No one should’ve been able to hit him in his shadow form, but he didn’t have time to figure out how it happened because something glowing light blue was charging straight at him.
The blue blur meant that Watkins had borrowed a Feiru with a latent ability called a Blue Demon from the Collector. He needed to stop the woman from reaching him, or it was game over since one of the Blue Demons’ abilities included poison-filled claws.
He reached for his gun and aimed, but before he could pull the trigger, his hand dematerialized and rematerialized. The flash from skin to shadow and back again sent enough pain through his body to cause him to scream. The gun clattered to the ground, and the woman drew closer. But just before she reached him, Jorge heard a rifle and the woman went down.
In the back of his brain, he knew it was a tranquilizer dart, but before he could do anything, his arm flashed again, and he gritted his teeth against the pain. Something was wrong with him. Really wrong.
People started to come from all sides, but Jorge concentrated on his arm. If he couldn’t get the flashing to stop, he was going to burn out and die.
He heard a female’s voice and he looked up to see Sabrina. The split-second distraction cost him, because in that instant, he couldn’t prepare against his body turning to shadow and back, and the pain was so overwhelming that he screamed before the world went black.
Sabrina had just finished securing the last of the unconscious Fed League people on her side of the building when one of the DEFEND soldiers came rushing up to her and said, “Something has happened to Salazar.”
The person assisting her nodded for her to go and Sabrina stood up and ran to the far side. Her heart was already beating fast from the takedown, but her heart rate kicked up a notch as she rounded the corner. She refused to think Jorge could be dying, but as she saw his arm and a section of his torso flash into shadow and back to solid flesh, her stomach dropped. Something was wrong.
She kneeled by his side and gave him a quick once-over. While the knife in his leg would hurt like hell, it wasn’t life threatening. She wanted to touch him and comfort him, but the switching between shadow and flesh stopped her. Until she knew exactly what was wrong with him, she couldn’t risk making the situation worse.
“Jorge? What happened?” He looked at her and then he screamed in agony before his eyes closed and he went slack. Isabel Santos kneeled down across from her. Sabrina looked to the woman and said, “You know more about latent abilities than I do. What’s wrong with him? If he keeps doing this, he’ll burn out and he’ll die.”
Santos’s face went grim. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Some of my people are trying to find someone who does.”
Sabrina watched as Jorge’s arm flashed again to shadow and back. It seemed unconsciousness didn’t give him any kind of relief.
The man had already been through so much pain. He didn’t deserve this. Her eyes started to water, but she caught herself and took a deep breath. Emotions could kill in the heat of a takedown. She needed to focus if she wanted to give Jorge the best chance at
She looked at Santos. “Since Jorge can’t anonymously drop Watkins at the door of a local Feiru enforcer’s office, we’re going to need to think of something else. Can any of your people manage it?”
Santos shook her head. “DEFEND is technically an illegal organization. Some enforcers are lenient as long as we don’t blatantly break any laws in front of them, but the enforcers in Merida are sticklers. Our best bet is for you to call your office and have them cart Watkins off.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “How do you know about my office?”
Santos’s gaze was steady. “Because I needed to know. Don’t worry, I’m not going to out you. You helped my people, and for that, you’ve earned some respect.”
Sabrina looked down at Jorge. She had planned to run with him after turning in Watkins. It wasn’t much of a plan, but it would’ve given them time to try to find her a way out of being relocated by her boss.
But that plan had been replaced with a new one. She needed to give Santos time to try to find a way to stop the random shifting, which meant she was going to have to call her boss to clean up this mess. She’d have to stay until they arrived to make sure Watkins didn’t get away. No doubt they’d lock her up afterward, once they discovered her cover had been blown.
As much as she wanted her freedom, Jorge’s life was more important. She had no other choice but to sacrifice what future she might’ve had with him in order to save him.
She looked back up at Santos. “Can you give me your word that you’ll look after him?”
Santos nodded. “I’ll oversee his transport myself, and I’ll find a way to contact you once we know what’s wrong with him.”
Sabrina was more aware of what wasn’t being said rather than what was—Santos couldn’t guarantee he’d live, but she’d let Sabrina know what happened regardless.
Of course, if Sabrina contacted her office, it was more than likely they’d relocate her and she’d never know what happened to Jorge. But if it meant Jorge at least had a chance, she would do it.
She nodded and pulled out her burner cell phone. Before she dialed, she said, “You might want to start getting your people out of here. The Feiru Liaison office will probably arrest all of you if given the opportunity.”
Santos nodded and motioned some people over to where Jorge was lying on the ground. Sabrina waited until he flashed back to flesh before she risked caressing his cheek and said, “You’d better survive, Jorge Salazar. I have a thing or two to discuss with you.”
Santos gave her an apologetic look and said, “Sabrina, we need you to move so we can try to transport him.”
She gave one last long look at Jorge and nodded before she stood up and moved to a quiet corner away from the noise of the DEFEND soldiers’ retreat. She kept Watkins in her sight—he was still unconscious with his hands secured behind his back with plastic ties—and watched as Santos and the others fashion a stretcher out of an old blanket. Thankfully, the blanket didn’t turn into shadow when he did. The next time she saw Jorge—she would see him again—she’d have to ask him about that.
When Santos and her team hoisted Jorge up and walked away, Sabrina turned on her phone and dialed her boss’s number.