Rising Darkness (Rylee Adamson #9) - Page 35

She sat in the middle of the pentagram completely naked and swaying in a circle. Blood ran down her body from two cuts, one over each breast. I gritted my teeth, took a breath and lifted my hands. I would show her I was not to be played with.

A power move, one that required a lot of energy for most witches, leapt to my fingers. Sheer energy erupted from my fingertips and raced toward her. My aim was perfect and the bolt of magic slammed into her chest, bowling her over and out of the pentagram.

“I’m not afraid of you, Milly. If you’re going to teach me, then teach me. But if you aren’t, then I’m leaving.”

She was crumpled in a heap by the wall and for a moment, I thought maybe I’d hurt her. With a quick move, she flung a hand at me. Lightning arced off her fingers and zipped toward me. I held my ground and caught the lightning, absorbing it. That was a trick of Deanna’s. One on my list I’d been studying and thought I would never use.

She slowly stood, her eyes never leaving my face. “You are stronger than I thought.”

I didn’t respond, just waited for her to answer me.

A robe hung on a chair beside her. She reached for it, and swirled it around her body. I should have known that it was a ruse.

The swirl of the robe hid her hand and she shot a bolt of power the hit me square in the chest, flinging me back through the open doors and against the wall on the far side. I couldn’t breathe and I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to again. I rolled to my side, fighting for air, knowing I had to get up. To fight.

From my room came a soft cry that slowly turned into a roar. For just a moment, I thought Alex was here, that Rylee had come to rescue me. But it wasn’t Alex who bounded out of my room and stood between me and Milly.

The snow leopard wasn’t what I expected at all. But the green eyes were exactly like . . . “Peta?”

Her tail lashed from side to side and her body tensed

as Milly came to the doorway. “Well, what do have we here? I thought you looked familiar, kitty cat. Where is your mistress?”

Milly flicked a hand at Peta. The spell was a powerful one, meant to break the blood vessels in the heart. I cried out and raised a hand, but I knew I’d be too slow. Peta jerked as the spell hit her, body convulsing as she screamed out a final cry.

“NO!” I tried to get up, tried to get to her. I managed to grab her tail and flooded her body with my power. She couldn’t die. I wouldn’t let her. My ability to heal, though . . . it was so small. So weak.

Peta rolled and coughed as I patched her up as best I could. Sweating profusely, I’d been able to staunch the bleeding. “Heal her, Milly.”

“Oh, now you want my help after you attack me?”

“You started it,” I snarled up at her, wanting nothing more than to stick my blade into her heart. “Heal her!”

Milly smirked. “No. She won’t die.”

Peta growled, her fangs covered in her own blood. I put a hand on her back and she shrunk to the house cat I knew. I scooped her up, cradling her against my chest. “I’m leaving.”

“And what about Frankie baby?” Milly pouted at me.

I stood straighter and raised an eyebrow at her. But I didn’t need to say anything. He was suddenly there at my side.

“I go where Pamela goes.”

Milly laughed. “You children. All these games to test you and you think I would actually hurt you? Please. Go calm yourselves and then we’ll have dinner.”

I frowned. “What are you saying?”

“This was a test.” She waved her hand and I flinched. “I need to see how strong you really are. You don’t think I’d actually hurt you, do you?” Her voice was full of disbelief, and I thought maybe I was wrong. Maybe this was exactly what she claimed.

“But you did

hurt her, and you almost killed Peta,” Frank said.

I looked from him to Milly and back again. She snorted softly. “Frankie, please. How is she going to break through her barriers if she isn’t pushed? You know as well as I do that she is a terrible healer.”

That was true. I put a hand to my head. “Frank, will you come with me?”

He tucked a hand under my elbow and helped me to my room, shutting the door behind us. I heard the click of the lock, and while it made me feel better, I knew it wouldn’t keep her out if she wanted in.

I laid Peta on the bed. She stretched out with a soft meow that nearly broke my heart. “I’m so sorry, Peta.” I looked at Frank. “I’m sorry I pulled you into this, too.”

“We’ll go. Right now, pack your stuff and we’ll leave.”

A tear slipped from my eye. “I can’t.”

He stopped mid-stride toward my closet. “What do you mean you can’t?”

“She had me swear a binding oath to her this morning. It . . . keeps me here.”

He sank to the floor, his eyes wide. “Why, why would you do that?”

Crying, I shook my head. “She . . . I don’t know. I thought she cared about me like Rylee did. I trusted her.”

I waited for him to yell at me, to tell me I was stupid. I knew it now, but now was too late. He sat beside me on the bed and wrapped his arms around me gently as I cried. “We’ll find a way to break the bond. That’s all there is to it.”

I clung to him, hoping he was right, but knowing there was no turning back. I’d tied myself to a witch who was obviously psychotic. Rylee had been right. I couldn’t trust Milly. Which meant no matter what I thought of Rylee, all the things Milly had told me about her were lies.