Home > Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)

Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)
Author: Ella Summers

CHAPTER ONE

Battle of the Elements

SERA HIT THE dirt, narrowly missing the fireball tearing through the air toward her. It blasted over her head and crashed into the East River. She barely had time to watch it. She was too busy rolling to avoid the second fireball. Its enraged crackle hissed in her ears as it passed. Yes, enraged. Magic was as alive as any person or monster on this earth, its song as unique as a fingerprint—or a snowflake. Especially magic from that mage. He stared across the field at her, an amused twitch tugging at the corner of his lip.

As though he’d heard her internal meanderings about snowflakes, he pushed his hands forward to unleash a sphere of sparkling blue light that shot at Sera like a missile. She rolled away, the ground rumbling beneath her as the ice blast hammered down. A million tiny shards shattered. They bit at her body, dissolving through her bare arms, her stretchy sport leggings, and her tank top. She sprang up from the roll, shaking off the remaining ice splinters. They sprinkled down to the grass like crystal tears.

“Sera, this would be a lot easier if you stayed on your feet,” her opponent said, his lip twitch upgrading to a full-out smirk.

“Easier for you maybe. To hit me,” she added in an agitated growl.

“You need to fight back,” he said calmly. Before she could speak, he added quickly, “With magic. We’re practicing magic, not snark. That smart mouth of yours won’t help you defeat your opponents in the Magic Games.”

He was right. And Sera hated it when Kai Drachenburg was right.

“Giving up already?” he called out to her.

In response, she clenched her teeth, reaching for her magic. Lightning flashed in the cloudless sky, and a bolt of crackling purple-gold energy slammed down at Kai. He moved away, calm and agile, easily sidestepping her attack. The lightning bolt crashed against the ground with a resounding boom.

“Better.” He waved his hand, crystalizing the residual lightning flames to ice. “But not good enough. You’re moving too slow. Instead of puffing out one spell at a time, you need to link your magic into combination attacks. Your spells need to work together, like an orchestra.”

Said the man rated number one of all elemental mages in the whole world. Magic came easily to him. As for her… Well, she’d spent too many years hiding her magic. Using it was like riding an old, rusty bicycle. With a loose handlebar. And a flat tire.

And then there were those other times—the times when her magic bubbled and burned beneath the surface, longing to gush out. It was too wild for her to control. Not that she was going to complain to Kai about that. He wouldn’t understand. For him, self-control was simply part of his daily regiment, like brushing his teeth. Or stepping on werewolves.

“Ok,” Sera said, refocusing.

She drew her hands together. Soft vibrations rippled across her palms. They grew stronger and spread, flooding her body with magic that tingled and pulsed and popped. Her head burned with magic fever. Her magic wanted out. Now.

But she held onto it. A sweet and tangy taste—vanilla and cherries—slid across her tongue, flooding her mouth. Her magic was breaking free. She held it back a few more seconds, letting it build up. Then, just as she thought she’d collapse from the strain, her magic burst out of her. A swirling ball of wind exploded from her hands. She hurled it at Kai.

And this time, he wasn’t fast enough.

It smacked against his chest, the impact throwing him off his feet. He hit the ground hard but got up immediately. He stared at her, a challenge in his eyes.

Sera didn’t wait. She dipped again into her magic, and a wind barrier burst out of the ground to swallow Kai whole. It spun like a tornado, trapping him inside. Red-orange flames sparked to life atop the lip of the spinning wind funnel. They slid down the sides like a waterfall of fire, setting the wind funnel alight.

“Let’s see you get out of that,” Sera said softly, more to herself than to him. She brushed off her hands in satisfaction.

An ominous crack splintered the air. A moment later, the burning wind barrier froze solid. A second crack, louder than the first, swallowed the silence. The frozen cocoon shattered, and Kai stepped forward. The icy pebbles dissolved to steam beneath his feet. The heavy vapor wafted and curled in the air around him, hugging him like a suit of armor.

Sera gaped at him. “How is this even possible?”

He gave her a smug wink, and the fog armor dissolved. “Practice. Years of practice.”

“Practice?” she choked out.

Any other mage could have practiced every second of his life and never been able to do anything like that. Kai didn’t just wield the elements; he bent them to his will. He dominated every fabric of their magic.

“It’s no wonder everyone’s afraid of you,” she said.

A smile spread across his lips. “Not you.”

“I told you before. I’m too dumb to be scared of anyone.”

“That’s not true, Sera. You just like to pretend that it is. You act tough and prickly so that people leave you alone.”

“It didn’t work with you.”

“Maybe dragons like tough and prickly.”

She grunted in response. In addition to being the master of the elements, Kai was one of very few mages in the world who could shift into a dragon. He was dangerous. She’d had to remind herself of that far too many times over the past several weeks. Her stupid hormones kept getting in the way of common sense.

“Could you teach me to do that with my magic?” she asked him, steering the conversation away from dangerous waters.

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