Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(79) by Jennifer Estep
She patted Finn’s cheek a final time, then headed into the vault to collect her bounty.
Deirdre stepped to one side of the vault and moved out of my line of sight, just like Santos had. A second later, blue-white flashes of light started appearing in the vault, as she used her Ice magic to crack open the safety-deposit boxes just like she had the silverstone bars. Meanwhile, Santos kept up his own steady assault with his crowbar. Looked like they were going to force open all the boxes first before they started rifling through the loot inside them.
“Now what?” Bria whispered. “The second they see us coming, they’ll kill Finn. One blast of Ice magic from Deirdre would be more than enough. All she has to do is step out into the center of the vault, and she can hit him.”
“Now we do some shock and awe of our own,” I whispered back. “This way.”
Bria and Owen followed me back to the men’s bathroom. Owen gave Bria and me a boost through the hole we’d created, then we reached down and helped him climb up. Together, the three of us left the first-floor bathroom and stepped back out into the lobby.
Silvio was standing by the front doors, his phone in one hand and a gun in the other. He hurried over when he saw us. I marched to the center of the lobby, which was directly on top of the basement vault, and the others gathered around me.
“What are you going to do?” Bria asked.
I studied the floor, listening to the low, dark mutters of violence that had sunk into the marble from the thieves taking over the bank and killing the guards, along with me cracking through the bathroom floors.
“I’m going to bust through the floor and drop down right on top of Deirdre and Santos in the vault. If I’m lucky, I’ll bury them in the rubble and kill them outright. But even if they survive, they’ll be too surprised and too busy dealing with me to worry about anything else, including Finn. It should give you, Owen, and Silvio enough time to get him to safety.”
Bria gave me a worried look. “You saw what Deirdre did. She blasted through those vault bars like they were made out of paper. And she still has plenty of magic left.”
We could all hear exactly what she wasn’t saying—that Deirdre might very well kill me with her Ice magic.
“I know, but this is our best chance to rescue Finn—our only chance. We have to take it, or Deirdre will kill him as soon as she and Santos are done looting the vault.”
Bria didn’t like it, but she nodded her agreement. So did Silvio and Owen.
Silvio made sure that our watches were all still synchronized, and then he, Owen, and Bria hurried over to the bathroom to slip through the hole in the floor and back down to the basement.
I gave them three minutes to get into position, just like we’d planned, then closed my eyes a moment, gathering my thoughts and my magic. Big Bertha was the most secure part of the bank, encased in marble and silverstone, and I would need almost all my power to blast through it. So I reached and reached for that mix of cold and hard magic flowing through my veins, letting it pool in the palms of my hands, until my spider rune scars were glowing a bright, brilliant silver with the cold, continuous ripple of my magic. Then I tapped into the Ice and Stone magic stored in my spider rune ring and necklace.
When I had gathered up all that power, I slowly turned my hands over so that my palms—and my spider runes—were facing the floor.
I raised my hands, steeling myself, then snapped my hands down, blasting all my magic at the floor directly below my feet.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
The surface of the marble immediately shattered, and I slammed a wave of my Ice magic down into all the jagged zigzags. The stone shrieked at the sudden, brutal assault, but I ignored its cries and hammered at it with the brutal one-two punch of my Ice and Stone magic, pouring all my power into the growing cracks and widening them even more, shattering every single bit of stone, then all the metal underneath.
The seconds ticked by, and I reached for even more of my power, gathering up every single scrap of it and forcing it down, down, down—
With one giant, crashing roar, the floor beneath my feet split wide open.
* * *
For a moment, there was just noise.
A rushing roar filled my head with a dizzying symphony of sound. I had the sense of free-falling, and I reached for what little was left of my Stone magic to harden my skin, so that I wouldn’t impale myself on a piece of shrapnel and bleed out before I got the chance to kill Deirdre.
I hit the ground hard, bouncing off the rocky rubble that covered the vault floor from my blasting through the one above it. Dust clouded the air, making it hard to breathe, and I coughed and coughed, trying to clear the pulverized marble from my lungs.
I dug my hands into the loose rocks under my body and managed to push myself up and then onto my feet. I squinted, trying to see through the billowing clouds of dust, but I couldn’t so much as see the walls around me, much less peer out the vault door and tell if Bria, Owen, and Silvio had managed to rescue Finn yet.
As I stumbled around the vault, trying to figure out where the door was, I palmed one of my knives, searching for someone to kill.
“You bitch!” a voice roared behind me. “You just don’t know when to quit, do you?”
I whipped around just in time for a fist to zoom out of the dust and slam into my face. Thanks to my jarring landing, I’d lost my grip on my Stone magic, so the punch socked me square in the jaw, making pain explode all the way up my cheekbone.
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