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Pursuit of Magic (Dragon's Gift: The Valkyrie #3)
Author:Linsey Hall

Pursuit of Magic (Dragon's Gift: The Valkyrie #3)

Linsey Hall

Chapter One

Grassmarket, Supernatural District of Edinburgh

Two days after the events in Academy of Magic

I crouched on the rooftop, the cool breeze blowing my hair away from my face. Three stories below, the Grassmarket was unusually silent for early afternoon.

Normally, the supernatural district of Edinburgh would be bustling. But today, tension crackled on the air and the street was empty.

A fight was about to go down, and anybody with half a brain was hiding out. Except me. Because I was here to start the fight.

“They’ll be here any minute.” Ana surveyed the cobblestone street.

“As long as the Protectorate’s intel was correct,” I murmured.

Yesterday, we’d received word that a mob boss had moved his operations from The Vault, the underground dark magic section of town, to the main street in the Grassmarket. Today, he was planning to send his goons to threaten the shopkeepers into turning over part of their profits.

As self-appointed guardian of the little guys, the Protectorate was stepping in to take care of business. And since I’d had enough of mob bosses, I was happy to join the team.

“Our first real life operation,” Ana said. “And I’m so ready.”

We were here as part of our training for the Academy. On the rooftop two buildings over, Lacey and Oscar, two other trainees, were waiting to do their part.

I scanned the street, searching for Cade, whom I hadn’t seen since our kiss in the Whisky and Warlock two days ago. I spotted him, lurking in an alley near an enchanted bakery. Other Protectorate members hid out as well, in alleys and behind parked cars.

“There.” Ana pointed down the street.

A fleet of big black SUVs drove down the cobblestone street.

“Why do mob bosses always like those cars?” I muttered.

“They think it makes them look badass,” Ana said.

“Our buggy is badass. Those are meant for ferrying kids to Little League.”

Ana chuckled. “Hey, that’s a hard job.”

“Actually, yeah. But the buggy is still cooler.”

“Agreed.” I crouched low on the roof so it would be hard to see me. If they looked carefully they would, but no need to borrow trouble.

The cars pulled to a stop on the main street, right in front of the most successful shops in the Grassmarket. This was where they’d start with their threats, which, according to our intel, usually involved injury for the shop owners.

We couldn’t let that happen.

Especially not on our turf. This was our part of town. This job was personal.

Men and women piled out of the big cars, all of them dressed in black. Horns protruded from their heads, and they had fangs and crazy skin tones like ivory and red.

“Demons.” Joy lit Ana’s voice.

“Jackpot.” We could kill demons without feeling guilty. Sending them back to the Underworld was our duty. And privilege.

Demons were often hired by creeps and villains, taken out of the Underworld and used to commit atrocious deeds.

There were at least fifteen of them. I sucked in a breath, readying my magic.

In the alley below, Cade raised a fist.

The signal to start. As the most experienced fighter, he was the boss on this operation.

As one, the Protectorate members flowed out from alleyways, racing into the cobblestone street. There were six total—Cade, Jude, Caro, Ali, Haris, and Ammons, who ran the Demon Tracker Unit. They could handle the fifteen, as long as the fifteen were cornered. Trapped.

Which was my job.

I bounced lightly on my feet, waiting for my signal.

One of the mob demons shouted, pointing to the oncoming Protectorate members. As planned, the demons hadn’t yet reached the sidewalk. They were still in the street.

As soon as our guys joined them, Cade raised his hand, two fingers pointed skyward.

My cue.

I hurled my magic outward, sending it toward the sewers beneath the street. It was my job to create a wall of water, trapping the demons in the street so the Protectorate could take them out. They’d never even make it into a shop to issue their ugly threats.

My friends charged the demons, who had started to go toward the shops to harass the owners. I envisioned the water in the sewers shooting out of the storm drains and forming a wall, trapping the fight in the street. I’d create a coliseum of water and cobblestone ground, with walls of water trapping the bad guys so that my friends could take them out.

But my magic faltered, weakening in my chest. Nausea rose inside me. I pushed harder, begging my magic to work. I’d lost my sonic boom power, so I needed this.

“You can do it,” Ana murmured.

Sweat dripped down my temple. My muscles ached and my head buzzed.

I sucked in a ragged breath, ignored the nausea, and pushed harder.

Finally, water shot from the storm drains, forming a wall around the fighters in the middle of the street. It cut off a group of three that were racing for a potions shop. Ali and Haris, the Djinns, sprinted toward them, disappearing into two of the demons, who began to fight each other. Ali and Haris would keep it up until the demons were almost dead, then they would jump out.

Behind them, Jude flicked an electric whip that sparkled like her starry eyes. It wrapped around a tall demon with massive red horns, snapping him in half.

I winced, bile rising in my throat.

“She means business,” Ana murmured.

“Gotta be tough.” And Jude was super tough.

Caro, her platinum hair glinting in the sun, shot her jet of deadly water at a blue demon who was bearing down on her with flaming hands. It pierced the demon’s chest and flowed out the back as a red stream.

“Take that!” she yelled.

Cade, all lethal grace, hurled his silver shield toward two mages, beheading them in quick succession. The heads flew into the air as blood spurted.

The shield returned to Cade, and he caught it, ready to hurl again. He took aim for two more demons, but the trainees on the other building threw fireballs, taking them out first.

Cade grinned, then turned to another.

As if on cue, a demon looked up at us on the roof. Her black hair blew back from her horns, and she frowned, her fangs long and jagged.

“Yeah, it’s me,” I muttered. “I’m making the wall of water.”

Though she couldn’t hear me, she seemed to realize what was going on. If these bastards had any hope of surviving, much less threatening the shopkeepers they’d come to harass, they’d have to get by my wall.

She raised her hands, which glowed with yellow light.

“No idea what that is. But I want no part.” Ana raised her hands, her magic swelling on the air, and produced a shield. The demon hurled her magic.

The magic slammed into Ana’s shield and dissipated.

“Ha! Don’t like that, do you?” Ana cackled.

The demon shrieked her rage.