Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(87) by Jennifer Estep
Then I snapped my hand up and slammed the metal into Pike’s throat.
I got the angle just right, and the shard sank deep into the tender flesh of his neck above his makeshift armor. I helped it along, driving it through his muscles and tendons, twisting it in as deep as it would go.
Pike choked out a scream and arched back. I managed to bring my knee up and get my foot in between us. Gritting my teeth against the pain in my side, I kicked the bastard off me.
For a moment, I lay there panting, sucking down all the sweet, sweet air I could. Then I rolled over and gingerly pushed myself up into a seated position. The Ice that I’d used to seal my stab wound had cracked away during our fight, and blood streamed out of the deep gash again.
Pike had managed to get back up onto his knees, blood dripping out of his neck and spattering onto the crushed stones.
“Bless your heart. You’re going die in another minute, two tops,” I said, my voice hoarse and raspy from where he’d bruised my throat. “Just like your father. His own mace was the end of him. And you? You’re choking to death on the precious metal that you love so fucking much.”
Pike looked at me, clutching at the broken shard in his windpipe. He didn’t try to yank it out, but I must have nicked his carotid artery, given the dark color and copious amounts of blood that were pouring out of the wound. He could leave the metal in there as long as he wanted, and it still wouldn’t save him. Nothing would do that now.
But that didn’t mean he still wasn’t going to try.
Pike sent another surge of magic blasting over his body, and all the iron bands detached themselves, crawled up his arms and chest, and clamped around his throat. He was tightening the metal around his own neck to try to cut off the blood loss.
And it was working.
The blood slowed to a trickle, then stopped altogether. Pike gave me an evil look and stretched his hand out toward me, ready for another round.
“Oh, come on,” I muttered. “You have got to be kidding me.”
Pike gurgled some unintelligible curse and dragged himself a little closer to me.
I shook my head, reached for my Ice magic again, and created a dagger with it. Maybe Pike was more zombie than I’d given him credit for. Either way, if I had to kill him again, so be it. And I’d keep right on killing him until he was good and dead.
“Seriously, sugar, just give it up and die already—”
A black, bloody hole appeared in the middle of Pike’s forehead.
He blinked, and his head lolled to one side, as he looked at his killer. He focused on her a moment, anger and bitterness flashing in his eyes, and then he toppled over to the ground.
I waited, still holding on to my Ice dagger, but Pike didn’t move or stir. Blood gushed out of his head wound, mixing with the stone shards, and slowly, the bands of metal around his body relaxed and dropped away, the iron clanking to the ground all around him. That’s when I knew that he was finally dead.
I looked to my right.
Lorelei stood at the edge of the rock garden, dusting the shattered remains of her elemental Ice gun off her hands. She walked over to Pike and stared down at him, her mouth a determined slash. Then she grabbed another Ice gun from one of her holsters and shot him in the head again, just to make sure. She tossed the remains of that gun away, grabbed a third one, and repeated the process.
I approved of her thoroughness. She didn’t want him coming back to life any more than I did.
Finally, when the sharp retorts of the shots had faded away, Lorelei dusted the Ice off her hands a final time.
“I had him, you know,” I rasped.
“Sorry to steal your thunder. But I waited a long time for that.”
“And how does it feel?”
Lorelei looked down at Pike’s body, her hands clenched into fists, her face tight with grim satisfaction. But slowly, her hands relaxed, and her features smoothed out, her bitter emotions melting into weary relief, mixed with more than a little pain.
She stared at her dead brother a moment longer, then turned and left him behind.
“Gin! Gin! Gin!”
Owen’s, Finn’s, and Bria’s voices rose above the hedge maze, floating through the branches and creating strange echoes in the night.
“Over here!” I rasped, the effort searing my bruised throat.
The three of them ran into the Japanese garden. I was still sitting in the middle of the ruined rocks, too tired to move, so they hurried over to me.
Jo-Jo was with them, and she quickly sank down onto her knees beside me, her clear eyes sweeping over my body and focusing on the gash in my side, which was still leaking blood. She shook her head, making her white-blond curls dance around her head before settling back into place.
“That’s a nasty wound,” she said. “You’re lucky he didn’t slice right through your kidney.”
“What can I say?” I drawled. “I always seem to bring out the best in people.”
Jo-Jo laughed, but relief echoed in her chuckles.
“Anyway, I lived, and he didn’t, and that’s all that really matters.”
Owen threaded his fingers through mine. “I’ll second that,” he murmured.
I grinned, and he leaned over and kissed me, despite what a bruised, bloody mess I was.
Jo-Jo reached for her Air magic, and the pins-and-needles of her power started tugging at my skin, stitching everything back together that Raymond Pike had torn apart. Owen held my hand while she healed me.
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