Read Firespell Online

Authors: Chloe Neill

Tags: #Usenet, #Speculative Fiction, #Exratorrents, #C429, #Kat

Firespell (30 page)

BOOK: Firespell
6.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“I’m fine,” I finally said. “I just wanted to hear your voice.”


Smith kept his promise to keep in touch, but it was still two days before Scout got paged again. We walked together into the tunnels, headed for the enclave, the mood very different than the last time we’d taken that walk. Nevertheless, Enclave Three was still quiet when we entered.

Everyone was there. Michael, Jason, Paul, and the twins chatted together. Katie and Smith stood at the edge of the room, unhappy expressions on their faces.

“What’s going on?” Scout asked when we reached the knot of JV Adepts.

Jamie and Jill shrugged simultaneously. “No clue.”

Smith, a supersnug long-sleeved plaid shirt and skinny jeans all but pasted to his thin frame, opened his mouth, but before he could speak, the door creaked open. Our gazes snapped to the doorway.

A guy stepped inside. Tall, blondish, and well built, he had blue eyes, a dimpled chin, and strong features. He wore a snug U of C T-shirt and dark jeans over brown boots.

“Yowsers,” Jill muttered.

“Good evening, Adepts.”

“Yo,” Scout said, her head tilted to the side, curiosity in her expression.

He shut the door behind him, then pressed his hand to the door. For a second, it pulsed with light, then faded again.

“I think he just warded the door,” Scout whispered, awe in her voice. “I’ve never seen that before. He has got to teach me how to do that. It

“I thought I rocked?” I whispered.

“Oh, you do,” she assured me, patting me on the arm. “This is a totally different kind of rockage.”

The blond walked to Katie and Smith and shook their hands. They looked none too excited to meet him; Smith’s lip was actually curled in disgust. When they’d said their hellos, Katie and Smith stepped aside. The blond stepped toward us.

“I’m Daniel Sterling,” he said. “And I’m your new team captain.”

That must have meant something to the rest of the Adepts, who exchanged knowing glances.

“New team captain?” Paul asked.

Daniel looked at Paul, hands on his hips. “Your handlers and mine have become aware of a certain lack of . . . cohesiveness within this enclave. I am here to remedy that lack of cohesiveness.” He slid a narrowed glance to Katie and Smith, who looked down, rebuked.

Scout and I exchanged a grin.

Daniel glanced at each of us in turn. “We’re a team,” he said after a minute. “High school or college, human or”—he paused, glancing at Jason—“
. All of us, together. Indivisibly.”

The Adepts smiled. I appreciated their enthusiasm.

“It has also come to my attention that there’s a new Adept amongst you.” Daniel moved until he stood directly in front of me, then stared down, one eyebrow arched. “Lily Parker?”

“All day long,” I answered.

He managed to stifle a grin, then slid his hands into his jeans pockets. “I understand that you were hit by firespell a few days ago, that a darkening subsequently appeared, and that you then discovered you had some power magic?”

I nodded.

“I further understand that you encouraged these Adepts to enter the sanctuary and retrieve Scout, and that you discovered, while you were there, that you had firespell abilities. I understand that all of you were able to escape largely unharmed?”

My cheeks warmed, and I nodded. Scout gave me a pat on the back.

“Go, you,” she whispered.

“That was a completely inappropriate course of action.”

That wiped the smile off my face, and put a big grin on Smith’s and Katie’s.

“This organization works because we have a hierarchy, a chain of authority responsible both for the assignments given to Junior Varsity members and for taking responsibility when those assignments are unsuccessful. You had no right to encourage these Adepts into danger against the express wishes of their Varsity squad. Do you understand that?”

I nodded sheepishly, eyes on the floor, humiliation bubbling in my chest. Nobody liked a dressing-down.

“On the other hand,” he said, turning back to Katie and Smith, “you were willing to sacrifice one of the most powerful members of your squad because you were unwilling to take a chance on her extraction. That reeks of cowardice. And cowardice is not why we’re here.

“From now on,” Daniel said, walking to the end of the room, then turning around again so that he faced all of us, “we work together, as a team, with one goal, and one set of leaders. Is that understood, Varsity?” he asked Katie and Smith. When they nodded, Daniel looked back at us. “Is that understood, Junior Varsity?”

We all nodded. I wasn’t entirely sure if I was supposed to nod, but I wasn’t going to risk this guy’s wrath again.

“Now that we’ve settled that, we have some business to attend to.”

Despite my attempt to blend in, he looked over at me. “Ms. Parker, you have demonstrated abilities that indicate that you’re an Adept. Are you on our side or theirs?”

There was no need to ask which “theirs” he meant. “Yours,” I answered.

“Then welcome to the squad.” With that, he turned on his heel and walked back to the table, where he, Katie, and Smith began to chat.

I looked over at Scout. “That’s it? I’m in?”

“What’d you think—you’d take an oath or something?”

“Something,” I said with a nod. “You know, something more symbolic for the fact that I’ll be sleeping less and battling bad guys more.”

“Two words,” she said. “Strawberry sodas.”

“Congratulations,” whispered a voice behind me. When I glanced back, Jason stood there, a knowing smile on his face.

“I need to go . . . somewhere else,” Scout said, bumping me with an elbow. “You two kids have fun.”

I made a mental note to talk to Scout later about “subtlety,” but smiled at Jason. “Thanks, I think.”

“So you’re now an official member of Enclave Three. You weirdo.”

I snorted. “I’m a weirdo? You’re a werewolf.”

“I suggest you say that with respect, Parker.”

“Or what?”

“Or I’ll have to bite you.” His lips widened into a grin of heart-stopping proportions. I guessed it would have been pretty effective on him in werewolf form, too.

“I don’t think you’ll bite me,” I offered back, although I wasn’t entirely sure about that.

“I guess we’ll just have to see what happens, won’t we?”

Jason gazed down at me, those ocean blue eyes swimming with promise, at least until a cell phone rang. After a moment of chatting, cell pressed to his ear, Daniel clapped his hands.

“Saddle up, kids,” he said. “We’ve got an assignment.”

“We’ll finish this later,” Jason whispered. “I promise.”

I believed him, so I offered him a wink, and we rejoined the others. I took my place at their sides, Scout squeezing my hand when I stood beside her, ready to take on evil in the Second City.

BOOK: Firespell
6.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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