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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > River Cast (Page 34)     
  • River Cast(The Tale of Lunarmorte #2)(34) by Samantha Young
  • At the sound of footsteps drawing closer from the other side of the door, Caia took off, her eyes searching the ceilings and walls for CCTV camera as she made her way back to the entrance. There was nothing.

    No, she thought, her lip curling in rage, Marita wouldn’t want evidence of the existence of her little experiments down here.

    Caia clambered up the ladders and shot out of the entrance, thanking the gods for the quiet of the altar as she pulled the marble slab back down into the floor. She hurried out of the altar and back into the halls of the Center, desperate to wipe off the invisible filth that now clung to her skin. She had no idea what Marita was doing with those children, what her end game was. Then Marita’s voice rang in her head like an alarm.

    “I wanted you to stay and help me train an elite force of lykans I’m working on.”

    Oh Artemis, is that what she was doing? Trying to make a stronger army by experimenting on children? Oh Hades no. It was unthinkable.

    And just a theory, she reminded herself.

    But theory or no, Marita had crossed the line, and Caia’s plans had instantly changed. She was in no mood to take things slowly now. No. Now she had no compunction whatsoever in destroying the bitch in any way she could.

    Marion was waiting for her outside of Marita and Vanne’s suite and Caia called upon her best acting skills to greet her normally. Still her mentor seemed to detect something and Caia shrugged her off, explaining it away as exhaustion.

    She was surprised by the quick hug Marita gave her, and had to desperately hide her revulsion as she returned it. It was with deep relief that she returned the more sincere hug she received from Vanne. Did he know about the children? Oh goddess, she hoped not.

    “We’re glad you are OK,” Marita said genially. “You are quite the little wonder, aren’t you.”

    It was hard to tell whether she was being sarcastic or not.

    “Caia Ribeiro?”

    Caia turned around to see two distinguished-looking people peering at her in astonishment. One was a stocky older man, perfectly coifed in a designer suit, and his companion a small, compact woman whose movements reminded Caia of a little bird.

    “Caia.” Marita gestured to them. “May I introduce Alfred Doukas and Penelope Argyros.”

    It did not fail Caia’s notice that both these council members had Greek names. Did that mean that their family was from way back when? Was that what it took to be a council member? A lineage that could be traced back the gods? If so... these were definitely the people she needed to impress.

    “It’s an honor.” She shook their hands firmly, with a deliberate soft smile playing across her face. They seemed taken aback by her. She doubted she was what they had been expecting.

    “No.” Alfred grinned back. “This is an honor for us. We came because we’ve heard extraordinary things about you, Miss Ribeiro.”

    “Please, call me Caia.”

    “Of course.”

    What followed was almost like an interview. They wanted to know about her upbringing, about Ethan’s death, about the attack against the MacLachlans. They wanted to know what her plans were from now on. She shoved what she’d just witnessed to the back of her brain and told them that she was considering a position offered to her by Marita, but that she hadn’t decided whether to take it yet. Instead she told them about the pack, describing them colorfully, explaining how much they meant to her. It was safe to assume that Alfred and Penelope were enchanted by her, and thankfully seemed to approve of her loyalty to the pack, first and foremost.

    “It says a little something about your character.” Penelope nodded, smiling earnestly at her.

    The ‘interview’ seemed to be drawing to a close when Penelope twittered, “And this substance? That transformed Marita’s first-lykan-in-command, what was it exactly?”

    Caia shook her head, a vision of Anders panicked eyes when he realized he was going to die flashing through her mind like an arrow of guilt. “It was something Pierre Du Bois and his partner Thierry Cotillard had paid human scientists to work on. They had daemons on their payroll capture lykans and had these scientists working on their genetic make up for the past five years. Impressively, they hid it from the trace and I didn’t know to look deeper. A mistake I won’t make again. Anyway, I’m sure if Ethan had known about it he would have wanted a part in it, especially as they had a breakthrough. They were able to concoct a liquid from taking chemicals in a lykanthrope body and combine it with the magik utilized in natural materialization to transform a lykan in wolf form back into a human. I don’t understand how it works but there’s a lab, here in Paris, where the liquid is kept. The human scientists have all been killed.”

    Alfred scowled. “Are we sure that their breach has been taken care of? No human is left alive that is aware of supernaturals?”

    Caia shook her head. “I couldn’t be sure. I just know from what I could see in Du Bois’ head that the men and women he was using are dead. Whether or not those people told others...”

    “Point taken.” He shook his head disturbed. “This lab must be destroyed.”

    Marita coughed delicately from behind them and they all looked to her questioningly. “Perhaps it would be prudent to analyze the lab. Discover what we can about this formula?”

    Oh you would like that, wouldn’t you? Caia thought, concealing her disgust.

    “No,” Penelope chirped, shivering a little, “the idea of Magik’s experimenting on other supernaturals... I think its best that information goes no further than these four walls. The last thing we need is giving the wrong people inspiration.”

    Well said.

    Caia pinned Marita with her gaze, hoping to see a glimmer of guilt or some kind of betrayal of her own experiments. There was nothing. She was so cool. Definitely not an enemy to take lightly.

    “I agree.” Alfred nodded gravely. “Best to destroy it immediately.”

    Marita shrugged as if it made no matter. “Fine, I’ll have someone take care of it.”

    “I’ll do it.” Caia sprang to her feet. No way in hell was she letting Marita or one of her slugs near that place. “Right now. I’ll go right now.”

    Penelope and Alfred beamed at her, clearly impressed with her offer. “That would be wonderful, Caia, thank you.”

    Marita threw a strained smile her way. “Aren’t you exhausted, dear?”

    “No. I want to do this. I want every inch of that place leveled.”

    “I’ll send someone with you just in case.”

    Why, so they could spy around, find the information Marita wanted anyway? She didn’t think so.

    Caia shook her head. “I’d prefer to choose someone to go with me.”

    “Of course.” Alfred nodded and then seared Marita with a penetrating look. “Caia should have whomever she feels most comfortable in the field with.”

    “That would be Lucien, then.” Marita almost sneered at her.

    “No.” Caia shook her head. The last thing she needed was complicating this with Lucien thrown into the mix. No. There was only one person she believed could be trusted. Someone so principled they were cold with it. “I want Phoebe MacLachlan.”

    Marita seemed surprised by this, but Marion was smiling. “Mutual respect,” she muttered.

    “What?” Marita asked in agitation, but it went unanswered as Marion swept towards Caia outlining the plan she had in mind. Alfred, Penelope and Vanne thought it was a sound one, and it was with a sigh of relief that she left the suite with Marion in tow.

    As the elevator descended, Marion snorted.

    “What?” Caia queried wearily.

    She shook her head. “Nothing. I just... well I haven’t seen someone use that kind of charm since my grandmother. She was some lady when she was Head of the Coven; had the Council eating out of her hands all of the time. I knew you were likeable, Caia, but I was unaware of the amount of charisma you can unleash when you want to. What are you up to?”

    She laughed her off. “I was just being friendly. I think it’s important that the Coven believe in me considering my lineage, don’t you? Also... I’m working towards making Marita aware that I have no intention of staying at the Center.”

    “Ah, I see. Subtle. Nice. I’m sure my sister will be pleased to hear that, another piece of good news,” she muttered wryly.

    “Marion.” Caia turned to the magik wide-eyed. “What happened with Laila?”

    “Oh.” Marion nodded, her eyes wide with anxiety. “Good question. My sister is going nuts. They discovered it was a young boy from the Center, a Traveller. He must have been working with the girl because he’s gone too. It was the boy who brought her in, in the first place.”

    “Oh really?” she gulped, hoping Marion wouldn’t hear her thundering heartbeat. “Any leads?”

    Marion shook her head. “That’s the thing. Marita can’t get a hold of his trace.”

    What the Hades....?

    “What?”

    Was this some kind of trick?

    “His trace has been cloaked.”

    Caia turned to look at her slowly. “And this is a possibility? Why wasn’t I told about this?”

    “Because... only a very, very old supernatural has that ability.”

    “How old?”

    “As old as the war itself.”

    “Vilhelm?”

    Marion shook her head. “No. The truth is we knew there was a possibility that there were beings that old still kicking around. The Midnight Coven’s prophet is that old. But we thought he was - might - be the only one.”

    “I’ve seen him in the trace. I don’t think it’s him.”

    “Well... if it’s not, we have a mystery player in our midst.”

    Caia’s heart thudded painfully at the thought of yet another problem.

    “Not that you should worry about that at the moment, Caia, since you have another task to complete for dear old sis.”

    “Yeah. The lab.”

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