Author Note: This story is set in the world of The Purple Door District shortly before the beginning of the book. You do not have to have read The Purple Door District in order to read this story. Art by Gabriella Bujduso on instagram.
Waves of glistening water devoured snarling tendrils of fire, creating a thick cloud of steam. Moisture filled the battlefield, raising the temperature and causing sweat to bead on Gladus' brow. She ran her fingers along her forehead and pulled the salty liquid away, creating a spinning water orb in her palm.
Her opponent faced off against her on the other side of the field, fire dancing in both of his hands. Vic wore his usual cocky smile that she always warned could get him in trouble. She wouldn't deny his strength, but whenever he felt like he had the upper hand, he let it show.
"Wearing out?" he called to her.
Gladus smiled and started to draw in the moisture from the air. Ether, earth's magic, flowed through her, humming a pleasant chord that vibrated her veins. She was born of magic, possessing an eighth chakra that helped her connect with the Ether and craft magic out of nothing. Witches weren't quite so fortunate. While sensitive to magic, they had to conjure spells or use wands to ignite their power. The difference in magic sensitivity created a rift between magi and witches, though Gladus couldn't understand why. They were all Ether users after all.
She called the water together and reshaped it into shards. With a breath, she froze the water into thick ice crystals. Their jagged surfaces glittered like jewels in the shine of Vic's fire. She tossed her hand and sent the shards flying towards him.
Vic rotated his hand in the air, weaving a fire shield seconds before the ice struck. Her magic melted against his, but it just created more steam for her to work with. Did he even realize what she was trying to do?
"Ha! Nice try, Gladus!" he crowed.
I guess not, Gladus thought with a sigh. He should know better than this. They'd trained together for years, and with Vic named as her successor to the Oakfield Ward, he had to know how to protect his people, as well as himself. But his pride was a problem. If it distracted him too much from his duty, she might very well have to choose someone else.
She hoped it wouldn't come to that.
Gladus eyed Vic as he played with the magic in his hands. It started out as two flaming balls, but as Gladus watched, they grew in size and height, the flames licking the sky hungrily. The talisman he wore on his chest glowed brighter as he drew magic from it to help fuel his power. Fire magic wasn't his birth power, but he'd spent years perfecting it. Using a talisman helped when he floundered.
Suddenly, Vic slapped his hands together, creating a concussion of heat that Gladus felt all the way across the field. She put up her arms to create a water shield, her feet sliding back in the muddy dirt. Oof! That was a strong one! When did he learn that?
As she lowered her arms, she saw his fire come to life.
Deep in the embers, an essence took shape. A dragon's maw broke through the flaming vortex, forming into a living, breathing, creature made of fire. It rose above Vic's head and snarled at her, its cry akin to roaring flames. It waved back and forth like a snake being ordered by his charmer.
Gladus backed up and folded her arms over her ample bosom.
Vic paused. "Are you giving up?"
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The Purple Door District (Preview)Paranormal
Bianca was supposed to attend art school in Chicago, not run for her life from Hunters. The only chance she has to survive is to find The Purple Door District, a safe haven for a parahuman like herself. When she stumbles upon a magus named Gladus an...