Scent of Magic Page 94

“What was in the syringe?” he asked.

“I don’t know.”

“You’re lying.” His surprise didn’t last. “Which means you’re resisting me.” Now he sounded like a petulant child.

Except he was far from a child. Tohon increased his magic. My body responded. Shivers chased each other over my arms and legs. But I imagined that they were bugs, and my healing powers sought each out and squashed it.

I fought Tohon, planning to expend all my energy. But Tohon stopped before that point. Red splotches covered his cheeks as if he’d run a race. Pure fury burned in his eyes.

He glanced toward the door. “Girl, come here.”

Noelle stepped into my view. Ah, hell. Had she been here the entire time? I studied her expression. Yep.

Tohon picked up the syringe and examined it. “There’s a couple drops left.”

Fear spurred me into a sitting position. “No.”

He ignored me. Instead, he grabbed Noelle’s wrist and rested the syringe on her forearm. “Shall I test it?” he asked me.

“It’s Death Lily toxin,” I said.

My answer threw him. “Really? How did you figure that out?”

“It was a guess.”

He waited.

And since he still held my sister, I explained part of my theory. “I knew you’d been experimenting with the toxin, but then I remembered you were helping the Healer’s Guild to develop an antidote for the toxin before the plague. Maybe during those experiments, you discovered that substance you used to create the dead. So I guessed the toxin might counter your mystery medicine.”

“Impressive. Good thing only you and I can harvest the toxin. How many sacks did you give Ryne?”


Tohon considered. “Not many then. And he probably used them all to rescue Estrid’s troops.” He frowned. “Now we’ll have to hunt them down. You do realize that you’ve condemned her soldiers to death?”

“You already planned to kill them.”

“But it would have been orderly and painless. Now they’ll be killed on the battlefield, and I won’t be able to turn all of them. Such a waste.”

Hard to feel guilty over that. If I had a choice, I’d choose to go down fighting than on my knees, swearing allegiance to Tohon.

“You’ve interfered again,” Tohon said. “Killing you is the smartest thing I can do right now. Yet, I hesitate because I’m still hoping that you’ll use that intelligence in my favor.”

“That wooing thing?”

“Yes. Although I no longer believe that tactic will work. No, it’s time to try one last strategy with you before I admit defeat.”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

“Every time you upset my plans or go against my wishes, I will kill someone close to you. You will bear witness to a very painful death, knowing it’s all your fault.”

Oh, no. “As of now?”

“No. Starting today, which means—” Tohon pricked Noelle with the needle and depressed the plunger, sending Death Lily toxin into her body “—she’s the first.”


Four hours had passed by in a heartbeat. No dreams of Avry or Flea had disturbed his short sleep. A pang of disappointment filled him. He lay there, summoning the energy to move.

Danny reached for his hands. “I can help.”

“No, thanks. Save your strength.”


“You’re going to need it.” Kerrick put a hand up to stop the next question. “Put together a pack with the medicinal herbs that are good for lacerations and that bread from yesterday. I’ll explain once we’re away from here.”

“Are we escaping?”

“Yes and no.”

“Kerrick, you’re not making any sense.” Danny rested his hand on Kerrick’s forehead as if checking for a fever, his serious expression at odds with his young face.

“I’m fine. Now go.” He shooed the boy. Not really a boy any longer. He’d been forced to grow up quickly, but Danny had risen to the challenge.

Once he returned with the pack, Kerrick showed Danny the opening he’d made in the wooden wall of the other bedroom. The library didn’t have a door to the back alley, but its neighbor did.

Danny raised an eyebrow before climbing through.

“It is always a good idea to be prepared for anything,” Kerrick said.

They crept downstairs, and Kerrick checked the alley for Noak’s men. By now he knew them all by sight.

“Once we’re out in the open, I want you to act like you’re on a mission. Don’t glance around, don’t stare at the ground and don’t avert your gaze if we pass anyone. Understand?”


“Good. Let’s go.”

Kerrick strode into the alley with Danny by his side. He headed to the bathhouse. Halfway there, he changed directions and aimed for the forest west of Krakowa. His back burned as he imagined all of Noak’s warriors following them, ready to pounce as soon as they stepped outside the city.

He relaxed only when they reached the outer edges of the woods. Once they traveled deep enough to be hidden by the trees and bushes, Kerrick took Danny’s hand and tapped into the living green, using his magic to camouflage them both.

Danny held his free arm out. “I’m green!”

Kerrick put a finger to his lips.

“You’re green, too,” Danny whispered.

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