Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(8) by Jennifer Estep
That’s what I would have done, anyway.
But the sniper must have had other ideas, because no explosion ripped through the air. No fire flashed, and no smoke boiled up into the sky. So I kept running. I didn’t know why the bomb hadn’t gone off yet, but I was going to use every extra second I got.
That was the only way we were going to survive this.
I raced back out onto the main deck to find that the meeting had dissolved into complete and utter chaos. Silvio and Phillip were yelling for everyone to get off the riverboat, with Phillip standing by the open double doors, trying to usher his staff to safety.
Across the deck, a logjam had formed at the top of the gangplank, with Dimitri, Luiz, and their respective guards scrambling to disembark first. Silvio was there too, shouting at them to go down the gangplank two at a time in an orderly fashion, but the thin vampire was no match for the giants, and he bounced off their tall, broad bodies like a tennis ball being whacked first one way, then back the other. No one was listening to him, and no one was getting off the boat.
Phillip ran over, grabbed hold of the closest giant, and flipped him over the railing and down into the river. Phillip’s likely mix of giant and dwarven blood gave him more than enough strength to wade into the crowd, shove Dimitri, Luiz, and their men out of the way, and give Silvio some much-needed breathing room.
And create a perfect opening for Lorelei Parker to escape.
Lorelei was no match for the giants’ strength, so she stuck her boot out, tripping one of them as he ran past her. The giant yelled and stumbled forward, knocking down two other men in front of him, like trees crashing together in the forest, and creating a clear path to safety. Lorelei leaped onto the fallen giant’s back, hopscotched over the other two men, and made it to the gangplank as easy as you please. Even I had to admire her sneaky, effective technique. Corbin followed her down the gangplank, and the two of them disappeared from view.
I scanned the rest of the area. The conference table had been tipped over onto its side, with all the serving platters lying around it, the elegant displays of food littering the deck like garbage. Chairs had been overturned, glasses had shattered, and everything was a mess.
Except for the champagne bucket.
It remained untouched, sitting on that serving stand beside the railing right where the fake waiter had left it, shining like a bright silver beacon amid all the trampled food, dented platters, and upended furniture.
I rushed over to the bucket and clawed through the ice. I checked to make sure that there was just liquid in the champagne bottle, then threw it aside. The bottle shattered on the deck, the golden liquid inside hissing, fizzing, and bubbling like acid. It reminded me of Madeline’s horrible magic. I flinched and kept searching through the ice.
Finally, just when I thought that I was wrong and there wasn’t a bomb hidden inside, my hand closed around something small, square, and metal in the bottom of the bucket. Still holding on to my Stone magic to protect myself from any potential blast, I yanked the object out of the dark depths, wondering all the while why the sniper, the watcher, hadn’t blown up the bomb already—and me along with it.
Or maybe he’d just been waiting for me to pick it up to ensure maximum damage to yours truly.
The thought made me flinch again, tense up, and reach for even more of my Stone magic. But the device still didn’t explode, so I took a few precious seconds to examine it. I didn’t know as much about bombs as Finn did, but it was a simple metal box with a cell phone duct-taped to the top to serve as the trigger. No doubt some sort of explosives had been packed into the container, but the box was still a lot heavier than it should have been. I gave it a gentle shake, and several items rattled around inside. They almost sounded like . . . nails, loose nails that would create deadly shrapnel the second the bomb exploded.
But even worse was the magic that coated the box.
Now that I was actually holding the bomb in my hands, I could identify the type of magic that had been used to make it: metal.
The cold, hard sensation pulsing off the box was eerily similar to my own Stone power. The only real difference was that this magic felt a bit more malleable than mine, just as metal could be shaped more easily than stone. A metal elemental had infused his magic into the box—a very strong one, judging from how much power rippled through the surface.
I looked over my shoulder, hoping that Phillip and Silvio had gotten everyone off the boat. But they were still struggling with Dimitri, Luiz, and their guards, with the Delta Queen waiters and other staff members also yelling, pushing, shoving, and trying to get to the gangplank.
I didn’t know how powerful the bomb was or what the blast radius might be, but the watcher could blow it at any second, and I didn’t want innocent people getting hurt in the explosion. I needed to get it away from the riverboat too, just to be sure that the blast didn’t punch a hole in the side that would sink the vessel, taking anyone else who might still be inside or below deck down with it. My mind whirred and whirred, trying to think of the best way to contain the blast as much as possible, since I had no time to disarm the bomb—
As if hearing my frantic thoughts, the cell phone lit up, confirming my fear that the watcher could detonate the bomb anytime he wanted. I wrapped my arms around the box, reached for even more of my Stone magic, and braced myself for detonation—
I glanced down and realized that a clock had appeared on the phone screen. Thirty seconds and counting down.
There was no more time, so I did the only thing I could think of.
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