“Get down!” Rei shouted to Uno as she flung herself to the ground in front of him. She quickly raised the biggest shield she was capable of holding, and felt an immediate drop in her energy level. Grinding her teeth together, she forced a split in her mind, half shielding against the onslaught of Xia’s power, and half sending an emergency call to an Elder of The Circle.
Old woman! Old woman!
Yes, my child.
Pull us out of here.
Is something wrong, Rei?
Everything is wrong! The girl has snapped, and is a danger to us all. We need a transport. NOW!
And what of the normals with you?
I don’t want them to die… even if that idiot Greeley deserves it. The rest have no idea!
With my power alone, I can only pull two of you.
Blast! I think Greeley knows about me, and Uno has probably figured it out, as well. That leaves the other three. Wait. Panting with the strain of using so much of her weak power, Rei gave her surroundings a nudge, counting bodies.
There was something wrong with the number of people on the field. Six guards, plus Xia, should have been present, bringing the total count to seven healthy adults. Instead, Rei felt only four adults. And one child.
Old woman! Something is very wrong here! We’re missing bodies; there’s only four of us. And there’s a child. Why is there a child?
A child? That is most interesting.
You’ve got to get us out of here. I can’t hold on much longer.
And the girl?
I’m almost afraid to look.
Oblivious to the conversation going on behind her, Xia bent over a squirming, squealing Greeley. Her Marked arm was throbbing, begging her to reach out and touch her prey. She jabbed the air around the fallen man, and he scooted backward, just out of her reach.
“Oh, a game, is it? I love games.” The voice that spoke these words was so foreign and unlike her own that Xia froze.
“Stay away from me, you freak!”
She narrowed her eyes and growled, breaking her trance. “That again? I thought we agreed that you would cease your insults, you petty man.”
“I agreed to nothing,” Greeley spat.
“Yet you cower before me. The stench of your fear is somehow.. exciting, I think.” Xia licked her lips and laughed when his face sank into an expression of horror. “Though our game is fun, this needs to end.”
“Stay back! Stay away!” Greeley kept his eyes on the partially glowing young woman and used his hands to feel around for the weapon he’d dropped in his haste to escape. She tracked his movement, becoming more and more amused at his panic. His fingers touched something hard and cold. Finally! his brain shouted. Now pick it up and use it.
A darkening of her eyes told him that he would never get the chance to work his plan. “Naughty, petty little man,” she growled as she leaped toward him, her blazing Marked arm leading the way.
Make that three adults and a child.