HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 295

The mark on Eric’s chest started to glow a deep purple. The glow spread across Eric’s torso, weaving complex patterns beneath his skin. Sweat beaded on Carmen’s forehead.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone,” Eric said, “but I feel—”

A blinding flash filled the room, and Eric vanished. Carmen stumbled, falling to her knees.


“What… what just happened?” Angela asked.

Carmen took a deep breath.

“Galdrar, that bastard,” she said. “He placed a protective charm on the rune, triggering the spell if anyone tried to use magic to remove it. Like I just did. I’m sorry. Eric’s gone.”

“Not on my watch,” Angela said.

She squeezed her eyes shut and summoned up an image of Dorothy Mayhew. A wave of dizziness washed over her.

“Cute,” Carmen said.

Angela opened her eyes. Carmen had just applied the magical paste to both men’s chests and was about to started reciting the spell. Angela lunged forward and slammed the grimoire shut.

“You can’t do that!” she said.

“It’s… kind of the whole reason we’re here,” Carmen replied. “Or have you not been paying attention?”

“No, I mean, it’s not going to work,” Angela said. “There’s a… charm of some kind. When you cast your spell, it’ll pull him straight to Verden.”

Eric took a step back.

“How do you know this?” he asked.

“Good question,” Carmen said.

“Because I saw it happen,” Angela said. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I… traveled back in time.”

Carmen chuckled.

“Clearly I’ve underestimated you,” she said. “Even I wouldn’t dare mess around with time travel.”

“Yeah, well, I try to save it for a last resort,” Angela said. “Anyway, what are we going to do now? If your spell’s not going to work, we’ll need to think of something else.”