The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee (Feverwake Book 2)
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 980 KB
Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.
Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.
Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.
The trees grew dense and close together in the quarantined zone, magic humming through their branches and stretching in their roots beneath soil and snow. At dusk everything was shadow, shifting shapes merging and diverging on the forest floor—near impossible to tell which were human and which were tricks of the light. Magic shivered through the ambient air. Noam felt it like a physical thing all around him, connected to his own power somehow, the virus infecting everything it touched. It crystallized on his breath and prickled his skin like static.
The target hid behind that copse of trees at Noam’s four o’clock; electromagnetism eddied and tugged around him the same way it did everything else, betraying his location. Noam sensed the iron in the target’s veins, his magic a silvery glimmer that nearly bled into the snow.
It would be tempting to think this was an easy kill, but Noam knew better. This target was strong. He’d drawn Noam’s blood twice already—still sticky on Noam’s face, although the cuts were healed.
But he couldn’t wait forever. Noam counted his heartbeats and closed his eyes, feeling along the wires of that electromagnetic tension and looping it like fabric around the target’s body. He heard the whump of weight hitting the ground, air displaced from lungs.
That didn’t last. A burst of energy, plasma-like, exploded through the trees, cutting through branches and trunks. Noam pulled up a defensive shield just in time, twisting gravity and magnetism as he deflected the magic away to crackle like fire through the deadwood overhead.
Which, fuck, exposed his position. Noam stepped out from behind his tree and sent lightning across the space between him and the target, who huddled in wet snow with sweat turning to frost on his hair.
The bolt made contact. Finally. Noam wasn’t tired, but he certainly was cold. Better to end this quickly.
He pushed harder, another burst of force behind the lightning, drawing as much as he could from static and electromagnetism. The target was deflecting some of Noam’s magic, but not all. He dropped to his knees with a grunt, body shaking with the effort of holding Noam off.
The man was almost out of energy. Noam could tell. A little longer and Noam would exhaust the last of his resources, have him seizing on the ground as chaotic electrical impulses swarmed his brain.
Then he’d die.
Just not yet. Noam moved closer, ice crunching beneath his boots and magic swarming round his ankles like white water.
The vessels had burst in the target’s eyes, whites shot through with red, mouth slack and drool smearing his chin. His muscles twitched uncontrollably as their nerves misfired, thousands of volts searing through his brain. When he lost balance, crumpling onto his side—when Noam felt his magic falter—that was when Noam let go.
In the absence of power, the forest was too silent. The animals had fled; all that was left were the sound of tree branches cracking in the ice and fire—and the heavy, arrhythmic gasps of the target struggling to breathe.