Authors: Page Morgan
THE DISPOSSESSED TRILOGY
The Beautiful and the Cursed
The Lovely and the Lost
The Wondrous and the Wicked
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2015 by Angie Frazier
Front jacket photograph © 2015 by Anna Mutwil/Arcangel Images
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House LLC.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The Wondrous and the wicked / Page Morgan. — First edition.
Summary: “Turn-of-the-century Paris is in turmoil, with demons prowling the streets, unless the Waverly sisters and their gargoyle protectors can stop them. Except there is an otherworldly power rising up that could mean the end”— Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-0-385-74315-0 (hc) — ISBN 978-0-307-98083-0 (ebook)
[1. Supernatural—Fiction. 2. Gargoyles—Fiction. 3. Sisters—Fiction.
4. Demonology—Fiction. 5. Paris (France)—History—1870–1940—Fiction.]
Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
To my sisters, Lisa and Sarah, forever
ÎLE DE LA CITÉ
LATE MARCH 1900
he lamps along the Quai des Orfèvres were dark. That was the first signal for Marianne that something wasn’t quite right. She moved with caution through the inky black. It was a familiar street, one she’d walked countless times, and yet the impenetrable dark made it feel like uncharted territory. Glass crunched under the soles of Marianne’s boots, and she stopped walking.
Had the lamps been
She drew her cloak tighter as wind rolled over the quay wall and shook the brittle leaves of some poplars lining the Seine. Vandals had likely pitched rocks at the lamps, nothing more. Had Marianne known, she would have asked Monsieur Constantine’s driver to let her off closer to her home at Place Dauphine. Instead, the slim brougham had stopped, as usual, a block away, on the Pont Saint-Michel. For a month she had been walking the extra few minutes home along the quay road to make sure her mother and father would not see Constantine’s fine carriage. They believed she spent two evenings a week giving piano lessons
to a young girl in the Latin Quarter. Marianne could never tell them the truth: that she was, in fact, at a gentleman’s chateau on the outskirts of Paris, learning to curb her appetite for blood.
Marianne picked up her pace, wincing as her boots ground over more shattered glass beneath the next lamppost. If she could shift, like some of the other Dusters with hellhound blood, she wouldn’t be so nervous walking alone in the dark. But she hadn’t shifted yet, beyond a few instances of fur sprouting on her arms and a half inch of nail growth once. Marianne was impatient for it to be over and done with, but she prayed the first time wouldn’t happen until she was alone and far away from home.
Ahead, she saw the faint glow of lights from the residential square directly across from the law courts of the Palais de Justice. In their apartment, Papa would likely be smoking a cigarette and reading to Mama from
Le Petit Journal
as she arranged the table for supper. If Marianne hurried, she might be able to get home in time to listen to an article or two. For a moment, she forgot the dashed lamps along the quay road and thought only of her papa’s steady, clear voice.
A flicker of movement in the sky drew her gaze up to the roof of the law courts. Two imperial stone eagles, perched on either corner of the columned façade, had cast their shadows over Place Dauphine for as long as Marianne could remember. Seeing them now, stamped darkly against the cloudless, moonlit sky, didn’t surprise her. What did was the third, unfamiliar winged statue set between them. It stopped her cold. Where had
The wings on the new statue snapped open and a long tail undulated into sight. Marianne barely had a moment to comprehend that it wasn’t a statue at all before the creature launched itself from the roof—and dove directly toward her.
Marianne screamed and whirled around. She wouldn’t be able to reach the square now, not without colliding head-on with the beast. She broke into a run down the center of the quay road,
back toward the well-lit Pont Saint-Michel. There she could see passing carriages, pedestrians. Safety. The utter blackness … the smashed lamps … No one looking out their window right then would witness Marianne running from a winged beast. No one would see anything at all.
We are likely being watched
, Monsieur Constantine had cautioned her just that evening.
A hawklike shriek rang out overhead, shearing through the whistle of wind in her ears and her own panting breath. She couldn’t run fast enough, couldn’t scream. There was no point. The creature was already upon her. A bright shock of pain carved into her back, punching through skin and muscle, and then two sharp talons cracked through her breast.
Marianne gasped for air as her body, impaled on the beast’s talons, was lifted from the street. But the air had turned to water. Warm, thick water that raced up her throat and pooled in her mouth. She coughed and struggled to breathe as the lights upon the Pont Saint-Michel grew fainter, her body colder. How strange. Blood had been all she’d wanted for months. And now she was drowning in it.
LATE MARCH 1900
ngrid should have brought a sword.
She crouched in a most unladylike manner on the narrow quay beneath the Pont de l’Alma, considering ways to pry a manhole cover free. The tarnished brass disk had to weigh at least five stone. She needed to lever the blasted thing up if she wished to descend into the sewers before daylight broke over the city.
Entering miles of dank, serpentine sewage tunnels alone was a risk at any time of the day, but Ingrid needed to slink her way in, and she preferred to do so without being seen. She had to find her brother. Grayson had been gone for nearly a month, and she’d started to have that old bubbling awareness again. The caged restlessness that always beset her when she simply
her twin was in trouble.
The sewers were as good a hiding place as any, and Grayson had most definitely been hiding. For a month he’d been on his own in Paris, avoiding Ingrid and their mother. Had Gabby still been in the city, instead of in London, Ingrid was certain he
would have steered clear of their younger sister as well. Anything to avoid facing the reality of their grim situation: that he and Ingrid were Dusters—humans who had been given demon blood at birth. A rogue guardian angel had gifted them this blood, and with it, inhuman abilities. Ingrid could create electricity at her fingertips. As for Grayson … his ability was a bit more complicated, and much more dangerous.
Well, she was finished waiting for him to come home. She needed her brother—even if he
a hellhound some of the time. Ingrid would find him and drag him back to the abbey by the ear if she had to.
She untied the silk drawstring pouch cinched around her wrist and withdrew the petite hand dagger she kept for emergency use. When Vander Burke had given her the four-inch blade of blessed silver with its polished ebony handle a few weeks prior, he’d intended for her to use the weapon to fend off hungry Underneath demons trespassing in the human realm. Ingrid, however, was perfectly content using it to try to lift this sewer manhole cover.
She scraped the point of the blade along the rim of the cover, searching for a gap. It was nearly impossible to see in the predawn darkness. The point slipped into a crevice and Ingrid pushed against the weight of the brass disk with all her strength.
“You are not going down there.”
She paused at the low, surly voice. She’d wondered if Marco might follow her. Butlers didn’t usually keep such close tabs on the members of the family they worked for, but Marco was more than just the butler at l’Abbaye Saint-Dismas. And Ingrid was more to him than just his employer’s daughter.
The dagger had barely raised the cover an inch, but she continued to hold it propped open.
“Not by myself,” she replied, glancing quickly over her shoulder to where he stood. “My gargoyle wouldn’t be so negligent as to allow that.”
Marco came around to stand before her. The dark gray merino of his butler’s livery was a few shades darker than anything else around them. Sunrise was closer than she had thought.
“If you’d help me with this, please?” she asked, pushing on the handle again. With his strength, Marco could easily rip the cover up and toss it aside.
Instead, he set his foot on the cover, forcing it to slam shut and her dagger tip to pop free.
“And as your gargoyle, I am forced, once again, to keep you from getting yourself killed.” He crouched down until his eyes met hers.
Marco’s dark features were even darker than usual in the coming blue of dawn. Ingrid had once feared the scowling face before her. Even more, she’d feared him when he would take on his true form—a thick, cinnamon-red jacket of reptilian scales, featherless sienna wings, and long, wickedly sharp talons. At one point, not very long ago, Marco had considered killing her. That was before he’d been assigned to the abbey and become her gargoyle protector. Before everything that he was forbade him to harm her.
“I’m not afraid of what I might find in the sewers,” Ingrid said, though the tunnels were rife with demons. Her last visit beneath the city had been with two demon hunters, Vander Burke and Nolan Quinn, and she hadn’t known the first thing about protecting herself.
Things were different now. Ingrid knew how to use her demon half, powered by the blood of a lectrux demon. She knew how to summon electricity and store it in her fingertips, and more importantly, how to release a current of lightning without completely draining her reserves. If she came across a demon threat in the sewers, she was certain she could subdue it.