Found at the end of Shadow Assassins
by Melissa Vazquez
Erik had mentioned to Kaleb and Marco that he wished he could see into his father’s mind and see what drove him into the madness he was lost in. That made Marco step up, even if it was hesitantly.
“I’m not promising anything,” he said slowly. “I can’t change what’s in his mind or anything…but I can at least try to see what’s going on in there.”
“It won’t hurt him, will it?” Erik asked.
Marco shook his head. “It’s all in his mind, nothing done physically. He may not even notice I’m peeking around in there.”
Erik agreed and Marco stepped forward.
In truth, Marco had very little knowledge in what he was doing. His powers were mostly used to manipulate physical objects. He had never invaded someone’s mind, although he did occasionally grasp what people were thinking. He figured that all it took was practice. How hard could it be to peer into the mind of a man whose mental abilities were already failing?
Not that he mentioned any of this to the prince who stood beside him. He placed his hands on the King’s and closed his eyes.
His powers flowed over the King, searching for a way in. He was drawn to the King’s thoughts quickly and followed the flow of thoughts, letting the flow lead him. He knew none of this was happening physically, but in his mind’s eye, he saw his power flowing freely, into the King’s mind. He knew he couldn’t manipulate a living object in the same way he could an inanimate one. Anything living was beyond his control, to a certain extent. He could sense the King’s thoughts, all of them in rapid-fire precision. That was what he was looking for–
“Stay out of his mind, magic user!”
The connection was broken as soon as he had heard the voice in his mind. It was the same sort of voice he had encountered as he and his friends had first crossed over from the First Realm to the Second Realm – that ominous, vaguely female voice that spoke in two voices, one he could understand and the other he could not.
Erik was beside him, supporting him and helping him stand up. He hadn’t even realized that he had fallen on the floor until then.
“What’s the matter? Did you see something?”
“No, I…” Marco regained his balance and turned to his fellow Assassins. “Do you guys remember the first time we crossed to the Second Realm and that thing attacked us? And we heard that weird voice?”
As his companions gave their murmurs of agreement, he shook his head in thought. “I just heard that voice again when I was trying to look into the King’s thoughts. It told me to stay out of his mind.”
That got their attention.
“It can’t be the same person, can it?” Kaydee asked.
“Does it happen when you peer into anyone’s thoughts?” Evangeline said right after.
Marco shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never really used my powers for this.”
“Look into my mind, then,” Erik spoke up quickly. “See if the same thing happens then.”
Marco nodded and reached for the prince’s arm. As contact was made, he focused his powers onto Erik, in the same fashion that he did with the King. This time, the connection was made faster, without the hesitancy he found with the King’s mind. His powers washed through Erik’s mind and hundreds of thoughts came at him at once, too fast for him to sort through at first. Stronger emotions tied to a memory or a thought made the image linger longer. He saw most recently, the struggle with his father. The invasion of the kingdom. A kiss from Evangeline?
Marco pulled away quickly after that. It was as though Erik knew what memories Marco had seen; he cleared his throat awkwardly.
“Was it the same?”
Marco shook his head. “No. There was no interference this time.”
He glanced back at the King and tried once more to get into the King’s thoughts. This time, all he felt was raw anger and it felt as though he was physically being pushed away from the King.
“Damn. Whatever it is protecting the King, it won’t even let me in anymore. It’s pushing me back.”
“What has invaded my father’s mind?” Erik asked. His eyes were wide with worry. “Is it what is making him ill?”
“Possibly. I really think it’s that Liliana chick you were talking about–”
“How dare you address me with such familiarity!”
The thundering voice caught everyone off guard. It wasn’t a voice only in Marco’s mind this time. Everyone in the room heard it. They all shuddered as something ominous entered the royal chambers. Nothing physical had entered, but everyone felt its presence. Dark, evil, depraved; it crawled through the room as though it were a snake.
“You do not know who I am, mortal from the First Realm. How dare you address me by name, as though you were familiar with my presence! Cease contact with this man. The King is mine to be had.”
“Release your hold on my father!” Erik shouted.
At this, the voice laughed, seductively feminine and still full of malice. “Fool. You think you can order me around, little prince?”
“I control every breath in his body. Why do you think I would want to give that up?”
Before Erik could demand any more, the King’s body stirred. He sat up from his plush bed and stared around in confusion.
“Erik?” the King asked. His voice sounded frail, as though he had aged another twenty years.
“Father!” Erik rushed to his father’s side. “Are you okay?”
The King’s eyes were wide in confusion. “I fear I have done something terrible. Help me, my son. Help–”
The King cut himself off before the plea for help could be finished. Erik tried to get his attention but King James only stared absently past his son, as though he were not there. When Erik tried to touch his arm, the King changed in appearance. Instead of the haggard, aged king, his face warped and became ugly with a dark, evil anger. His expression changed from confusion to an angry snarl. With a growl that was more animal than human, he lunged for his son, grabbing Erik by the throat.
This is the same excerpt found at the end of Shadow Assassins. If you have not read Shadow Assassins yet, have you considered purchasing it? Thank you for reading.
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