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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 87)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(87) by Chloe Neill
  • The fury in Ethan’s face made him seem as much wolf as vampire. “She has asked for my wife’s life in exchange for this city. They have no right to justify that demand with questions about whether I’ll accede to it. Whether I’ll turn Merit over to satisfy the whims of a woman who is certifiable.”

    Ethan, I silently said, and put a hand on his arm. This won’t help. And he isn’t our enemy.

    The room was heavy and silent for a moment, the tension as thick as fog, and then he nodded and took a step back.

    “You should tell them what you think,” Luc said, and held up his hands before Ethan could argue. “I know you don’t like press conferences. But we should consider getting our side of the story out there.”

    “In less than ten hours, I turn over my wife, or Sorcha destroys the city. Getting my story out there isn’t a high priority.”

    “You are a stubborn man.”

    “I am,” Ethan said. “And I’ll be damned if my city is brought down by the Wicked Witch of the Midwest.”

    Cut and print.

    • • •

    We took time to get organized, get food, and for Mallory and Catcher to get showered. We gathered again in Ethan’s office, where the screen now displayed the dossier Luc had put together about Sorcha Reed.

    “If we want to beat the Wicked Witch,” Luc said, “we have to predict her magic. And if we want to predict her magic, we have to know how she ticks.”

    “Wicked Bitch, more like,” Lindsey muttered.

    “No objection there,” Ethan said.

    Luc nodded. “First, Mallory and Catcher have an update.”

    Mallory, who’d gotten dressed while we’d gotten ready for the meeting, rose from the couch. Her blue hair was in a high bun today, her petite body swamped by a Cadogan House sweatshirt. She looked a little like a sophomore during finals week. It was a look she pulled off pretty well.

    “Thanks to Merit,” she said, “we’ve made quite a bit of progress.”

    Hope made my heart beat faster. “You found something in the notes?”

    “We did,” Mallory said. “Kind of. So, the notes are basically ramblings, which is probably not surprising given how they were ordered around the room. It looks like tidbits of spells she was interested in, ideas for projects, stuff like that. It was basically a really obsessive bulletin board. Together, the pieces don’t make much sense. So you have to consider them individually. And individually, they didn’t make much sense, either. Until I got to this.”

    She offered me the piece of paper. It was a photocopy of what looked like a book or journal page. The top half of the page was filled with handwritten words in the small script of gilded medieval manuscripts. The bottom half of the page bore sketches drawn in a thin, scraggly line. What looked like a globe near what looked like a star, with two-dimensional renderings of humans.

    “It looks old,” I said. “But not particularly familiar.”

    “Nor to me,” she said. “Especially the completely whacked-out language. But I did a little sleuthing. It’s a page from the Danzig Manuscript.”

    “You’re kidding,” I said, but gave the page another look.

    “And what is the Danzig Manuscript?” Luc asked.

    I hadn’t actually seen the Danzig Manuscript, but I knew enough about it. “A book written in the seventeenth century,” I said. “Drawings of plants and animals that didn’t exist and writings that weren’t in any identifiable language.” Mallory was right—the letter forms weren’t entirely clear on this photocopied page, but it wasn’t a Latin alphabet, or Cyrillic, or any alphabet I recognized.

    “There are a few dozen theories on what the book’s supposed to mean,” I said. “Whether it was encoded or encrypted, the last writing in a lost language, the ramblings of a madman, a very old practical joke.”

    “And Ethan happens to have a facsimile of the book in his magnificent library.”

    Mallory reached out a hand to Catcher, who offered her a large, dark leather book. She opened the book to the page she’d marked with a ribbon. It matched the page from Sorcha’s office exactly.

    Ethan looked at the book over my shoulder. “And no one has conclusively determined what it means?”

    “Not in four hundred years,” I said.

    Mallory smiled slyly. “Well, not until tonight.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire