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Kieran nodded slowly and Donovan drifted over with a folded square of paper. He handed it off to Bria without a word before drifting away again. The other guys fell in around us in a loose circle.

“I don’t think you’ll need them, though,” Kieran said, pointing at the double door. Black film covered the glass on the inside, blocking visibility. No windows dotted the walls. “Unless there’s something to do with your magic, you’ll stay to the side. Stick to the shadows. There should be low light in there, so odds are you won’t be noticed in what you’re wearing.”

“Let’s just hope there is something to do with our magic in there,” Bria mumbled, tucking the paper into her back pocket.

I glanced down at my black turtleneck and black leggings. Kieran had brought a spandex jumpsuit for me to wear, but not trusting he’d correctly gauged my size (because of my height, I looked thinner than I actually was), I’d decided to adhere to my heretofore firm rule of not being caught dead in anything spandex.

“I thought you didn’t know about this place?” I asked, feeling his tug to slow me.

We stopped outside of the double door. Thane, a bald brick of a man with a brown beard and light blue eyes, tapped the face of his phone.

“I didn’t,” Kieran murmured.

“A few seconds, sir,” Thane said in a clear voice made for singing. If he paired up with Jack and his deep baritone, they’d have a good start on a capella group.

“Then how do you know so much about it?” I asked.

Bria lowered her head before pacing to the side. I’d seen that look before. She was searching for souls.

Kieran followed Bria with his gaze. “All I needed was a direction. Everything else was easy to uncover.”

“Did you not sleep?” I flared my elbow, making some room between us. I needed to follow Bria’s lead, if only to practice.

“No.”

“Demigods don’t need to sleep?”

“Not when they can harness the ocean’s power for rejuvenation.”

I widened my eyes before nodding, because that was as surprising as it was cool. “And you still smell like a normal guy instead of like kelp. Amazing.”

“I showered.”

I opened my mouth to reply, but really, what was there to say?

I stepped farther away and sank into a light trance, feeling for souls my eyes hadn’t yet spotted. A soft breeze rustled my middle, a very strange feeling since I didn’t have eyes on the Line. A moment later, I felt the souls of everyone around me, nestled inside the armor of their bodies, lightly swaying to the force of the Line.

Someone gasped. Feet scraped against the ground as someone else pivoted.

A hand smacked my shoulder and shoved.

I was staggering before I’d even snapped my eyes open. Luckily, Kieran grabbed me before I could face-plant into a wall for the second time that morning.

“We’re going to have to work on that,” Bria said, whose raised hand identified her as the shover. “It’s disruptive.”

“It’s downright terrifying, and I don’t mind saying so,” Donovan said, rubbing at his chest.

“Told you I wasn’t exaggerating,” Jack said to him.

“Sorry,” I muttered, wishing I had pockets to put my hands in. “Clearly I’m doing something wrong.”

“We’re good, sir,” Thane said, dropping his phone into the pocket of his black cargo pants. Kieran hadn’t tried to dress him or any of the other guys in spandex. I sensed a double-standard. Then again, Thane had a bunch of stuff, like rope and cable and tools. The only thing I had was a faulty understanding of my magic.

Bria drifted back in beside me. Kieran stepped in front. The guys fanned out around us.

“Don’t search for souls,” Bria murmured to me as Donovan grabbed the door handle and pulled it open.

“I just learned that lesson, yes,” I said dryly.

She didn’t seem to hear me. “Use the ol’ peepers. Unless someone corners you, in which case, search like hell for that soul. Real hard-like. Reach in and yank that motherfucker, got me?”

Kieran’s deep voice rumbled. “No one will be cornering her.”

“Clearly you’re used to things always going right.” Bria put her hand on my arm, staying close. “In my life, things going right is cause for alarm. Stay vigilant. We’re walking into enemy territory.”

14

Alexis

Right inside the door, large moveable walls draped with shadow sectioned off an entryway. The ceiling loomed high above, with industrial lights dangling down, most of them off. As Kieran had anticipated, the interior was murky and dim.

Donovan paused beside the shadowy entrance before melting into it. Thane scooted around Bria before doing the same. His upper body ducked back out into the dim light before disappearing for the second time.

Bria drifted forward, her hand still on my arm. I followed, but clearly not quickly enough. She yanked me behind her.

Hello pot, calling the micromanaging kettle black.

On the other side of the moveable wall, the space opened up with clusters of tables dotting the floor, many of the surfaces speckled with neat piles of papers or other items. None had chairs pushed up to their sides, and only one that I could see had a stool. Nothing marred the clean floor, allowing plenty of standing room around the tables, plus clear walkways for free movement.

Halfway through the warehouse, the landscape of tables shifted into rows of industrial shelving organized into cubes. The cubes were full of boxes, each box affixed with a white piece of paper. Thick shadow lined the ground and hung off of the shelves, most of the lights off in the back.

“This place is ripe for thievery,” I whispered, staying close to Bria. Kieran followed right behind me, reaching out more than once to touch the top of my shoulder. I had no idea why, because he didn’t do it to steer me. “All that shadow?”

“They have night-vision cameras,” Kieran said quietly.

Ah. That made more sense. And was one of the reasons why I was terrible at stealing—I tended to take things at face value.

Thane and Donovan peeled off to either side, glancing back at Bria. She nodded minutely before capturing my forearm.

“We’re up. I’m sensing for souls,” she said. “You just…look around.”

Miss Powerful over here, and all I could do to help was glance around a mostly empty warehouse.

“Isn’t anyone physically in here?” I asked.

“There probably was. That’s why we were waiting on Thane’s all clear.” Bria slowed before stopping, her head down. “They rely on cameras, but Kieran’s got that taken care of.”

There I went, taking things at face value again.

I didn’t want to look around. I wanted to help.

Bria had told me that my magic was nuanced, threading in between the planes. There had to be a way for me to feel it, to use it, without punching into everyone’s chests.

The buzzing from that ghost neighborhood tickled my memory. I remembered the vibration of the spells snaking along the walls. I’d automatically felt the magic when I was close enough. I hadn’t tried—it had just happened.

What if I did try? Would I be able to sense it from farther away?

Focusing on what I remembered from the ghost neighborhood, I let the world slide sideways. I felt the souls pulse from beyond the Line. I felt the Line itself, but didn’t see it. Didn’t feel its breeze. My soul was undisturbed.

My senses were not.

Almost immediately, that soft vibration I remembered lightly traced my left side. A tiny buzz drifted through my body, originating from the same direction.

I yanked my arm out of Bria’s grasp and turned toward the buzzing, eyes closed.

My feet moved of their own accord, just like they had in the ghost neighborhood. A large hand grasped my upper arm. Kieran’s. Pressure directed me left, probably around a table. There was a sea of them, after all.

When the vibration and buzzing reached a peak, I opened my eyes. And then blinked at the dark gray wall rising up in front of me. Hand held out, I felt the warning for souls to stay away. That must’ve meant there were specific souls barred in beyond it.

“Bria,” I whispered, registering the pulse of a soul beyond that wall. No, several pulses. A handful, at least, their movement jiggling my stomach uncomfortably.

Without warning, they all paused in whatever they were doing.

Became alert.

A shock of fear bled through me and I shut it all down. What if the souls I’d felt inside were living people, and I’d just grabbed someone by the middle? I might’ve alerted the masses to our presence.

“I feel it,” Bria said, hurrying over to me. “Oh yeah. I feel that. There is some serious power in there.” She unslung her backpack before looking from side to side. “How the hell do we get in?”

“Thane,” Kieran said, and though his voice was soft, his tone was a whipcrack of command.

Without further instruction, Thane moved along the wall, hands held out and eyes moving.

“They’re locked in,” I said, resting my palms against the wood. “I can’t tell much more from here. But I’d bet the Line is blocked off. I’d also bet…” I gritted my teeth, realizing the feeling of the magic had started seeping into me again. It had almost happened by accident, proof that I used my abilities without thinking about it. “Based on what I felt before, I’d bet these are healthy souls.”

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