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Basil
Author: Michele Notaro

Chapter One

 

 

Basil

 

 

My perp was about three hundred feet away, and I needed to get closer to assess the situation before I took him down. This guy was wanted for murder, rape, assault, burglary, and a list of other crimes. He was dangerous and needed to be taken in. Well, I wanted him to just be taken out, but my brother-in-law made me promise to bring him in alive unless the guy was threatening my life. If Alec wasn’t in charge of the Brinnswick Central Agency, I probably wouldn’t listen, but he could get me in some serious trouble if he wanted to—not that he’d ever go through with it, but still.

Keeping my footsteps as silent as possible, I crept up a hill. Once I got up there, I should have a clear view of the perp. As I crested the top, movement to my right made me freeze. Scanning my surroundings, my eyes widened as a man stepped out in a ghillie suit. The suit made him blend so well with the bushes, I hadn’t even known he was there.

When the guy lifted his crossbow at me, I narrowed my eyes.

“Who are you?” he asked, his voice low and rumbly with an accent I couldn’t place, but he was quiet enough that my perp shouldn’t be able to hear. When I didn’t respond, he lifted his crossbow higher and said, “I don’t like to repeat myself, and I never miss my target.”

Tilting my head to the side, I let a little of my magic reach out to see if I could figure out what kind of creature this guy was. I wasn’t worried about him shooting me. Even if he did, my magical shield would stop the arrow from hitting me, not that I was about to tell him that. As soon as my magic brushed across the guy’s aura, I gasped. He felt warm and tingly and… safe. The man gasped, too, but after only a few seconds, he ground out, “Your charms won’t work on me, witch.”

Swallowing thickly and trying to shake off the strange feeling, I pulled my magic back. Maybe it was only reacting because he had some kind of rune or something for protection against magic.

“Who. Are. You? I won’t ask again.”

“Basil Ellwood. Who are you?”

The guy’s crossbow lowered just a tad, but he narrowed his eyes. “Ellwood, eh? Am I really supposed to believe that?”

My eyebrows rose. “Believe whatever you want. It doesn’t change the truth. If you want, I can pull out my license, asshole.”

“Don’t move your fuckin’ hands.”

I sighed. “Who are you?”

“The name’s Grim.”

What a dickhead. “You seriously think I’m going to believe that’s your name?”

His gaze darkened. “It’s Hiro Grimsby, not that ya have any right to know, Basil. I’m a hunter, and you’re in my way. Turn around and go back to whatever Hell you came from so I can take out my mark.”

A hunter? Hunters were always huge assholes, but they usually worked in groups of two or three—sometimes more if needed—not alone. “Where’s your partner?”

“Don’t got one. Now go back the way you came and let me take out my mark.”

He could be playing me, there could be another hunter around us, but I didn’t think so. “If you mean that ugly old gnome over there, you’re mistaken. He’s my perp.”

The guy lifted his weapon again and took a step closer to me. “I’ve been followin’ this guy for twenty-four hours, and I finally have him alone. I’m not lettin’ some stuck-up little witch ruin this for me.”

“Yeah, well, I’m on official BCA business, so why don’t you go back to your little hunter club meetings and let the big guys take care of him.”

He took another step, his crossbow almost touching the edge of my shield. “You’re not taking ‘im. He’s mine.”

I shot him a smug smile and wiggled my fingers as I let my magic seep out from me. I didn’t need to move my hands, but it was kinda fun to play with the bastard. My affinity was shadow, so my magic had a black quality to it which only made me seem like I dabbled in dark magic to anyone that didn’t understand how witches worked. My shadow magic was the magic I was born with, but about six years ago—at the end of the Berserker War—two of my brothers and I took on the Mantle of the Three, which made us the most powerful witches in any realm, and also gave my magic a stormy feel. That probably added a more ominous feel to my magic. Which was perfect for spooking asshole hunters.

The guy narrowed his eyes at me and lifted his crossbow higher. I only grinned in response before I wrapped my magic around his body, knocked the crossbow so it was facing up, and pulled my magic tight around him like rope. He was right that my magic couldn’t harm him—it couldn’t touch his skin or anything like that, not that I would do that—but it was easy enough to control the air around him.

When I dragged his ass backward by manipulating the wind and pressed his back against a tree, I said, “He’s mine now.”

The anger storming in his eyes was so fierce, I was surprised they didn’t start glowing and shooting lasers out at me. “Fuckin’ witches always thinkin’ they can walk all over everyone.”

I lifted a shoulder. “Don’t get in my way, and I’ll leave you alone.”

He narrowed his eyes again, clenching his jaw harder. “Your little power display tipped the mark, asshole. He already made a run for it.”

Jerking my head to the side and finding the perp gone, I cursed. “Motherfucker!”

“Now let me the fuck down so I can do my job.”

“Nah, I think I’ll leave you there to rot.”

Basil, my brother Jorah chastised through our link. He and Thayer were the other two thirds of the Three, so the three of us had a bond unlike any other, and because of it, we were able to communicate telepathically. It also meant that unless I was doing everything in my power to block them, I had zero privacy whatsoever.

What?

Let the hunter go. I think you bruised his ego enough for one day. Jorah was always the voice of reason between us. Which was a scary thought since he was just as much trouble as me. Thayer had calmed down a little since meeting his viramore—his soulmate—a few years ago, but he still had a wild side. Truth be told, all three of us did. Probably how we ended up with this magic in the first place.

Fine. Focusing on the hunter, I sighed. “Shoot me in the back, and you’ll regret it.”

“I don’t go around harming people for no reason, unlike you fuckin’ witches seem to.”

My eyebrows rose. Maybe where he came from was different, but here in Brinnswick, witches were known more for saving people more than harming them, so I had no clue what the hell he was talking about. With a sigh and a wave of my hand, I released him from my magical hold.

Immediately, he aimed his crossbow at me but started backing away in the direction we’d last seen the gnome. “If you follow me, I will shoot you. And don’t think my arrows can’t get through your shield, Basil Ellwood. You’re not the only one that knows what he’s doin’.”

I lifted my hands in mock surrender, then saluted him with my middle finger and turned my back on him. I was going to find my mark, but I was going to use my magic to do it, and I didn’t need that asshole watching me do a tracking spell.

After a minute, I turned around to see if he was still aiming his crossbow at me, but he was nowhere in sight. I sighed. That guy was a piece of work, but I couldn’t help but wonder what in the hell he was doing around here. I thought I knew most of the hunters in this area, not that I was friends with them or anything, but we were at least amicable. Maybe this guy was new, or maybe he was simply good at his job and hadn’t yet been caught by me. Whatever. Hopefully I’d never see him again.

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