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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > Blood Solstice (Page 29)     
  • Blood Solstice(The Tale of Lunarmorte #3)(29) by Samantha Young
  • Reuben had called Vanne, and after having explained what Caia needed to discuss, Vanne had granted them entry to the Center. Caia hadn’t been expecting a reception, but on the other side of the portal stood Vanne, Alfred Doukas and Penelope Argyros, and they were surrounded by other magiks acting as bodyguards. The Center was electrified with the news of Caia’s return and she could feel the stares heating the back of her neck as she was taken through corridors she had never walked before. Disappearing behind the group were the cold magnolia walls and tough tiled-flooring she had thought made up most of the Center’s décor, and appearing before them were plush carpeted corridors and mahogany paneled walls.

    Finally, they came to what looked like a waiting room, with eight feet tall grand double doors beyond it. Caia drew to a stop apprehensively. Something didn’t seem right. No one had spoken since they were greeted at the portal, and… what was this place?

    Penelope spun around in her little kitten heels smiling gently at Caia, and she felt a little better. It seemed Alfred and Penelope genuinely liked her, so maybe convincing the Council wouldn’t be so difficult after all.

    “Caia.” Penelope nodded to the waiting room. “If you would like to take a seat while Saffron and Reuben follow me. We’ll be back for you in a few minutes.”

    Caia looked to Reuben and she noted the look of realization on his face as he shared a glance with Saffron. They both knew what was happening. Why the hell didn’t she?

    “What’s going on?” she asked warily.

    “You’ll understand in a moment,” Alfred assured her.

    Saffron scowled at him. “Mr. Doukas, can you not tell her? It could come as a shock.”

    What could come as a shock? Holy Artemis, what on Gaia’s green earth was going on here?! Do not hyperventilate. “Yeah.” She bobbed her head in agreement. “Tell me.”

    Doukas shook his head after throwing Saffron a reproving look. “It’s not the way it’s done, Caia. I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait. Mr.… Reuben, Saffron… please follow us.”

    It was only then that Caia noticed the insignificant-looking side door on the adjacent wall to the double doors. Just as they were all about to disappear through it (and no, she couldn’t get a look beyond them to see what the Hades was on the other side) she threw up a hand. “Uh, Saffron, tell them about the Krôls.”

    The faerie nodded and bent to speak with Penelope as they disappeared through the door; Caia gathered she was imparting the pivotal information.

    It felt like forever, sitting there, waiting, gradually growing so anxious she was sure she was going to upchuck all over the waiting room floor. Nothing had ever seemed to take as long as this wait did.

    Jeez, even The Machinist was faster than this and that was one slow movie.

    She snorted and then realized that she’d laughed at her own thought. Dear goddess, she was actually being driven mad by the wait. Her eyes bored into the double doors, wishing (for not the first time) if she was going to have superpowers why it couldn’t include x-ray vision. Seriously what was going on behind those damn doors and why was it so darned quiet out here?

    Her heart jolted at a loud creaking noise and her eyes widened as the double doors slowly opened out towards her. She stood on trembling legs and gaped as a tall young magik she recognized as a member of the Council stared at her pensively. His name was Derren. He was the magik who had gone undercover to discover the labs.

    “Caia Ribeiro,” his voice echoed and resonated behind and beyond him. “Please enter the Court of the Council.”

    The what of the what now?!

    There was no time to ask, he was already spinning on his heel. Caia hurried to follow him, only seeing a high, dark wooden wall carved with images of warfare. As she drew past the doors, however, her heart nearly exploded in her chest. At either side were stairs leading up into a room with the highest ceiling she had ever seen, a ceiling so grand it could have been painted by Michelangelo himself. But the heart thudding had more to do with the faces she could see peering down at her from up above the stairs. Derren waited at the top of the set to her left. Tentatively, Caia began climbing them and as she climbed she began to see over the carved wooden wall. The stairs led up to a massive circular room. In the center of the room was a circular platform and around the platform were rows of benches that rose away from the floor at a semi-steep gradient. All the rows were filled with inquisitive Daylights peering at her in a mixture of anxiety and excitement. At the furthest end of the hall in the front row benches, sat the Council, waiting expectantly. Reuben and Saffron were seated with them beside Vanne.

    “Follow me,” Derren demanded and Caia crossed the platform, surprised that her legs didn’t buckle beneath her. The hush that filled the hall was nerve crippling, all eyes burning into her. Was the entire Center here? She felt her cheeks heat up under their watchful eyes. The funny thing was she thought she might able to cope with it better in wolf form.

    Instead she straightened her spine and followed Derren until he stopped her smack bang in the center of the room.

    Am I on trial or something?

    She really wanted to ask but was frightened of messing up this ceremony or whatever it was.

    Once Derren was seated with the others, an elegant man stood up. Caia recognized him as the guy who hadn’t seemed to like her much when she’d first met with the Council to tell them about the underground labs Marita had created. Well, he should be fun. Like Derren his voice boomed around the entire court.

    “Caia Ribeiro, allow me to introduce myself.” His dark stare wasn’t at all friendly. “I am Benedict De Jong a member of the Council. We have just spent the last thirty minutes-

    Thirty minutes? That was all?

    -listening to a young man, with no affiliation to the Center, tell us of your plan to kill Marita, and ask us to make you Head of the Daylight Coven in order to gain a control of both Midnight and Daylight trace, all with the intent to perform a rite soliciting the aid of the gods to remove the trace from the supernatural world, thus freeing its inhabitants.”

    It sounded really cool when he said it.

    “Is this or is this not true?”

    Caia nodded. “Yes, sir, it is.” She almost flinched when she realized her voice was just as loud. There must have been a speaker spell of some kind on the room so their voices carried.

    A rumbling of murmurings followed this, before De Jong gestured for them to be quiet.

    “Such a request would have been completely dismissed if not for the support given by not only Saffron, one of our most trusted and experienced shapeshifters, but also Vanne, who has helped lead this Coven in war for decades. These are supernaturals who have sacrificed many things for the cause, and now they are risking their good name for you. Why? Why should we believe you, a girl of Midnight blood, a girl who has been thrown out of her own pack, who has aided and abetted the escape of a young female Midnight imprisoned at this Center, who trusts the words of a Midnight Prophet, and who hides out in the home of the former Regent of the Midnight Coven?”

    Caia had to stop her mouth from dropping open. She glanced up at Reuben who gave a barely perceptible shrug. The son-of-a-bitch had told them everything and hadn’t even had the decency to warn her first. She stiffened and met De Jong’s gaze. He was making it sound like she was a traitor or something.

    “If Reuben has revealed all of this to you then he must have explained the circumstances.”

    “Yes.” Benedict smirked. “Nikolai Petrovsky is a double agent; the Prophet is neither Midnight or Daylight at heart, and Laila is-”

    “The purest soul I’ve ever met,” Caia interrupted, squaring her shoulders and blasting him with a ferocious look.

    Gasps echoed around the room.

    Benedict curled his lip into a sneer. “A Midnight… pure? Please do not tell me you still believe this nonsense that there are ‘good’ Midnights.”

    She wanted to punch the arrogant bastard. She curled her lip right back at him. “It isn’t nonsense. There are good Midnights. Many of them.”

    More gasps. Great.

    The warlock glared at her. “I rather doubt it.”

    “Between the two of us, last I checked I was the one who has the trace, so you can stand up there with your 99% certainty of doubting it. But I stand up here 100% knowing there are Midnights out there who don’t believe in the war.” She turned, letting her voice carry to the spectators on the benches. She glimpsed the familiar faces of Desi and Ophelia and the other friends she had made there. “The trace has kept this war alive far longer than it ever should have!” She spun slowly back to face Benedict determinedly. “Let me go after Marita. If I kill her, make me the Head of this Coven and I will free us from the trace. It is the first step to ending this war. I don’t just believe that,” she stated assuredly. “I know it. I know it with every fiber of my being.”

    The magik clenched his jaw. “Your word is not enough. Neither is the word of merely three other supernaturals-”

    “Then let us see.” Penelope suddenly stood to her feet, looking up into the crowds. “Are there any others who would back Caia?” She smiled softly. “Outside of the Council that is.”

    Benedict glared at the interruption. “That is pointless. She would need at least twenty others of significant background.”

    Caia wondered if that was a jab at the Travellers. People were kind of snobby about them since they couldn’t really do powerful spells, but they could use a communication spell to take them anywhere in the world, regardless of whether they had ever been there before or not.

    Penelope shrugged. “She is afforded the right of demonstration.”

    The Council all looked to the crowds expectantly and Caia wanted to die. It was like being in high school with humans all over again… waiting to see if anyone would come and sit with her at lunch, or ask to be her lab partner when they were told to pair up. No one ever did.

    The sound of wood creaking lifted her gaze off of Benedict as Reuben, Saffron and Vanne made their way towards her in the center of the room. They smiled reassuringly, Vanne squeezing her shoulder as they took their places behind her. The next person was a surprise because Caia hadn’t realized she was at the Center: Phoebe MacLachlan. The statuesque beauty strode across the room self-assuredly, her expression as serious as always. Caia smiled gratefully at her and Phoebe nodded before turning to the Council. “My vote of confidence in Caia is shared by all members of my pack, including its Alpha, Alistair MacLachlan. That is approximately fifty other lykans Mr. De Jong.”

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