Excerpt from First Magyc

Excerpt from First Magyc by Nicole DragonBeck

“What do you need me to do?” Ria stood with her hands clasped, too curious to be afraid, but imaginative enough to be a little nervous.

“Actually, I just need some of your blood Ria.” Cedar took her to the sofa and sat her down, then knelt in front of her.

She considered this for a moment. Blood was important, but she’d had cuts and scrapes before. None had been that bad. “What are you going to do with it?”

“Well, I’m going to use it to get out. Magyc doesn’t work in all worlds, you see, except First Magyc, and that requires a little of the right kind of blood.”  He took a knife from his boot. “This may hurt just a little. Close your eyes for me, won’t you Ria?”

She did as he asked, electrified by the mention of magyc. He bared her arm, firmly but very gently, and made a small cut halfway between her wrist and elbow. With a shriek of surprise, Ria’s eyes flew open. She watched in fascination as bright red blood welled up and spilled over.

Cedar caught it in a glass vial the size of his thumb. When it was full, he sealed the vial and put it in the pocket of a white jacket lying over the back corner of the sofa. Pulling a narrow strip of cloth out of another pocket, he wrapped her arm and showed her how to put pressure on the wound.

“It doesn’t hurt,” she told him, hoping to ease the worried frown from his face.

He smiled, but his eyes were still haunted by a faint shadow of something, doubt, hesitation, maybe regret, Ria couldn’t tell.

“That’s good,” he said. “Now, I want you to come with me.”

“To Demona?” she asked.

“Exactly.”

She frowned and glanced over her shoulder, toward her apartment. That had not been expressly mentioned, but Ria liked the idea. Something about it made sense, on a level below thinking or computing.

“Just for a little while. What do you think?” Cedar prompted, his voice soft.

Ria felt a curious sensation of warmth envelope her. It made her feel safe. She glanced up at him and saw him looking at her, his eyes now a darker, molten gold, and she knew that he was somehow doing it. Ria didn’t really mind. She had a feeling that if she really didn’t want to go with him, he would not be able to force her and would have to let her go. Ria suspected if he wanted to hurt her, he would have done so already.

“Okay,” she said, and smiled at him.

No one would miss her if she was gone for just a little while, and if she went with him she would be able to find out about the feeling of familiarity she had whenever she looked into his eyes or heard his guitar.

Cedar smiled back, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. He leaned over and took the white jacket and slid his arms into it, then grabbed his guitar with one hand and reached under the sofa with the other. He pulled out a red case, into which he placed the guitar. Slinging the case across his back, Cedar scooted closer to her.

“Now this is going to hurt, but I promise that everything will be all right.” His gold eyes were cool and his hands were warm, matching the words.

He was right. It hurt a lot when he slid the knife across her throat.

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