You broke a first tier spell.” He stepped forward. “I’ve never seen anything like you before.”

Kai moved between them, his eyes screaming murder. The dragon was dangerously close to the surface. “Stay away from her.”

“We’ll chat later,” Finn promised Sera, then turned his gaze to Kai. “You don’t understand. You think we are the enemy. We’re not. We’re the solution the supernatural world has been craving. We want a better future. And soon all of the other supernaturals will realize they do too. This is all for the greater good.”

“Save the speeches,” Kai snapped at him. “You’re not going to convert me to your cult.”

Finn let out a long, melodramatic sigh, one he’d clearly been practicing for a long time to get just right. “I knew you wouldn’t see things our way. You never were a visionary, Kai.” His voice dropped, and he added darkly, “So I wasn’t planning on recruiting you to the cause. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be useful.”

He motioned the Sage siblings forward. Harrison and Olivia each set one pair of the Priming Bangles into Finn’s hands.

“Don’t make me laugh.” Steam simmered off of Kai’s breath. “Am I supposed to be afraid of a few children’s toys?”

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