Home > Marked by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #4)(13)

Marked by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #4)(13)
Author: Jasmine Walt

I paled at that. “So you’re saying that, if it came down to it, the Federation could just send a group of mages to wherever Noria’s at and wipe out her entire camp?”

Elnos nodded. “Easily. The Federation has refrained from such action because they did not consider the Resistance a large enough threat, and also because they know the kind of public-relations nightmare indiscriminate mass killings would cause. But they will only exercise restraint for so long. This is why I’ve always pleaded for peaceful and voluntary reform. I kept hoping that if I had enough time, I could convince Noria to change her outlook.” He sighed, his stern expression crumpling with sadness. “But I failed, and now I must get her back before it is too late.”

I nodded slowly, impressed with Elnos’s maturity, then went over and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. “All right. What can I do to help you guys?”

“I need some assistance with our disguises,” Elnos admitted, a little sheepishly. He gestured to Annia, who pushed her sleeve back to reveal a bracelet with a single charm hanging from it. “I created a charm for Annia’s disguise, in case we get separated. While I believe the look itself is solid, I haven’t quite gotten the hang of masking her scent, since my own nose is not sensitive. There will be shifters at the camps, and since she has already infiltrated a Resistance camp with you and Fenris, there is always the chance someone might recognize her scent. Not to mention that we need to disguise the scent of my magic, or the Resistance will know for sure that we’re not two rebel humans running off from our homes to join the fight.”

“Yeah, you’ll definitely want to mask that.” Sitting down on the couch between them, I guided Elnos through the necessary steps required to change their scents. It was interesting, that I was teaching a full-blooded mage how to direct his magic in a specific way, when I’d only just learned this trick myself a few months ago. Iannis had mentioned that my sensitivity to scents must be why I had such an aptitude for disguising them – it was a talent that usually took a long time to master. I wondered what other types of magic my shifter heritage might give me an advantage in, but I filed that question away for later.

“Okay, you two should be good now.”

“Thanks.” Sighing, Annia leaned her head back against the couch, then eyed me. “You know, it’s a little weird to hear your voice coming out of a teenage boy’s mouth.”

“Oh. Right.” I dropped the illusion. Almost as soon as I did, I felt a surge of warmth, followed by a soreness in my breasts and a tingling ache in my lower belly.

“Naya? Is something wrong?”

I pressed a hand to my belly. “My symptoms. They disappeared for a while.” At Comenius’s blank look, I explained, “I’m about to go into heat, and for the past couple of days, I’ve been experiencing the onset. But when I put on the teenage-boy disguise, the symptoms reduced so drastically I barely noticed them.”

“Fascinating,” Elnos said. He tilted his head, regarding me like I was one of the machines in his shop. “I wonder if it’s because you are more in tune with your mage half than your shifter half when using magic? Or if your use of a male illusion is tricking your female body to some degree?”

“All plausible explanations,” Comenius agreed. He had a strange look on his face as he stared at me. “Do you think you’re going to be okay this next week? Dealing with this insurrection as well as your…heat?”

His face flushed, and I grinned a little, understanding. I’d gone to Comenius twice in the past when my heat had become too unbearable to ignore, and even though we’d no longer been in a relationship at that time, he’d been more than happy to oblige. But now he had Elania and that was no longer possible, so he was concerned about what I might do without a ready outlet.

“Don’t worry about it, Com,” I told him. “I’ll figure out a solution, even if it means I have to walk around like a teenage boy for the next week.”

“Why are you disguised as a teenage boy, anyway?” Annia asked. “Are you also on a reconnaissance mission?”

“I wish.” I sighed, thinking back to Chen’s directive – that she wanted me to stay out of the way and not do anything. “Honestly, I’m just trying not to die.” I stood up and began to pace as I told them about the warning message the Resistance had left on my door yesterday, and the fire I’d narrowly escaped in the early hours of the morning.

“Heiliger Strohsack, Naya!” Comenius exclaimed. “You waited to tell us about this until now? You could have been killed!” He wrapped me in a tight hug.

“I know, but I wasn’t.” I hugged him back, briefly resting my cheek on his chest as I inhaled his woodsy, herbal scent. The ache in my lower body flared up in proximity to a male, and I hastily extricated myself from his grip. Logic and heat didn’t really go together, so it was better if I didn’t touch Comenius, or any other male I wasn’t planning on taking to bed.

“Anyway, I’ve got to stay in disguise when I go out in public, which sucks. But at least it helps with the heat, so that’s something.”

“You could always jump the Chief Mage,” Annia said, waggling her eyebrows. “I’m sure he’d understand your…situation. He’d probably even be happy to help.” She grinned.

“Annia,” Comenius scolded.

“I’m afraid he’s a little busy,” I said, not sure whether I should laugh or cringe. “Don’t worry, guys. Seriously. I’ll figure it out.”

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