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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 75)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(75) by Chloe Neill
  • “Moving up to the second floor,” said an unfamiliar voice from the long gallery that led to the main staircase, flashlight beam bobbing as he climbed toward us.

    A guard, probably, doing a sweep of the premises.

    Here, Ethan said, and pulled me into a rounded alcove, our backs pressed against cold stone as the flashlight swept across the hall in front of us.

    The footsteps drew closer until a man in a dark suit with plenty of muscle beneath walked past, flashlight in one hand, comm unit in the other. He paused in front of the alcove, and we held our breath.

    “Nothing in zone four,” he said, lifting the comm to his mouth. “If she’s here, I don’t see her.”

    “Roger that,” said the digital voice on the other end of the line. “Proceed to zone five, check in again.”

    “Roger that,” the man said, and kept walking down the hallway. We peeked out as he turned the corner into the other wing of the house.

    Let’s go, Ethan said, and we crept down the hall in the opposite direction. We found two more bedrooms, three more bathrooms, a sitting room, a game room, and what looked like servants’ quarters.

    And then, at the end of the wing, we opened the final door, and walked into madness.

    “Whoa,” I quietly said.

    The alchemical symbols Sorcha had drawn across the city had been crazily written, in one case covering walls, floor, and ceiling of a toolshed in a cemetery. I’d assumed there’d been so many—and that they’d been drawn in such a bizarre way—because it had been necessary for the magic. Now I wondered if it wasn’t just a symptom of her underlying insanity.

    The room was large, at least as big as the other bedrooms we’d seen. Pale walls, wooden floors, no furniture but a wooden table and chair in the middle of the room.

    But the walls were almost entirely covered in pieces of paper. There were small handwritten notes, pages with pictures and blocks of text, and long scrolls of alchemical symbols like the ones Sorcha had drawn across Chicago tacked across the room. Origami shapes in white paper hung from the ceiling, and shreds of paper were scattered across the floor.

    Ethan walked closer to the wall, brow furrowed as he looked it over.

    I walked to the table, looked at the simple stone bowl that sat there. There was a box of matches beside it, and a drying twig.

    I lifted it, sniffed. Rosemary, and with the matches and crucible, probably a spot where Sorcha had performed alchemical magic. I looked up. The middle of the ceiling was marked by a large round medallion, its floral shapes covered in soot.

    I put the rosemary down, walked back to Ethan. Alchemy, I said. This is her workroom.

    He nodded, gaze tracking the writings and images.

    There seemed to be a focus area centered on the wall across from the crucible. Green twine linked pages in other parts of the room back to the sheets here. But if there was a narrative here, or any kind of linear logic, I couldn’t see it.

    Does this mean anything to you? he asked.

    Not even a little. I’m guessing she’s working out magic, trying to figure out how to make connections between symbols or spells? But that’s my best guess.

    Ethan nodded.

    Maybe it will make more sense to Mallory, I said, and pulled out my phone, managed to snap one photograph when the alarm split the air, as sharp as a knife.

    “Attention,” said the voice that rang through the house’s apparent intercom system. “Your illegal entry has been detected, and the authorities have been notified. Attention,” it said again, then repeated the message.

    I guess they found the window, Ethan said.

    Or saw our tracks in the snow.

    Either way, he said with a wink, let’s make a graceful exit.

    I nodded. I’m right behind you, I assured him. I darted to the center of the chaos, began ripping papers from the wall, shoving them into my open backpack. I wasn’t leaving empty-handed.

    Then we moved into the hallway, clung to the shadows, and made our way out again.

    • • •

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire