The Indigo Spell

Page 59

"Now then," he said. "Don't worry about hitting the - "

I fired, perfectly emptying the clip into the most difficult targets. I handed the gun to him. He handed it back. Behind him, I could see Adrian staring at me with enormous eyes.

"Keep it," said Wolfe. "You passed. You've gotta buy your own ammunition, but as long as you fill out the rental agreement, you're good to go."

As it turned out, the "rental agreement" was a piece of paper where he wrote the gun type on one side and I put my initials on the other. "Really?" I asked. "That's all I need to do? I mean, I'm glad, but . . ." I didn't really know what else to say.

Wolfe waved off my protests. "You're a good kid. If you say you need a gun, I believe you. Someone giving you trouble?"

I slipped the gun into my messenger bag. "Something like that."

Wolfe glanced over at Adrian. "What about you? You need a gun too?"

"I'm good," said Adrian. "Besides, I haven't had the training. Safety first."

Wolfe opened up the ammunition cabinet again and produced a long wooden tube and a sandwich bag of what looked like small darts. "You want to borrow my blowgun? Not much of a learning curve on this. I mean, you'll never be able to match the skill and cunning of the Amazonian warriors that I stole this from, but it can get you out of a pinch."

"Thanks, but I'll take my chances," Adrian said after several long moments. He almost sounded as though he'd considered it.

I was still hung up on Wolfe's other words, not sure I believed what I'd heard. "You were in the Amazon?"

This time, Wolfe arched the eyebrow above his eye patch. "You don't believe me?"

"No, no, of course I do," I said quickly. "It's just, you've never mentioned it before."

Wolfe gazed off beyond us. "I've been trying for years to forget my time there. But some things, you just can't escape."

A very long and very uncomfortable silence followed. At last, I cleared my throat. "Well, thank you, sir. We should get going. Hopefully I won't need the gun for very long."

"Keep it as long as you need," he said. "If I want it back, I'll find you."

And on that disturbing note, Adrian and I left. Although I understood Ms. Terwilliger's reasons for "old-fashioned" defense, I was in no way comfortable having a gun around. I'd have to keep it in my car in case school authorities ever did a search of my room and discovered it. My Alchemist and magical kits were already a liability. I was pretty sure there'd be no talking my way out of a gun.

Adrian returned me to Amberwood. I started to open the door and then paused to glance over at him. "Thanks," I said. "For everything. Going to the inn. Suggesting we see Wolfe."

"Hey, that was worth it just to know Wolfe owns a blowgun."

I laughed. "Actually, I'd be more surprised if he didn't. See you later."

Adrian nodded. "Sooner than you think."

"What's that mean?" I asked, suspicion rearing up in me.

He dodged the question and reached underneath his seat. "I called Alicia," he told me, producing a small box. "She couldn't find your cross. Her housekeeping service had already gone through and cleaned the room, but she says she'll check to see if it got caught up in the bedding. Oh, and I also asked about Veronica. She hasn't been back."

That was disheartening news, but I was touched he'd called. "Thanks for trying."

He opened the box and pulled out a necklace with a tiny wooden cross on it. "I got you a replacement. I mean, I know there's no real substitute, but I wanted to get you something. And don't start about not being able to accept some fancy gift," he said, guessing the protest I was about to make. "It cost me five dollars from a street vendor, and I'm pretty sure the chain is brass."

I bit off my words and took the necklace from him. The cross barely weighed anything. Studying it more closely, I could see a tiny pattern of silver flowers painted on its surface. "The vendor didn't do that. That's your handiwork."

"Well . . . I know you're into simple stuff, but I've always got to have some embellishment."

I ran my finger over the cross's surface. "Why'd you choose morning glories?"

"Because I'm not the biggest fan of lilies."

I smiled at that.

When I returned to my dorm room, I laid the necklace out on my dresser. I gave it one last fond look and then tried to decide how best to spend the rest of my day. Our trip to Wolfe actually hadn't taken that long, so I had plenty of time to catch dinner and make sure I was up to date on my homework. I actually ate with Kristin and Julia for a change, which was kind of a nice break from the drama of my other friends. Of course, most of the meal consisted of Julia gushing about "Dave." By the end, both she and Kristin were demanding to know when I'd bring him by again.

As the evening pushed on, I began to prepare for my meeting with Ms. Terwilliger. I wasn't sure what kind of magic we'd be practicing outdoors but figured I should be ready for anything. I packed a wide variety of items from my kit and even had the foresight to bring a granola bar for post-magic fuel. Once everything was in order, I headed back downstairs. I was nearly out the dorm door when Mrs. Weathers called out to me.


I paused to glance back. "Yes, ma'am?"

"Where are you going? It's nearly curfew."

Frowning, I walked over to her desk. "I'm doing an assignment for Ms. Terwilliger."

Mrs. Weathers looked troubled. "Yes, I know you do that a lot for her . . . but I haven't received authorization from her to let you out after hours today." Her expression turned apologetic. "I'm sure this is all on the up-and-up, but, well, rules are rules."

"Of course," I said. "But she said she'd let you know. Are you sure you didn't get anything? A note? A phone call?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. I'm sorry."

"I understand," I murmured, though I wasn't sure I did. Despite her perpetually scattered nature, Ms. Terwilliger was usually good about this sort of thing. Mrs. Weathers assured me she'd let me go if Ms. Terwilliger gave the okay by phone, so I returned to my room and attempted to call her. I went straight to voice mail, and my text went unanswered. Had something happened to her? Had that magical confrontation I'd been dreading finally gone down?

I kicked around my dorm room for the next hour or so, letting all my worries eat at me. Veronica. Marcus. St. Louis. Ms. Terwilliger. The dream. Over and over, I kept imagining the worst outcome for all of them. Just when I thought I'd go crazy, Ms. Terwilliger finally returned my call.

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