Reborn: The Rise of Magic Book 8
By CM Raymond, LE Barbant, & Michael Anderle
“Well, one thing I can say about you cat people is, you sure know how to drink!”
Aysa stared in awe as Vitali continued to tilt the mug of ale back, rivulets of the sweet elixir sliding out of the edges and making the fur around his mouth darker than the rest. He almost slammed the mug on the oak table and followed it up with a deep belch.
“Why thank you, Long Arms.” He grinned, and a gentle purr emanated from his chest. “And we prefer ‘Lynqi,’ not ‘cat people.’”
“You say ‘potato.’” Aysa winked to insure he knew she was being playful. “Seriously though, do you have nine lives? How many have you used?” Aysa leaned in, her mouth slightly open as she waited for a response. She looked at Vitali as if he were from an alien planet, which he might as well have been.
The Lynqi’s yellow eyes narrowed and his whiskers twitched as he glanced quickly at the rest of the party seated around the table. Hadley gave him a “what can I say” kind of shrug, and Vitali looked back at her. “No, only one life just like you, but some would say I’ve gotten lucky a few times.”
Aysa nodded, looking up at the ceiling as if thinking about the answer. “Right. Of course. I guess that makes sense.” She paused and looked him up and down. “Can you see in the dark?”
Vitali rolled his eyes. “Can the house cats in Baseek see in the dark, Aysa?”
She shrugged. “Not sure. Never had one, but my friend Tia did and I swear that little bitch could see me coming on a jet-black night. The cat, that is, not Tia.”
“Really?” Vitali asked, looking at Laurel.
“She has a point,” the druid replied. “We had a few cats in the Dark Forest and those buggers could run through the trees like nobody’s business.”
As if to save Vitali from any more of Aysa’s probing questions, Hadley refilled everyone’s mugs and asked, “Where’s Gregory, anyway? I haven’t seen that mental giant for more than a few hours since we left Kaskara.”
Laurel frowned. “You and me both.”
“Getting cold at night?” Aysa asked, raising her brows.
Laurel ignored her. “He’s been holed up working on that tech we pulled out of the tower ever since we left, at least whenever he can talk Aysa here into flying Unlawful for him. But he’s taking a little break in the cockpit tonight.”
“And thank the gods,” Aysa said. “I mean, I’m pretty good behind the stick, but flying the ship straight toward Archangelsk is a little boring, if you ask me. Now if I got a chance to fly it into battle, that might be something completely different.”
Hadley laughed. “Please don’t jinx us, Aysa. I could use a few days without someone trying to kill me, if you don’t mind.”
“I’m with you, Had,” Laurel said, “but I wouldn’t mind getting to spend at least a few hours of those days with my boyfriend. I’m starting to think that Gregory is only using me for my kaffe!”
A low growl rose from the other side of the room, which was almost exclusively occupied by Sal. Thankfully the dragon had finally stopped growing. Any bigger, and the ship would have ridden him back to Archangelsk.
He sat up, beady black eyes blinking as his head twitched back and forth.
“No way, Sal,” Laurel said with a grin. “Strict orders from Hannah. No kaffe for you! I’m sorry I even mentioned it.”
Sal growled before walking in a circle and lying down in a tight ball.
Devin crawled out of Laurel’s cloak and leapt to the floor. Her nails clicked on the wooden floorboards as she scampered over to Sal and climbed into the crook of the dragon’s front leg.
“Well, if that isn’t cute,” Vitali said, “I don’t know what is.”
Devin climbed onto Sal’s back and sat up on her hind legs. She bared her teeth at Vitali and chattered in an almost violent way .
Everyone else laughed wildly.
“Not sure Dev likes you, Vitali,” Aysa said, “but don’t mind her — she’s a bit of a racist. And by the way, do you have opposable thumbs?”
Before he could answer, the door flew open with a crash.
Karl, eyes wild, stood before them breathing heavily. “We have a situation!”