Home > Rival Magic (Dragon Born Serafina #4)(8)

Rival Magic (Dragon Born Serafina #4)(8)
Author: Ella Summers

“In other words, perfect,” Sera said.

Alex sighed, wrapping her arm around her. They’d both been fighting for far too long.

“I smell gasoline and burning tires,” Logan told Kai. “We should see if we can steal a car and get out of here.”

Kai nodded in agreement. The men started walking away from the mountain prison, Logan’s enhanced nose leading the way. Sera sniffed the wind, but she couldn’t smell the cars. She could, however, sense a wave—no, make that a tsunami—of dark magic coming their way. She glanced at Alex.

“I feel them too,” her sister said.

As they crested the next hill, Sera stopped, gaping at the sight below them. An army swarmed across the countryside like a carpet of black and red ants. Their march was a harsh melody of clinking steel and crackling magic. And Alden. Sera could feel the Grim Reaper’s influence simmering up from their ranks. She could see it in the manic twitch of their movements. This was Alden’s army.

“Of course it was too good to be true,” Sera said, her heart sinking like a ball of lead. “I should have known that there’s no such thing as paradise.”

CHAPTER THREE

Storm of Soldiers

ALDEN’S ARMY WAS a mix of two dozen supernaturals and a scattering of monsters. A sparkling fairy stood at the front, sparkling blue and silver in the sunlight, like he’d been dusted with glitter from head to toe—right down to his wings, which were moving in and out in a slow, butterfly rhythm. His magic tasted as sweet as sugar icing over chocolate cake, hard and cracked on the outside, warm and soft as velvet on the inside. Other fairies stood around him, each just as beautiful and sparkly. Pink or purple or gold or green, they were like a rainbow of twinkles and magic.

Past the fairies, a group of vampires stood tall, their magic smooth and arrogant. They were shapeshifters, the most magical of all vampires. Their magic had a unique perfume, layer upon layer of floral potpourri and spicy zest that did a decent job of covering up the stench of blood. Decent but not complete. Tangy and metallic, the taste tingled her tongue, biting at her senses. One vampire was potent enough. Confronted with a whole crowd of them, Sera felt like she was drowning in a river of blood. The nauseating odor poured down her throat, flooding her nose, boiling in her ears.

Fire slithered across the arms of a pair of elemental mages. The scent of smoke, of a stack of burning newspapers slowly crumbling to ash, hung thick and heavy around them. The mages had a peppery pop to them, like a pot of spiced popcorn bouncing around.

Behind them, a wind mage’s long dark hair flowed like honey in an artificial breeze that tasted like peppermint and citrus. She wore a skintight blue-and-black bodysuit and knee-high boots.

Of the three water mages present, two were women. They stood on dew-dropped grass, a thick, sticky, hot mist steaming up from them. The third stood on snowy grass, his frost-tipped fingers tapping against his thighs. With icy blue eyes as cold as the arctic and frosted white-blond hair, this guy sure was taking his role as King Frost seriously.

The lightning mage looked no older than fifteen, but she was sizzling with raw power. Her electrically-charged hair swirled in the air above her. Her whole body snapped with a wild magic, hardly contained, impossible to tame. Right at her side stood her identical twin, an earth mage. Beneath the girl’s feet, the ground shook and rumbled with the force of an enraged, stomping giant, growling to get out.

A ceiling of ghosts hung overhead, shimmering a silvery white. They weren’t doing anything—yet. But the constant sway of their non-corporeal bodies was downright disconcerting. Alex and Logan were looking up at them. His eyes were hard and calculating, scanning Alden’s army for weaknesses. Her eyes were a mix of wary and ready to jump in and kick ass.

A line of tall, muscular centaurs thumped their hooves into the ground in perfect sync. A whole fleet of giant buzzing dragonflies hovered over them like bombers. And at the back of the army there was even a real giant, an ugly chap with the personality of a wrecking ball.

In short, Sera’s party of four was screwed.

The army parted, and Olivia Sage, the crazy telekinetic, stepped forward. Smiling at Kai, she strutted with a flavor all too familiar to Sera after years of working for Mayhem and its snooty clients. It was that self-assured walk, that air that congratulated the world for the honor of having her in it. Many members of the old magic dynasties had it, and they wore it like it was the most exclusive, most expensive perfume in the world.

Olivia stopped in front of Kai, tucking her already-perfect hair behind her ear with a coy look. “Kai. How are you?”

He glared at her.

Olivia didn’t let that deter her. She just kept going. “I haven’t seen you in ages. Not since those unfortunate events on Alcatraz.”

Those ‘unfortunate events’ had centered around Finn, Olivia, and a whole bunch of other crazy supernaturals under Alden’s control trying to trap Kai and use magic bangles to suck his magic dry while Finn leeched it for himself. Kai’s anger was understandable. Hell, Sera was surprised he hadn’t knocked her on her ass yet.

“It’s so lovely to see you again,” Olivia cooed. “I do hope you’ll be staying. We could use a bit more class here. It gets so tedious surrounded by all the uncouth common soldiers.” Her gaze slid over to Sera.

Yeah, Sera wanted to punch her. Or slam her magic into her. Olivia represented everything that was wrong with the elite magic families—and the reason Alden had been able to corrupt so many of them. They cared about power—both in the mundane and magical sense. And they were willing to do whatever was necessary to get what they wanted. Alden offered them just that. Join my army and be granted more power than you could ever want, his motto read. All you have to do is kill anyone who stands against me.

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