There was never any doubt in my mind who she was—there was only one wizard capable of this. But when she cast a look at me over her shoulder, it felt like the moment lasted a human lifetime.
Funneling so much magic that the edges of her black wizard mark were glowing blue, she lifted a cocky eyebrow at me. She inhaled deeply, her shoulders rising, then roared—audible above the thundering clash of magic—and leaned into her shield.
I’d cast her out for her sake, but she had returned to save me.
Hazel Medeis had come back.
As I sprinted through the building I felt the pressure in the air increase. The floral taste of fae magic was overwhelming, but that foreign, ancient magic Mason had once attacked me with veined it.
Whatever Killian and his vampires were facing, it wasn’t good.
I heard a few gunshots as I finally reached the chamber. I turned so sharply into it I slipped and smacked my shoulder on the door frame, but the stinging pain was the last thing on my mind as I stared at the battleground before me.
The Night Court had, as I had feared, penned the Drake vampires in a magic circle. It wasn’t a problem for me—I’d probably be able to break in and join them because most fae magic didn’t work on wizards. Unfortunately, that was the only thing the fight had going for it.
Rupert and Julianne were slumped behind two overturned tables. And I couldn’t be sure, but I thought the motionless heap at Julianne’s side was Gavino.
Killian, Celestina, and Josh were the only ones standing. The First and Second Knights were hugging the sides of the magic-made cage, and Killian stood in the center, wearing an expression I had never seen on his face before. Was that…fear?
Three fae holding books began shouting. I blinked as I realized they surrounded a very fancy, bejeweled sword—it had to be an artifact. But when their books began to glow, I started to swear.
I hustled into the chamber, losing precious time scooting around chairs that had been tossed into the aisles either during the mob’s frantic exit, or during the fight.
Hoping to move faster, I hopped onto a chair and then jumped from table to table, kicking pens and papers as I went.
I swore faster and faster when the sword crackled with light, and I felt the magic harbored in the blade.
Hurry! I have to reach them in time.
I jumped off the last ring of tables, my ankles jarring with the impact when I hit the ground, and the sword went off.
Unnatural silence fell over the chamber—the magic was so hungry it even ate up the patter of my footsteps. Light that had a clear, crystal-like veneer to it blasted from the sword, consuming everything in its path like a raging wildfire as it stalked toward its aimed target, the captured vampires.
Sweat dripped down my back and made my blue jacket stick to me like a second skin, but I threw myself into the spell that held the Drakes captive, releasing a puff of breath when I passed through.
The blast of magic from the sword pierced the very edge of the spell, and I streaked across the circle, skidding to a stop just in front of the sword’s magical attack.
The heat baked my skin, and I was so glad Celestina and Josh had thrown the most hellish training I could endure at me, because I raised my shield so fast it was second nature to me.
I could sense the power in the sword, and the deadly intent that radiated through its blast, so I put everything I had into my shield and made it as big as I could manage. I had just enough time to tense for impact before the attack slammed against my shield.
The force of it pushed me back at least three feet before I leaned in with all that I had and was able to resist it.
It felt like my blood was boiling as I pulled so much magic into my body I couldn’t see straight. I didn’t need to, though. The sword blast was so bright it made my eyes hurt. Through the overwhelming contact it had with my shield, I felt the blast’s reverberations as it, denied progress, shed bolts of magic.
Based on the angry hisses and the sheer amount of shattering glass that I heard, I was pretty sure this entire room would need a remodel after we were finished.
My hands were on fire as the sword’s attack pushed harder, testing my shield’s integrity and searching for a weak spot.
Every muscle in my body screamed with pain, and my skin felt rubbed raw from the amount of magic I was dealing with. But my shield held—thankfully. Faced with this much power, fae magic or not, if I let my shield fall there was no way I was coming out of this uninjured. The attack was that overwhelming, and that consuming.
I turned my head, trying to get relief from the horrible heat.
It took my eyes a few moments to realize I was seeing Killian standing some feet behind me.
His eyes were wide with shock, and for once his body language was open with his disbelief.
Hah. That will teach him!
I raised an eyebrow at him as I wondered why he wasn’t on his phone or preparing to rain pain down on the fae. Because I needed reinforcements. My arms were shaking, and I didn’t think I’d be able to hold the line much longer.
When the magic succeeded in pushing me back a step, I turned back around and leaned in. Sweat dripped down the side of my face, and the heat and pressure were unbearable. I gritted my teeth as I poured magic into my spell, fighting the squeezing sensation in my chest.
I can’t hold on much longer…
Just when I thought my arms would give out, a blue shield slammed into place on my right side, reinforcing my spell and strengthening it. I barely had time to glance to my right and realize it was Felix before Momoko snapped her shield into place on my left.
With our magic converged, the pressure lifted from my arms, and our shield grew in size, humming with the low-throated purr of wizard magic.
“At your orders, Adept!” Momoko shouted.
I felt two more shields latch into place. I leaned forward to see who had joined us, and was not surprised to see Leslie and Franco on one end. A moment later, and Mrs. Yamada and Mr. Baree shored up the other side, and we formed a straight line across the spell-crafted prison.
Magic still raged through my body, but I no longer felt like I was about to sweat blood. My palms prickled, but I had stopped shaking, and our shields were an impenetrable wall. With the seven of us wizards working in harmony, our magic shields resonated, layering over one another, so soon even the heat from the spell was mostly blocked.
This is what I had wanted! This is what we’d practiced for, why we got up early and sweated and bruised ourselves every day.
So we could stand between danger and what we wanted to protect, and no one would be able to tear us apart.
“Medeis!” I shouted.
“House!” My six wizards shouted the word we’d chosen as our rally cry.
“Medeis!” I repeated.
“V formation!” I yelled. “V formation, stepping forward into blast edge attack formation!”
“V formation!” Momoko shouted to my left.
“V formation!” Felix echoed on my right.
The orders swirled down the line, and Leslie and Franco backed up on the right side, while Mrs. Yamada and Mr. Baree backed up on the left, until we resembled an upside-down V.
My shield was back to taking the brunt of the attack, but the strain was minimal. With Momoko and Felix standing just behind me, their magic flowed into mine.
I wasn’t alone. Not anymore.
The first step I took I had to push with every muscle in my body and fight my way forward. Same with the second. By the third or fourth step, we’d successfully started pushing the sword’s attack backwards.
Each step was easier, and the blast of power that pushed down on us weakened. Soon we were jogging, leaving the magic circle and bearing down on the fae.
I couldn’t see them behind the brightness of their attack, but I was pretty sure I could hear fragmented shouts from Consort Ira.
I grinned as I felt the magic in the blast weaken, and flicker, and sure enough, I caught a full yell from Ira.
“Stop the attack! They’ll burn us alive with it!”
The blast from the sword grew less blindingly bright, and it lost about half of its power, finally giving me a good look at what we were facing.
Eleven fae were huddled together, horror flashing on their faces. The three fae responsible for charging the sword were hurriedly reading from books, but most importantly it didn’t seem like they were using any defensive spell that was made out of the same ancient magic the sword was.
“Switch, now!” I yelled to my family. “Blast edge attack, go!”
Momoko, Felix, and I held our shields and pushed hard, forcing the fae to complete the spell that powered down the sword.
Mrs. Yamada, Mr. Baree, Franco, and Leslie burst forward at a sprint, cutting around our shield and falling on the unprepared fae.
Franco must have gotten their weapons from the cars, because he had his crossbow loaded and within moments had shot a fae in the shoulder. The rest of my family were wielding their weapons of choice as well.
One of the night fae tried to rush Franco, her sword flashing, but Leslie slithered between them and smashed the fae in the chest with the butt of her spear. She spun it over her head like a warrior princess, and then leaned forward with her whole body and almost eviscerated the closest book-reading fae.
Mrs. Yamada and Mr. Baree both waded into the action, Mr. Baree bearing a club spiked with nasty iron spikes, and Mrs. Yamada with her falchion sword.
The magic sword had successfully been turned off, so as Leslie, Franco, Mrs. Yamada, and Mr. Baree made a mess of the fae front lines, Felix and Momoko moved closer to me so our shoulders brushed. We dropped our shield spells and began charging our portion of the attack.
Ira roared in rage from relative safety at the center of the group. “Stop them! They’re just wizards!”
But the fae had been fighting a distance battle with fae magic—which wouldn’t work on us.
The fae fumbled as they hurriedly swapped their crystal studded staffs for swords and daggers. But by that time, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up with the charge of our joint spell.
A male dressed in fae knight gear, bearing a wicked-looking black sword, took a swipe at Mrs. Yamada. A female fae knight managed to give Mr. Baree a wicked cut on his forearm, but it didn’t stop him from smashing his spiked club into her chestplate, crumpling it.