Monday, January 14, 2019
The Indigo Spell Chapter Four
I FROZE. I didnt trust myself to respond.What was Adrian sen whilent? putting aside whole the drama surrounded by us, it was short unforgivable to befool this here(predicate)(predicate), in strawman of other(a) Moroi and Alchemists. Maybe in Palm Springs, where things were a little more than casual with my title-holders, it might non be that batty a request. But here? He risked exposing that we knew each other, which in give up risked Jill. Almost as bad, it could be a tip-off of his feelings for me. Even if I insisted that I had no matching feelings, the f impress that things had progressed this far could secure me in serious trouble with the Alchemists.As altogether these patterns raced by dint of my mind, a more concerning one suddenly popped up. A groovy Alchemist shouldnt be worried close to(predicate) any of those things. A good Alchemist would pass water simply been horrified at the immediate problem spring with a Moroi. Touching a vampire. Realizing this, I quickly mustered an come inraged expression, hoping I intuitive feelinged convincing.Fortunately, everyone else was as well as shocked to pay practically attention to me. skilful(a) relations only went so far. Stanton and Ian wore legitimate looks of disgust. The Moroi nigh while not appalled, were astonished at the breach of etiquette. And even so . . . I also saw a couple ex cable careen looks that asseverate they werent exclusively surprised Adrian Ivashkov would suggest virtuallything so come fall out of the closetrageous. This was an attitude Id seen a lot with him. large number often shrugged off his behavior with, Well, thats Adrian.Ian put together his junction first. She . . . no She absolutely stinkpottwhy not? Adrian glanced between all our faces, his expression notwithstanding blithe and unassuming. We ar all friends, repair?Abe, who was rarely shocked by anything, managed to swing off almost of his surprise. Im confident(predicate) its not that big a deal. His foregather sensation was uncertain. He knew that Adrian wasnt a total stranger to me tranquilize undoubtedly fancied I had the usual Alchemist hang-ups. As to night had demonstrated, most Alchemists motionlessness struggled with custodyhakes.Stanton seemed to be waging a mental war. I knew she thought it was an outlandish request . . . yet she was however conscious of the deficiency to keep things pleasant. She swallowed. Perhaps . . . perhaps it would be a nice gesture. She shot me a sympathetic look that seemed to say, sometimes you have to take one for the team.Ian jerked his head toward her. Are you crazy?Mr. Jansen, she snapped, conveyance a stern warning in scarcely his name.All eye round of drinksed toward me as everyone realised that ultimately, it was my decision. At this point, I didnt k right off if I should be shocked or scared and the thought of dancing with Adrian make me feel both. I met Stantons eyes again and slow gave a nod. Sure. Okay. Good relations, right?Ians face turned sheeny red, tho another charterle corresponding look from Stanton kept him silent. As Adrian led me to the saltation floor, I comprehend a few whispered comments from curious Moroi mentioning that poor Alchemist girl and thithers no predicting what he does sometimes.Adrian put his arm some my waist, perfectly proper and distant. I act not to calculate virtually the last time Id been in his arms. Even with appropriate spacing between us, our cut intos were still clasped, our stances still intimate. I was hyper apprised of every single place his fingers suspireed on my body. His touch was light and delicate plainly seemed to carry an extraordinary heat and intensity.What were you cerebration? I demanded once we were moving to the music. I was trying to ignore his hands. Do you kip down how much trouble you may have gotten me in?Adrian gr student lodginged. Nah. They all feel bad for you. Youll achieve martyrdom after d ancing with a mean, wicked vampire. Job security with the Alchemists.I thought you werent going to compress me nigh . . . you know . . . that bar. . . .The look of innocence slide byed. Have I said a word about that? I serious asked you to dance as a political gesture, thats all. He paused for impact. Seems like youre the one who cant get that stuff off your mind.Stop turning my words against me Thats not no thats not right at all.You should see that Stanton woman clearing us, he remarked with amusement, glancing john me.Everyones watching us, I grumbled. It wasnt like the entire room had throw in to a standstill, but there were certainly a number of curious onlookers, gawking at the unlikely respiret of a Moroi and a human an Alchemist, at that dancing.He nodded and swept me into a turn. He was a good dancer, which wasnt entirely a surprise. Adrian might be brash and impertinent, but he knew how to move. Maybe dance lessons had been part of growing up in an elite tier of Moroi society. Or maybe he was just naturally skilled at utilise his body. That kiss had certainly show a fair amount of talent. . . .Ugh. Adrian was right. I was the one who couldnt get over that stuff.Unaware of my thoughts, he glanced over at Stanton again. Shes got the look of a general who just sent her army on a suicide mission.Nice to know she cares, I said. For a moment, I forgot my dance floor woes as I thought angrily prat to Stantons need to know attitude.I can pull you closer, if you call for, he said. unless to see how much she cares. Im always willing to help like that, you know.Youre a real team p flummoxer, I said. If putting me in danger is for the great good, then Stanton in all likelihood wouldnt do anything about you moving in on me.Adrians self-satisfied smirk faded. Did she ever come clean about that cuckoo you were trying to discovery? Martin?Marcus, I corrected. I frowned. Her denial still daunted me. She keeps claiming she doesnt know him, and I cant push too hard if I dont want her to get suspicious.I thought of a way you might find him, said Adrian. I wouldve thought he was joking if his face wasnt so serious.You did? I asked. The Alchemists had vast information at our disposal, with hands in all sorts of agencies and organizations. Id been scouring them these last few weeks and found it unlikely that Adrian would have entree to something I didnt.Yup. Youve got his picture, right? Couldnt you just do the same spell you did the other night? Locate him that way?I was so surprised, I nigh tripped. Adrian tightened his grip to keep me from falling. I shivered as that base gesture brought us closer. The tension between us kicked up a notch, and I know that a considerable with our bodies being nearer, so were our lips.I had a little worry speaking, both because of how it felt to be so close to him and because I was still stunned by what hed said. Thats . . . wow . . . thats not a bad idea. . . .I know, he said. Im kind of amazed myself.Really, the circumstances were no different from determination Ms. Terwilligers sister. I undeniable to locate someone Id neer met. I had a picture, which was what the spell required. What was different was that Id be initiating the spell myself. It was a difficult ready of trick, and I knew Ms. Terwilligers coaching had helped me. There was also the moral dilemma of on the job(p) that type of spell on my own. My conscience had an easier time handling magic when I felt coerced.I couldnt try until next month, I said, seeing sustain to the spell book. I mean, I have the picture with me, but the spells got to be done during a full moon. This is the last night for the menses one, and Id never be able to get the components in time.What do you need?I told him, and he nodded along, promising he could get them.I scoffed. Where are you going to get anise and hyssop at this time of night? In this town?This towns full of quirky boutique shops. Theres some herbal place that sells soaps and perfume made of anything you can imagine. I guarantee theyve got what you need.And I guarantee theyre unlikable. He swept me into another flourish-filled spin, and I kept up with him perfectly.The song was wrapping up. The time had flown by faster than Id thought. Id forgotten about the onlookers. Id even forgotten I was with a vampire. I was simply dancing with Adrian, which felt easy and natural, so long as I didnt think about our audience.His roguish look returned. Dont worry about that. I can find the owner and talk her into making an exception.I groaned. No. non compulsion. Compulsion was an ability vampires had to force their wills on others. All vampires had it to a small extent, and spirit users had it in excess. Most Moroi considered it immoral. Alchemists considered it a sin.The song ended, but Adrian didnt disembarrass me right away. He leaned a little closer. Do you want to pacify another month to find Marcus?No, I admitted.Adrians lips were a b reath away. wherefore well meet in two hours by the hotels service door. I gave a weak nod, and he stepped venture, releasing my hands. Heres one last sign of good relations. With a bow that couldve come straight out of a Jane Austen novel, he gestured to the bar and spoke loudly. Thank you for the dance. May I escort you to get a drink?I followed without a word, my head spinning with what Id need to do in two hours. At the bar, Adrian astonished me by monastic order ginger ale. Nice restraint, I said, realizing hed need to rub sober to die spirit. I hoped he hadnt indulged too much already. For him, the only thing bring out than an assailable bar would be a chemise of cigarettes showing up at his door.Im a master of self-control, he declared.I wasnt so sure of that but didnt contradict him. I sipped my Diet Coke, and we stood there in genial silence. Two Moroi men sidled up the bar near us, talking with the the great unwashed and exuberance of those who hadnt held back on sampling free liquor.Well, no way out how liberal that girl is, shes certainly easy on the eyes, one cuckoo said. I could look at her all day, especially in that dress.His friend nodded. Definitely an improvement over Tatiana. Too bad about what happened to her, but maybe a change of characterizationry was for the best. Did that woman ever smiling? They both laughtered at the joke.Beside me, Adrians own smiling vanished, and he went perfectly still. Tatiana, the designer Moroi queen, had been Christians great-aunt. Shed been viciously murdered this summer, and though Adrian rarely spoke about her, Id comprehend from a number of people that theyd been close. Adrians lips twisted into a snarl, and he started to turn around. Without hesitation, I reached out and grabbed his free hand, holding it tightly.Adrian, dont, I said softly.Sydney, they cant say that. There was a dangerous look in his eyes, one Id never seen.I squeezed his hand harder. Theyre drunk, and theyre stupid. Th eyre not worth your time. Please dont start a scene here for Sonyas sake. I hesitated. And for me.His face was still filled with rage, and for a moment, I thought he would ignore me and throw a ice-skating rink at one of those guys. Or worse. Id seen angry spirit users, and they were terrifying. At last, that rabidness faded, and I felt his hand relax in mine. He closed his eyes briefly, and when he opened them again, they were dazed and un think.No one rattling knew her, Sydney. The sorrow in his voice broke my go throught. They all thought she was some draconian bitch. They never knew how funny she was, how sweet she could be. You cant . . . you cant imagine how much I miss her. She didnt deserve to die like that. She was the only one who unsounded me even more than my own parents. She accepted me. She saw the good in my soul. She was the only one who reckond in me.He was standing in front of me, but he wasnt with me. I recognized the rambling, consuming nature of spirit. It messed with its users minds. sometimes it made them scattered and distant, like he was now. Sometimes it challenged peoples grip on reality. And sometimes, it could create a despair with devastating consequences.She wasnt the only one, I told him. I believe in you. Shes at peace, and nothing they say can change who she was. Please come back to me.He still stared off into somewhere I couldnt follow. After a few frightening moments, he blinked and focused on me. His expression was still sad, but at least he was in control again. Im here, Sage. He removed his hand and glanced around to make sure no one had seen me holding it. Thankfully, the bride and groom had taken to the dance floor, and everyone was too mesmerized watching them. Two hours.He knocked back the rest of his drink and walked away. I watched him until he disappeared into the crowd, and then I returned to my own table, glancing at the clock along the way Two hours.Ian jumped out of his seat at my approach. Are you okay ?No Moroi well-wishers were around, so only Stanton was nearby to hear him. She seemed to share his concern. Im sorry you had to endure that, scarper Sage. As always, your dedication to our make believe is admirable.I do what I can to help, maam, I said. I was still worried about Adrian and hoped he wouldnt shoe back into spirits grip again.Did he hurt you? asked Ian, pointing. Your hands?I looked down and realised Id been rubbing my hands together. They were warm from where Adrian had touched me. Huh? Oh, no. sightly, um, trying to rub the taint off. In fact . . . I should probably go wash up. Be right back.They seemed to find this a perfectly reasonable idea and didnt blockage me as I hurried to the restroom. Free of their concern, I breathed a sigh of relief. Id dodged two bullets here, by not letting the Alchemists know that I was genial with a vampire and also that I was plotting magic with him.Sydney?I was so distracted when walking out of the restroom that I hadnt noti ced lift standing nearby with Dimitri Belikov. They stood arm in arm, smiling at my surprise. I hadnt seen Dimitri tonight, and his black and white guardian attire told me why. He was on trading here and had undoubtedly been one of the shadows darting among the trees of the greenhouse, keeping a watch on everyone. He must be on a break now because there was no way hed be standing so coolly here, even with go up, otherwise. And really, casual for Dimitri meant he could still leap into battle at any moment.They were a striking couple. His dark-haired, dark-eyed looks matched hers, and they were both dazzlingly attractive. It was no wonderment Adrian had fallen for her, and I felt surprised at how uncomfortable that keeping made me. Like Sonya and Mikhail, there was a bond of love between Rose and Dimitri that was about palpable.Are you okay? asked Rose, eyes kind. I cant believe Adrian did that to you. She reconsidered. Then again, I kind of can believe it.Im fine, I said. I th ink the other Alchemists were more appalled than I was. I remembered recently that even if Rose and Dimitri knew I knew Adrian from Palm Springs, I still couldnt act too at ease here. I put on my preliminary look of outrage. It was still out of line, though.Proprietys never been Adrians strong suit, Dimitri observed.Rose laughed at the understatement. If it makes you feel any better, you guys looked really good together out there. do it hard to believe youre mortal enemies . . . or whatever it is Alchemists think. She gestured to my dress. You even coordinated.Id solely forgotten what I was wearing. It was a short-sleeved silk dress, almost entirely black write for some splashes of royal blue on the skirt. That was a bolder color than I would normally wear, but the black tempered it. Thinking back to Adrians shades of blue, I realized our palettes had indeed complemented each other.You guys looked really good together. I dont know what expression I wore, but it made Rose laugh again.Dont look so panicked, Rose said, eyes shining. It was nice seeing a human and a Moroi look like they belong together.Belong together.Why did she keep saying things like that? Her words were messing with the cool, logical demeanor I tried to maintain. I knew she was speaking in that friendly, diplomatic way that everyone was displace so hard for. But as progressive as Rose and Dimitri were, I knew even they would be shocked if they knew the truth about Adrians feelings and that monumental kiss.I spent the rest of the reception with a knot of solicitude build within me. Fortunately, I didnt have to hide it. Moroi and Alchemist alike expect me to feel that way. In fact, Stanton soon got her own share of diplomacy when a middle-aged Moroi guy asked her to dance, obviously taking a cue from Adrians let on of goodwill. Apparently, as outrageous as Adrians behavior had been, some Moroi thought it had been a smart move and decided to follow suit. Stanton could hardly refuse afte r encouraging me, so she took the dance floor with gritted dentition. No one asked Ian to dance, which was probably just as well. He didnt look at all disappointed.Adrian stayed away, presumptively to gather my spell components. Time ticked down, and as the two-hour mark approached, I realized that although Id brought Marcuss picture with me on this trip (I rarely let it out of my sight), it was still in my room. I excused myself from Ian, telling him I needed to go back to the inn to change shoes and would take one of the cars that had been take wedding guests around town.Ians face immediately grew protective. Do you want me to go with you? Its not safe out there.I shook my head. No, you need to stay here. Stantons in more danger. She was standing near the bar, speaking to two Moroi men. I wondered if she had another dance in her future. Besides, its early, so theres still more of them here than out there. At least the inn is run by humans.Ian couldnt spot my Alchemist logic an d reluctantly let me go. Catching a town car was easy, and I was able to make the round trip in almost the perfect amount of time. I even changed shoes so that Id have proof for my story. Although Id worn heels to the wedding, Id packed flats in my suitcase, just in case. That was just smart planning for any occasion.When I reached the service door, however, I realized my clever planning had failed. Filled with haste and anxiety, Id left my warm, heavy shawl in the car, which was probably long gone. Now, waiting for Adrian in the bitter Pennsylvania shivery, I wrapped my arms around myself and hoped I wouldnt freeze in the lead he showed up.He was good to his word, though, and arrived at exactly the appointed time with a tote bag over one shoulder. Even better, he was entirely back to his normal self. Ready to go, he told me.Seriously? I asked, my teeth chattering. You found everything?He patted the bag. You ask, I deliver. Now where do we need to do this?Somewhere remote. I scan ned around. Beyond the hotels parking lot was a unoccupied field that I hoped would suffice. There.Walking across the well-salted parking lot wasnt a problem, but once we off-roaded into the snowy field, even my practical flats were of no use. I was also so cold that I suspected my skin was as blue as my dress.Stop, said Adrian at one point.We need to go a little farther, I protested.Adrian, whod had the sense to put on a wool coat, was taking it off. Here.Youll be cold, I protested, though I didnt stop him when he stepped forward and helped me put the coat on. He was taller than me, so the three-quarter continuance was mercifully full length on me. Its scent was a coalesce of smoke and cologne.There. He pulled the coat more tightly around me. Ive got long sleeves and the jacket. Now come on lets hurry.He didnt have to tell me twice. away from the temperature, we had to do this before we were caught by others. Even I wasnt going to be able to explain this away to the Alchemists .The moon was still crisp and bright when we in conclusion found an acceptable spot. I sifted through Adrians bag, amazed that hed come through with everything, from the mirror to the dried leaves and flowers. He stayed quiet as I set it all up, only speaking when I was just about ready to go.Is there anything I can do? he asked gently. entirely keep watch, I said. And catch me if I pass out.Gladly.Id memorized the spell when Ms. Terwilliger and I had performed it. Still, I was nervous about going solo, especially since the environment was so distracting. It was kind of hard to find the mental focus I needed while kneel in snow. Then I thought back to Stanton and the lies the Alchemists were telling me. A spark of anger flared in me, creating warmth of a different sort. I used that to direct my thoughts as I stared at Marcuss picture. He was Adrians age, with shoulder-length blond hair and a pensive look in his blue eyes. The tattoo on his check was a tangle of indigo plant cresc ents. Slowly, I managed to sink into the spell.I felt that same euphoria as the mirror shifted into a city image. No fog blocked me this time since presumably Marcus wasnt wielding the kind of protective magic that Ms. Terwilligers sister had been using. The scene before me showed what looked like a very modest studio apartment. A mattress lay on the floor, and an ancient TV sat in one corner. I looked around for any identifying features but found nothing. The rooms one window finally gave me a clue. Outside in the distance, I could see a Spanish-style building that looked like a church or monastery. It was made of white stucco, with red-roofed domed towers. I tried to get a closer look, to fly up like I had in the other spell, but suddenly, I became aware of the Pennsylvania cold seeping into me. The image shattered, and I was back to kneeling in the field.Ugh, I said, putting my hand to my forehead. So close.Did you see anything? Adrian asked. nonentity thatll help.I stood and fel t a little whacky but managed to stay upright. I could see Adrian ready and waiting to catch me in case I did indeed keel over. You okay?I think so. Just a little light-headed from the blood cabbage drop. I slowly gathered up the mirror and bag. I shouldve had you get orange succus too.Maybe thisll help. Adrian produced a silver flask from his suit jackets inner sackful and handed it toward me.So typical, Adrian helpfully adviseing alcohol. You know I dont drink, I said.A few sips wont get you drunk, Sage. And its your lucky night its Kahlua. Packed with sugar and coffee-flavored. Trade me and try.Grudgingly, I handed him the bag and then took the flask as we began walking back to the hotel. I took a tentative sip and grimaced. That is not coffee-flavored. No matter how much people tried to dress up alcohol, it always tasted awful to me. I didnt understand how he could consume so much. But, I could taste the sugar, and after a few more sips, I felt steadier. That was all I dran k since I didnt want to get dizzy for different reasons.Whatd you see? asked Adrian, once we reached the parking lot.I described the spells scene and sighed in frustration. That could be any building in California. Or the Southwest. Or Mexico.Adrian came to a halt and slung the bag over one shoulder. Maybe. . . . He took out his phone from his jacket and typed in a few things. I shivered and tried to be patient as he searched for what he needed. Did it look like this?I peered at the screen and felt my jaw drop. I was tone at a picture of the building from my vision.Yes What is it?The Old Mission Santa Barbara. And then, just in case I needed help, he added, Its in Santa Barbara.How did you know that? I exclaimed. What that building is, I mean.He shrugged. Because Ive been to Santa Barbara. Does this help you?My earlier begin transformed into excitement. Yes Based on the windows position, I can get a pretty good idea of where the apartment is. You may have found Marcus Finch. Caugh t up in my elation, I squeezed his arm.Adrian rested a gloved hand on my cheek and smiled down at me. And to think, Angeline said I was too pretty to be useful. Looks like I might have something to offer to the world after all.Youre still pretty, I said, the words slipping out before I could stop them. Another of those intense moments hung between us, the lunar month illuminating his striking features. Then it was shattered by a voice in the darkness.Whos there?Both of us flinched and jerked back as a black-and-white-clad figure seemed to materialize out of the shadows. A guardian. It was no one I knew, but I realized Id been foolish if I thought we could slip in and out of the hotel unseen. The grounds were probably crawling with guardians, keeping watch for Strigoi. They wouldnt have cared much about two people leaving, but our return would naturally be challenged.Hey, Pete, said Adrian, putting on that easygoing smile he excelled at. Nice to see you. Hope youre not too cold out here.The guardian seemed to relax a little upon recognizing Adrian, but he was still suspicious. What are you two doing outside?Just walking Miss Sage back, said Adrian. She had to get something from her room.I gave him a puzzled look. The inn wasnt in this direction. Pete looked dazed for a moment. Then he nodded in understanding. I see. Well, youd better get back inside before you freeze.Thanks, said Adrian, counseling me away. Make sure you get a break and try the canapes. Theyre amazing.You compelled him, I whispered, once we were safely out of earshot.Only a little, said Adrian. He sounded very proud of himself. And being outside to walk you is a reasoned reason, one he wont think too much about later. get someone into believing a story works best if theres a little truth Adrian? Sydney?Wed almost reached the back of the building now and were suddenly face-to-face with an ivory-clad figure. Sonya stood before us, a fur stole wrapped around her. Once again, I was struck by h er beauty and the happy luster she seemed to radiate. She gave us a puzzled smile.What are you two doing out here? she asked.Both of us were speechless. Adrian had no brash words or tricks. Sonya was a spirit user too, and compulsion wouldnt work on her. Frantically, I groped for some excuse that wasnt We were out using illicit magic in a continuing effort to uncover secrets the Alchemists dont want me to know about.You cant tell, I blurted out to her. I held up the flask. Adrian was letting me sneak some of his Kahlua. Stantonll kill me if she finds out.Sonya looked distinctly startled. I didnt think you drank.Tonights been kind of stressful, I said. It was hardly a lie.And its coffee-flavored, Adrian pointed out, as though that might aid our cause.I wasnt sure if Sonya was buying it, so I attempted a change in subject. Congratulations, by the way. I didnt have a chance to talk to you earlier. You look beautiful.Sonya let go of her inquisitiveness and offered me a smile. Thank yo u. Its kind of unreal. Mikhail and I have been through so much . . . there were times I never thought wed reach this moment. And now . . . She glanced down at the diamond sparkling on her hand. Well, here we are.What are you doing out here, Mrs. Tanner? Adrian had recovered himself and was back to his beat self. Shouldnt you be inside gazing adoringly at your husband?She chuckled. Oh, weve got a spirit of that ahead. Honestly, I just needed to get out of the crowd. Sonya took a wakeless breath of the crisp, cold air. I should probably get back soon. Were about to throw the bouquet. You arent going to miss your chance, are you? That was to me.I scoffed. I think Ill sit this one out. Ive already caused too much speculation tonight.Ah, yes. Your disreputable dance. Sonya glanced between us, and a bit of her earlier puzzlement returned. You two look very good together. Awkward silence fell for a few seconds, and then she cleared her throat. Well, Im getting in where its warm. Hope y oull change your mind, Sydney.She disappeared through the service door, and I resisted the urge to beat my head against the wall. She knows were lying. She can tell. expression users were good at reading subtle cues from people, with Sonya being one of the best.Probably, concur Adrian. But I doubt shes going to guess we were out on the job(p) magic in a field.A terrible thought came to me. Oh God. She probably thinks we were off doing you know romantic type, um, things That amused Adrian far more than it should have. See, there you go again. Thats the first thought that comes to your mind. He shook his head melodramatically. I cant believe you keep accusing me of being the preoccupy one.Im not obsessed I exclaimed. Im just pointing out the obvious conclusion.Maybe to you. But shes right about one thing we need to get inside. He apprehensively touched his hair. I think my hair gels frozen.I handed him back the flask and opened the door. Just before stepping through, I hesitat ed and glanced back at him. Adrian? Thanks for helping me.What are friends for? He caught the door from me and motioned for me to go inside.Yeah, but you went above and beyond tonight for something that has nothing to do with you. I consider that. You didnt have to help. You dont have the same reasons I have for cracking open the Alchemists.Not knowing what else to say, I gave him a small nod of give thanks and went inside. As the warmth and noise of the crowd swallowed us, I thought I heard him say, I have different reasons.