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.We’re different.And this Family believes magi like us are the future of the magi race.”Nolan took in the information with the cold expression only a cop with years of training could.Allyn yearned to know what he was thinking.He’d been on the opposite end of this conversation and knew firsthand how confusing it could be.He liked to think he had taken it in stride, but really, he had lived in shock for days.Even though he’d witnessed magi wielding firsthand, even had it used to hurt him, he hadn’t truly believed until he uncovered the ability within himself.Nolan had an advantage in already knowing he could wield.Where the magi world was forced on Allyn, Nolan was actively seeking it.“What does your magic look like?” Nolan asked.Some things are better shown than explained.On command, the red coils of electricity sprung to life around Allyn’s arms, humming in the early morning air.Nolan stopped, his eyes wide.“What is that?” he whispered.“Electricity,” Allyn said.“Produced by the electrical system inside my heart.”“In your heart?”“Yeah,” Allyn said.“All magic has costs.When a magi wields fire, they’re using the heat from their body to create combustion.When they wield air, they’re pulling it out of their bloodstream.Water, from their body.Pull too much, and it will kill them.Our magic is different.It still has its limits, but it’s also sustainable.”Something clicked inside Nolan; Allyn could see it in the way the corners of his mouth turned up into a small, satisfied grin.Answers to a lifelong question sparkled in his eyes.“That makes sense,” he said.“But your heart doesn’t produce that much electricity.Where does it all come from?”“We don’t know,” Allyn said.“It’s almost like fire where a spark ignites flame, and it grows from there.My body doesn’t produce this much electricity, but once the current is created, maybe it’s able to expand.The truth is, we’re a new breed of magi, and we have more questions than answers.But we do know this: all magic has limits, and this isn’t any different.” He let the coils dissipate.As if to show his own since Allyn had displayed his, Nolan’s arms began to glow.The white light extended out from his hands and wrists.The air distorted around it, as if he were pulling the energy into himself.Allyn thought he could almost feel heat radiating from it.“What is it?” Allyn asked.“It doesn’t sound much different from yours,” Nolan said.When he looked at it directly, the white light burned an afterimage in Allyn’s eyes, but it lacked the sinister quality of Allyn’s electricity.“It just manifests differently.”“As what?”“My best guess?” Nolan said.“Raw energy.”“Kinetic or thermal?”“I don’t know the difference.”“Is it stored or absorbed?” Allyn asked.Nolan shook his head.“No idea.”“Where does it come from? Do you have to spend hours resting in order to build a reservoir of energy, or does it come from another source?”“I…” Nolan looked confused.“How do you feel afterward? Drained? Does it replenish quickly?”“A little of both, maybe,” Nolan said, wincing.“I’m sorry.I don’t know.”“It’s okay,” Allyn said.“We’ll figure it out later.But right now, we need to get back.”Jaxon was waiting for them at the mouth of the driveway when they returned.He watched as they approached, distrust painted on his face.The cabin grounds had gone still.The swarm of magi was back inside.“It’s done,” Allyn said then held up the guns and other police equipment they’d taken from the car.“We took everything we thought might be useful.”“Good,” Jaxon said.“What’s the plan?” Allyn asked.“Where are we running? Who’s taking us in?”“We’re not running.”“But—” Allyn started.“They’re coming,” Nolan said, interrupting.“Soon.And you don’t want to be here when they arrive.”“I have no intention of doing so,” Jaxon said.“This is our opportunity.They think they know where we are, and they’re coming in hot and strong.But we’re going to take the fight to them.”“I don’t understand,” Allyn said.“The library,” Jaxon said.“We need that information.It’s the only thing of value we can offer another Family.Nobody will take us in unless we have it.”“You’ll have to contend with local PD,” Nolan said.“It’s under twenty-four-hour security.”“Can we get by?” Allyn asked.“If you know what you’re doing,” Nolan said.“It’s a good thing we’ve got a guy on the inside then, isn’t it?” Allyn said.He turned to Jaxon.“What’s the play?”“We take everyone,” Jaxon said.“Sneak in, secure the manor, begin moving the library, and be out before anyone on the outside ever knows we were there.”Allyn mulled it over.Jaxon made it sound as if they would be strolling through the booths at the Portland Saturday Market, but they were assaulting a highly sought-after piece of property, guarded by at least half a dozen armed and trained police officers with reinforcements only one call away.The McCollums had the strength.Allyn wasn’t concerned about that, but these things never went according to plan.If they disabled security.If they got into the library.And if they succeeded.What then? There were thousands of books with another hundred or so pieces of incredibly fragile artwork.Allyn wasn’t sure they would have enough time to move everything before the radio silence from the manor tipped Maddox off to their new whereabouts.And yet, Jaxon’s right.The library was the key to everything.To unraveling the mysteries of Liam’s book.To rebuilding the image of the McCollum Family.To finding someone to take them in.They needed leverage.“It’s not going to be that easy,” Allyn said.“It never is.”“We’ll need eyes on the ground,” Allyn said.“Someone scouting the area, watching patrols and crew shifts.”“It’s already been done.”Was that triumph in Jaxon’s expression? Gratification? Relief?“When?” Allyn scanned the driveway, counting the cars.Each of the cargo vans was accounted for.“When we picked up the cargo vans,” Jaxon said.“Who?” Allyn asked.“Nyla and Ren.They’ll have the grounds scouted with a plan in place by the time we get there.”Allyn was growing excited—he couldn’t help it.It was the same action-versus-inaction dilemma he’d had before.The prospect of actively doing something, even if it was risky, was enticing.“Say this succeeds,” Allyn said.“Where do we go?”“The Green Manor.”“Your Family will take us in?”“They will if they want their son back,” Jaxon said [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]