Home > Natural Dual-Mage (Magical Mayhem #3)(4)

Natural Dual-Mage (Magical Mayhem #3)(4)
Author: K.F. Breene

“Try to rush it with your magic, not the sword,” I said in exasperation. “And there are gods?” Something else no one had bothered to tell me.

“Killing it with a sword will be so much more gratifying.” She hacked down onto the stone. “This. Thing.” She hit it with each word, putting all her strength into it. Venting. “Is. Pissing. Me. Off!”

Panting, she stepped back, staring down at its dopey smile. “Change back, bastard. I want another go.”

It did as she said, and I caught a little pulse of power, like a subtle spark way down in the depths of the thing’s magic. This was different from everything I’d felt before—this was what allowed the goblin to change.

“Got it,” I whispered, letting my eyes drift closed and focusing.

“Allegedly, there are gods, yeah. Though some people call them angels. The hearsay is vague on that topic,” Reagan said in a series of grunts ending in sword clangs. “Allegedly, I have strands of their lineage. Allegedly, you can only get to their kingdom of paradise through the dreamscape. Which you can only do if you are a Dream Walker, or guided by a Dream Walker.”

“Why do you keep saying allegedly?” I monitored that little pulse of the creature’s magic, feeling how it interacted with mine. I needed to coax it in so I could use it in a spell, but it was still evasive. Slippery. I couldn’t get a proper grip on it.

“Because I have neither met a Dream Walker—they are incredibly rare—nor heard of anyone who has seen, screwed, or gotten rewards from a god. It’s all a little far-fetched.”

“All the crazy in your life, and you think that is a little far-fetched?” I shook my head. “Think, Penny, think.” I squeezed my eyes shut while struggling to open myself to the magic. Invite it in.

“Don’t think…just do,” Reagan said with strained words.

I just did earlier, and that hadn’t helped.

My temperament was too even-keeled for this creature, that had to be it. This would work better if I shared Emery’s personality—wild and unruly, reflective of the harsher sides of nature.

I could work with that.

“Fine.” I rolled up my sleeves and immediately regretted it as the cold bit down on my skin. I yanked my sleeves back down. “You want it, you got it.”

I thought of Emery. Of his strength and power. The force he could wield with his broad, powerful frame. I thought of his occasional mood swings, the death and sorrow he’d experienced in his life plunging him into the depths of torment. Of his rough hands moving over my body as he entered me with a forceful and deeply passionate thrust.

My face heated and I quickly yanked my line of thought in a different direction. I wasn’t after X-rated memories just now, no matter how pleasant.

My magic boiled, turning and rolling above me. My mood blackened at the thought of what the Mages’ Guild had taken from Emery. At what they had taken from me. My father, his brother, our freedom.

Anger surged, soon burning into rage. Despair seeped in on its heels. I had no idea how we would beat the Guild at their own game, on their home turf, something we’d soon need to plan and get underway. Fear rushed in last, the fear that our second break-in wouldn’t go well. That I’d lose all that I held dear. All that I loved.

I let anxiety come crashing into me, blackening my mood.

Sure enough, a heavy dose of the goblin’s magic came rushing in too, feeding on my turmoil. Delighting in my strife.

Nasty little door knocker!

I picked through all the elements, focusing on those rogue strands. Feeling out how to best hijack and manipulate them.

A pattern emerged in the shape of a series of feelings, pushes, and prods more than anything concrete. An ebb and flow of sorts.

“Got you!”

“Penny, look lively!” Reagan shouted.

I snapped my eyes open as the creature lunged for me, its eyes glinting in malice.

It had felt me messing with its magic. Connecting us.

“I got you, you little creep!” I pushed out my hands as a surge of vicious magic dumped out of me. The weave nearly created itself, using some of Reagan’s magic and a lot of the goblin’s.

An invisible wall spread out in front of me, shimmering with magic that would zap the creature full of electricity when it hit. I waited for the goblin’s spark, knowing the creature would sense the spell and turn to stone. I latched on to the spark as soon as I felt it, engaging in more careful analysis of what happened when the Redcap shifted to stone.

“I’ll get it.” Reagan rushed over and gave it a kick, making it skitter across the ground and slam into a little fairy door attached to a stump. The toy door cracked and fell off. “Huh. That was strangely gratifying.”

“Don’t break kids’ fairy doors,” I admonished her. “That isn’t right.”

“I’ll just burn the stump. They’ll never know.”

“That is not the right answer to this problem!”

Reagan ran after the goblin as it turned back into its gross self. It blinked at me with those large red eyes twice before Reagan shot a stream of fire at it. I felt her complex weave, so perfect and tight that it barely made sense. Then came the goblin’s little spark again.

“Ah ha,” I whispered as the goblin’s magic, in stone form, split Reagan’s stream. In my mind’s eye, I could see how Reagan’s magic was being picked apart before the whole weave blinked and died. “Amazing.”

“Not. Amazing.” Reagan was battering the stone goblin with her sword again. “Really. Damn. Annoying!”

“Leave it. Try again,” I said, still crouching, eyes closed. “Don’t let it kill me.”

“Hear that, you little stone bastard?” The clanging stopped. Reagan’s footfalls indicated she was backing away. “Come out. I’m about to kill you.”

“I am invincible,” I heard in that scratchy sandpaper voice.

“You’re a turd,” came the reply, and the sounds indicated she’d launched at it again.

This time, I pounced the moment I felt the spark. I twisted the thing’s magic and shoved it into mine, counteracting the dank, dark flow with pure joy and light. Dousing the spark with it. Foreign magic flowered inside me, strong and potent and powerful, unlike anything I had ever experienced. It crawled through my body, forcing the air from my lungs. Adrenaline dumped into my bloodstream as I gasped for air, but it was nothing compared to the ancient feeling supercharging my power and winding through my body. I stilled, feeling the lightness of it, the effulgence, as my power pulsed and surged, begging to be used in some grand fashion.

A victory shout went up somewhere in the distance. Light flared all around me. Magic and energy danced. I felt majestic. Invincible.

And suddenly it all dimmed.

“Penny?” I heard, a small sound at the end of a long tunnel. “Penny!”

Something slapped my face. Energy blossomed, and a weave somersaulted from me, attacking my attacker.

“Holy crap, what—”

My lungs burned, no air coming in. Feathers stuffed my head.

I felt so alive with this magic. The feeling was indescribable.

All the while, I was dying from asphyxiation.

A spear of white-hot magic punched through my center before expanding outward, turning colder with each passing moment. It mingled with mine—icy cold heat and light warring with the combination of my magic and the Redcap’s—before fusing with it, rising through my middle.

A shock of magic roared through me. I convulsed, sucking in a huge breath of fresh, delicious air. I choked and gasped, sucking in another while blinking my eyes open.

Reagan was straddling me, a knee on either side of my body. Somewhere along the way I’d collapsed, sprawled out on the cold, wet ground. I could see the abject terror in the lines marring her pretty face. Her velvety brown eyes darted between my eyes, lips, and chest.

“I think I have a girl crush,” I said hoarsely, my head still dizzy and my throat feeling scratchy and sore.

“I think I am going to bash your head in for scaring me. I don’t like being scared. It’s an annoying feeling.”

“What happened?” I twisted to roll over so that I could get up—the moisture was seeping into my jeans—but she put a hand on the center of my chest, keeping me put.

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