Home > Hunted by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #3)(3)

Hunted by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #3)(3)
Author: Jasmine Walt

Comenius opened his mouth, but Elania spoke smoothly over him. “Perhaps we can help you along in your recovery. Surely the Mages Guild has supplies that Comenius and I can use to mix you a strengthening tonic?”

I swallowed a mouthful of brisket to hide my surprise. I hadn’t expected Elania to be so helpful. “They do, but I’m not certain they’re going to be willing to hand them over.”

“Oh, I can be very persuasive.” Elania blinked as she got to her feet, and my eyes were drawn to the long, black dress that emphasized her curvaceous form. Comenius’s were too, which was probably why he didn’t protest when she curled her fingers around his upper arm and pulled him up with her. “Come, darling, and let’s leave Sunaya to eat in peace. We may as well make ourselves useful instead of just sitting here.”

“Alright.” Comenius shot me a worried look as Elania pulled him from the room. “You’ll be here when we get back, right?”

“Yes,” I agreed, and settled back, albeit reluctantly, to wait. Com’s herbal teas were always effective, and Elania was very popular for her potions. Much as I didn’t want to sit in bed, I knew whatever they whipped up for me would be worth the wait.


The tonic tasted pretty terrible, but it was worth the wait. My shifter metabolism digested it quickly, so within two minutes of choking it down a rush of energy hit me, driving the weakness from my limbs and filling my body with the same urgent fire that burned within my soul.

“Thanks guys,” I told Comenius and Elania as I hurriedly shoved my legs into my leather pants. They’d been left on a chair near my bed along with the shirt I’d worn to the Royale, and though they still stank of fear and sweat and blood, they were a lot better than going before the Council wearing an infirmary gown. “I can take it from here.”

“Nice try,” Comenius said dryly, “but just because you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed doesn’t mean we’re not going with you.”

“Visiting hours are over,” a guard announced brusquely, striding into the room. “All citizens who are not here on urgent Palace business need to vacate the premises immediately.” He jerked his thumb toward the door.

“We’re here to visit Sunaya Baine,” Comenius said stiffly, not moving a single muscle. “She’s the Chief Mage’s apprentice, so I’d say that’s Palace business.”

“Perhaps, but not urgent Palace business.” The guard’s hand moved to the sword hanging at his hip. “Like I said, visiting hours are over.”

“Just go,” I muttered in Comenius’s ear. He was normally quite level-headed, but like most Pernians, he had a deeply buried stubborn streak. “I’ll meet up with you soon.”

“You’d better,” Comenius warned, squeezing my shoulder once more. “Stay safe, Naya.”

“You too.”

I waited until the guard had escorted them down the hall and the sound of their footsteps had faded before I headed downstairs toward the Mages Guild, where the Council room was located. My bare feet padded against wood and stone – whoever had left my clothes by my bedside hadn’t seen fit to do so with my shoes or weapons. My weapons were spelled to return to me eventually, but the shoes were not, so I was a little annoyed that they were gone. Servants and mages went about their business, but there was a tightness in their expressions, and a few glared at me with more hatred than usual. Clearly the word that trouble was afoot was spreading, though it didn’t seem that everybody knew the full story yet. The whole Palace would be in a panic if they knew their Chief Mage had vanished.

I hurried past the lobby of the Mages Guild, then took the hallway to my right, which I knew led to the Council room even though I hadn’t been there before. If the Mages Guild logo emblazoned in gold across the heavy wooden door hadn’t been enough, the cacophony of arguing voices beyond it would have told me I’d found the right place.

I pushed open the door and stepped into a long, rectangular room. Portraits of past Chief Mages covered all but the far wall, which was lined with windows overlooking the manicured gardens. Thick carpet cushioned my bare feet, a welcome change from the chilly stone. Two chandeliers dangled from the ceiling, one directly above me on my half of the room, and the other one above the large, round table on the other side, where the eight senior mages sat along with Director Chen. Fenris, ever the shadow, sat directly behind her seat in wolf form, and if not for the fact that her chair was faced sideways to me, I wouldn’t have noticed him at all. Only one chair was empty, and my chest tightened as I realized it must be Iannis’s seat.

All talking had ceased the moment I’d stepped in through the door, but the silence didn’t last. “Miss Baine!” Director Chen exclaimed, jumping to her feet and frowning heavily. Fenris hastily scrambled backward to avoid being trampled, and I ignored him as he turned a reproachful glare my way. No doubt he thought I should still be abed. “What are you doing here?”

“The same as you.” I planted my feet wide and stood my ground as I faced the Council. “I want to rescue the Chief Mage.”

“You will have absolutely no part in this rescue mission!” One of the Council members, who I recognized as Omonas ar’Candar, jabbed a long, slightly crooked finger at me. Unlike some of the elders, he did nothing to hide his age – light glinted off his bald head, and the beard that brushed halfway down his navy robes was pure white. “You have been a bad influence on Lord Iannis, leading him to flaunt convention and ignore laws that have kept Canalo safe for many years. You had better pray to your god that the Chief Mage is still alive, because if not, you shall be tried and executed for your unsanctioned use of magic as you should have already been!”

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