Home > Rival Magic (Dragon Born Serafina #4)(2)

Rival Magic (Dragon Born Serafina #4)(2)
Author: Ella Summers

She sat down, the mattress sagging beneath her weight. The bed was one of those big, canopy masterpieces, clearly made for a king. Intricate flower designs had been carved into the thick cherrywood bedposts. The drapes were gold, the silk bed sheets red, and the pillows and blankets stuffed to the brim with fluffy goose down.

She glanced at the open suitcase on the bed, the one she was supposed to be packing. And yet she hadn’t made any progress, even though she didn’t have more than a few things to pack. They’d been in Munich for only a few days. She still hadn’t fully unpacked. This should be easy.

But it wasn’t. The truth of the matter was she didn’t want to go to New York. They’d been chasing the mage of death for months, running from one place to the next without accomplishing anything. They had front row seats to the end of the world as they knew it, and that was just downright depressing.

Kai had a lead on Alden in New York. It was the first real lead they’d had on him in weeks. They had to go, even though Sera wanted nothing more than to fly back to San Francisco. She missed the house she shared there with her brother and sister. She missed running along the shore. She missed Magic Smoothies. She missed the other mercenaries at Mayhem. Hell, she even missed Simmons, that tightwad who headed the guild.

Sighing, Sera kicked out her feet to stand. “I feel like we’re just chasing the Grim Reaper’s tail. He’s always ten steps ahead of us. He’s turning people to his side left and right, and we haven’t been able to do anything to stop him. And now he’s in New York? That’s where I first met him, where he set a trap for me.”

“And now you’re wondering if we are walking into a trap again,” said Kai.


Kai set his hands on her shoulders, meeting her eyes. “If this is a trap, we’ll deal with it. Together. I’m not letting you out of my sight, not with Alden stalking you, trying to turn you into his righthand man.”

“Then it’s a good thing I’m a woman,” she said, smirking.

Kai snorted. “Indeed.”

He tossed her a slender clear glass vial that bore a shocking resemblance to those tiny alcohol bottles found inside of a mini bar. But it wasn’t filled with any alcohol Sera had ever seen. Instead, a sparkling blue fluid bubbled inside.

“What is this?” she asked. It looked like a fancy tube of glitter glue.

“It’s something new from the research division of my company. It’s supposed to relax the bindings of your magic.”

She peered into the bottle, and the glitter moved, as though it had a life of its own. Yikes, bring on horror movie hour. First up, attack of the glittery glob monster.

“So it’s a sedative?” she asked, popping the plug to sniff inside. It smelled like pure sugar and burning rubber. The guys in Kai’s labs seriously needed to work on making their product flavors palatable.

“Not exactly a sedative,” Kai said as she plugged the bottle again. “It won’t put you to sleep. It just releases your control on your magic, making it gush out of you.”

Sera scrunched up her nose. “Sounds delightful.”

“Your problem is that you’re fighting your magic, not letting it out. You’re always trying to push it back down. Even when you use your magic, half of you is busy fighting it.”

She sighed. “I know.”

“Your magic is a part of you, Sera. A beautiful and marvelous part of you. Embrace it. Only then can you truly master it.”

Sera glanced down at the tiny bottle in her hands with resignation. “How much do I need to drink?”

“See the eyedropper?”

She uncorked it, this time pulling off the lid all the way. Sure enough, there was a tiny eyedropper attached to the bottom.

“Take five drops every two hours,” he said.

“What would happen if someone took it all at once?”

“Don’t do that, Sera. Your magic could overload your body and kill you.”

“Don’t worry.” She winked at him. “I’m not that reckless.”

He gave her a hard look, the look Sera had named his ‘bullshit shield’. “Not usually. We will perform the ritual to unleash your magic on the plane. By the time we land in New York, it will be done.”

“You sound so confident.”

“Of course. I know you. You’re too stubborn to fail.”

She held up the eyedropper, staring at it.

“Are you having second thoughts?” he asked.

Sera laughed weakly. “About having my mind broken? Of course not.”

She poured five drops of the liquid onto her tongue. It tasted exactly like it smelled: pure sugar and burning rubber. Yum-yum. Clamping down on the urge to vomit the vile stuff right back up, she tucked the bottle into her leather jacket.

Kai wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead. “It will be fine. The ritual of breaking a mage’s mind to release their magical potential is a time-honored tradition.”

“Right up there with the guillotine and stretching people out on the rack,” she muttered.

He cupped his hands around her cheeks, and, pressing his forehead to hers, he looked her in the eye. “I will be right there the whole time. You are not going through this alone.”

She leaned into him, her sigh a silent thank-you for just being there. She’d rather drink ten bottles of that disgusting medicine than go through the ritual to break her mind. What if, once broken, she couldn’t put herself back together?

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