The Indigo Spell

Page 35

"Get out," she repeated, making no move toward the charm.

As Adrian and I walked out of her building and into the sun, I sighed loudly. I was dismayed enough that I didn't even have the chance to feel down about being at a college.

"That didn't go so well," I said.

He thought about it, then grinned. "I don't know, Sage. You threw yourself in the line of pepper spray for me. You must like me just a little bit."

"I - I figured it'd be a shame to ruin your pretty face," I stammered. In truth, I hadn't been thinking of anything that specific. All I'd known was that Adrian was in danger. Protecting him had been instinctual.

"Still, that spell was kind of badass."

I managed a small smile. "It was harmless, and that's the thing. Wendy didn't know any better. The reason Veronica goes after these girls is that they don't have any magical protection - and that's exactly why they probably can't stop her. I don't think pepper spray will help, but maybe the article will convince her. Oh, shoot. I'll have to make a fake email address for Taylor."

"No worries," said Adrian. "I already have a Jet Steele one you can use."

This actually made me laugh. "Of course you do. For all the online dating you do, right?"

Adrian didn't comment one way or the other, which bothered me more than it should have. I'd meant it as a joke . . . but was there truth to it? If rumors - and some of my own observations - were true, Adrian had experience with a lot of women. A lot. Thinking of him with others upset me, far more than it should have. How many other girls had he kissed with that same intensity? How many had been in his bed? How many had felt his hands upon their bodies? He couldn't have loved them all. Some - probably most - had been conquests, girls whose faces he forgot the next morning. For all I knew, I was just the ultimate conquest for him, a test for his skills. You probably couldn't find a greater challenge than a human with hang-ups about vampires.

And yet, thinking back on all the things said and unsaid between us, I was pretty sure that wasn't true. No matter how crazy this romantic entanglement was, he loved me - or thought he did. I was no superficial conquest. It'd probably be better if I was, though. Without an emotional connection, he'd eventually give up and easily find comfort in someone else's arms. This would probably be a good time for me to suggest he do that anyway.

But I stayed silent.

Chapter Ten

THE NEXT MORNING, I sought out Ms. Terwilliger before class to give her a recap of yesterday's adventures. She leaned against her desk, sipping a cappuccino as I spoke. Her expression grew darker as the story progressed, and she sighed when I finished.

"Well, that's unfortunate," she said. "I'm glad you were able to find the Stone girl, but that kills our lead on Veronica until the next full moon. It could be too late by then."

"You're sure there's no other scrying spell?" I asked.

She shook her head. "Most that I could attempt would alert her that I was looking for her. There is one that might mask me while I'm using it . . . but it also might not be able to penetrate any shielding she's using to hide herself."

"It's still worth a try, isn't it?" I asked. The warning bell rang, and students began trickling into the classroom. She shot me a smile as she straightened up.

"Why, Miss Melbourne, I never thought I'd hear you suggesting such things. But you're right. We'll talk about it this afternoon. It's something I'd like you to see."

That anti-magic gut instinct started to rear its ugly head . . . and then stopped. Somewhere, against my wishes, I'd gotten caught up in all of this. I was too concerned now about Veronica's other victims to pay attention to my usual worries. In Alchemist eyes, using magic was bad. In my eyes, leaving innocents in danger was worse.

With no other critical situations to contend with, I found that the day flew by. When I rejoined Ms. Terwilliger for our independent study, I found her packed up and waiting for me to arrive. "Field trip," she told me. "We need to work on this at my place." A wistful look crossed her features. "Too bad we can't stop at Spencer's."

Caffeine and magic didn't mix, which was another good reason for staying away from the arcane. I started to point out that since I wasn't working any magic, I didn't have the same restrictions. A moment later, I decided that would be mean. Ms. Terwilliger had enough going on with a bloodthirsty sister on the loose. She didn't need to be taunted too.

The cats were waiting at the door when we arrived at her house, which was slightly terrifying. I'd never seen all of them at once and counted thirteen. I had to assume that number was by design.

"I have to feed them first," she told me as they swarmed at her feet. "Then we'll get to work."

I nodded wordlessly, thinking her plan was a good one. If those cats weren't fed soon, it seemed likely they would turn on us. I didn't like our odds.

Once they had food to distract them, Ms. Terwilliger and I went to her workshop. There was little I could do except observe. Magic often required that the person doing the spell be the one to put in all the labor. I assisted with a little measuring, but that was about it. I'd seen her do a couple of quick, flashy spells in the past but never anything of this magnitude. It was clear to me that this was a very, very powerful feat. She had nothing to link her to Veronica, no hair or picture. The spell required the caster to use the image in her mind of the person being sought. Other components, herbs and oils, helped enhance the magic, but for the most part, the work was all on Ms. Terwilliger. Watching her prepare triggered a mix of emotions in me. Anxiety was one, of course, but it was paired with a secret fascination at seeing someone with her strength cast a spell.

When everything was in place, she spoke the incantation, and I nearly gasped as I felt power surge up in the room. I'd never sensed it from another person before, and the intensity nearly knocked me over. Ms. Terwilliger was staring at a spot a few feet in front of her. After several long moments, a glowing dot appeared in the air. It grew bigger and bigger, turning into a flat, shimmering disc, which hung there like a mirror. I stepped backward, half-afraid the disc would keep expanding and consume the room. Eventually, it stabilized. Tense silence surrounded us as she stared at that glowing surface. A minute passed, and then the oval began to shrink and shrink until it was gone. Ms. Terwilliger sank with exhaustion and caught the side of her table for support. She was sweating heavily, and I handed her some orange juice we'd had ready.

"Did you see anything?" I asked. There'd been nothing visible to me, but maybe only the caster could see what the spell revealed.

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