Home > Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)(11)

Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)(11)
Author: Ella Summers

Alone at last, Sera checked her workout suit for any tears that might have gotten the pink poodle’s tail in a knot. Ha! She didn’t find any. There was, however, a bloodstain left over from the fight with the dark ponies last week. Her blood, not theirs. Those My Little Pony lookalikes hit hard. Maybe Kai was right. Maybe she should go shopping before tonight.

The elevator doors spread open, and she stepped into Mayhem. Here, the floors were marble, the walls frosted glass, and the high ceiling of painted angels as grandiose as an opera hall. Grace, the receptionist, sat primly behind a glass desk. Dressed in silk and cashmere, she looked like the twin of Fiona, the San Francisco office’s receptionist. The perfect lady, her ankles were tucked neatly together.

The sweet, seductive aroma of roses filled the air, mixed in with a little caramelized magic. It was the perfect atmosphere to woo the magical elite. They didn’t know the fragrance was also a weapon. On its lowest setting, the mist was merely soothing; on its highest, it could knock out a first tier mage. The same could be said for Grace. The dainty receptionist was hiding a stash of knives and an automatic rifle in the cabinet beside her desk. She had a few grenades tucked away inside the secret bottom compartment of a nearby potted palm tree too. That woman was as scary as any of Mayhem’s mercenaries.

“Grace,” Sera greeted her.

“Ms. Dering.” She returned the nod. “You and Ms. Garland have Gym 4 reserved from one to three o’clock today.”

“Yep.”

“Please allow me to draw your attention to the gym rules. Due to high demand, you may use the gym only during your reserved hours.”

Sera didn’t point out that it was Sunday—and therefore over half of the mercenaries weren’t working at all. When she and Naomi had put in their reservation yesterday, all the gyms had still been available. She bet they still were.

But Grace continued to rattle off the gym rules anyway. “Before you leave, all pieces of equipment must be returned to their designated storage positions.”

“Sure thing. We always clean up after ourselves.”

One of Grace’s blonde eyebrows arched upward. “The Mayhem Disposal Team would beg to differ. I’ve read your file, Ms. Dering.”

Sera shrugged. “Monsters are different. I don’t fight them in the gym.”

Grace looked like she wanted to sigh, but she continued with the rules instead. “Please refrain from severely injuring other employees of Mayhem while training. Injuries increase the guild’s accident insurance premiums.”

“Does that mean she can’t toss me up in the air?” Naomi asked, wrapping her arm around Sera’s shoulder as she joined her at the reception desk.

“I guess that depends on my aim,” Sera said.

“I’d like to practice my flying today,” her half-fairy friend replied with a wink.

They’d picked Gym 4 because of the rings and ropes dangling from the ceiling. They were useful for throwing maneuvers. Naomi couldn’t fly as high as a full-blooded fairy. Sometimes, Sera had to give her a boost.

“Please pull out the mats if you plan on throwing each other across the gym,” Grace told them. She looked at Sera. “They are also fire-retardant.”

Sera frowned at her. “I’m not going to set the gym on fire.”

Grace folded her hands together, her expression guarded. Even wary. Apparently, word had gotten out about the tower Sera had set on fire when her magic had gone out of control. But how did anyone know about that? Finn, the madman behind the magic cult she and Kai had thwarted, was sitting in a cell inside some secret prison, and his minions hadn’t been heard from since they’d fled the scene. They were too busy hiding to spread rumors.

“Really, I won’t,” Sera assured her. What else could she say?

Grace’s shoulders relaxed, if only slightly. “I hope so. Because a fire would increase the guild’s fire insurance premiums.”

Insurance premiums again? It was no wonder a tight purse like Simmons had hired her.

“Come on, Sera,” Naomi said.

Her arm still wrapped around Sera, she nudged her toward the shaded glass doors that led into the underbelly of Mayhem. The doors slid open, revealing a man in neck-to-toe leather. He had enough knives and guns on him to send a metal detector into epileptic shock. The other mercenaries called him Raze, which basically summed him up. There was a rough look about him, like he chewed bullets for breakfast. There wasn’t, however, a single speck of magic in him. He was one hundred percent human. He’d worked for Mayhem for over twenty years, outliving even most of his supernatural colleagues. And he was proud of it.

Two years ago, Simmons had sent Raze to New York to build up Mayhem’s presence here. Before that, Sera had worked with him a few times. He’d always liked her because she was human too. At least she’d pretended to be. The hard look on his face told her Raze now knew she was really a mage. And he didn’t like it. He nodded at Naomi, but only glared at her, his cold eyes following her like a laser sight. Sighing, Sera turned back toward Naomi, and they entered the real and rugged Mayhem beyond the pretty front.

“Raze looks like he’s swallowed a razor,” Naomi said as they walked down the ugly corridor.

The red paint glossed over the floor only partially hid the rippled, raw concrete, and lamps that resembled upside-down flying saucers dangled from the pockmarked ceiling. It was pretty much identical to the San Francisco office. Simmons was nothing if not consistent.

   
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