Home > Dragon Mage (Dragon Point #7)(8)

Dragon Mage (Dragon Point #7)(8)
Author: Eve Langlais

“And male,” added Aimi.

“Says who?” Babette asked, twirling her hair. “Because, as far as I know, no one’s actually met them. Could be they’re an all-girl band, cuter than the Spice Girls, and into world peace and not the apocalypse.”

Yolanda offered a wry, “I think the fact one of them is called Death probably means they’re not good people.”

“Are they good or evil?” Babette asked Elsie.

Only to get a shrug and a mumbled, “I don’t know. I just know they’re important.”

It was the king’s wife and mate, Sue-Ellen, only one of two humans in the room, who said, “Dragons and shapeshifters are supposed to be bad, too.”

The observation caused a few in the room to squirm. Were they showing bias? Could the horsemen just be misunderstood?

“No killing, not yet, until we know intent,” the king said.

Aunt Yolanda just had to question. “You are all assuming these horsemen even exist. Sorry, Elsie, but you have to admit that dream you had is pretty farfetched. It’s a well-known fact that the four horsemen are a religious construct. They don’t exist as actual people but a series of events big enough to have their own distinct existence.”

“I don’t agree.” Sue-Ellen shook her head. “The horsemen have shown up in too many places. How many instances of this construct appearing in different religions and cultures does it take before we believe there’s some truth in it?”

“If they do exist, then what are they?” Aunt Yolanda asked.

“It doesn’t matter what they are,” Elsie interjected. “What does matter are the choices made here today. If it’s any consolation, in the futures where you don’t act at all, you die quickly.”

That snapped plenty of mouths shut.

Babette held in a snicker, and Aunt Yolanda quickly recovered her composure to ask, “If the horsemen are here, then how are we supposed to find them?”

It was Adrienne who raised her hand and waved it like a woman on fire. “Easy. Follow the signs.”

“What signs?”

“Didn’t anyone read the Bible or watch the movies?” Adrienne rolled her eyes. “In a nutshell, we need to find four people riding horses: one white, a red one, black, and pale.”

“What’s pale?” asked Babette. “Because are we talking white pale, tan, maybe even a light gray?

Adrienne huffed. “Does it matter? Jeezus, pale as in not red, white, or black. Duh. When they come, we’ll know because there’ll be signs of pestilence and war and death.”

“That’s only three,” Babette pointed out.

Adrienne scowled in annoyance. “I don’t remember what the freaking fourth one is, but that’s not the point. The horsemen of the apocalypse are going to be noticeable.”

“Um, she might have a point about them being kind of obvious. I just got a text,” Aimi interjected, waving her phone. “Check it out.” Aimi raised a remote and transformed the painting of dragons playing poker into a massive screen.

All eyes turned to watch. It was CNN, and it appeared to be showing drone footage of the desert and a massive sinkhole forming as they watched. From it, four figures appeared. Four cloaked figures riding boney horses.

“It’s them!” Babette exclaimed.

Adrienne snorted. “You really going to believe CNN? Home of the fake news.”

Aimi flipped the channel to other news stations. North American. Europe. Russia. China. Over and over, with different languages, the same video played.

Still not convinced, Adrienne pointed out, “Those horses are all the same bony color.”

“And as the voice of reason, I’m going to mention that the fact it’s gone viral doesn’t make it real,” opined Aunt Yolanda.

“You’re splitting scales. Add in Elsie’s dream and this is evidence enough that they’re real,” was the grumbly retort of the king. “Find them.”

Simple instructions that proved difficult. The drone footage only followed one of the horsemen, the guy riding north. Plodding along in the desert, a cat sitting almost in his lap. There one second. Gone the next.

All of them disappeared without leaving a trace.

That meant they had four people—erm, things—to find, and no way to track them other than via random rumors, none that led to any real leads. Even social media proved a waste with the supposed horsemen sighting being hoaxes of people trying to go viral.

A week later, they’d still not located one of the horsemen and were back for another meeting, and Elsie was being coy about her phone call. Why would she be talking to a cab driver when she had Luc picking her up?

The king sat at the head of the table and asked for progress reports, which led to a disappointing lack of news and then bickering. Remiel didn’t tolerate it for long. Their golden ruler, only recently saved from a prison, raised his hand and got instant silence. “Does anyone actually have anything to report?”

Adrienne stood. “The computer program we’ve been running finally got hits on our targets. I’ve managed to capture some footage of what might be the horsemen.” She raised a remote, and a hologram appeared over the large boardroom table. From all angles, they could see a figure atop a black horse in front of the tower of London.

“Are we sure it’s one of them?” Yolanda asked. She stood and moved closer to the screen. “Zoom the image.”

Adrienne cropped and sized the section Aunt Yolanda indicated, drawing into sharp relief a cloaked figure with a cat perched on the pommel of the horse’s saddle.

“Which one is that?” Babette asked.

“Does it matter? He likes cats. I like cats, too,” Elsie said with a smile. “And not for eating.”

“With that cloak, who says it’s a he?” Adrienne asked.

“It’s a guy.” Babette would know. She had a radar for the more feminine type, such as the lady riding the pale horse who happened to be the next one caught on camera, racing down the streets of New York. The hood had fallen from her head, her hands on the reins were slender, and the hair streaming behind long, blonde, and curled at the ends.

Remiel spoke. “That’s possible locations on two. Have three and four been spotted as well?”

“Maybe,” was Adrienne’s cautious reply. She showed them images. The third might have been glimpsed in Russia, but the footage was too grainy to be sure, as for the fourth one… It had yet to surface. “That’s all I’ve got so far.”

“You have to find the horsemen,” Elsie insisted. “The fate of the world depends on it.”

“Then maybe you should give us some coordinates,” snapped Aunt Yolanda.

“Be nice to her,” Babette warned with a sharp rebuke. “Or I’ll tell Luc.” He didn’t like people being mean to his mate.

“Everyone will be nice or else,” Remiel said on a soft drawl. “Now that Adrienne has given us some possible locations, we can move toward bringing them in.”

“Are we sure that’s a good idea? If the fate of the world depends on finding them, wouldn’t it be better to kill them the moment we do?” Bloodthirsty Aimi wasn’t one to waste time. Aunt Yolanda, her teacher, must be so proud.

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