“Not a risk at your expense. I’m not going to lose another Slayer so soon, especially not when there’s nobody else in your bloodline. You’re the last Carpenter, Elsa, you need to keep that in mind.”

“But it would be a trap. We could plan it so that I’m safe and when they’re lured out we spring the trap and make sure that they can’t get their hands on me. We can plan it out properly so that I’m not in any danger.”

“I can’t risk it Elsa. I’m sorry, but the council would never let me anyway. Slayer’s are precious resources. We’ll have to think of something else.”

I wasn’t happy that the conversation ended so abruptly. For all the power I had, I was just a Slayer. I was like a beast on a leash, only released when I needed to fight. I didn’t have any real autonomy in these matters and it annoyed me. I left in a huff and Arthur said we’d talk about it more when I returned, but he had already made up his mind and laid down the law. I knew there was nothing else I could do or say to make it different. The rules were there to be obeyed, but not every Slayer obeyed them. Whoever my mystery ancestor was, hadn’t obeyed them, and maybe that was why her page had been torn out, because the council didn’t want her setting a bad example. But maybe the rules had been in place for too long. Maybe they didn’t work anymore. Maybe they needed to be broken, and maybe I’m the one that has to do it.

Chapter Nine

I went to the academy and by the time my journey was over I had calmed down a little, but I was still in a bad mood. I wasn’t very good in class either, for I was distracted trying to think about how I could lure vampires out. It was going to have to be an intelligent trap because they weren’t fools and it wouldn’t be easy to trick them. Mr. Shackleton was getting annoyed at me, and Josh was stifling his giggles at my seeming lack of ability to concentrate. I apologized over and over again, but Mr. Shackleton’s opinion of me wasn’t getting any better.

“Wow, you really know how to piss him off. I don’t think he’s ever going to take a liking to you now,” Josh said after class.

“I know,” I groaned, leaning my head back against the wall.

“Why were you so bad today anyway? What’s on your mind?”

“It’s nothing,” I said, hating that I couldn’t talk about it with him even though I wanted to.

“You can tell me. I’m not always the best with answers but I’ve been told I’m a good listener.”

“No, it’s fine, really.”

“Okay,” he said, and sounded disappointed. I hated having to push him away and didn’t want this to become my life. He turned to walk away, presumably figuring that I wanted to be alone, but I called him back.

“Wait,” I said, “it’s just…I have this problem at home. Do you ever really want to do something but you just get told no? Even when you know it’s a good idea?”

“I guess that’s the bane of being our age. People don’t give us enough credit. They keep saying we should show some independent thought, but when we do, we’re scorned and get told that we should do it another way.”

“Exactly! And yeah, it might be a little risky, but it’s my risk to take. I’m just so frustrated that sometimes I seem so powerless.”

“Yeah, I get that a lot.”

“You do?”

“Of course, I mean, I live here for goodness sake,” he spread his arms out wide to gesture to the school. “It’s not like I get much freedom. We have a curfew and lots of rules. Sometimes I just want to run away, so I know what it’s like to live as a free man.”

“Why don’t you?”

His head dipped and he shrugged. “The world is a big place. It’s easy to get lost out there. As bad as this place is, at least it’s home. It’s familiar. I know I’m safe here. But I’d say if you really believe in yourself then you should go for it and do what you like. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission after all,” he said.

I smirked. It was a good saying, although I wasn’t sure forgiveness would be forthcoming.

Unfortunately, our conversation was cut short as Josh had to get to another class, but before he left he invited me to a game later.

“Game? What game?” I asked in ignorance. Apparently Troy had a game of basketball against another academy. It must have been what he was practicing for. I nodded my head enthusiastically, eager to see Troy in action and spend some time with Josh too. He said that Adam was going to be there as well. I wondered if Adam had told Josh and Troy that we had kissed. He didn’t strike me as the gossiping type. I wanted to speak to him first anyway to see exactly where things stood. I asked Josh where Adam was, making an excuse that I needed to talk to him about something in botany class. Josh said that Adam was in his room.

*

It was my first time visiting the dormitories and I felt like something of an intruder. The hallways were lined with rooms and most of the doors were open. The soft hum of conversation and music drifted through the hallways. Some of the rooms had large gatherings of people. Some of the doors had signs on them. There were notice boards throughout the corridor with various policies and advertisements on them. I walked tentatively, wondering what it would have been like to live here instead of staying with Arthur. It seemed like a thriving community of its own, just like the orphanage had been.

I passed one door that had a large notice on it saying that entrance was by invite only, by order of Julia. I snorted and shook my head. She acted as if she was royalty or something. I didn’t care how important her parents were, someone needed to take her down a peg or two.

Adam’s room was just a few doors down from Julia, who was thankfully nowhere to be seen. I would have been quite happy had I not seen her for the rest of the semester.

Adam’s door was ajar. It was dark; the curtains were drawn and the only illumination came from the flickering light of his lamp. I knocked lightly and called out my name. I stepped in and heard shuffling as Adam rose from his resting position to sit upright on the side of his bed. He looked surprised to see me. Given the state of the room I got the impression that he didn’t get many visitors. Clothes were strewn everywhere. The room smelled musty, as though he never let fresh air in, and it was cluttered with small trinkets and ornaments.

“Elsa?”


Tags: Lilly Wilder Paranormal
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