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The Sorcerous Spy

The Sorcerous Spy

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Book 2 of the Reluctant Assassin series

When a rogue assassin wreaks havoc in the Hundred Halls, leading to the gruesome deaths of several members, Zayn and his team's investigation leads them through perilous territories, from the sinister Black Council to the lavish casino of the Diamond Court. As their leads falter and the deaths continue, Zayn faces a harrowing decision that could endanger those he holds dear.

Synopsis

When a rogue assassin starts taking heads in the Hundred Halls, no one is safe, not even the teachers.

Zayn leads his team as they investigate the gruesome deaths. The search draws them to dangerous places: the infamous Black Council and the opulent casino of pain run by the Diamond Court. As leads dry up, and heads roll, leaving them no closer to the truth, Zayn must make a terrible choice involving the people who he cares about most.

Chapter One Look Inside

Chapter One
Eleventh Ward, August 2014
The first rule of magic is don't lose your head

The Red Line had brought them to a section of the city with three-story brownstones. Every fifth house had been abandoned, with foreclosure notices tacked onto the front doors. There was more trash on the street than in the other wards he'd been in, and the faint smell of fires burning filled the air. The empty streets didn't seem to offer much protection.
"I feel like we don't belong here," said Zayn, glancing around.
"The meeting place is a couple of blocks away. We should hurry so we're not late. I don't want to start off the year behind," said Keelan.
A bunch of shouting, followed by a clap of thunder and a scream, erupted from a block over. Then it sounded like someone crashed into a pile of metal trash cans.
"Zayn...I see that look in your eye. Whatever that is, it's not our problem," said Keelan.
"We'll just take a look," said Zayn, moving towards the noise. "To make sure everything is okay. We've got time."
"No we don't," said Keelan, tapping on an imaginary watch on his wrist. "We're going to be late as it is."
"Then be quick," said Zayn, flooding his imbuement for speed and strength. They'd been cautioned not to use their imbuements during the summer, but now that he was back in the city of sorcery and at the Hundred Halls, that caution no longer applied.
The brick buildings blurred past as he sprinted down the alleyway, leaping onto a rusted blue dumpster to clear a chain link fence that blocked the end. He narrowly avoided a sleeping brown mutt when he landed next to a puddle. Keelan skidded next to him and the mutt scurried away, butt tucked low to the ground.
The street on the other side was worse than the one he'd come from. Zayn paused to get his bearings.
"We should—"
Zayn cut his cousin off. "Did you hear that?"
He didn't have to wait long before a second clap of thunder, followed by a small mushroom cloud of smoke, erupted from a compound up the street. To his surprise, a sign with a big purple eye with flames surrounding it was out front.
"It came from a Hall," said Keelan. "Which means we should get back to the meeting location. It might not even be a real emergency. Maybe their patron is showing them some advanced magic. We shouldn't interfere."
When a scream followed that was so high and long it sounded like someone had been ripped in half, Zayn took off with Keelan on his heels.
The sign in front read "The Smallest Eye." The front door looked like it had been hit with a battering ram. Zayn stepped over a bloody arm. A trail of blood went deeper into the house.
"What the..." said Keelan from behind him.
He passed a room filled with alchemy equipment. Three separate tables contained rows of glassware connected by sagging plastic tubes. A bubbling blue mixture was winding its way through the tubes. At the end, it turned into puffs of white gas that smelled like candy canes.
"What do they do here?" asked Keelan, marveling at the glass structure.
Zayn hushed his cousin and tugged him forward. When he turned the next corner he almost fired a force bolt. A pair of motionless legs stuck out from a doorway.
"We found the rest of the body," said Keelan.
"Not all of it," said Zayn, pointing to the empty space above the neck.
Muffled grunts from the courtyard behind the house drew them to the back. Zayn reached it in time to see a seven-foot-tall man with tattoos that writhed across his slate gray skin, wielding a sword that filled the courtyard with whispers, take the head off a girl who was in the middle of a spell. The head tumbled against a potted plant, the girl's surprised expression facing them.
Zayn fought with his stomach to keep its contents intact. Keelan did not win his battle, and his breakfast spilled onto the stones, announcing their arrival to the tattooed warrior.
Their immobility ended the moment he took a step forward with his sword. Zayn fired a force bolt at the same time as Keelan threw a rock grenade, but the warrior swatted the spells away as if they were crumpled paper.
The warrior pointed his sword at them and fired it like a cannon, and a sonic burst knocked them back into the hallway. The thunderclap left ringing in Zayn's ears as he struggled to his knees, fearful the warrior would be approaching with his sword.
But the warrior had moved to pick up the girl's head. He carefully placed it into a brass cage covered in runes. The moment he closed the lid, a soft glow filled the box, suspending the severed head in ghostly light.
Zayn tried to stand up, but crashed into the wall instead. The concussive blow had damaged his inner ear, giving him an awful case of vertigo.
The warrior stacked the head-in-a-box on top of three others, lashed them together, and picked them up as if he were shopping for cantaloupe. He took a step towards Zayn, but stopped when it looked like he'd heard something—sirens, Zayn guessed—then he kicked open the gate leading into the alleyway and disappeared around the corner.
Zayn made an attempt to follow, but stumbled over like a newborn foal. Keelan was no better, stuck on his hands and knees, crawling forward only to collapse again.
Zayn finally made it to his feet, and was busy trying to convince the world to stay in one place, when two men in rune-covered Kevlar and holding semiautomatics came through the door. He couldn't hear what they were saying. Zayn touched the side of his head, his fingertips encountering wetness. He held them up to the Protectors to show he'd been injured, but only got his hand halfway up before they tackled him.

Main Tropes

  • Urban Fantasy
  • Magical Academy
  • Found Family
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