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Witch's Wrath (Blood And Magick #3)
Author:Katerina Martinez

Witch's Wrath (Blood And Magick #3)

Katerina Martinez





CHAPTER ONE


I let the fingers of my right-hand flex and relax, flex and relax, all the while drawing the magick out from within myself.

I was in a ballroom. A beautiful, black chandelier hung from the ceiling, and tiny echelons of glass dangled from its arms like moss off a cypress tree, sparkling despite the dimness. At one end of the room there was a stage, at the other end a grandiose fireplace. I walked across the expanse, my feet clicking on the fully restored, pine floors, a sound that rang out loudly within this echo chamber of a room.

Nina stared at me from across the empty room. The air between us was electric, each particle scorched with the intensity of our clash. This caused a wild, burnt smell to fill the space, like the aftermath of a forest fire. The magick circle hovering an inch above the wooden floor shone soft and blue, causing the knife in her hand to gleam cold and deadly.

“Ready?” I asked.

“Are you?” she asked.

“This time, I’m going to throw magick at you, and you’re going to protect yourself using my shield. Think you can do that?”

Nina nodded and twisted her body into a defensive stance, drawing her knife hand up and turning the blade parallel to her face. I could see my reflection imprinted on its side. My eyes narrowed as the magick gathered in the palm of my hand, causing it to vibrate. Sparks flew from between my fingers, and when I cocked my arm and swung it at her, bolts of arching green lightning went streaking across the room, headed straight for Nina.

“Aurum, rego, fira!” she yelled, and my lightning met a brilliant wall of shining silver light that seemed to cause the very room to shimmer. Streaks of green enveloped the shield surrounding Nina, dissipating harmlessly into the air around her. The magick was non-lethal, and when it struck the floor and the wall, it did so without leaving black scorch-marks.

I kept the streaks of lightning coming for as long as I could, but then allowed my hand to fall and the magick stop, leaving a cloud of thin, white, odorless smoke to fill the room. Nina relaxed, though she was heaving, her shoulders rising and falling with each breath she took.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I’m fine. It just felt like the shield was going to rip me apart.”

“It’s not easy magick to master, and it takes a lot out of you. I can’t keep it going for more than half a minute at a time before I need a break, but I haven’t met magick it can’t block yet.”

“That’s twenty-nine seconds longer than I can go without needing a break.”

“Maybe it’s because Madison is a high magician,” Nicole, my coven mate and sister in magick, called out from the side of the room. She and about ten other witches had been watching including Nicky who, after only a couple of days of recovery, was ready to throw himself into really learning how to use magick. “High magicians are more adaptable to different kinds of magick,” she said.

I shrugged. “Maybe. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, though.”

“I don’t know,” Nina said, “I wish I could use magick without having to speak. Incantations give my spells away.”

“Do you want to try again?”

“I’m game.”

I cricked my neck and prepared again to use non-lethal magick, only this time I would blast her with fire instead of lightning. Nina rolled her shoulders and got back into a defensive stance with her knife arm stretched out in front of her, the blade running across her face. I could sense her own magick building within her, and I summoned forth my own, calling the fire from within myself and willing it to manifest in the palm of my hand.

I cocked my arm and went to hurl the ball of flame, but Nina broke eye contact with me.

“Shit!” she yelled. She hadn’t protected herself, but the magick had already left my hand and I couldn’t recall it. The ball of fire struck Nina’s unprepared chest and sent her crashing to the floor in a cloud of fire and smoke. The fire wouldn’t burn, and the smoke wouldn’t hurt the lungs, but the ball still carried enough force to hurt.

“Nina!” I yelled, “I’m so sorry!”

I started to walk toward her, but loud, echoed clapping resounded throughout the room. I turned on the spot to the source of the clapping—the door. A woman was standing there, resplendent in a white and black Chanel suit, with a tall and slender build, dark skin, and an angular face. I had no idea who this woman was, but judging by the speed at which Nicole approached my side and the look of terror on her face, she did.

The woman let her sarcastic clapping die off and turned her dark eyes toward me. “Good job,” she said, “Unless you were trying to kill her. In which case, that was shoddy at best.”

“What are you doing here?” Nicole asked.

“Nicole Harriman. It’s nice to see you again. I take it you’re the mastermind behind this little school you’re running here?”

“The school was our idea,” I said, “And this is private property. I don’t know how you got past the wards, but you need to leave.”

The woman’s face twisted into the kind of smile that could turn blood to ice. “When you get to my age, you’ll find there are few wards that can stop you from getting where you want to go. And I wanted to come here, so here I am.”

“She told you to leave,” Nicole said, “So you’d better leave.”

“I’m afraid I won’t be leaving until I’ve spoken to the person in charge. He is here, isn’t he?”

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m not telling you anything until you tell me who you are and what you want.”

She let out a sigh. “I’m getting tired of these questions,” she said, and with the flick of her wrist she sent a wave of magick sweeping through the room. I had barely enough time to cross my arms in front of my face and create a shield strong enough to counter the spell, protecting Nina, Nicole, and myself, but I couldn’t cover all the witches in the room and they fell to the floor, out cold.

High magick, I thought. She hadn’t had to speak to make the magick happen. Damn.

I was about to speak when the woman threw her right hand up toward us and, mimicking my earlier magick, sent a pillar of crackling lightning racing across the room. Since I’d had my hands up already, conjuring the shield was easy, but the magick that struck it caused my knees to buckle. Nicole screamed. The palms of my hands burned as I struggled to keep the shield between us and the powerful magick this woman seemed capable of producing.

Then the magick stopped, leaving me with red-hot palms and my pounding heart firmly wedged in my throat, and the smell of rotting eggs in the air. “You had no right to do that!” I yelled.

“That’s a formidable shield,” she said, “Where did you learn that trick?”

“That’s none of your damn business.”

“Nicole?” the woman said, “Care to explain to this young witch who I am? Maybe she can avoid more harm coming to you all.”