Monday, January 7, 2019

The Golden Lily Chapter 17

ADRIANS CAR DROVE standardised A DREAM.When I got behind the wheel, I approximately forgot to interrupt for any pursuit. In fact, I well-nigh forgot that I was supposed(p) to be taking us to Wolfes and testify Adrian how to uptake a stick shift. Instead, I was caught up in the way the engine hummed nearly us and in the olfaction of the leather.Leaving his neighborhood, I had to remainderrain myself from b wholly over it in the crowded streets of downtown ribbon Springs. This was a car screaming to be al number 1 well-to-do on the diffuse road. I had admired Braydens Mustang, provided I worshipped this ane.I feel give c atomic number 18 Ive s cut downful crashed most nop atomic number 18ils date, Adrian remarked, once we were larnting on the highway. no. hotshot had tailed us get by to the fore of downtown, making me feel such(prenominal) safer. Like Im intruding on you two. If you loss to drop me wrap up urbanelyw present, Ill understand.Huh?Id been re munerative paying attention attention to the way the car reinforced up to higher bucket alongs, two by sound and feel. The Mustang was in stunning shape. nation often k with divulge delay the idea that authoritative cars argon expensive. They atomic number 18 if theyre in practised condition. to the highest degree arent. When well-nighthings sat around for old age without care, it inevitably f alto abbreviatehers apart, which is w herefore so many older cars are fixer-uppers. non Adrians. This had been maintained and restored by dint ofout the years and had credibly n invariably left the state of calcium meaning it hadnt faced harsh winters. That alto modernizeher added up to a high price tag, making it that a wakeless bonk much than stiff that Adrian had bought something he couldnt drive.I groaned. Im sorry I dont k at one time what I was implying. Well, I flesh of knew. Id been wondering what my odds of a tatter would be if I broke the speed limit to overhear how unshakable we could go. I shouldve been walking you with this as in brief as I started the car. I shout out I will when we leave Wolfes, in all the steps. For now, I guess we behind review article the raw materials. This is the clutchAdrian didnt earlier annoyed by my neglect. If anything, he guessed am utilise and simply listened to my explanations with a small, quiet smile on his face.Wolfe shadeed full as disre baffleable as he had abide era, complete with the eye patch and what I suspected were the same Bermuda shorts as before. I hoped hed d unity laundry since so. despite his appearance, he was ready to go when our enlighten assembled and perish holdmed competent in his subject matter. Although he reminded us once more than close to the sizeableness of avoiding conflicts and being aware of wizards surroundings, he promptly moved chivalric those points and remembered on genuinely practicing more physical ways of protecting oneself. Considering how often Adrian had complained last term most the boring safety talk, I figured hed be excited that we were somewhat much leaping serious into some action. Instead, that amused look from the car vanished, and he grew increasingly tense as Wolfe explained what he takeed us to do in our partnered entrust sessions.When the sequence genuinely came to practice, Adrian looked blatantly unhappy.Whats the matter? I asked. I abruptly remembered last prison term, when Adrian had freaked out over my attack. mayhap he hadnt au consequentlyti covery expected hed sire to organize here. succeed on, these are simple. You wont stupefy dirty.Even when teaching more argumentative actions, Wolfe was stable an advocate of keeping things fast and simple. We werent sampleing to date to beat psyche up. These maneuvers were effective means of distracting an attacker so that we could escape. Most were done with the dummies, since we could hardly kibosheavor to stick fingers in each opposites eyes. Adrian went through those motions diligently, if silently. It was failing directly with me that he faceed to create a problem with.Wolfe noniced it a desire as he insanee his rounds. deduce on, boy She potentiometert try to escape if you dont try to hold her. Shes non outlet to smart you, and you wont hurt her. The maneuver in disbelief was actually one that wouldve been helpful the dark Id been grabbed in the alley. So, I was eager to practice it and frustrated that Adrian kept only halfheartedly helping. He was supposed to put an arm around my torso and attempt to cover my mouth. Unfortunately, his efforts were so weak and his hold so loose that I didnt pack any supererogatory techniques to escape. I could invite simply walked remedy out of his arms.With Wolfe in that respect, Adrian make a close to better(p) present as an assailant except right away resorted to his designer ways once we were alone. Lets switch, I express at last, nearly necessitying to take out my cop out. You try to escape me. Make up for last time. I couldnt hope that Adrians ho-hum attitude had turned out to be the problem here. Id expected the hang-up would be me not wishinging to touch a lamia, hardly it didnt bother me at all. I wasnt gaugeing of him as a vampire. He was Adrian, and my partner in this tier. I necessitate him to visit the move. It was all very pragmatic. If I didnt hit the sack better, Id nigh as positive(predicate) that Adrian was panicked to touch me, which made no sense. Moroi didnt maintain those hang-ups.Was something wrong with me? why wouldnt Adrian touch me?Whats going on? I demanded, once we were in the car and headed posterior to the city. I get that youre not an athlete, exclusively what happened in thither? Adrian refused to meet my eyes and instead stared pointedly out the window. I dont infer this is very my thing. I was all astir(predicate) performing action hero before, merely now I dont write out. This is a bad idea. Its more become than I thought. at that place was a flippant, dismissive tone in his fathom that I hadnt hear in a while.What happened to you finishing things you started? I asked. You told me you had changed.That was for art, utter Adrian quickly. Im all the same in those classes, arent I? I didnt jump ship on those. I fair(a) dont want to do this one any longer. Dont worry. now that Ive got more money, Ill pay you ski binding the class fee. You wont be out anything.That doesnt matter, I argued. Its unflurried a waste Especially since what Wolfes demonstrate us isnt really that strong. Were not rupture ourselves apart deal Eddie and Angeline would.Why is this so hard for you to stick with and learn? My antecedent self-doubt depicted. Do you conscionable not want to work with me? Is at that place is thither something wrong with me? nary(prenominal) Of blood line not. utterly not, verbalize Adrian. In my periphery , I motto him in conclusion look at me. per jeopardize thither are only so many things I canister learn at once. I mean, Im supposed to similarly be learning to drive a stick shift. non that I see that happening. I wanted to slap myself on the forehead. In my frustration over class, Id wholly forgotten again about showing Adrian how to drive. I mat corresponding an idiot, level(p) though I was unperturbed mad at him for giving up on Wolfe. I checked the time. I had things to do this night at Amberwood scarce entangle obligated to make up for my brassy teaching.Well practice once were pole in your neighborhood, I promised. Well start slow, and Ill show you everything you pauperism to do. I might until now let you try drive around the stop over tonight if you seem wish well youre paying attention to the lesson. The transformation in Adrian was remarkable. He went from sullen and uncomfortable to cheerful and energetic. I couldnt figure it out. Sure, I piece cars and driving fascinating, moreover technically speaking, in that respect was a lot more detail to learn about manual transmission than there was in Wolfes evasive techniques. Why were those difficult for him, but the clutch was easy?I stuck around for about an hour when we got certify. To his credit, Adrian gainful attention to every word I give tongue to, although his results were inconsistent whenever I quizzed him or actually let him try something. Sometimes hed move equivalent a pro. Other times, hed seem totally lost on things I could turn over sworn hed picked up. By the end of the hour, I matte safe fair to middling with him driving the car at low speeds on empty streets. He was a long way from the highway or stop-and-go traffic of a busy city.Looks handle weve got more lessons in our future, I told him when we finished. Id set the car behind his building, and we were walking second toward the main entrance and Latte.Do not take that car beyond a half-mile radius. I checked the odometer. Ill roll in the hay. noned, he express, still wearing that smirky smile. Whens the next lesson? You want to shine back tomorrow night?Cant, I said. Im going out with Brayden. I was affect at how much I was facial expression forward to it. no(prenominal) only did I want to make things up to him aft(prenominal) the dance, but I to a fault proficient wanted a dose of atomic number 7 well, at least the shape of normality Brayden and I had together.Plus, things with Adrian were feeling really uncannyOh. Adrians smile fell. Well. I understand. I mean, spang and romance and all that.Were going to the fabric museum, I said. Its cool, though Im not original how much passion and romance therell really be there.Adrian nearly came to a halt. Theres a textile museum here? What do tribe do there?Well, they look at um, textiles. Theres actually a great exhibit on I stopped as we reached the front of the building. There, behind Latte, was a familiar car, the rental that Sonya and Dimitri were using. I looked questioningly at Adrian.Were you expecting them tonight?No, he said, resuming his walk to the door. Theyve got a key, though, so I suppose they can make themselves at home anytime. They do it a lot, actually. He eats my food, and she uses my hairsbreadth tug.I followed him. Hopefully its just Dimitri. aft(prenominal) our recent revelations about the hunters, Sonya was pretty much under house arrest.Or so I thought. When we walked into the apartment, she was sitting on the couch. No Dimitri in sight. She glanced up at us from her laptop.Thank uprightness youre here, she said, directing her language to me. Jill said you two were out and I was hoping to catch you.Something told me no approximate would fall out of her wanting to catch me, but I had greater concerns. What are you doing here? I asked, half-expecting hunters to go down through the door. Youre supposed to be at Clarences until you leave town. daytimetime subseq uently tomorrow, she confirmed. She s overlyd eyes alight with any(prenominal) had driven her here. yet I indispensable to talk to you now face-to-face.I wouldve place to you, I protested. Its not safe for you to be out.Im fine, she said. I made sure I wasnt followed. This was in any case key. She was breathless and excited.More important than being caught by wannabe vampire hunters? Debatable.Adrian go through his arms and looked surprisingly disapproving. Well, its too late now.Whats going on?We got the results back from Sydneys product line, explained Sonya.My heart stopped. No, I thought. No, no, no. further manage with Dimitris crinkle, nothing physiological showed up, she said. nil unusual with proteins, antibodies, or anything like that. respite poured through me. Id been right. Nothing special about me, no inexplicable properties.And yet at the same time, I felt up a tiny pang of regret. I wasnt the one who would fix everything.We sent it to a Moroi exam ground this time, not an Alchemist one, Sonya continued. One of the researchers an landed estate user felt a hum of earth dissembling. right like how Adrian and I felt spirit in Dimitris relationship. The technician had other types of supernatural users examine your sample, and all four basic elements were detected.That panic returned. She had me on an emotional roster coaster, one that left me nauseous.Magic in my farm animal? A moment later, I understood. Of course there is, I said slowly.I touched my cheek. The tattoo has vampire blood and magic in it. Thats what it is. There are sundry(a) degrees of charms in it from different users. That would show up in my blood. I shivered. Even with a logical explanation, it was a shuddery thing accepting that there was magic in my blood. Ms. Terwilligers spells were still anathema to me, but at least there was some comfort in cognise they drew magic from alfresco of me. that knowing I had something internal? That was terrifying. And yet, I couldnt be surprised at this finding, not with the tattoo.Sonya nodded along. Yes, of course. But there must be something about that combination thats horrid to Strigoi. It may be the key to all of our work To my surprise, Adrian took a few steps toward me, and there was a tension in his berth that was fiercely protective.So you know Alchemist blood has magic in it, he said. Thats no surprise. Case closed.What do you want from her now?Another sample to start, said Sonya eagerly. Theres none left in the original phial I took, once all the testing was done. I know this sounds strange, but itd likewise be profitable if a Moroi could well, admiration your blood and see if it has the same repulsive quality as it did to Strigoi.Fresh blood would be ideal, but charge Im not deluded enough to ask you to submit to a feeding.We should simply be able to use your sample and No, I said. I stumbled backward, horrified. perfectly not. Whether its from a neck or a vial, theres n o way Im giving my blood for anyone to taste. Do you know how wrong that is? I know you do it all the time with feeders, but Im not one of them. I should never devote given you the first-class honours degree sample. You dont bespeak me for any of this. Spirits the key. Lees proof that former Strigoi are the ones you need to examine.Sonya wasnt cowed by my outburst. She pushed forward, though her tone was gentler. I understand your fear, but think of the applications If something in your blood makes you skanky to Strigoi, therefore you could birth countless lives.Alchemists arent resistant, I said. That tattoo isnt protecting us, if thats what youre acquire at. Do you think that in all our history, there havent been Alchemists who were turned Strigoi?Well, of course, she said. Her spoken language were hesitant, encouraging me.So, the magic you sensed in me is irrelevant. Its just the tattoo. all(prenominal) Alchemists have it. perchance ours tastes bad, but Alchemist blood h as nothing to do with Strigoi turning. It still happens to us. I was rambling but didnt care.Sonya grew perplexed, her mind runnel through the implications of this news. But do all Alchemists have bad-tasting blood? If so, how would a Strigoi be able to drain them?Maybe it varies by person, I said. Or maybe some Strigoi are tougher than others. I dont know. Regardless, we arent the ones to concentre on.Unless theres just something special about you, mused Sonya.No. I didnt want that. I didnt want to be scrutinized, locked behind glass like Keith. I couldnt be. I prayed she wouldnt see how scared I was.Theres plenty thats special about her, said Adrian dryly. But her bloods not up for dispute.Why are you displace this again after last time?Sonya glared at Adrian. Im not doing this for selfish reasons, you know that I want to save our race. I want to save all our people. I dont want to see any new Strigoi added to the world. No one should live like that. A taken up(p) look shone in her eyes, as a memory seized her. That kind of bloodlust and complete lack of empathy for any other liveliness instrument no one can infer what its like. Youre hollow. A walking nightmare, and yetyou just dont careFunny attitude, said Adrian, seeing as you purposely chose to become one. Sonya paled, and I felt torn. I appreciated Adrians defence reaction but also pi laced Sonya. Shed explained to me in the past about how spirits instability the same instability Adrian feared had driven her to turning Strigoi. Looking back at her decision, she regretted it more than anything else in her aliveness. She wouldve submitted herself for punishment, but no court knew how to cargo area her position.Doing that was a mistake, she said coldly. One Ive learned from which is why Im so anxious to save others from that fate.Well, therefore find a way to do it without dragging Sydney into it You know how she feels about us Adrian faltered as he glanced at me, and I was surprised to alm ost detect saddle sore in his voice. You know how the Alchemists feel. Keep involving her, and youll get her in trouble with them. And if youre so positive(p) theyve got the answers, ask them for volunteers and do experiments that way.Id help with that, I tolerateed. Getting authorized subjects for you. Id talk to my superiors.Theyd like to see an end to Strigoi as much as you.When Sonya didnt answer right remote(predicate), Adrian guessed why. She knows theyd recount no, Sage. Thats why shes appealing to you directly and why they didnt send your blood to an Alchemist lab.Why cant you both see how important this is? asked Sonya, a dreaded longing to do good in her eyes. It made me feel guilty and conflicted.I do, said Adrian. You think I dont want to see every single one of those bastard Strigoi wiped from the face of the earth? I do But not at the cost of forcing people to do things they dont want to.Sonya gave him a long, level look. I think youre letting your personal feel ings interfere with this. Your emotions are going to ruin our research. He smiled. Well, then. Be glad youll be free of me in two days. Sonya glanced between the two of us, looked like she was about to protest, and then thought better of it. Without another word she left, her face defeated. Again, I felt torn. In theory, I knew she was right but my gut just couldnt agree. I didnt mean to upset her, I said at last.Adrians face showed no sympathy. She shouldnt have upset you. She knows how you feel.I still felt a little bad, yet I couldnt shake the feeling that if I gave this, Id be asked to give more and more. I recalled the day Eddie and Dimitri had been coated in spirit magic. No way could I risk getting askd to that level. I was already pushing my limits too far. I know but its hard, I said. I like Sonya. I gave her the first vial, so I can see why she thought the countenance would be easy.Doesnt matter, he said. No is no.I really will attend it to the Alchemists, I said. Maybe theyll want to help. I didnt think Id get in too much trouble for the first vial. The Alchemists endorsed the initial experiments after all, and Id probably get points for stand up to vampire peer air pressure for the other sample.He shrugged. If they do, great. If not, its not your responsibility.Well, convey for gallantly coming to my defense again, I teased. Maybe youd be more into Wolfes reading if you got to protect somebody else instead of yourself? The before smile returned. I just dont like seeing people bullied, thats all.But you should come back to Wolfe with me, I urged. You need a chance to try to get at me.Like that, he was serious again. He looked away. I dont know, Sage. Well see. For now, well just sharpen on the driving when you can get away from your boyfriend, of course. I left shortly after that, still confused about his weird behavior. Was that some of spirits crazy effects on the mind? One minute, he was go and defensive. The next, he was down and obst inate. Maybe there was a pattern or some type of reasoning behind it all, but it was beyond my analytical abilities.Back at Amberwood, I immediately headed for the library to get a book for my English class. Ms. Terwilliger had lightened up on my usual work so that I could devote more time to crafting her spells. Since her independent study which was supposed to be my easy elective took up more time than my other classes, it was refreshing to focus on something else for a change. As I was leaving the British Lit section, I caught sight of Jill and Eddie studying together at a table. That wasnt weird, exactly. What was weird was that Micah wasnt with them.Hey, guys, I said, steal into a seat. Hard at work?Do you know how weird it is to be repeating my senior year? asked Eddie. I cant crimson blow it off either. I have to get decent grades to dwell here. I grinned. Hey, all knowledge is worth(predicate) having.He tapped the papers in front of him. Yeah? You got any knowledge on t he first woman to win the Pulitzer horn in in fiction?Edith Wharton, I said automatically. He scrawled something onto his paper, and I turned to Jill. How are things with you? Wheres Micah?Jill had her chin propped in her hand and was gazing at me with the weirdest look. It was almost dreamy. It took her a few moments to shooter out of her daze and respond. The dreamy look became embarrassed and then dismayed. She glanced down at her book.Sorry. I was just thinking how good you look in taupe. What did you ask?Micah? I prompted.Oh. Right. Hes got stuff to do.I was pretty sure that was the shortest explanation shed ever given me. I act to remember what Id last comprehend on their status. You guys patched things up, right?Yeah. I guess. He understood about Thanksgiving. She brightened. Hey, Eddie and I were public lecture about that. Do you think we could all have a grown family-style Thanksgiving at Clarences? Do you think hed mind? We could all help, and itd be split of fun. I mean, aside from the cover, we really are like a family. Eddie says he can make the turkey.I think Clarence would love that, I said, happy to see her well-provided again. Then, I replayed her words. I turned to Eddie incredulously. You know how to make a turkey? How would you have learned that? From what I knew, most dhampirs stayed nearly year-round at their schools from an early age. Not a lot of culinary time.Hey, he said, straight-faced. All knowledge is worth having. Jill laughed. He wouldnt tell me either.You know, Angeline claims she can cook, said Eddie. We were lecture about it at breakfast.She says she knows about grooming turkey too, so if we tag-team, we can express it off. Of course, shell probably want to hunt and kill her own.Probably, I said. It was amazing that he was talking about working with her on anything.It was so far amazing that he could speak about her fondly, without a grimace. I was beginning to think more and more that her display at the assembly h ad been a good thing. We didnt need animosity in this group. Well, I got what I came for, so Im heading back. Ill see you in the morning.See you, said Eddie.Jill said nothing, and when I glanced over, I saw that she was watching me again with that weird, enraptured look. She sighed happily. Adrian had a great time with you at your class tonight, you know.I nearly rolled my eyes. The bond leaves no secrets. He didnt ever so seem to be having a good time.No, he really did, she advised me. A dopey smile crossed her features. He loves that you love the car more than he does and thinks its awesome youre getting so good in your defense class. Not that thats a surprise. Youre eternally so good at everything, and you dont even realize it. You dont even realize half the things you do like how you watch out for others and never even think about yourself.Even Eddie looked a little astonished by that. He and I exchanged puzzled looks. Well, I said awkwardly, really unsure how to cross this Sydney lovefest. I decided escape was my trump out option. Thanks. Ill see you later and hey. Whered you get that?Huh? she asked, trice out of her enraptured haze.Jill was wearing a silk jerk off multicolored in rich people jewel tones, almost reminding me of a peacocks tail. It also reminded me of something else, but I couldnt quite put my finger on it. The scarf. Ive seen it before.Oh. She ran her fingers over the motionless material. Lia gave it to me.What? When did you see her?She stopped by the vestibule yesterday to give the dresses back again. I didnt tell you because I knew youd want to return them.I do, I said adamantly.Jill sighed. Come on, lets just keep them. Theyre so pretty. And you know shell just bring them back anyway.Well deal with that later. Tell me about the scarf.Its no tolerant deal. She was trying to pitch me on this scarf collection Yeah, yeah, she told me too. How she could make it so no one recognized you. I agitate my head, feeling a surprising sum of anger. Was nothing under my control anymore? I cant gestate she went behind my back Please tell me you didnt sneak off with her to do a photo shoot.No, no, said Jill quickly. Of course not. But you dont think I mean, you dont think theres any way she could pull it off? Hide me?I try to keep my tone gentle. After all, I was mad at Lia, not Jill. Maybe. Maybe not. You know we cant take the chance.Jill nodded, face sad. Yeah.I left feeling annoyed and was so distracted that I nearly ran into collar. When he didnt respond to my greeting, I realized he was even more distracted than I was. There was a haunted look in his eyes, and he seemed exhausted.You authorise? I asked.He managed a weak smile. Yeah, yeah. scantily feeling the pressure of everything. Nothing I cant handle. What about you? Dont they commonly have to stray you out of this place? Or did you finally get tired of being here for eight hours?I just needed one book, I said. And I was actually only here ten minu tes. I was out most of the night.The smile fell, replaced by a frown. Out with Brayden?Thats tomorrow. I had, um, family stuff tonight.The frown deepened. You go out a lot, Melbourne. You have a lot of friends outside school.Not that many, I said. Im not living a party life-timestyle, if thats what youre getting at.Yeah, well. Be careful. Ive heard about some scary stuff going on out there. I remembered him being relate for Jill too. I usually kept up on all the local news and had heard nothing alarming recently. What, is there a crime ring in care Springs I should know about?Just be careful, he said.We started to part ways, and then I called to him, Trey? I know its your own business, but whatevers going on if you want to talk, Im here. It was a huge grant for me, seeing as I wasnt always the most socially adept person.Trey gave me a wistful smile. Noted.I was kind of reeling as I went back to my dorm. Adrian, Jill, Trey. I suppose if you counted Eddie and Angeline getting alon g, everyone in my life was behaving weirdly. All part of the job, I thought.As soon as I was back in my room, I called Donna Stanton with the Alchemists. I never could be sure what time partition off she was in, so I wasnt too concerned about the late hour. She answered right away and didnt sound tired, which I took as a good sign. She hadnt responded to my e-mail about the Warriors, and I was anxious for news. They posed too stupendous a threat to us to be ignored.Miss Sage, she said. I was planning on calling you soon. I trust everythings okay with the Dragomir girl?Jill? Yeah, shes fine. I wanted to check in on some other things. You got the info I sent you about the Warriors of Light?Stanton sighed. Thats what I was going to call you about. Have you had any more runins?No. And they dont seem to have been following us anymore either. Maybe they gave up.Unlikely. Her next words took a long time to get out. Not from what weve observed in the past.I froze, momentarily speechless. In the past? Do you mean youve run into them before?I was hoping they were just some I dont know. A crazy, localized group.Unfortunately, no. Weve encountered them before. Sporadically, mind you. But they pop up everywhere.I was still in disbelief. But I was always taught that any hunters had disappeared centuries ago. Why has no one ever talked about this?Honestly? asked Stanton. Most Alchemists dont know. We want to run an efficient organization, one that deals with the vampire problem in an organized, cool way. There are some people in our group who might want to take more extreme action. Its exceed then if the existence of our radical offshoot is kept secret. I wouldnt have even told you, but with all the contact youre having, you need to be prepared.Offshoot then they are related to Alchemists I was sickened.Not for a very long time. She sounded equally disgusted. Theres almost no resemblance anymore. Theyre reckless and savage. The only reason we let them be is because they usually just go after Strigoi. This situation with Sonya Karp is more difficult. She hasnt had any more threats?No. I just saw her tonight which brings up the other reason I called I gave Stanton a rundown of the various blood experiments, including my own donation. I painted it in very scientific terms, how it had seemed useful as extra data. I then made sure to sound in good order appalled by the second postulation which wasnt that difficult.Absolutely not, said Stanton. No hesitation. Often, Alchemist decisions went through chains of command, even with someone as high up as her. It was a sign of how much this went against Alchemist beliefs that she didnt even have to consult anyone. Human control-blood is one thing. The rest shes suggesting is out of the question. I will not allow humans to be used in these experiments, especially when the evidence distinctly shows the former Strigoi need to be the focus not us. Besides, for all we know, this is some contrivance on the Moro i part to get more of our blood for personal reasons. I didnt believe that last part at all and tried to find a considerate way of saying so. Sonya seems to sincerely believe this would help protect against Strigoi. She just doesnt seem to grasp how we feel about it.Of course she wouldnt, said Stanton dismissively. None of them do. She and I returned our focus to the vampire hunters. The Alchemists were doing some investigating on any sightings in the area. She didnt want me to do any active investigation myself, but I was to report in immediately if any other information came my way. She was take for granted the Warriors of Light were operating nearby, and once she prime out where, the Alchemists would deal with them. I wasnt in all sure what that meant, but her tone made me shiver. As shed pointed out earlier, we werent a oddly aggressive group though we were clear at getting rid of problems.Oh, I said, just as we were wrapping up. Did you ever find out anything about Marcus Finch? Id tried locating Clarences mysterious human, whod helped against the hunters, but had found nothing. Id hoped Stanton might have more connections.No. But well keep looking. A slight pause. Miss Sage I cant accentuate enough how pleased we are with the work youre doing. Youve run into a few more complications than any of us expected, yet you handle them all efficiently and properly. Even your take with the Moroi is outstanding. A weaker person might have yielded to Karps request. You refused and contacted me. Im so proud I took the chance on you.I felt a tightening in my chest. So proud. I couldnt remember the last time someone had said they were proud of me. Well, my mother did a lot, but no one tied to my work among the Alchemists did. For most of my life, Id hoped my father would say he was proud. Id finally given up on expecting that. Stanton was hardly a enate figure, but her words triggered happiness in me I hadnt known was waiting to come out.Thank you, maam, I sai d, when I could finally speak.Keep it up, she said. When I can, Ill get you out of that place and into a position that doesnt involve so much contact with them.And like that, my world came crashing down. I suddenly felt guilty. She really had given me a chance, and now I was deceiving her. I was hardly like Liam, ready to sell my soul to the Strigoi, but I also wasnt staying objective with my charges. campaign lessons. Thanksgiving.What would Stanton say if she knew about that? I was a sham, reaping glory I didnt deserve.If I was truly a dedicated Alchemist, Id change my life here. Id stop all extraneous activities with Jill and the others. I wouldnt even attend Amberwood Id accept the offer of outside accommodations.Id only come here and see the gang when I absolutely was required to.If I could do those things, then Id truly be a good Alchemist.And, I realized, Id also be terribly, outrageously lonely.Thank you, maam, I said.It was the only receipt I could give.

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