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Chapter 8

“Mina,” Matt breathed out.

“We should have known Pluto would send someone to keep watch,” I said standing on my own. “Although I’m surprised it’s just you.”

“I felt confident I could handle anyone who showed up sniffing around here,” Mina said side-eying me. “But I admit, I’m impressed you found the artifact so soon. If you managed to get away it’d be very bad for us.”

“Mina, please—”

“Quiet,” Mina said flinging her arm at Matt.

Snow and ice kicked up as a wave of gravity slammed into him. He cried out as he flew a feet back, and eventually skidded to a stop sever yards away quiet and unmoving.

Before Mina could turn her attention back to me I was running at her. I clenched my fist, the image I wanted coming into focus, and then thrust it forward. A ball of ice appeared and flew at Mina’s chest. She bent out of the way just in time, but then I was on her.

I slammed my knee into her head forcing her to stumble backwards, and a grin spread across my face.

Bitch was about to get what’s coming to her.

Elbows, punches, and even a head butt had Mina flailing back and bleeding.

Funny. They could distort our very reality, but when it came to fists they were weak and uncoordinated. Nothing but little dogs with big barks.

An upper cut had Mina bending over my fist, and when I pivoted to finish her off I made my mistake. I tried to kick on ice.

My foot connected with Mina’s temple, but my other foot had already left the ground causing most of the force to be lost. Karma seemed to return the favor though, because lights flashed when my head hit the ice. My head throbbed as I tried scrambling to my feet, but Mina thrust a hand at me. A gasp left me and I crashed back to the ice.

I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe. Mina knelt a few feet away hunched over, a hand still stretched towards me panting. I tried moving, managing to shift my arm slightly when Mina clenched her fist.

“Fuck you,” she hissed, and I screamed the last of the air from my lungs.

I felt my bones bending under the ungodly gravity. The ice beneath me started groaning and cracking, and dread flickered through me. Was she going to let me break through? If so then I wasn’t going to give her the chance. She wanted to increase the gravity—well two could play at that game. I closed my eyes and reach into my core, yanking back as much as I could and allowing it to radiate through me. The crushing weight lifted, and I gasped for air.

“How?!” Mina asked throwing her other hand at me. The ice beneath me shattered, I dropped into the water, and bobbed back up—feet resting on the surface of the water. Mina’s mouth fell open, “W-What?”

“I changed my density,” I said throwing myself forward.

I crossed the distance between us and shifted my density to normal, the change rocketing me towards Mina before she could react. I raised my leg straight up and slammed my heel down on her face, the force so strong my ankle popped and went numb. I looked up smirking, and blinked when I saw Mina staring at me just as shocked as I was.

Mina raised a trembling hand, touching her forehead where I should’ve hit. Then both of us looked down to see my boot on the ice.

“My apologies for the surprise Mina,” Pluto said appearing out of the air. “I don’t usually turn people into illusions, but I thought it would be in your best health.”

“An illusion,” Mina echoed, and despite the dark I saw her pale. Who wouldn’t? For a brief moment she didn’t exist.

I stood up, ignoring the pain in my foot and watched him closely. His mask shifted to me, and we stared silently. Behind me, Matt groaned as he came to and cursed when he saw our newest arrival.

“Nora!” I turned to see Matt throw the meteorite. The pressure hit me before the stone did, and when I reached for it a blur past me snatching it out of the air.

“Let’s go,” Mina said sliding to a stop beside Pluto.

Out of my peripheral Matt pulled his gun. At the same time, Pluto and I raised our hands. The gunshot cracked through the cold air, but the bullet never made it past the wall of ice that appeared from the lake surface. Matt’s mouth fell open as he looked at me, betrayal in his eyes. He looked to his gun and saw it no longer existed, the last of the metallic dust slipping through his fingers.

“Sorry,” I said. “But nobody’s going to hurt my brother ever again.”

I looked back, and Mina mimicked Matt’s expression. Nobody said anything. Then Pluto moved, twirling his fingers and thrusting his hand out.

The meteorite left Mina’s grip and shot towards me. I raised my hand on instinct, and the stone slammed into my palm. My body went rigid. A pressure unlike anything before filled me—then intensified. I wanted to scream, but my jaw was locked. White filled the edges of my vision, and what felt like molten metal started pulsing through my limbs.

I’d been tricked. That was the only explanation. This meteorite wouldn’t make me stronger—it was going to kill me! My mind went blank when pain tore through my body. A bright flash filled my vision and then nothing.

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