The Indigo Spell

Page 58

"Basic?" I asked, puzzled.

"She means like a gun or a knife," supplied Adrian, catching on to what I hadn't.

Ms. Terwilliger nodded. "If you ever confront Veronica, it'll most likely come down to magic fighting magic . . . but, well, one can never say. Having something else for backup might prove invaluable."

I wasn't a fan of this idea. "I have no clue how to knife fight. And I don't like guns."

"Do you like being put into a coma and aging before your time?" asked Adrian.

I shot him a glare, surprised he'd be on board with this. "Of course not. But where would we even get one on such short notice?"

From the look on his face, he knew I had a point. Suddenly, he became enthusiastic again. "I think I know."

"I'm sure you two will figure it out," said Ms. Terwilliger, her mind already moving to something else. She glanced at her watch. "Almost time for classes."

We all stood up, preparing to go our own ways, but I held Adrian back. I couldn't imagine how in the world he would know where to get a gun on no notice. He wouldn't elaborate and simply said he'd meet me after school. Before he left, I remembered something I'd wanted to ask.

"Adrian, did you keep my cross?"

"Your - oh." Looking into his eyes, I could practically see yesterday's events playing through his mind - including us rolling around on the bed. "I dropped it when - ah, well, before we left. Yo u didn't pick it up?"

I shook my head, and his face fell.

"Shit, I'm sorry, Sage."

"It's okay," I said automatically.

"It's not okay, and it's my fault. I know how much it means to you."

It did mean a lot to me, but I almost blamed myself as much as him. I should've thought of it before we left, but I'd been a little preoccupied. "It's just a necklace," I told him.

This didn't comfort him. He looked so dejected when we parted ways that I hoped he wouldn't forget about us meeting up later to visit his mysterious gun source. There was nothing to worry about, though. When classes ended, he was outside my dorm in the Mustang and looked much more upbeat, with no more mention of the necklace.

When he told me his gun plan, I was shocked, but after a few moments of thought, I realized he might be on to something. And so, a little less than an hour later, we found ourselves far outside the city, driving up to a forlorn-looking home on a large, barren piece of land. We had reached the Wolfe School of Defense.

"I never thought we'd be here again," I remarked.

Wolfe's house had no windows, and there were no cars in sight as we walked up to the door. "He may not even be home," I murmured to Adrian. "We probably should have called first."

"Wolfe never struck me as a guy who leaves the house very much," said Adrian. He knocked on the door, and almost instantly, we heard a flurry of barking and scampering feet. I grimaced. Wolfe, for reasons I would never be able to understand, kept a herd of Chihuahuas in his house. He'd once told us that they could kill a man upon a single command.

We waited a few minutes, but the barking was the only sign that there was any sort of life inside. Adrian knocked one more time (driving the dogs into an even greater frenzy) and then shrugged. "I guess you were - "

The door suddenly opened - just a slit - and one gray eye peered out at us from underneath a chain. "Oh," came a grizzled voice. "It's you two."

The door closed, and I heard the chain being unlocked. A moment later, Wolfe slipped outside, careful not to let any of the dogs out. He had a patch over his left eye, which was probably just as well since his other eye alone seemed to peer straight through me. "You should've called," he said. "I nearly turned the dogs on you."

Wolfe was dressed in his favorite pair of Bermuda shorts as well as a T-shirt showing a bald eagle riding on a monster truck. The eagle held an American flag in one set of talons and a samurai sword in the other. That seemed a weird weapon choice for such a patriotic shirt, but we'd long since learned not to question his wardrobe. That had come after he'd kicked a woman out of our class who'd dared to ask if he only had one pair of shorts or several identical ones.

"What do you kids need?" he asked. "Next classes don't start until after New Year's."

Adrian and I exchanged glances. "We, um, need a gun," I said. "I mean, just to borrow."

Wolfe scratched his beard. "I don't lend them out to students who haven't taken my gun class. Safety first." I found it promising, however, that he lent out guns at all. It was a sign of his character that he didn't even bother asking why we wanted one.

"I've already had training," I said. That was true. It was mandatory for all Alchemists. I'd done well in it, but as I'd mentioned to Adrian, I really didn't like guns at all. At least a knife had other uses. But a gun? It was only there to injure or kill.

Wolfe arched an eyebrow, the one over his good eye. Clearly, he didn't believe me. "Can you back that up?"

"Do you have a shooting range?" I returned coolly.

He almost looked offended. "Of course I do."

He led us to a building beyond the garage we'd trained in. I'd never been inside this building before, but like his house, it had no windows. The door was covered in enough locks to meet with Alchemist security standards. He let us inside, and I gaped when I saw not only a practice range but also a wall covered in various types of guns. Wolfe gave the small holding space a once-over.

"Earmuffs must be in the house. Be right back."

I continued staring at the wall, knowing my eyes were wide. "There's no way those are all legal."

Adrian's response was unexpected. "Did you notice his eye patch?"

I dragged my gaze from the arsenal. "Um, yes. From the day we first met him."

"No, no. I mean, I swear it was on his other eye last time."

"It was not," I said immediately.

"Are you sure?" asked Adrian.

I wasn't, I realized. Words and numbers were easy for me to memorize. But other details, like clothing or hair - or eye patches - were sometimes easy for me to miss. "That doesn't make any sense," I finally said. "Why would he do that?"

"He's Malachi Wolfe," said Adrian. "Why wouldn't he do that?"

I couldn't argue against that.

Wolfe returned with ear protection. After examining his wall, he selected a small handgun and then unlocked a cabinet containing ammunition. At least he didn't leave a bunch of loaded guns around.

"I'll do that," I told him. I took the gun from him and effortlessly loaded it. He made a small grunt of approval. He gestured toward the far end of the range, to a large paper cutout showing a human silhouette with various targets marked on it.

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