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Andrew Dobell

Hunter Killer

Hunter Killer

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BOOK 2 of MAGI ARGENT

A Magus serial murderer stalks the streets.
The death toll is rising, and the Council ask me to hunt him down.
It’s time to hunt a killer!

After years of working in the shadows, and avoiding the Council, now I find myself working for them, and kind of enjoying it.
Strange how these things work out.

The Council’s latest mission for me couldn’t be more different though. Someone killed a girl, moments after she had her Epiphany and became a Magus. And it’s not the first time it’s happened either.

There’s a Magus Serial Killer out there, murdering these young, terrified people.
But how do I find him and stop him?

Looks like I’ll have to dive deep into the underbelly of Magi society to track him down before he kills again.
Luckily, I have my Nun with her guns, my shadow cat familiar, and my sadistic Magical ring to help me.
The murderer will never know what hit him!

Magi Argent is a new Urban Fantasy series from author Andrew Dobell. If you enjoy Jim Butcher, Shayne Silvers, M D Massey, or Kevin Hearne, you’ll love this series.

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An Errant Knight
London

“Knock knock!”
The door flew open as my kick broke the lock. With a bang, it slammed into the wall announcing our presence. Although, I supposed I’d already done that with my little quip.
Whatever.
Rushing in with Brandt held high, a figure sprinted from the room through a door. I fired, the rounds biting into the plaster but missing the fleeing man entirely.
Beside me, Adina fired off a burst from her assault rifle, chewing up the wall even more, throwing dust and paint flakes into the air.
“Shit,” I cursed, my gun up, covering the far door. “We weren’t that slow, were we? Did we give ourselves away?”
Adina gave me a look that made my balls want to shrivel up and fall off.
“You shouted ‘knock knock’ before you kicked the door in,” Adina replied, her voice flat, and full of condescension.
“Yeah, I know,” I replied defiantly. I had balls of steel, after all… And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. “But that’s the law. You can’t kick a door in and not say something clever,” I protested as I edged across the room, around the sofa and other bits of furniture.
“You thought that was clever?” She never got my jokes.
“Bordering on genius.”
“For you, perhaps,” she replied, following along beside me.
That sounded like an insult.
“You wound me, Dina. Wound me. I’m hurt.”
“Suck it up, Princess.”
The cheek of her. “I’m gonna punch Vaughn next time I see him,” I replied. “You got that from him, didn’t you?”
“Punch him? I’d pay to see that.”
“Well… when I say punch, I might mention it in a sarcastic remark… when I’m out of earshot.”
“How brave of you.”
“I know, right?” I replied with a smug grin.
Gunfire barked in the next room and sprayed towards us. I ducked left and pulled Adina with me, dropping to the floor behind the sofa.
“Ugh,” she grunted. “Get off me, you big lout.”
“I just saved your life,” I said, pulling myself off of her but keeping low. “You should be thanking me.”
“Lord have mercy,” the nun with guns gasped as she looked up at me. “I’m wearing armour, Atticus.”
“Still…”
“Magical armour. So are you.”
“My head’s not,” I replied, knowing full well it was protected by my Aegis. “Besides, I was just being heroic.”
She rolled her eyes and got back to her feet in a crouch. “Lord, save me from this idiota.”
“Don’t be like that. You love me, really.”
“That’s a little strong. Tolerate, maybe.”
“I’ll settle for that,” I replied with a smile. “But I know you’re lying.”
“You’ll never take me in,” the man shouted from the other room.
“Oi,” I called back, “we’re having a conversation here. We’ll get to you in a minute.”
“I’ll kill you, you bloody Magus,” he added.
“Now he’s just being rude,” I said, looking back at Adina.
“Maybe we should teach him some manners,” she suggested.
“We could give it a try. It might work.”
“Come out where I can see you,” the man shouted.”
I sighed. “No, no, no. That’s all wrong. It’s ‘please come out where I can see you,’ otherwise, you’re just being rude. You can’t expect anyone to do as you ask when you talk to them like that.”
“Shut up,” the man shouted.
I turned to Adina. “I think we’re going to have our work cut out with this one.”
“Looks that way.”
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to refrain from being rude to my friend here. She’s a lady, don’t you know? She has a delicate constitution.”
Adina groaned.
“Pfft, she’s a false believer. All Sisters are. Come here, Sister, I’ll show you the true meaning of following the Word of God.”
I sighed, bored of him and his rhetoric already, and looked across the room, gun up and ready, hunting for any hint of him through the door on the far side of the room.
~Ringbearer, perhaps explosives would flush him out?~ Brandt suggested directly into my head through our Mental Link.
~I’ll bear that in mind,~ I replied. I wasn’t keen on blowing the place up. Using my Magic to dampen the sound of our gunshots was one thing, but an explosion created an altogether bigger mess.
My somewhat trigger-happy Magical ring was always coming up with inventive little solutions to my problems, and as much as a bang might get him moving, the idea was actually to try and bring this idiot in alive if possible.
I looked over at Adina and spoke through the Link I shared with her. ~I’ll go right; you go left,~ I suggested. She nodded and made to move. I adjusted my grip on Brandt and readied myself.
~You alright in there? Comfy?~ I asked Greymalkin.
~Very,~ she replied from the shadows of my coat where she hid as an insubstantial patch of darkness for now.
~Good, just checking.~
~Your attempts at shaming me into action are amusing, Atticus,” she replied. ~You’re doing just fine without me.~
~Well, obviously,~ I answered. Cutting across the room to the right-hand wall, and edging along it, gun ready. Glancing right, Adina was matching my movement on the other side.
Closing in on the door, more of the rooms beyond came into view, and then there was a flash of movement followed by the bark of a gun. The bullet rebounded off my Aegis with a SPANG, as my Magical shield flared in my Aetheric Sight.
I jumped, annoyingly, and hissed a curse at my stupid involuntary actions as I snapped a shot off. Two rooms down, the man moved, something flashed, and it sounded like my bullet ricocheted off metal.
The man disappeared, and I could hear him running. Footsteps receding off through the flat.
“Shit. Why do they always run?”
“Must be your magnetic personality,” Adina replied as she charged through the door, her rifle held high. She twisted left and right as she moved through the rooms, clearing them at speed.
“But I’m lovely to be around,” I protested, close on her heels.
She snorted. “Yeah.” She didn’t sound convinced.
“Shut it, short stuff,” I replied as we moved towards another doorway.
Gunfire resounded through the apartment, and bullets hit the doorframe. We ducked back, and Adina hissed.
I could hear movement, but it sounded like it was getting further away. Edging forward, I peeked through the door to see an open window, but no man.
“Crap, he’s gone through the window,” I said and charged over. Stopping short, I leaned closer, looking down into the side street. “Where are you?”
As I hunted through the shadows and darkness of the alleyway, I saw a hint of movement near a neon sign. Gritting my teeth, I concentrated and reached out with my Magic. I could feel the electricity in the sign coursing through it, strong and dangerous. With a working of my will, I took control of it and arced it across to the man who stood nearby.
The sign sparked as the powerful electricity hit him and knocked him flat.
“Let’s go. He’s down,” I urged.
“Right behind you, sparky.”
Climbing through, I dropped down to a dumpster and then the concrete. Rain cascaded down, soaking me through, as the man we were after got back to his feet, a huge, keen-looking sword in his hands. Was that the flash of metal I’d seen earlier? Had he deflected a bullet with that thing?
The blade glowed with golden energy in my Aetheric Sight, filled with too much Essentia to be a mundane item. It was enchanted. Impressive. And yet he was a Riven.
Adina landed on the dumpster beside me, her rifle up and ready.
“Give it up, Luca, you can’t get out of this,” she urged.
“No way. I’m not going back there, Sister.” He spat that last word as if it tasted like arse.
“You don’t have much choice.”
Taking careful aim, I fired once at the man’s leg, hoping to wound him, but I was also keen to test the sword. Had it been a fluke, or would the sword help defend him?
It was as if he anticipated the shot. The sword was there before the bullet had even left the barrel.
With another almighty clash, he batted the bullet away with the sword
~Ringbearer, might I suggest a new weapon?~ Brand said.
~Might as well,~ I answered. ~Sword, please, Brandt.~
~Your wish is my command,~ he replied eagerly.
The gun in my hand folded and grew into a keen sword that I could hold in one hand. Brandishing it high, I watched the man intently and stepped forward.
“Face it, Luca,” I said, “this is it for you. Come quietly, or we get to have fun.”
Luca’s eyes glanced between myself and Adina, before he turned and ran towards the street.
My coat flapped as a shadowy blackness shot out from beneath it, only for me to lose sight of Greymalkin a second later. The man took two more steps before an enormous shadow of living inky blackness rose before him and blocked the alleyway off entirely. Eerie tentacles flailed around, emerging from the living shadow.
“What the…?” the man gasped as he skidded to a halt and then backed up.
~Thank you, Greymalkin,~ I said and continued stalking towards the man, who spun to face me.
“I’ll kill you,” he warned me.
“You’re welcome to try, but I’ve got backup. So… Nah-nah-ni-nah-nah!” I was impressed with my maturity.
“Give me strength,” I heard Adina mutter behind me.
Ahead, the man’s brow furrowed and his teeth gritted as he realised there was no way out until, with a shout of pure unbridled frustration, he ran at me with a roar.
~Alive, remember,~ Adina warned me through the Link.
I swung my blade, and it met his with a clang. The next few moments were a blur of movement as I did my level best to fend him off and keep him at a distance. But the former Inquisitor was good. Like, really good.
He came close to cutting me a couple of times, with only my Aegis and Magical coat to fend him off. But as he pressed his attack, I couldn’t play this game anymore and summoned my Magic.
Essentia surged as my Kinetic Ram hit Luca in the chest and sent him flailing across the ground. A moment later, Adina jumped down and reversed her rifle, hitting him in the face with the stock.
~Finish him,~ Brandt urged in my head.
~You sound like someone from a Mortal Kombat game, Brandt.~
~I merely wish you victory in all your battles, Ringbearer.~
~You’re all heart.~
~I’m glad you noticed.~
I commanded the sword to retract. There was no need for any further violence, despite what my Magical ring might think.
“He’s out cold,” Adina said, kneeling beside him.
“Good, let’s call in the cavalry,” I suggested, and leaned up against a nearby wall to catch my breath while Adina Linked back to base. Sword fighting was a little more tiring than I’d thought.
From the rain-filled darkness further up the alleyway, Greymalkin, back in her more familiar form of a Maine Coon, meowed as she walked towards me.
~See, I knew you’d help,~ I Linked to her. ~You care for me really, don’t you?~
~If you die, I don’t get fed,~ Greymalkin replied. ~It’s all about priorities.~
~You’re so compassionate.~
~I know, it’s a gift,~ she replied before jumping back beneath my coat.
A second later, Essentia flared, and reality bent. A hole in the fabric of space-time ripped open, and a woman with a clipboard and an umbrella stepped through. She looked like an office worker, with her white shirt and dark trousers, and couldn’t look more out of place if she tried. Her name was Scarlett, and she’d been assigned to us by the Arcanum as our handler, overseeing our Arcadian missions from the safety of our little operations room beneath London, in the Arcanum complex.
“Good hunting, Atticus? Adina?”
“We got him,” I replied, and nodded to the body on the floor, laid amongst the puddles.
“The intel was good, then. Excellent,” she replied and smiled at us.
“Seems like it.”
“It worked out,” Adina agreed, as four figures in dark clothing followed Scarlett out of the Portal and picked the man up, securing him with enchanted handcuffs. I watched as they removed several items from him that were glowing with Magical energy.
“Good. I take it you’re done for the night?” Scarlett asked.
“Hell yeah,” I replied. As the adrenaline faded, my legs began to ache, and I could feel my bed calling to me from here.
“Very well. If you’d like to come back through with me, I’ll inform Mara. I’m sure she’ll want to debrief you.”
“Excellent, I can’t wait. I’m weak at the knees just thinking about it.” It was true, I was, but not because of little miss no-sense-of-humour.
“Your mouth will get you into trouble one of these days,” Adina said as she stepped up beside me, talking in hushed tones.
“Oh, way ahead of you. It’s got me into trouble a few times already.”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“I don’t know. Why aren’t you? It’s because I’m just so darned dashing, right? Smooth like honey.”
“Oh, absolutely,” Adina replied as she slung her rifle over her shoulder. “I have no idea how I’m able to resist you, frankly.”
“It’ll be those vows you took.”
“Yeah, that and your massive ego, your cocky attitude, and that ugly face of yours,” she replied with a mischievous smile.
“You’re like no nun I’ve ever known,” I commented.
“That’s because technically, I’m not a nun. The Order of St Mary is separate from the orders of nuns.”
“You’re a fake nun?” I made sure to gasp as dramatically as possible while we watched the Arcanum men take Luca through, followed by Scarlett. “Was Luca right about you? I have no idea who you are anymore.”
“I’m not sure you’ve ever really known who I am.”
“You’re my little nun… with a gun…”
Adina rolled her eyes. “I think you’ve just proven my point, Atticus.”

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