Dark Game (Merikh Book 1)
until he hit that wall of people begging for blood. They were as effective at stopping him as they had been with me.
    “Why?” I said, taking up a position just out of reach. “Why pick on him?”
    “I…I don’t know.” He wasn’t just scared; he was terrified. All the power he’d put into his aggression now turned on itself. I could see tears forming in his eyes. “I just…I was so angry.”
    And I got it. I understood the fight, and Mouse’s aggressive suggestions, and even the sexual advances from Patty. They were being influenced, driven in this direction.
    “Take him out,” Patty yelled from the edge of the crowd, her friend joining in a moment later. I spared them a glance and saw what I expected to see: they were pumped up on adrenaline, their pupils, posture, and even the way they held onto each other suggesting the storm of anger they were feeling.
    I turned back to Brick, whose wave of rage had crashed, and found a pitiful, broken man, sobbing and terrified. I lowered my hands and stepped away. When I reached the edge of the circle I barely had to pause before people, suddenly no longer acting as a single crazy crowd, stepped out of my way.
    I felt the shift in the crowd before I heard anything. The sharp intake of breath as a new rush threatened to explode inside. I turned in time to dodge Brick’s final, desperate attack. I twisted the man’s arm behind his back and pulled him to his knees before wrapping my arm around his throat and applying enough pressure to stop the blood flow to his brain.
    Brick went out like one of the lights hung over the gathering, and I left him on the packed ground as I left the party.
    “I’m coming out,” I said to Mouse. “Can you bring the van down to pick me up, please?” There was no answer. I checked the earpiece was still in place before trying again. “Mouse, can you hear me?”
    Now I felt the adrenaline begin to flood my system the way it had the others. Mouse always answered, was always there. I ran from the party, shoving people out of the way until I hit the road and was able to run back the way I’d come.
    The van was there but the door was open. Mouse was gone.
     
     

The Knight: Divine Detectives
    Ehl and Ahn were already talking by the time the knight arrived. The chain went slack, clattering to the floor, but the gods paid neither it nor him any attention.
    Ahn was in the body of a sickly man. Somewhere in his late thirties, the man had the pallor of a corpse and a raspy voice even Ahn’s power couldn’t entirely obscure. Ehl was a young girl, on the cusp of her teens, at most. The knight couldn’t see any family resemblance, nor any savory reason for the two – the actual humans who would soon be dead – to be walking down an alley in the city of Fairbridge together.
    “What could we possibly hope to find by coming in person?” Ehl said, its voice a more confident, sarcastic version of what the knight imagined the girl actually sounded like. “I already know every atom in the building.”
    “And yet we have no idea how the young assassin came into his power,” Ahn replied. A pink flush had sprung up in the vessel’s cheeks, a hint of health conferred by his divine passenger. “Nor who hired him and sent him to kill a priest.”
    “A fair point.”
    They walked slowly toward a door halfway down the alley. Yellow and black caution tape hung askew across the opening, and the bricks around were blackened, like those of a furnace. A bright sun, far brighter than a pre-warming world would expect Fairbridge to get this time of year, was obscured by the tall buildings all around. The knight didn’t like the cities of this time with their yearning for the sky. It seemed a waste, as though the species he nominally still belonged to was afraid of the ground and spent all their effort getting as far away from it as possible. They created wonders in order to show off, and then hated using them. Or so it seemed from his admittedly removed

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