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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 101)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(101) by Chloe Neill
  • • • •

    I opted for my leathers. Good boots. Hair in a ponytail, to keep it out of my face. My dagger tucked into my boot, my katana belted around my waist. My wedding ring was a new weight on my hand, and I looked down at it in the mirror, smiled at the gleam of metal, the reminder of my grandmother. The reminder of family, and things worth protecting. It was time to do a little protecting of my own, and this time with my family by my side. Or the supernatural members of it, anyway.

    I walked downstairs, found Ethan at his desk, Mallory and Catcher at the table. There was a faint buzz of magic in the room, which I hoped was a good sign.

    Ethan was on his phone, nodding. “Thank you,” he said after a moment, and put it down again. He looked up, looked me over. “Well, Sentinel. You look fierce.”

    “I am fierce,” I said. “Do I look ready to take on a crazed and possibly magic-addicted sorceress?”

    He cocked his head, gave me a serious appraisal. “Absolutely. Although you may want to work on a ferocious scowl.”

    I gave him a look. “How’s this one?”

    “Keep working on it,” he said, then rose, walked around his desk, tipped up my chin with a finger, gazed at me carefully. You’re okay?

    I’m fine, I promised him. I’ll be better when she’s wrapped up. Who was on the phone?

    He leaned back against the desk, crossed his arms, smiled. “It was Morgan, my nosy Sentinel. He’s offered whatever help we need.”

    “Good,” I said with a nod. “What did you tell him?”

    “He’ll put a dozen vampires in Grant Park, just in case. Another dozen vampires here, just in case.” Ethan smiled. “And he’s going to be with them, sword in hand.”

    “Good boy,” I said. “He may make a decent Master after all.”

    “Fingers crossed,” Ethan said. “Were you able to find a boat?”

    He hadn’t known that I’d meant to ask Jonah—and didn’t know where the Red Guard’s HQ was—but there was still a gleam in his eye.

    I shook my head. “Couldn’t connect. Unless I get a quick response, we’re going to be boatless.”

    “We have other evac plans,” Ethan said. “Even if we have to swim, we’ll make our way off that island.”

    “If the harbor’s frozen, we could probably just walk across the lake. But I take your point.”

    Mallory’s triumphant yell cut through the room like a knife through frosted cake.

    “Oh yes!” she said, jumping up to high-five her husband.

    We moved to them. “You figured it out?” I asked. “Already?”

    We moved to the table, where Mallory had spread out the pages into groupings of two rows of four or six sheets each.

    “It took very nimble finagling and rearranging,” she said. “When the foldouts were separated from the main text, they were also separated from each other, so we had to reorganize them.” She pointed down at the six pages directly in front of us. “This is the foldout from the Egregore page.”

    Ethan and I frowned down at the pages. Unlike the main body of the manuscript, these pages consisted mostly of line drawings, the paper and ink having long since faded to sepia, even on the center’s excellent color copies. But if the drawings were supposed to represent something, I didn’t get it. They looked like random squiggles, without the recognizable globe and human form we’d seen on the main page.

    “I get nothing beyond Portnoy’s horrid penmanship,” Ethan said, hands on his hips as he surveyed the pages.

    “He’s not going to win any handwriting awards,” Catcher agreed.

    “Portnoy clearly didn’t want anyone futzing around with his grimoire,” Mallory said. “The illustrations work on the same principle that the words did; they need the same kind of translation. But you’ve got to get them into the right position.”

    “My turn,” Catcher said, then shook his hands, preparing himself. He reached out, turned the page in the top right corner ninety degrees clockwise. Then he turned the page in the bottom left corner ninety degrees counterclockwise, made a symbol in the air above the set of images.

    Just like with the text, the line drawings began to reorganize themselves—not just the discrete lines changing size and position, but the entire drawing rearranging, reassembling itself into a different whole as magic vibrated softly in the air.

    And what was pictured there left us in silence.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire