Ariella didn’t have to look; she would have known that power anywhere. A Phantom. She ran faster.
Davin looked at her. “No.”
“I haven’t said anything.”
“You don’t have to. I know you. And I’m not letting you take on that Phantom alone.”
“Maybe he’s a mellow one.”
The corner of a nearby building exploded.
“No,” Davin said again, his voice as hard as the fragments of broken bricks that were showering down upon them.
Ariella pushed him toward Everett. “Get him out of here. I’ll hold off the Phantom.” She held out her hand. “I’ll need your gun. One with actual bullets this time.”
Everett pulled the gun from his hip holster, but he didn’t hand it over. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
“Sure, I fight Phantoms all the time. It should be easy.” She snatched the gun from his hand. “And I’ll be right behind you.”
He gave her a sharp look, one that said he knew she was full of it.
“The job is to save Davin. Do you want to get paid or what? Go!”
Everett frowned at her. So did Davin. But they continued to run. She skidded to a stop and turned to face her doom. Two amethyst eyes shone out at her, phasing darker with every step that the Phantom took. By the time he stopped walking, they were nearly black. Only half a city block separated him from Ariella. A whole continent would have been better.
The Phantom did not speak again. He just stood there, his eyes burning with an energy both primal and powerful. Behind him, the helicopter hovered in the air like a gigantic mechanical insect, the boom of its spinning blades positively deafening.
An invisible wave hit Ariella hard in the chest, spitting her against a nearby house. Concrete cracked and shifted behind her back, the river of crumbled pieces sliding her down the wall to the ground. She jumped up—and nearly fell down again. Her head was spinning, and she was pretty sure that was blood she felt oozing down her neck. She rushed forward, not making it three steps before a second mind blast slammed her against the wall again.
This isn’t working. She peeled herself off a cracked wall that looked almost as bad as she felt; and her blurry eyes couldn’t even focus well enough to see the worst of it. The Phantom was too powerful. She couldn’t get near him.
Maybe she didn’t have to. She raised the gun. When the blurry blotches had settled down to only intermittent visitors, she focused on the Phantom. He was moving toward her. Cast in shadow, he was just one big black blob. All but those dark purple eyes. So she aimed for them…
But he was too fast. They were always so fast. Her head was swimming, her eyes were blotchy, and if that confounded helicopter didn’t shut up soon, she was going to jump up and rip the blades off of it.