I pulled on the pack magic to fuel what little I had of my own. “I block your spell. I bind you well. It’s you I’ll quell.”
He was still running at me.
No. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. The spell should’ve worked by now.
I dropped to the ground, wrapping my arms around my head as I braced for impact, but it never game. Instead, I felt a breeze against my back as something flew over me.
I looked up to see a wolf I didn’t know standing on top of Matt. His muzzle nearly touched Matt’s face as he snarled.
Matt tried to move, but the wolf snapped his teeth a hair’s breadth above Matt’s neck.
The smell of sulfur grew stronger as the brujos’ chanting got louder.
The pack was starting to arrive, but in time for what? If the brujos raised a demon, we were dead.
I’d only just found the white mages. There hadn’t been enough time to figure out how to banish or kill demons yet.
Something started burning my leg.
I yelped, as I tried to figure out what it was. Nothing was touching me.
I dropped the athame and upended my pocket. The burn disappeared as the crystal fell to the ground, glowing blindingly bright.
What on earth…
I carefully picked it up, but it didn’t burn me. Not anymore.
I didn’t have the words for a spell. Didn’t have the rhymes. I couldn’t think. But I needed to break that circle. And it had to be done before the demon rose.
“Break the circle.” I paused, and held the crystal above my head. The wolves started running at the circle, each one flew back with a whimper. “Break the circle.” I pictured the circle breaking apart, but nothing happened. The priests didn’t move. The wolves weren’t giving up. Some were swatting at it with their sharp claws. Some running against it. Their golden auras clashed against the dark, shimmering barrier, but it wouldn’t budge. “Break! Break! Break!”
My voice burned from screaming. My chest heaved as I pushed magic and will toward the circle, but nothing was working. I was failing.
Lucas nudged my side. “What do I do? This isn’t working,” I said as I rand my fingers through his hair.
His muzzle nudged me. Run. Break. Now.
I looked down at his dark face. Apparently his wolf didn’t speak in full sentences. “You ran at it and nothing happened except getting knocked on your behind.” I waved my hand at the wolves. “Look at them. They’re all trying.”
He nudged me forward.
“Fine.” It was better than nothing.
I took a step toward the brujos and the crystal grew brighter. Another step. Brighter. Another. Same thing.
Okay. Lucas knew something I didn’t.
I started running. Full out. When I hit circle, I passed right through it, and stopped in the center. I’d gotten through, but they still held their circle.
Lucas’ panic hit me, but I blocked it out. The wolves howled and started rushing the barrier, but none got through.
It was just me stuck in here. Surrounded by the brujos and whatever they were trying to conjure.
I blinked as I tried to catch up with what was going on. I wanted to run back outside, but if I didn’t stop the brujos, then who would?
Their magic passed over me in a wave of energy that sent me reeling. I knocked into something on my way to the ground.
The men stood around me. Their arms stretched above their heads, hands touching as they chanted. Their eyes glowing red as they stared down at me, half-tranced.
Something bristly scratched my side and I screamed.
I wasn’t alone in the center anymore. I was too late. They’d raised a demon.
I crab-crawled back until I hit the legs of one of the mages. I didn’t dare look at the thing. Its energy alone made my skin crawl and the thick scent of sulfur made bile rise in my throat.
Something bright and glowing caught my eye. The crystal. I’d dropped it when I fell, but it was here, inside the circle, with me. It lay on the ground inches away from where the demon was crawling out of the underworld.
I didn’t want to get any closer to it, but I had to. I needed that crystal. It was the only weapon I had here.
Shaking, I got up on my knees and took a breath. My heart pounded in my ears as I flung myself toward the crystal.
As soon as I had it, I gripped it tight and stabbed it into the demon’s hand. “Back to hell where you belong.”
An explosion broke the night as soon as the crystal touched flesh.
I flew back, knocking into the brujos, finally breaking their circle. A cry rang out, raising all the hair on my arms. The portal slammed shut, cutting the demon’s arm off at the joint. Blackish green goo oozed from it, and even though I was trying not to look, I could still see it twitching and moving on its own.