Home > Rival Magic (Dragon Born Serafina #4)(17)

Rival Magic (Dragon Born Serafina #4)(17)
Author: Ella Summers

The wolf’s teeth snapped at her, but a blast of telekinetic magic knocked him off. Sera waved at the telekinetic in Ryker’s group, then twirled her hands in the air, casting a ring of fire around the wolf, who shifted back into a man and retreated from the fire.

“You won’t kill me,” he said, glaring at Sera.

Before she could prove him wrong, a knife landed in his head, killing him. Sera dispersed the fire and spun around. Ryker’s team had killed all of the attackers, but as they moved to retrieve their weapons, a second, larger group of werewolves closed in around them.

Sera went to meet them. Each step felt like she had lead in her boots. The black splotches were doing a little dance in front of her eyes. She swayed. Someone caught her. She looked into the blurry face of Ryker.

“You hit your head pretty hard,” he said. “You need to rest.”

“If I don’t fight, we’ll all be resting all right. Resting in the ground.”

She tried to push him off of her, but everything went dark. She was still conscious, but her eyes refused to work. She heard the snarls and snaps of attacking wolves. Scraping shoes against the crumbling streets. Magic exploding. A soothing warmth permeated her body. Light flashed, and she could see again. The bodies of the wolves lay strewn across the street. Two of Ryker’s friends were dead too. Those who remained had cornered the final shifter, a mage in human form. Sera slowly rose to her feet, and this time, the ground didn’t sway beneath her.

The shifter was laughing hysterically.

“What’s so funny?” one of Ryker’s band demanded.

“You,” the shifter hissed. “You are working with that which you despise.” His bloodshot eyes darted to Sera. “Dragon Born.” Then he fell to the ground, dead.

Every eye in that alley turned on Sera. She could feel the shift in their magic, the shift to hatred.

“Dragon Born,” Ryker growled, looking at her with pure loathing.

They all stalked forward, their hatred solidifying with every step. They weren’t interested in talking, only killing. Sera saw it in their eyes. She felt it in their magic. Their hate had overrun all else.

So she ran. Despite Ryker’s healing spells, she wasn’t at full power. She couldn’t fight them all, not on her own. And she didn’t want to. They had families, loved ones. They were victims in all this too. Alden was manipulating everything.

A knife landed in her side as she fled. Sera gritted her teeth, pushing down the fresh rush of pain. She had to keep running. If she stopped, she was dead.

“We’ll kill you if we ever see you again!” Ryker’s voice shouted out. “Do you hear that, abomination?! We’ll kill you!”

The pure hatred in his words hurt more than the knife in her side. Sera wasn’t one to care about what awful people thought about her, but these people were just normal, everyday folks who had been thrown into Alden’s game. They were good people, people whose compassion had died the moment they’d learned what she was. What hope was there for the world as long as good people couldn’t see past this prejudice?

Sera ducked into a building. It looked like it had once been a majestic skyscraper, but there was little left of that majesty now. It was broken, bare, a whisper of its former self, worn through to its skeleton.

She climbed up the internal walls, using the exposed beams to get to higher ground. When she decided she’d gone high enough, she pulled the knife out of her side. Ironically, Ryker’s knife had punctured the very spot he’d healed earlier. She set her hand over the wound, trying to stop the bleeding. Of course it was futile. She needed bandages. Or healing magic. That sure would have been useful right now. But the Dragon Born didn’t possess the power to heal.

“The Dragon Born aren’t healers,” Alden said.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when he appeared next to her.

“You are fighters. Warriors. You’re built to deal damage.”

Sera felt the pain evaporate from her. She looked down to find the wound had sealed.

“You’re welcome,” he said, smiling.

She grabbed the knife, swiping it at him. He moved back, and the blade only tore his cloak.

He looked down at the torn cloak, then at her, letting out a melodramatic sigh. “Sera, it’s really enough of that.”

“You’re right. I’ve had enough.” She threw down the knife.

His pale brows scrunched together. “What are you doing?”

“You’re not going to kill me, and you’re not going to let me go. So I’m going to do the only thing I can do: refuse to play your game anymore.”

He shook his head. “You disappoint me.”

“Well, get used to it. You’re in for a whole lot more of disappointment.”

“Very well. Have it your way.”

Faster than she could move, he snatched hold of her arm. As his hand brushed against her skin, as his spells rippled across her, a pain like none she’d ever felt before split through her body. She felt like she was being flayed, that part of her was being ripped away in a violent, bloody violation of her soul. Screams tore out of her mouth, bouncing off the walls, sending her agony right back at her.

And then the spell dissipated. She dropped to the ground.

Sera pushed herself up with her arms, every movement pure torture. Something was wrong. Wrong with her. He’d taken something from her. Something precious.

Amara? she called out to her dragon.

Nothing.

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