The man pointed his revolver at them, saying, “Don’t move!”
In the time that it took him to speak, four men had stepped away from the group, all of them in dark suits, all of them pulling pistols out from under their jackets.
A woman standing near them covered her mouth with her hand while the man holding her other hand said, “God in heaven!”
Next to Amy, Nick barely moved his mouth, saying, “This isn’t as bad as it looks–”
But she barely listened. The sound of wailing voices filled her head. They shrieked danger and told her to change and to do it now. She didn’t hesitate. She let the voices have their way. The shrill screaming turned to music, and red light surrounded her as her limbs felt lighter.
Just like when she’d first transformed (on her birthday at the very same instant her sister did), she felt the weight of armor and the cool, smooth layer between her and it.
This time, unlike the last time, she didn’t stare down at her armor and changed body with horror and amazement. This time, she ran, feeling the strength in her arms and legs and power surging through her body.
Her first step threw her halfway to the crowd, and she’d drawn a spear without thinking about it.
The members of the crowd who weren’t firing weapons at her scattered, some of them screaming. Bullets ricocheted off her armor, and she bashed one of them in the head with the shaft of her spear, knocking him to the grass. He didn’t get up.
She heard a roaring noise flying in her direction. She turned toward it in time to recognize that it was coming from a small rocket and watch the rocket explode. The net that expanded out of it tangled two of the men, and they fell to the ground, struggling to find their way out.
The third and the last of them dropped his gun and leapt for her.
One look at him answered the question she’d been wondering before—who was using blood magic? Now that she’d changed, she could see that it clung to him, a reddish haze enveloping his body.
When he aimed himself at her, it was obvious what he’d done with the power he’d generated. His hand blurred as he aimed for Amy’s face, moving faster than a normal human, but not faster than she could.
She batted his hand away with the shaft of her spear before she’d even realized it.
His eyes widened as her other hand hit his cheek, but he’d backed away enough that she grazed it, drawing blood with the gauntlet’s gem like exterior.
He took another step back, wiping the blood with his hand, and when it was covered, he said a word, and it burst into flame.
She’d heard of masters of blood magic who could turn blood into a fire that ate through armor. So she knew that she should be backing away and stabbing him with the spear, but as the hand burst into flame, the voices burst into laughter in her head.
Letting other hands guide her, she hit the burning hand with the shaft of her spear as he struck at her.
The flame went out instantly, the blood drying out, and turning to dust. Then words came from her mouth that she didn’t know she knew, and the all the blood on the man’s face turned to fire which was then drawn into the blade of the spear.
His face turned white, and he fell to the ground, lying there unmoving as memories of his life appeared in her head.
She didn’t want them, but they answered every question she would have had about how they happened to be there.
Nick’s voice snapped her out of a parade of events from the man’s life. “Amy? Are you in there?”
“What? I…” She let go of the form, and in a flash of red found herself wearing her clothes.
He blinked, and stiffened as she changed, but it didn’t stop him from saying, “We need to go.”
He pointed toward the nearest trees. “There aren’t that many people around, and nobody’s dead, so we should be able to disappear. People don’t die when you pull fire from their heads, right? He is breathing.”
They ran away from the lake, and made their way back to the gyrocopter, staying near trees whenever possible. When they’d gotten far enough away, Nick stopped next to a group of trees. No one could be seen nearby. Nick shook his head. “That was amazing. You, or she, or both of you were moving too quickly for me to follow most of the time. Did any of that make a bit of sense to you? I mean, whoever that last guy was, he was moving quickly too.”
“I…” She took a breath. “I don’t know their names, but he was a member of the Bloodlords’ Guard. They sent him and all of them here to kill me.”