Genre: Paranormal romance.
Summary: Serafine LeFrey is one of the most powerful witches on earth. As far as she's concerned, there's not a human, demon, or shifter male alive worthy enough to call himself her mate. But when she gets kidnapped to another universe and becomes the obsession of a dragon, she might finally have to admit she's in over her head.
Prologue: Queen of Disaster
Everything means nothing to me.
- Elliott Smith
Serafine LeFrey floated down the streets of Magic Town, humming to herself as she took another sip of her pixie dust tonic. The beverage cast an enchantment over whoever drank it, granting the imbiber the power to levitate off the ground for an hour until the effects wore off. For most, it was a little taste of what it was like to fly.
Flying already came easy to Serafine.
She used pixie dust for its other properties. For the euphoric, blissful, unsustainable high that came with it. It had all the perks of a mood enhancing drug and none of the side effects—which was super nifty. These days, it was the only time she felt anything close to resembling happiness. To resembling anything.
She couldn't help feeling like her life was missing something. Like she was meant for more than simply being a wolf pack's kept witch.
At least her night was about to get more interesting.
A group of ten black-robed figures were stalking her, using the shadows of the night to cloak themselves. She sensed the absence of their heartbeats and lifeforce—sensed the unsettling disturbance of death and decay in the air—and immediately knew she was dealing with the undead.
Humming louder now, and still unconcerned, she grabbed onto the pole of a streetlight and playfully spun herself around in circles, keeping up her act as the oblivious, foolish drunk. She wanted the creatures to think that they were getting the jump on her. That she'd be easy prey.
They were stupid to attack her in such small number. She wasn't currently the third most powerful witch in the world for nothing. And in her humble opinion, she'd be the most powerful in no time. The witch and wizard outranking her were ancients. They'd had centuries to hone their craft. Serafine was convinced she'd overtake them in a mere decade or so.
All witches and wizards—otherwise known as magi—were born possessing one of the ten existing magical castes. This was called 'prime magic' and was the area of witchcraft they most excelled in. Few magi were born with more than one caste. Even fewer still ever mastered more than five.
Serafine had been born with nine.
She lacked only life magic—the ability to heal herself or others. (Which was ironic, considering it was her twin sister's prime magic.) But that wasn't the point. The point was that these zombies were about to get their ugly asses very seriously kicked.
That's right, keep following me, she mentally beckoned them, luring them into an empty alley away from any passing supernatural pedestrians. She didn't want anyone getting hurt when the fight inevitably broke out.
"Whoops," she faux-slurred, letting her purse fall to the ground. As she bent over to pick it up, she let more of the contents spill out, pretending to scrabble around for them. Any second now. She knew her attackers wouldn't be able to resist striking when she was down.
As predicted, a cloaked figure leapt from the shadows and a sword cleaved through the air towards her neck. Using basic telekinesis, she froze the sword in place, stopping it from ever reaching her. Then she turned the weapon around on its user, decapitating the zombie before it had the chance to let out so much as a groan for her brains. Its body slumped to the floor, defeated.
"Who's next?" she called out, rising up cockily. "I'll give you a once in a lifetime offer: ten beheadings for the price of one. A business bitch knows how to scrimp and save in this current climate."
The rest of the horde attacked her en masse. Yawning, she threw up her purple forcefield (her magic always physically manifested itself in shades of purple or black), and took another sip of her tonic. Arrows, throwing daggers, and swords struck uselessly against her barrier. With a snap of her fingers, the Z's burst into flames. They shrieked ghoulishly through decayed vocal cords as they were quickly reduced to ash.
All except one. She'd left it 'alive' for questioning.
There was an oath every witch was required to take before they could begin training at their coven; a set of rules they swore never to break under threat of banishment or punishment of death. They were forbidden from tampering with the natural order of things. The big three were: no killing, no raising the dead, and no time traveling. Taking a life in self-defense, when completely unavoidable, was acceptable. However, time travel and raising the dead had no exceptions—though only a handful of magical beings ever obtained a power level where such a thing was even possible.
Magi who chose the path of black magic were no longer allowed the title of witch or wizard and were instead known as Sorceri.
Serafine knew right away that she was dealing with the Sorceress of Death. Who else could harness the power to make the dead do their bidding? The Sorceress of Death's minions were empty, soulless bodies that contained no remnant of the person they'd once been. They were also distinguishable by their better than average zombie motor skills and their ability to talk and think, albeit poorly.
They also fell very neatly outside the 'no killing' rule, as they were no longer living—which suited Serafine just fine. It meant she didn't have to hold back with the ass kicking. Oorah.
"Why'd your mistress send you?" she demanded, freezing the remaining creature in place. She inflicted it with the sensation that it was burning, though there was no actual fire. It gurgled loudly. "I can't think of anything I've done worthy enough of putting me on The Corpse Queen's radar." Though, admittedly, there were a couple of nights where she'd gotten too drunk to remember it if she had actually done something. "Honestly, I'm a little hurt she didn't attack me herself. Not that I'm overly keen to meet her, you know, with her being all evil and everything… but I deserve better than some low-level zombie mooks."
She increased the zombie's torment and it gurgled louder.
"Sorry handsome," she smiled, unapologetically. "I got a little off topic there, didn't I? Let me ask you again: why are you trying to kill me?" Tell. Me.
A gasping, desperate sound, and then, "Shaaa…" its gross rotted lips struggled to communicate. "Shaaadoooow siiide."
Shadow-what? Shadowside? "Never heard of it," she said flippantly. "More information. Now."
"Get away from her, fiend!" a deep, enraged voice demanded. And before Serafine had a chance to react to the intruder, a large horned demon jumped in between her and the zombie and punched a hole straight through the zombie's head. It keeled over in a pile of black-robes.
"Are you kidding me?" Serafine demanded, barely resisting the urge to stomp her high-heeled foot. "What'd you do that for?"
"Never fear, mate." The demon puffed its giant chest proudly. "Argrak Krug the Moltar demon has saved you!"
"I'm not your mate," Serafine snapped. "How many times do I have to tell you? Magi don't have mates." Not like other supernatural species—the demons, shifters, or the fey—did. Witches couldn't form mating bonds. They were more human in that regard. "And I didn't need saving! If I ever need rescuing—which is a big 'if'—it certainly won't be from you!"
The Moltar demon had been following her around like the world's biggest stalker since their night together the week before. She'd gotten drunk at her favorite demon bar, as she was wont to do, and suddenly, Argrak's gray skinned, six-foot five, incredibly muscular frame and giant ox horns had become irresistible to her. Next thing she knew, she'd woken up naked in his cave wearing nothing but a hangover and regret.
Unfortunately, Moltar demons had weird customs when it came to one-night stands. As in, they didn't have them. They remained virgins until choosing their mates. The very barbaric demon now thought of them as bonded for life, despite Serafine's many logical and thought-provoking protests as to why he was wrong.
The Moltar demon blinked, hurt. "We are mates because you took me into your body and made it so. You know this." His big hand tried to grab her but Serafine dodged his hold. "I only wish to keep you safe, mate. I will valiantly fight all of your battles henceforth."
"Yeah, I don't think so." This is what I get for having a demon kink, she internally scolded herself. Human men and most other magi just didn't do it for her—they were too weak. Not powerful enough. Alas, her proclivities often meant finding herself in awkward positions like this one. She'd once had a vampire lord grow so obsessed with her that he'd tried to turn her into his eternal queen of the night. Not fun. "You see, I do a thing called what I want. I wouldn't make a good mate. Besides, I already belong to a wolfpack." That wasn't technically true yet—she had still to decide on one—but Argrak didn't know that.
"Who is this wolf pack?" Argrak growled, body tensing with rage. "I will free you from them. I will rend their heads from their bodies."
"No," Serafine said sternly. "No rending."
He tried grabbing for her again. "Come home, now."
"Uhh…I don't think so." She shook her head.
"Why do you continue to deny me?"
"Well, for starters, you live in a cave, so no. And two? Just no."
"Then I will build you a home above ground," he insisted eagerly. "I will build you 10, 000 homes."
"That's…wow. Incredibly unnecessary. Sweet, but absolutely unnecessary. Please don't do that. Look," she sighed, meeting his eyes. "Just forget about me, Argrak, alright? Trust me, I'm not mate material. I wasn't looking for anything long term." No man would ever own her; no man would ever tie her down. "I'm sorry."
And then she orbed out of there, disappearing into smoke.
She rematerialized a few blocks down, hoping that she'd gone far enough to stop him from tracking her. So much for pixie dust—that seriously harshed my buzz. Then she pulled out her phone and dialed up Gnorga. Gnorga was a gorgon demon, a daughter of Medusa. She wasn't exactly on the 'side of good' and was more of a chaotic neutral kind of demoness. The two had struck up an unlikely friendship after Snakegate 2016. Serafine had stolen and eventually returned one of Gnorga's solid gold snake treasures—and all without getting turned into stone. Good times.
"Did you put a hit out on me again?" Serafine asked as soon as she heard the click signaling that Gnorga had picked up. "Because I thought bygones were bygones. That crown was returned without a scratch and there's been no instances of thievery since."
A pause. Then an inhumanly sultry voice answered, "Hello to you too, LeFrey. Did you give me a reason to put a hit on you again?"
"No," Serafine replied quickly. Frowning, "At least, I don't think so. The Sorceress of Death just sent her underlings after me. The one I questioned mentioned a word—Shadowside, I think it was? I'm not sure if it means anything, or if, you know, the thing was just too brain dead to talk."
"Shadowside?" Gnorga hummed, sounding bored. Serafine could all too easily picture her inspecting her long, lethal talons. "Shadow-what? Sorry, haven't heard of it."
"Ugh." Serafine expelled a disappointed breath. "What's the point of being 400 years old if you don't have all the answers?"
"400 and I don't look a day over 22. Know that, bitch."
"22 is pushing it," Serafine deliberately needled, "25 maybe. Hey, do you get a discount on Botox when you hit 500?"
"Remind me again why I so mercifully spared your life after I caught you stealing from me?"
"Mercifully? Ha. You made multiple attempts to take my head before finally agreeing on a truce. You said you grudgingly admired the fact that you hadn't managed to kill me yet," she recalled proudly.
"I had nothing else on my calendar that month. It was fun to play cat and mouse." Yep, she was definitely inspecting her talons. "I'll put the word out for you – ask around. See if anyone else knows anything about this Shadowside business."
"Anyway, are you still up for Hoofs on Friday?" Hoofs was a demon bar run by a centaur named Bayard.
"Sure. As long as the Corpse Queen hasn't strung me up and stolen my organs by then."
"I wouldn't worry about it." Gnorga made a noise of dismissal. "If I couldn't gut you, then the Queen of Gangrene doesn't stand a chance." There was a click, followed by a blaring dial tone as the call was promptly disconnected.
Gnorga was notorious for ending a call without warning. Though Serafine supposed that was what she got for letting someone who could turn their hair into man-eating snakes into her social circle.
Serafine's sister, Mabel, was in a constant state of disapproval over Serafine's choice of company. But Serafine couldn't help it, she felt more at home with demons than with humans. At least with demons, she didn't have to hide who she really was.
She often imagined what her life would be like if she didn't have to keep her existence a secret from the rest of the world; if magic folk and other supernatural beings were allowed to walk free. They were already the ones basically in charge of the planet from behind the scenes. Why The Order didn't fully take over was beyond her.
Come to think of it…it was too bad the Sorceress of Death wasn't more open to alliances. Then the two of them could've worked on taking over the world together. ...Kidding. Mostly.
She was going to have to be more careful when she was out alone. The Sorceress wasn't stupid; she'd likely known that her zombies would fail. Serafine suspected that they'd only been a scouting party. The Sorceress was testing her power. She'd probably watched everything that had occurred from her dead pets' eyes.
A spark of excitement crept up Serafine's spine. Come and get me then.
She loved a good challenge.
And on the plus side, at least dodging assassination attempts gave her something to do with her free time.
She threw her phone into her purse and orbed herself home.
And now the beat inside of me
Is a sort of a cold breeze and I've
Never any feeling inside
Bring my body
Carry it into another world
I know I live...
but like a stone I'm falling down
- Lacuna Coil
"They hate me!" Serafine's sister, Mabel, sobbed into her pillow. "They'll never take me back!"
"So what?" Serafine rolled her eyes as she sat on her sister's bed. "I don't understand what you're still so upset about. They're losers anyway."
"T-take that back!" Mabel lifted her head with a glare. "Don't insult my pack. Just because they don't meet your unfairly high standards doesn't make them losers." Her round face crumpled as fresh tears sprang to her eyes. "They were the pack I'd always wanted. I thought I'd finally found a place I belonged…"
"You belong with me and wherever I end up going," Serafine tried to comfort her. "You don't need them." Seriously, fuck those guys. Ever since her twin had been rejected by her wolf pack a month ago, she'd been inconsolable. The Greywood alpha had gotten his panties in a twist over Mabel breaking some rules, and he'd shipped her back to her coven like she was a faulty purchase he could return at the hardware store. So what if his mate had been in danger...could he say, "overreaction much?"
"You just don't get it," Mabel whispered quietly.
It was true. Serafine didn't.
Though the two girls were twins, they couldn't have been more different—physically or otherwise. Serafine was thin and leggy with violet colored eyes, pale skin, and dark black hair that fell to her waist. Mabel was short, freckled, and curvy, with brown eyes, glasses, and chin length, bushy brown hair.
Serafine was the most powerful graduate their coven had ever seen…and Mabel…well…Mabel was probably among the weakest. Though Serafine maintained that her sister's issues with her magic stemmed from her issues with her confidence. Mabel only needed to believe in herself; to believe that she could do better. She always seemed to second guess herself when she cast her magic. It was no wonder most of her spells failed.
The Greywoods, unfortunately, were the only pack to have shown an interest in Mabel. They were struggling and small in number and couldn't offer much in the way of protection. Which was one of the biggest reasons magi had started working as witch doctors for shifter packs centuries ago.
Magi were incredibly rare beings. There was less than 100 of them in existence. It made them a target for other supernatural nasties who wanted to use their gifts for personal gain.
Legend had it that magi weren't originally from earth. The Mother Goddess had escaped with a small group of witches and wizards from her own dying dimension. It was why magi were born so rarely; why they were being born weaker and weaker. Breeding with humans was doing them no favors. It was diluting their power.
Serafine's own mother hadn't even known that she'd had magi in her heritage. Not until Serafine had turned three and had started flying around the room. It had been quite the ordeal for Draya—the high priestess of their coven—to explain.
"I want what's best for you, little sister," Serafine told her honestly. "You deserve a stronger pack to call your own."
"Not all of us have your unlimited options," Mabel sniffled somewhat bitterly. "I think you like them fighting over you. Are you ever going to put them out of their misery and make a choice?"
Serafine avoided her sister's eyes. Guilty as charged. She'd definitely been procrastinating when it came to accepting one of the many offers she'd received from different shifter packs all over the world.
She just…didn't know who to choose. None of them felt right. The thought of signing her future away made her sick. Unlike the other magi in the coven, she aspired to more in life than being a witch doctor. She craved something more exciting than that.
At one point, she'd even asked Draya if she could stay in the coven and become a teacher, but the fey had cryptically denied her, stating, "You harbor too much darkness to teach the light." Whatever that meant. Goddess, what was it with supernatural beings and speaking in riddles?
A white tiger prowled into the room, followed by another young witch from their graduating class, Akemi. "Why," her eyebrows rose almost to her hairline as she pinpointed Serafine with a disapproving look, "is there a Moltar demon bellowing your name in the forest outside our coven? He just ruined my nightly run with Shiro." Shiro was her tiger. Akemi's prime magic was arcane.
"A Moltar demon?" Wiping her eyes, Mabel sat up in bed, her face paling. "Don't tell me you—"
Serafine quickly got to her feet, schooling her face into an innocent expression. "Whoops! I think I left my magic incense burning! I'll be going now. If you'll excuse m—"
"Oh, my goddess, you did! You totally hooked up with a Moltar demon! What were you thinking?"
Shrugging, trying to play it off, "I was thinking I was horny and he had a 12 pack?" Sue me. Apparently, she had a weakness for abs. On any species.
Mabel shook her head. "You know Moltars mate for life. How could you be so insensitive?"
"You say 'insensitive,' I say 'drunk.'" She didn't need a lecture. She already felt crappy enough on her own. "It wasn't exactly a conscious decision." But then he'd been there…and she'd been so tired of feeling so empty, so bored with life…and he'd been looking at her like she was the most precious treasure on earth. Add in the copious amounts of alcohol she'd consumed and BAM…mistakes were made.
She'd only wanted to numb the cold.
She hadn't meant to use him.
Mabel's eyes narrowed angrily. She stared at Serafine for a long time. "You promised you'd try to stop drinking."
"And I did try…" Serafine hedged. "I just wasn't very successful at it."
"I don't believe you. I think you're lying to me again. You made that promise intending not to keep it." Mabel reached for her glasses, slipping them on her nose so that she could glare at Serafine with four eyes instead of two. "You keep turning yourself into an intoxicated mess and I'm the who has to clean it up."
"I'm hardly an intoxicated mess," she denied. "So I drink socially from time to time. Big deal."
Mabel crossed her arms over her chest, unconvinced. "What about the time you were so wasted that you thought it would be hilarious to bring my collection of Hello Kitty dolls to life and then they started attacking us?"
"That was hilarious." Serious comedy gold. Plus, she'd reversed the spell after 20 minutes and no damage had been done. Well…no irreversible damage.
"The rest of the dorm didn't think so," Mabel harrumphed. "And what about the time you passed out while you were flying, and I had to tie you to a tree to stop you from floating off goddess knows where? You could've exposed us to the humans!"
"I wasn't passed out. I was just resting my eyes."
"Right. Well, explain this one then: what about the time you were so hungover that you accidentally soundproofed the room, and Akemi, Kalisha, and I couldn't make or hear a sound for over 14 hours until you woke back up?"
"…Okay," Serafine conceded, half-wincing. "That one was pretty bad. But in my defense, it was only the one time."
Mabel's brown eyes continued to beam rays of disappointment. Her crossed arms tightened, as if holding onto herself for comfort. "You're just like mom," she accused softly.
At those words, Serafine's anger rose up inside her like a firestorm.
She was nothing like her mother.
What was Mabel doing bringing that woman up? They were supposed to have an 'unofficial but acknowledged' agreement not to ever talk about Elena.
Unfortunately, Serafine had a bit of a mean streak in her, and when someone lashed out at her…well, she lashed out right back.
"I'm not the one who still wears her glasses," she snapped at her twin, purple magic sparking from her clenched fists. "You know how pathetic that is, right? Elena didn't even need them by the end."
"My mother needed them," Mabel insisted, surging up from the bed. "Not whatever you turned her into."
It wasn't my fault. But Serafine couldn't make herself say it out loud…because deep down, she feared the truth. That it was her fault their mother had changed so drastically.
Elena might've still been there if Serafine hadn't taken her to that demon bar…
"Get over yourself," Serafine said coldly. "Stop trying to turn me into the big bad witch. Elena left because she didn't want us. Deal with it."
"I…" Mabel faltered, her heart looking like it was breaking in two. "That's not true."
"Enough," Akemi cut in loudly, her tiger standing mightily beside her. "I'm tired of you two always fighting. Are we forgetting the real issue here? Someone needs to go deal with that demon before he gets stuck in Draya's enchantment."
Right. Argrak was still outside.
"Oh, Serafine doesn't care about that," Mabel recuperated enough to add cuttingly. "She only cares about herself. Isn't that right, sister? I suppose I'll go help him out. Clean up yet another one of your messes."
The magic swirling around Serafine grew stronger as a wave of self-loathing struck her. I need to get out of here before I say something else I regret. They were twins, for goddess sake. Why was it so hard for them to get along? Truthfully, it had always bothered Serafine that she and Mabel had such a broken sibling bond. They weren't even friends. If they hadn't shared a womb, they probably wouldn't have spoken more than two words to each other.
Why was it so hard for her to make a real connection with her own flesh and blood? Or with anyone, for that matter? Why was she so abrasive to every one she met – so hard to like? Even her own twin couldn't stand her…
"No," Serafine said stiffly, masking the flicker of hurt in her violet eyes. "I'll take care of it."
Then with one last, fleeting glance at her sister, she orbed away.
"What are you doing here, Argrak?" Serafine demanded, materializing into the forest clearing in a puff of smoke.
The big demon looked relieved to see her. "I came to fetch you, mate."
"This forest has a dangerous enchantment. You're going to get yourself killed." Draya had placed a powerful protection spell on the grounds surrounding their coven. Any soul who tried to locate it without a specific invitation—and with intent to do harm—found themselves permanently lost, doomed to roam the woods for all eternity.
"You're worry pleases me," Argrak chuckled. "But I cannot be defeated so easily. Now come." He took a step towards her. "Stop running from me. I will take you home and feed you murkfungus and bloodpudding to fatten you up."
"Fatten me up?" Serafine arched a brow. "Why? You planning to eat me? I thought your kind gave up human meat."
"We did." Argrak gave a stilted nod. "No, I must feed you to make you stronger for our young. You are too slight to put a baby in."
He wants to put WHAT in me?! "Too sight?!" Offended, her mouth dropped open. "Fuck you, Moltar, my body is perfect. If I wanted to have your ginormous demon babies I could."
"It is settled then. We will mate tonight and put my seed in your belly."
"Oh, hell no." Serafine's eyes widened as she took a hasty step backwards. "Put your seed in your own belly."
The Moltar scratched one of his ox horns, confused. "What you suggest is impossible. The males of my species do not have wombs."
"Oh goddess. That's not what I—oh, never mind." She pointed a stern finger at him. "I am not having your baby, Argrak, okay? There will be no baby making of any kind with me. Ever. I am not going to be your mate. No means no, got it? It's not code for 'stalk me until I change my mind.' Give it up already." Don't make me hurt you.
"I do not understand. You gave yourself to me. You accepted my claim."
"I was drunk." She shrugged bluntly. "I would've accepted anybody's claim."
Argrak's nostrils flared, the muscles of his frame tensing. "Do not push me, mate. I grow tired of it. Do you anger me because you desire my punishment?"
Great. Now he thinks he's Christian Grey. "What I desire is for you to go away."
"I will tame you." The demon's chest puffed up determinedly. "Make you more agreeable. You do not behave as a female should."
"And how, exactly," Serafine said icily, narrowing her violet eyes, "should a woman behave?"
"Subservient to her male."
"Right." She straightened up. I've allowed this to continue long enough. "That's a cute delusion you've got there, Argrak, but here's the thing: you just aren't man enough for me. Don't take it personally. I promised myself I'd never mate a male that I could defeat in combat."
Argrak chuckled arrogantly. "You cannot defeat me."
"Then prove it," Serafine dared, challenging his gaze. "Fight me. Make me submit to you."
"No." The poor demon was starting to look more wary than amused. "I will not risk you harm."
Oh, I'm not the one at risk of harm. "Come on. We'll make a deal. You defeat me, and I'm yours. I'll let you take me back to your cave and make me Mrs. Moltar or whatever," she promised, watching as his eyes predictably darkened with interest. "But if you lose…you leave me alone. Forever."
"Then I agree to your terms," he said smugly. It was obvious he was already considering himself the victor.
Demons were forever underestimating witches. They assumed their brawn would win every time.
"I'll go easy on you," she promised, right before sending a blast of telekinesis directly at him.
The impact threw him backwards and sent him crashing into a tree. He staggered to his feet in shock. Snarling, he charged for her.
Again, she sent him blasting.
He dragged himself back up relentlessly. She lost count of the number of times he lunged for her and was tossed back on his ass.
"You are too young to have such power," he panted in tired shock.
"Wrong." I grow bored of this. He posed no real challenge. She froze him in place and waltzed over to him. "Game over, Argrak," she leaned down as he struggled uselessly against her mystical hold. "A word of advice? Next time you go looking for a mate, maybe don't choose a drunk girl at a bar. Consent is a thing and mine was impaired."
She tapped him on the forehead, putting him in a temporary, magically induced sleep, and teleported him back to his cave.
There. Problem solved.
Mabel would be happy to know that Argrak was one mess Serafine had gotten herself out of on her own.
*One Week Later*
Serafine woke up with a pounding headache.
At first, she assumed she was hungover. But she quickly realized something else was wrong.
Her ankles and hands were bound and she was tied to a tree. Her arms were wrenched uncomfortably behind her back and there was something tight wrapped around her throat – a collar. One that swirled with a weird black magic she hadn't seen before.
Her vision swam in and out of focus as it returned to her. She was in a wooded area, but it wasn't the one belonging to her coven. Two silhouettes stood over her. She blinked, her gaze sharpening, and Argrak and Gnorga's faces were revealed to her.
"Wakey wakey," Gnorga sang pleasantly, wearing her human visage.
What is this? What is going on? The last thing she remembered was drinking and dancing at Hoof's with the demoness. Did Gnorga drug me? Urgency slammed into Serafine. Break free. Burn through the ropes with your magic. She tried summoning her pyromancy but found it unresponsive. Panic rose within her.
She tried again, focusing her energy harder.
Sweat broke out on her forehead. Why wasn't her magic working? Never, not once in her entire life, had her power failed her.
Without it, she was as good as a human.
"Look at her face," Gnorga purred delightedly. "I think she's discovered our little trick. Poor LeFrey. Her magic's all gone."
Gone? My magic can't be gone! "What did you do?" Serafine demanded, pulling helplessly at her bindings. It made no sense. She could still feel her magic's presence. Could feel the unmistakable thrum coursing through her like it had a life of its own. For whatever reason, it just wasn't responding. Like it was being blocked somehow – which shouldn't have been possible. Shutting down a magi's magic was unheard of. As far as Serafine knew, the only way her power could be taken from her was by the highest-level necromancer, and even then, they'd have to kill her to do it. Even the Sorceress of Death wasn't strong enough yet to qualify – she could suck life out of a body but not it's magic. "What are you two playing at? Let me go right now or you'll both be sorry!"
"I don't think so," Gnorga smirked. "You're about as weak as a kitten without your abilities. And I like to eat kittens."
"You're not going to eat me," Serafine bluffed desperately. The gorgon might not have been a saint, but she wasn't that evil. Right? "You like me, remember? I helped you color coordinate your closet and taught you how to do a hot oil treatment on your hair. We're friends."
"Yes," Gnorga agreed. A loose tendril of her hair turned into a snake and hissed at Serafine. "But Argrak here approached me with an offer I couldn't refuse. You really broke the big brute's heart. He's decided you need to be taught a lesson. Taken down a peg or two."
Argrak grunted. He reached out to touch Serafine's cheek but she jerked her head away. His eyes hardened. "You think yourself all powerful, witch," he seethed, his ego obviously still bruised from their last encounter. "But I doubt very much you'll survive the War of the Realms."
The what? Well, that sounds violent. "You're talking crazy. Untie me. Now."
They ignored her.
"I swear to the goddess, when my magic starts working again, I'll turn you both into rodents! Ugly little ones! A-and I'll put you in my blender! Yeah. Sounds evil, doesn't it? I can be evil too." She tried to make her voice as intimidating as possible, "You don't want to piss me off. This is your last chance to stop what you're doing. Stop, and I'll consider sparing you."
"Your power's contained as long as you wear that collar, LeFrey," Gnorga said, wholly unconcerned. "But feel free to keep making threats. I find them amusing. I particularly like the one you told that Gormac demon at the club last week when he wouldn't stop staring at us. That you'd turn his eyes into buttons and force him to spend the rest of his life walking around looking like Coraline's parents."
Serafine snickered. "Yeah. That was a good one." She sobered quickly. "Gnorga," she met the demoness's gaze, "what are you getting out of this?"
Gnorga didn't hesitate to answer. "Dragon gold."
"That…it doesn't exist. There isn't any on earth."
Serafine frowned. "Then I don't get it."
"Oh, it's actually quite simple. We sold you to a dark fey from another dimension. He'll be here any moment to make good on the deal."
Serafine burst out laughing. "Okay, now I know you two are just messing with me." She would've clapped her hands if they weren't still tied. "You actually had me worried for a moment. Great job. Good prank. I totally learned my lesson. Just…give me my magic back."
As if on cue, the air in the forest changed. The still, peaceful quiet disappeared. The winds picked up and a swirling, blue vortex appeared, growing until it was large enough for a six-foot-tall man to step out of.
The man was impossibly beautiful.
He was covered in regal black, full body battle armor that was perfectly formed to his lean, muscled frame. His hair was long, white and plated, his ears pointed, and his skin a deep shade of gray. His very presence vibrated with otherworldly power. Power Serafine had never felt before.
Serafine gaped, her mouth falling open in dread. Oh goddess, he is a dark fey.
"This is her?" the man questioned in a deep, silken voice. His pale eyes flitted to where Serafine wriggled pitifully, trying to fight her bindings. A brow arched, unimpressed.
"She is stronger than she looks. Her magic is unparalleled," Gnorga promised hastily, seeming awed herself.
"My Queen expects her to be crowd pleasing. It has been decades since a magi has been strong enough to withstand the arena." His creepy pale eyes shifted and pinned the two demons in place. "I hope for your sakes, she performs as well as you claim."
The grass turned black, shriveled, and died under the touch of his boots as he approached Serafine. Black magic, Serafine thought. It was poison to nature. And he was practically oozing with it.
"What about—t-the gold?" Gnorga stuttered out nervously, clearing worried about offending the fey.
He paused. "Ah, yes," he said without turning his back. "I almost forgot. Hold out your hands, please."
Argrak and Gnorga did as instructed and a large, shining gold coin appeared, nearly bigger than their palms. It glinted in the sunlight like nothing Serafine had ever seen before. Dragon gold.
Pulling a small dagger from his hip, the man cut Serafine free—leaving her hands and ankles tied—and threw her over his shoulder.
When she yelled out and flailed her body as hard as she could, he let out a huff of annoyance. As if I should cooperate with my own kidnapping!
He tapped a finger against her forehead and Serafine knew instantly what was coming – it was a spell she often used herself. One that induced slumber.
Her struggle slowed and her eyes grew heavy. The last thing she saw was the blue portal closing in on her…and then she was fast asleep.
AN: So, new story? I'm not sure if I'm feeling this one yet. I wanted to challenge myself and write from a character POV that was the complete opposite of Addi, and that's definitely Serafine.
Hope you guys are all doing well! And if you haven't read anything from me yet, please go check out my other story, Rabbit Heart. (✿◕‿◕) *shameless self-plug* It's already completed. This is technically the sequel to that one, but I think it can also be read as a standalone.
So, yeah. I hope this chapter isn't crap and that the story is worth continuing. Lemme know.
Constructive criticism, as always, is welcome.