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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 98)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(98) by Chloe Neill
  • “Sire, it’s time to do more than that. You need to be out there, out front, the face of the Chicagoland Vampires.” He cleared his throat, as if preparing himself. “Celina did it.”

    Ethan’s jaw worked. “I recall what Celina did. And I appreciate the suggestion. But that’s not the focus I want for the House right now.”

    “Sire,” Luc said, but his tone clearly said that he thought Ethan was making the wrong decision.

    Ethan checked his watch. “We leave here at twenty after three. That gives us time to get to the rendezvous point on the island, do our own look-see before the op.”

    “We’ll get the van,” my grandfather said, looking at Jeff. “Get things set up on our end. We’ll meet you there.”

    Ethan nodded.

    “I’ll keep working on the manuscript,” Mallory said. She glanced up at the clock, which ticked down ominously. “I don’t know if I’ll find anything in a couple of hours, but I’ll try.”

    “I’ll help you,” I told her. “We don’t have much time, but maybe our luck will hold.”

    “Do the best you can in the time you’ve got,” Ethan said. “I want everyone wired and downstairs, ready to go by then.” He looked at Luc. “You’ll handle the details.”

    “Always,” Luc said.

    Ethan rose. “In that case, I think we’re done for now.” He began to move toward the door, but turned back. “Relations with humans have improved, undeniably. But they still don’t see us as subject-matter experts on supernaturals. We will hope that is neither their downfall, nor ours. But we should be careful and vigilant. We must be on our toes, and we must take care of each other. Our lives depend on it.”

    • • •

    Portnoy the Ugly could have easily been called Portnoy the Inarticulate. Portnoy the Obfuscating.

    “Portnoy the Jerkface,” Mallory muttered, flipping another page in the manuscript. Since we had only one copy of the document, she sat on my right, reviewing the manuscript’s right-hand pages as I reviewed those on the left.

    With a groan, she rose from the chair, stretched arms and neck. We hadn’t gotten any further in the hour we’d been squinting at the pages, trying to find something that related back to the Egregore, explained how it might be used—or how it might be used against us. We’d found charms, potions, a few recipes (for “Gud Bredde,” among others), ramblings against kings, descriptions of plants and animals. And nothing else about the Egregore.

    Mallory lay down in the middle of the floor, arms and legs spread. “I’m giving up.”

    “You aren’t giving up. You’re just taking a break.”

    I flipped another page, found another recipe, this time for a meat pie heavy on organ meats, rendered fat, and “chicken foot jelly,” which I didn’t want to think too closely about.

    I blew out a breath as I pushed off with a toe and spun the chair around.

    “Maybe we need to go back to the beginning.”

    “Towerline?”

    “Too far back,” I said, turning back to the table. “Back to the Egregore page.” I paged through the book until I reached the now-familiar globe, spark, and people, and stared at it, willing insight to come.

    I started at the top of the page, working my way line by line toward the bottom. And my gaze nearly passed over what I found there—the pale, faint lines at the bottom of the page.

    “Huh,” I said, and flipped to the page before, and then the page afterward. Nothing on either about the Egregore, or anything else.

    “What are you seeing?”

    “I’m not sure. I need a magnifying glass,” I said, and rose, went to Ethan’s desk. We might have been in a digital age, but Ethan liked his old-fashioned tools. His fountain pens and letter opener—and the large tortoiseshell magnifying glass beside them.

    “Here we go,” I said, moving back and centering the circle of glass over the fuzzy lines I’d seen at the bottom of the page. “What does this look like to you?”

    Mallory leaned in, frowned. “It looks like the bottom of the page was folded up.” Like I’d done, she flipped back and forth. “But I don’t see any continued pages here. Hmm,” she said, and slid over a tablet, pressed keys. She read the information on the screen, then flipped to the front of the book, checked the title page.

    “Damn it,” she said, and looked up at me. “The manuscript has foldout pages—bigger sheets of illustrations that were folded up to fit into the manuscript. Like you might find for advertisements in a magazine. But they were removed from the original manuscript so they could be sold separately. They weren’t found until 1987, which is more than a hundred years after this particular copy of the Danzig was printed.”

    “Which explains why they aren’t in there. Do we know what was on them?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire