Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(82) by Jennifer Estep
There might not be any metal around, but Pike still had that bag of nails draped across his chest, and, worse, he could always have another bomb on him. Besides, he was as fond of traps as I was, and I was willing to bet that the only reason we’d seen him now was so he could try to lure us into some sort of kill spot.
“Lorelei!” I hissed again. “Stop!”
But she didn’t.
So I went after her. She was going to get herself killed, being so reckless and blindly chasing after Pike, but I could understand why she did it. She was tired—tired of hiding and waiting and wondering when and where he might strike next.
She wanted to end this.
But I crept forward at a more cautious pace. We might have trapped Pike in the maze, but a rabid animal was always the most dangerous when it was cornered—
Lorelei’s scream shattered the silence.
I forgot about being cautious and sprinted forward. She kept screaming, and a cold, hard burst of magic filled the section of the maze up ahead, like an invisible mushroom cloud arcing up into the sky.
Please! . . . Please don’t leave me!
Lorelei’s voice echoed in my mind, even as her screams assaulted my ears.
The corridor opened up into another garden, one with a Japanese theme, given the clusters of cherry and bonsai trees that lined the paths and the wooden pagoda sitting in the middle. I spotted a rock garden behind the pagoda, the stones glowing like opals in the moonlight.
Lorelei was on her knees near the pagoda, her hands raised and her eyes glowing a pale blue as she tried to fight off her brother. But she was losing badly, her face and hands already crisscrossed with deep, bloody scratches. Pike drew a handful of nails out of his bag and sent them slicing through the air toward her. Lorelei screamed as they stuck into her shoulder, like pins in a cushion.
I raced toward them. The second I was in range, I shot a spray of Ice daggers out of my left hand.
Pike’s head snapped up at the sudden surge of magic, and he tossed a handful of nails at me, driving them into my Ice daggers and shattering my cold weapons. Bits of Ice and metal tink-tink-tinked to the ground between us.
While Pike was distracted, Lorelei reached for one of the Ice guns holstered to her thighs, but he kicked her in the ribs. The blow threw her back, and her head clipped the side of an iron bench close to the pagoda. Lorelei dropped to the ground and didn’t move.
Pike stepped over her still form, stopping in front of me. He shook his head. “You must have a serious death wish.”
“I am rather fatalistic that way,” I admitted. “Mostly, though, I just don’t like bullies. People like you who think that their magic makes them better than everyone else. Folks who enjoy hurting other people with their power.”
“A bully? I’m so much more than that.” He laughed, the sound chilling me far more than the night air did. “Although I’ve been extremely disappointed in you so far. I thought that the mighty Gin Blanco would be tougher. Stronger. Smarter. From what I’ve been told, you were supposed to be quite the powerhouse. But I haven’t seen any evidence of that at all.”
“And who’s been spreading tales about me all the way up in West Virginia?” I asked. “Is it the same person who told you about Lorelei’s new last name and location?”
He grinned. “My new friend? Let’s just say that . . . she’s as coldhearted as they come.”
Well, that told me absolutely nothing. I thought about pressing him for more information, but he wouldn’t tell me. In fact, he would delight in not telling me, and I didn’t want to give him any more of a thrill than what he’d already gotten from torturing Lorelei, who was still out cold.
I bared my teeth at him. “Funny, but I would say the same thing about me. It’s too bad your friend’s not here, though. She could die right alongside you tonight.”
Pike regarded me with an amused look. “You really believe that, don’t you? That you can kill me, despite all the times I’ve bested you over the past few days.”
“Why shouldn’t I? Everyone’s luck runs out sooner or later, and I’d be happy to help you extinguish what little is left of yours. Besides, you won’t be the first Pike I’ve killed.”
He frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Haven’t you figured it out yet?” I shook my head and clucked my tongue, mocking him. “Little slow on the uptake, aren’t you, Ray? I already told you once, but let me say it again: I killed your father. Not Lorelei. Dear Daddy Renaldo was about to beat her to death. He almost got me too, before I shoved him down on top of that mace he was so fond of carrying around. He didn’t much like all those spikes digging into him for a change, instead of Lily Rose and Lorelei.”
It was a calculated jab to try to enrage him enough to rush blindly at me, but he didn’t fall for it. Pike stared at me, memories darkening his eyes and the wheels of his mind churning as he thought back to that day.
“And you think that I’m not smart?” I let out a light, pealing laugh. “Look at you. You’re the one who’s been trying to get your revenge on the wrong woman. For years. Not the sharpest nail in the shed, are you, Ray?”
Pike kept staring at me, but the certainty in my voice and the cold, cruel curve of my lips finally convinced him.
“You bitch!” His voice teetered on a scream. “You killed my father!”
“Damn right I did,” I snarled back. “Just like I’m going to kill you.”
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