From “Healer” Book Three
A hint of liquor tingled his nose. He paused, testing the air to pinpoint its whereabouts
With the breeze at his back, he twitched an ear to confirm movement from behind. That’s when he turned to glimpse a shadowed figure step from the trees. Instantly, his eye was drawn to the gold-striped dagger present at his side.
Ears flattened in annoyance.
“Are you lost, Nathaniel?” Wisdom questioned, keeping his tone deep with authority. “Sapphire’s the other way. I suggest you go there.”
“Lossst?” Nathaniel slurred. He took a step, stumbled, then regained his composure. “Wha’da you sssthink?”
Used to the precise skill of a trained killer, the prince was stunned. As the assassin clumsily tried to flip the dagger between his fingers, it slipped from his grasp and clanked next to his boot. In his current state, Nathaniel did not notice that his fingers were instead flipping an invisible weapon. It was not until he attempted to make a pass to the next hand that he realized the dagger was missing.
“Ma-magic you-ssher!” He nearly fell over when reaching down for the weapon. “Did-gee enjoy yer lil’ adven-chure at ssschea?”
Wisdom shook his head. “Now I understand why. You certainly couldn’t make it without some type of delay holding me back.” While he spoke, he continually checked his surroundings for illusion, drawing energy from the sword contained within his necklace. At each attempt, his eyes flashed to collect readings, though nothing stood out a present.
Past encounters with the assassin had meant Jenario was not far behind. Yet with Osha’s border protection spell in place, Jenario would not be able to cross as long as he carried the dark horn.
You’re on your own this time, Nathaniel.
“Last chance,” Wisdom threatened. “Turn back.”
Nathaniel snorted. “Mockkkeen me?” Holding the dagger out, he gestured for the prince to advance. “Trrry. Me.” His speech seemed to slow even more while attempting to put actions to his words. At each effort to make a motion, the dagger slipped from his grasp. This in itself infuriated the assassin to the point where he began blaming the prince for his failures.
The prince flexed his fingers. Magic boiled through his veins, ready at his bidding. Here stood the very man who was responsible for his lost childhood – a drunkard. Hands clenched at the memory of his mother, and her last words flooded his mind.
“One day you will discover what you are, and where you came from.”
“You murdered my family,” Wisdom’s tone lowered to a menacing whisper. “Bagged me up like some animal, forced me from my home – ruined everything in relations with that bastard you live with!”
He moved before Nathaniel could react. A quick twist, and Nathaniel’s arm dangled uselessly at his side. Another turn, and he called the staff from his necklace to deflect an upward thrust from the dagger.
“I’ll make you suffer!” Wisdom hissed, dancing effortlessly around his opponent. Coming in low, he swept the staff under Nathaniel’s feet. There came a loud snap as it struck the ankle. In an instant, the assassin was wallowing in agony on his back. “That was for my mother!”
Wisdom stepped back, a precaution that allowed the assassin to make his final comeback. Although his sluggish body was slow on the draw, when the dagger was released, it was a dead-on aim. At such a toss, the point of the dagger would have buried itself in the prince’s heart. Yet Wisdom’s magic would have no such victory. Instead, it threw up a barrier. Just as his hand lifted to deflect the throw, the dagger zipped back to its owner.