A car suddenly swerved recklessly in front of us, stopping with its bright headlights facing us. I squinted and covered my eyes with my hands. Thom and Merlin both stood shoulder to shoulder in front of me, with one hand Thom cautioned me to back up a little further, I slowly did as he said, never taking my eyes off of the scene in front of us.

Like the ones who took my mother, these ten men were enormous. Thick bands of muscle coating their arms. One of the men—the one who was bigger than all the others—reminded me a lot of a viking. Dark red hair and a long, bushy red beard. He had a thick scar from his thick forehead to the right side of his eyes.

The other men all piled up behind him, not nearly as scary as him and all of them seemingly falling in line.

"Give us the girl," he demanded in an Irish accent, his face serious.

Thom and Merlin said nothing, just braced themselves for a fight.

"Lucinda," Thom said. I knew he was serious in this moment because he rarely ever called me by my full name. "While we hold them off, use your magic to break into the car. If they get us, you get in and drive away, do you understand?"


"For the love of all things Holy, Sibyl," Merlin snapped. "We all know that out of the three of us, you're the one who needs to survive. Besides, once Morgana's men kill you, your mother will be done for, as well."

I flinched at the visual and sighed.

"Okay," I said. "But don't make me have to go to option B. Just...kick their asses, okay."

"Will do." Thom's back was turned to me as he spoke, but I could hear a bit of laughter in his voice.

As the nine men charged toward us, the viking stood still, his eyes meeting mine. It was strange, but somehow, it was like I could see him up close. Suddenly, I knew his eyes were dark green and that he had a soft spot for cats and he drank ale from the darkest of nights to the earliest of mornings. Some part of me was saying that I could...trust him.

Thom dove skillfully at the charging men, taking them on with strength and speed that I didn't even know he possessed. He charged through the first two men and was moving on to his third. Merlin was fighting his way through calmly, his expression never changing even as he took on one man and then the next with lightening quickness.

They were good, I had to admit that. Better than good, they were amazing. I never in my life thought I'd live to see the day where I witnessed an actual sword fight. Things like this only existed in movies and books and television shows. Not in real life.

Remembering my promise to Thom, I turned to the car, closing my eyes and placing my hand on the car door, I called out one word, "Apertus."

I heard the sound of the car door unlock and turned to see the fight still going on. They were still fighting an unfair fight. Just the two of them against four more men.

Just when I thought things couldn't get worse, the police rounded the corner. Apparently, the sound of swords clashing and the grunts of men fighting each other had caught the attention of the officers who had been looking at Thom's wrecked vehicle. And judging by the number of squad cars surrounding us, they had called for backup.

While I was distracted, a one of Morgana's men pulled away from his fight with Merlin and charged at me, sword held high. By the time I realized he was charging at me it was too late, his sword was already coming down and my eyes closed, hoping that if I couldn't see my death, I wouldn't feel it either.

"Lucinda!!" Thom shouted.

At that moment, I heard the clanging of swords. It was different from all the other clanging because this time it was very close. The second thing I noticed was that, Morgana's soldier's sword should have descended on me now.

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