Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(83) by Jennifer Estep
Pike took a step forward, as though he were finally going to charge me. But he must have thought better of it, because he stopped, threw back his head, and laughed instead.
“Oh, give it up.” He sneered. “Because you’re still trying to kill me with a knife—and I have more than enough magic to rip that pretty metal away and drive it right through your heart.”
Pike waved his hand, expecting the force of his magic to pop the knife out of my hand just as it had done before during the garden party.
Pike frowned and waved his hand again.
And still, nothing happened.
His eyes narrowed. “You switched knives. That one you’re holding, it’s not metal. I should have realized that something was wrong with it the second I saw it.”
“This old thing?” I held up the weapon. “You’re right. It’s not my usual silverstone knife.”
I tapped my nail against the blade. Instead of the usual tink-tink-tink, the sound was flat and hollow, as though the knife weren’t solid at all.
“It’s ceramic,” I said, tilting the weapon back and forth, letting the moonlight bounce off the metallic-looking paint I’d sprayed all over the surface. “Your sister gave it to me, along with a couple of others. She thought they might come in handy when we suckered you out here tonight.”
“Still thinking you’ve won just because we’re in a garden.” Pike gave me an evil grin. “Don’t you know that metal is in practically everything? You might have switched to ceramic knives, but there’s still metal on your clothes, in your shoes, and wrapped around your throat, given that pretty rune necklace you’re wearing.”
Pike raised his hand again, and a blast of power rolled off him, streaked through the air, and surrounded me like a force field. The invisible fingers of his metal magic rifled through my clothes, snaked through my hair, and even tugged on the laces of my black boots.
But once again, they came up empty.
Confusion flickered in Pike’s eyes.
“You know what? It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible to find clothes that don’t have any metal in them.”
“But your ring, your necklace!” he sputtered.
“Plastic,” I said, tapping the tip of my ceramic knife against my spider rune pendant. “But you’re right. They are pretty, nonetheless, don’t you think?”
He growled, grabbed a handful of nails out of his satchel, and sent them shooting straight at my face.
Pike wanted to take me by surprise, but I had been waiting for the move. After all, sneak attacks were what he did best. Me too.
The nails bounced off my body, thanks to my Stone-hardened skin, and I whipped my knife out in a quick counterstrike.
Pike lunged back, so that my knife only sliced through the strap of his satchel instead of him. The bag of nails dropped to the ground, and I kicked it off into the bushes. Pike lashed out with his own kick, which would have blown out my knee if it had connected. While I was recovering my balance, he reached around to the small of his back and came out with his own knife—silverstone, judging by the way it glinted in the moonlight.
He grinned. “I was going to use this to cut Lorelei’s throat when I finally decided to finish her off. But I guess I’ll just have to practice on you first.”
“Bring it on, you sick son of a bitch,” I hissed.
Pike and I circled each other again, our booted feet scraping through all the dried leaves. I might have largely neutralized his metal magic, but he was still a dangerous enemy, and the way he held that knife told me that he knew how to use it. Even with my Stone magic protecting me, one mistake, one second of hesitation, one lapse in concentration, and I’d be on the ground and bleeding out from the vicious wounds he would inflict on me.
Pike lunged in, but I recognized it as an opening feint, meant to test my resolve and skill, and I held my ground, easily slapping the blade of his knife away with mine.
He flashed me a cool look. “Well, at least my source got one thing right. You actually seem to know what you’re doing with that knife.”
There he went again, talking as if he actually knew me. I wondered who his chatty source was and where she had gotten so much information about me. Maybe I could carve the answer out of him before I put him down for good.
He lunged in with his knife again. I ducked, but I wasn’t quick enough to avoid the blow. The tip of his knife dragged along my forearm, the silverstone soaking up just enough of my Stone magic to let the blade break through the surface of my skin.
I yelped and staggered back. Pike swung his knife in a powerful arc, trying to lay my guts open with one long, smooth slice, but I twisted my body to the side, avoiding the blow. He leaned in too far, and I jabbed the hilt of my knife into his left temple.
This time, Pike staggered back, and I pressed my advantage, swinging, swinging, swinging my knife in an elaborate pattern, all three strikes meant to kill, kill, kill. But he was just as good with a knife as I was, and he sidestepped my blows the same way I had eluded his.
I risked a glance at Lorelei, but she was still slumped unconscious on the ground.
Pike darted forward, and I stepped up to meet him. Our blades flashed in the air, his bright and pure, mine dull and fake. He nicked my shoulder, and I got in a long slice in his forearm. He twisted his knife into my thigh, while I rammed mine deep into his shoulder. He slapped me across the face, and I punched him in the kidneys. And so the fight went on and on, and neither one of us could get enough of an advantage to end the other.
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