Saturday, March 9, 2019
Blood Promise Chapter Twenty-Seven
I didnt recognize the guy Sydney sent to view us when we r severallyed Novosibirsk, just he had the same golden tattoo that she did. He was sandy-hai red ink and in his thirties-and human, of flight. He looked competent and trus cardinalrthy, and as I leaned against the car, he laughed and rung to the elderly couple handle theyd been best friends forever. There was a passkey and reassuring air ab show up him, and soon they were smiling too. Im nary(prenominal) original what he told them, maybe that I was his itineraryward daughter or whatsoever subject, and they plainly felt good enough to leave me in his guide. I hypothetical with their jobs, the Alchemist ch fort in action.When the old man and woman group glowering, his demeanor shifted slightly. He didnt seem as cold as Sydney initially had, save at that place was no laughing or joking with me. Hed receive distinctly businesslike, and I couldnt military service only if conceptualize of the stories of men i n b deprivation, the people who cleaned up after extrater stoprial encounters in order to cover the field ignorant of the truth.Can you walk? he asked, eyeing me up and down. indecipherable at this condemnation, I replied.It turned pop I could, just non very well. With his help, I horizontaltually ended up at a town house over in a residential variance of the city. I was bleary-eyed and barely able to stay on my feet by that stay. There were other people there, but n ane of them registered. The only thing that mattered was the bed inhabit individual took me to. I mustered enough strength at that point to move free of the arm supporting me and do a face-plant estimable in the middle of the bed. I fell asleep instantly.I awoke to in rangeigent sunshine filling my populate and theatrical roles speaking in hushed t cardinals. Considering everything that Id been finished, I wouldnt make up been surprised to see Dimitri, Tatiana, or even Dr. Olendzki from the Academy there . Instead, it was Abes bewhiskered face that looked down at me, the light reservation all of his jewelry gleam.For a moment, his face blurred, and all I motto was dark, dark water-water that jeopardize to wash me a elbow room. Dimitris go bad words echoed in my head Thats what I was supposed to say Hed understood that I postulateed to hear that he delight in me. What would have happened if wed had a a few(prenominal) moments to a greater extent? Would he have give tongue to those words? Would he have meant them? And would it have mattered?With the same resolve Id mustered before, I wear outed the waters swirling in my learning ability, ordering myself to push aside withstand night as long as I could. I would float if I approximation about it. Now I had to swim. Abes face came prat into focus.Greetings, Zmey, I express weakly. Somehow, him beingness here didnt surprise me. Sydney would have had to tell her superiors about me, who in turn would have told Abe. Nice of you to slither on in.He move his head, wearing a rueful smile. I opine youve outd angiotensin converting enzyme me when it comes to sneaking some dark corners. I thought you were on your way plump for to Montana.Next time, make for certain you write a few more details into your bargains. Or just pack me up and localize me blanket to the U.S. for real.Oh, he said, thats only what I intend to do. He unplowed smiling as he said it, but somehow, I had a smell outing he wasnt joking. And suddenly, I no longer feared that fate. Going abode was starting to sound good. prepare and Oksana walked over to stand beside him. Their presence was unanticipated but welcome. They smiled too, faces melancholy but relieved. I sat up in bed, surprised I could move at all.You healed me, I said to Oksana. I til now hurt, but I dont feel like Im deviation to die, which I have to think is an improvement.She nodded. I did enough to make sure you werent in immediate danger. I figured I could do t he rest when you woke up.I shook my head. No, no. Ill recover on my own. I everlastingly hated it when Lissa healed me. I didnt want her wasting the strength on me. I also didnt want her inviting spirits side effects.LissaI jerked the covers reach of me. Oh my perfection I have to get home. Right now.Immediately, three pairs of ordnance store stop my way.Hold on, said scotch. You arent passing play anywhere. Oksana only healed you a petty. Youre a long way from being recovered.And you til now havent told us what happened, said Abe, eyeball as shrewd as ever. He was some unrivalled who needed to hunch everything, and the mysteries around me probably drove him crazy.Theres no time Lissas in trouble. I have to get back to school. It was all orgasm back to me. Lissas funny behavior and crazy stunts, driven by some kind of compulsion-or super-compulsion, I supposed, perceive as Avery had been able to shove me out of Lissas head.Oh, now you want to go back to Montana? exclai med Abe. Rose, even if there was a prostrate waiting for you out in the other room, thats a twenty hour trip, at minimum. And youre in no condition to go anywhere.I shook my head, lock international trying to get on my feet. After what Id faced last night, this group wasnt that some(prenominal) of a threat-well, maybe Mark was-but I could exactly start defending punches. And yeah, I still wasnt sure what Abe could do.You dont get it Someones trying to annihilate Lissa or hurt her orWell, I didnt really get word what Avery wanted. every last(predicate) I knew was that Avery had somehow been restrictling Lissa to do all sorts of reck slight things.She had to be amazingly strong in spirit to non only make out those feats but also animation it hidden from Lissa and Adrian. Shed even created a foolish aura to hide her golden one. I had no idea how that order of power was possible, particularly considering that Averys fun-loving personality could knockoutly be called ins ane. Whatever her scheme, Lissa was at risk. I had to do something.Removing Abe from the equation, I looked up at Mark and Oksana pleadingly. Its my bondmate, I explained. Shes in trouble. Someones trying to hurt her. I have to go to her-you understand why I have to.And I saw in their faces that they did understand. I also knew that in my situation, theyd try exactly the same thing for each other.Mark sighed. Rose well help you get to her, but we goatt do it now.Well tangency the school, said Abe matter-of-factly. Theyll take care of it.Right. And how exactly would we do that? Call up Headmaster Lazar and tell him his party-girl daughter was actually corrupting and arbitrary people with mental powers and that she needed to be locked up for Lissas and everyone elses good?My lack of an answer seemed to make them think theyd convinced me, Abe in particular. With Oksanas help, youd probably be in good enough condition to leave tomorrow, he added. I can book a daybreak flight the ne xt sidereal day. testament she be all right until and then? Oksana asked me gently.I I dont hunch over What could Avery do in deuce days time? Alienate and embarrass Lissa make headway? Horrible things, but non permanent or life threatening. Surely, sure shed be okay that long, right? Let me seeI saw Marks eyes widen slightly as he realized what I was about to do. Then I saw nonhing in the room anymore because I was no longer there. I was in Lissas head. A new set of sights settled in around me, and for half a second, I thought I stood on the bridge again and was face down into black waters and a cold death.Then I gained a grip on what I saw-or rather, what Lissa saw. She was standing on the shelf of a window in some building on campus. It was nighttime. I couldnt tell finish uphand which building it was, but it didnt matter. Lissa was on what appeared to be the ordinal floor, standing there in high heels, laughing about something part the dark ground threatened below. B ehind her, I heard Averys voice.Lissa, be careful You shouldnt be up there. that it had the same double means that permeated everything Avery did. regular as she said those words of caution, I could feel a reckless drive within Lissa, something telling her that it was okay to be where she was and non to worry so much. It was Averys compulsion. Then, I felt that brushing of my spirit, and the annoyed voice.You again?I was forced back out, back to the bedroom in Novosibirsk. Abe was freaking out, apparently thinking Id gone into some catatonic fit, and Mark and Oksana were attempting to explain to him what had happened. I blinked and rubbed my head as I gathered myself, and Mark breathed a sigh of relief.Its much stranger watching someone do that than it is doing it myself.Shes in trouble, I said, attempting to get up again. Shes in trouble and I dont subsist what to doThey were right in saying there was no way on earth I could get to Lissa anytime soon. And even if I followed Ab es proposal and contacted the school I didnt know for sure where Lissa was at or even if anyone there would turn over me. I thought about jumping back in and trying to read Lissas location from her mind, but Avery would likely throw me out again. From what I had briefly felt, Lissa didnt have her cell phone on her-no surprise. There were strict rules about having them in classes, so she usually leave hers in her dorm room. and I knew someone who would have his. And who would believe me.Does anyone have a phone? I asked.Abe gave me his, and I dialed Adrians number, surprised I had it memorized. Adrian was mad at me, but he cared about Lissa. He would help her, no matter his grudge toward me. And he would believe me when I attempt to explain a crazy, spirit-induced plot. exclusively when the other end of the line picked up, it was his voicemail that answered, not the man himself. I know how devastated you must be to miss me, his sunny voice said, but leave a message, and Ill try to ease your badgering as soon as possible.I disconnected, feeling lost. Suddenly, I looked up at Oksana as one of my crazier ideas came to mind.You you can do that thing where you actively go in someones mind and touch their thoughts, right? Like you did to me?She grimaced slightly. Yes, but its not something I like to do. I dont think its right.Can you engage them once youre in there?She looked even more disgusted. Well, yes, of course the two things are actually very similar. But go oning in someones mind is one thing and forcing them into some unwanted behavior is an entirely incompatible matter.My friend is about to do something dangerous, I said. It could kill her. Shes being restrainled, but I cant do anything about it. The bond wont let me actively reach her. I can only watch. If you could reach inside my friends head and tie her out of dangerOksana shook her head. Supposing morals werent an issue, I cant reach into someone whos not actually here-let alone someone Ive n ever met.I raked a hand through my hair, panic setting in. I wished Oksana knew how to walk moons. That would at least give her the long-distance capability. All of these spirit powers seemed to be one off from each other, each having some additional nuance. Someone who could dream walk might be able to take the next grade and visit someone awake.An even crazier idea came to me. This was a groundbreaking day. Oksana you can reach into my mind, right?Yes, she reaffirmed.If I if I was in my bondmates head at the time, could you reach into me and then reach into her mind? Could I, like, be the link mingled with you guys?Ive never heard of anything like that, murmured Mark.Thats because weve never had this many spirit users and shadow- osculationed around before, I pointed out.Abe, understandably, looked completely lost.A shadow fell over Oksanas face. I dont knowEither it works or it doesnt, I said. If it doesnt, then theres no harm done. But if you can reach her through me you can compel her. She started to speak, and I cut her off. I know, I know you think its wrong. But this other spirit user? Shes the one whos wrong. All you have to do is compel Lissa out of danger. Shes ready to jump out a window Stop her now then Ill get to her in another day or so and fix things.And by fix things, I meant let on Averys delightful face with a black eye.In my bizarre life, Id enceinte pretty used to people-especially adults-rejecting my outlandish ideas and proclamations. Id had a hell of a time convincing people that Victor had kidnapped Lissa and an equally hard time making the guardians believe the school was under attack. So when situations like this happened, part of me or so expected digestance. But the thing was, as stable as they were, Oksana and Mark had been copeing with spirit for most of their lives. Crazy was kind of par for the course for them, and after a moment, she didnt argue any further.All right, she said. Give me your hands.Whats vent on? asked Abe, still totally clueless. I took a small add of satisfaction in seeing him out of his league for a change.Mark murmured something to Oksana in Russian and embraceed her on the cheek. He was warning her to be careful, not condemning her for her choice. I knew hed want the same thing if she were in Lissas place. The love that flashed between them was so deep and so strong that I virtually lost my resolve to do this. That kind of love reminded me of Dimitri, and if I allowed myself to think about him for even a moment more, I was personnel casualty to live last nightI clasped Oksanas hands, a knot of fear coiling in my stomach. I didnt like the idea of someone being in my head, even though that was a hypocritical sentiment for someone who was endlessly traveling into her best friends mind. Oksana gave me a small smile, though it was obvious she was as nervous as me.Im sorry, she said. I hate doing this to peopleAnd then I felt it, the same thing that had happened when Avery p ushed me out. It was like the actual physical genius of someone touching my brain. I gasped, looking into Oksanas eyes as waves of wake and cold ran through me. Oksana was in my head. Now go to your friend, she said.I did. I focused my thoughts into Lissa and embed her still standing on the windows ledge. Better she was there than on the ground, but I still wanted her off and back in the room before something bad happened. That wasnt for me to do, however. I was the taxi, so to speak. Oksana was the one who had to literally talk Lissa off the ledge. Only I had no reading material the other woman had come with me. When Id jumped to Lissas mind, Id lost that sense of Oksana. No more tickling of the mind.Oksana? I thought. ar you there?There was no response-not from Oksana, at least. The answer came from a very unexpected source.Rose?It was Lissas voice that intercommunicate in my mind. She froze her position in the window and abruptly cut off whatever shed been laughing about wi th Avery. I felt Lissas terror and surprise as she wondered if she was imagining me. She peered around the room, her eyes passing over Avery.Avery recognized something was passing play on, and her face hardened. I felt the familiar sense of her presence in Lissas mind and wasnt surprised when Avery move to shove me out again.Except-it didnt work.Avery kicking me out in the past had ever so felt like an actual shove. I got the impression that when she tried it now, it felt like hitting a brick breakwater to her. I wasnt so easy to push around anymore. Oksana was with me somehow, lending her strength. Avery was still in Lissas line of sight, and I saw those adorable blue-gray eyes go wide with shock that she couldnt control me.Oh, I thought. Its on, bitchRose? Lissas voice was there again. Am I going crazy?Not yet. But you have to get down, right now. I think Averys trying to kill you.Kill me? I could feel and hear Lissas incredulity. Shed never do that.Look, lets not argue it fo r now. Just get out of the window and call it good.I felt the impulse in Lissa, felt her shift and start to limit one foot down. Then it was like some core part of herself stopped her. Her foot stayed where it was and slowly began to grow unsteadyThat was Avery at work. I wondered if Oksana, lurking in the background of this bond, could overpower that compulsion. No, Oksana wasnt active here. Her spirit powers had somehow gotten me into actively communicating with Lissa, but she was remaining passive. Id expected to be the bridge and thought Oksana would jump to Lissas mind and compel her. The situation was reversed, though, and I didnt actually have compulsion powers. All I had was legendary wit and powers of persuasion.Lissa, you have to fight Avery, I said. Shes a spirit user, and shes compelling you. Youre one of the strongest compulsion users I know. You should be able to fight her.Fear answered me. I cant I cant compel right now.Why not?Because Ive been drinking.I mentally gr oaned. Of course. That was why Avery was ceaselessly so quick to supply Lissa with alcohol. It numbed spirit, as demonstrated in Adrians prevalent indulgences. Avery had encouraged the drinking so that Lissas spirit abilities would weaken and give her less resistance. There were a number of times Lissa hadnt been able to gauge exactly how much Avery was drinking in retrospect, Avery must have been doing a uncontaminating amount of faking.Then use ordinary willpower, I told her. Its possible to resist compulsion.It was true. Compulsion wasnt an automatic ticket to world domination. Some people were purify at resisting it than others, though a Strigoi or spirit user sure enough complicated matters.I felt Lissa build up her resolve, felt her arrogate my words over and over, that she had to be strong and step back off the ledge. She worked to push away that impulse Avery had implanted, and without knowing how, I suddenly found myself pushing on it as well. Lissa and I joined our s trength unitedly and started shoving Avery out.In the physical world, Avery and Lissas gazes were locked as the psychic struggle continued. Averys face showed hard concentration that suddenly became overlaid with shock. Shed noticed me fighting her too. Her eyes narrowed, and when she spoke, it was me she addressed and not Lissa.Oh, Avery hissed, you do not want to mess with me.Didnt I?There was a rush of heat and that feeling of someone reaching into my mind. Only it wasnt Oksana. It was Avery, and she was doing some serious investigation of my thoughts and memories. I understood now what Oksana meant about it being invasive and a violation. It wasnt just looking through someones eyes it was espy on their most intimate thoughts.And then, the world around me dissolved. I stood in a room I didnt recognize. For a moment, I thought I was back in Galinas estate. It certainly had that rich, expensive feel to it. But no. After a moments examination, I realized this wasnt the same at all . The furnishings were different. Even the vibe was different. Galinas home had been beautiful, but there had been a cold, impersonal feel to it. This place was inviting and clearly well loved. The plush couch had a ease thrown haphazardly in its corner, as though someone-or maybe two someones-had been cuddling underneath it. And while the room wasnt messy, exactly, there were scattered objects-books, bordering in photos-that indicated this room was actually used and wasnt just for show.I walked over to a small bookshelf and picked up one of the framed photos. I nearly dropped it when I saw what it was. It was a picture of Dimitri and me-but I had no holding of it. We stood arm in arm, leaning our faces together to make sure we both got in the shot. I was grinning broadly, and he too wore a joyous smile, one Id hardly ever seen on him. It softened some of the protective wildness that usually filled his features and made him look sexier than Id ever imagined. A element of that soft embrown hair had slipped his ponytail and lay on his cheek. Beyond us was a city that I immediately recognized Saint Petersburg. I frowned. No, this was definitely a picture that couldnt exist.I was still studying it when I heard someone walk into the room. When I saw who it was, my heart stopped. I set the photo back on the shelf with shaking hands and took a few steps back.It was Dimitri.He wore jeans and a casual red T-shirt that fit the lean muscles of his body perfectly. His hair was down cozy and slightly damp, like hed just gotten out of the shower. He held two mugs and chuckled when he saw me.Still not dressed? he asked, shaking his head. Theyre going to be here any minute.I looked down and saw that I wore plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a tank top. He handed me the mug, and I was too stunned to do anything but take it. I peered into it-hot chocolate-and then looked up at him. There was no red in his eyes, no evil on his face. Only gorgeous warmth and affection. He was my Dimitri, the one whod loved and protected me. The one with a pure heart and mindWho whos coming? I asked.Lissa and Christian. Theyre coming for brunch. He gave me a puzzled look. Are you okay?I looked around, again taking in the comforting room. finished a window, I saw a backyard filled with trees and flowers. Sunshine spilled through onto the carpet. I turned back to him and shook my head. What is this? Where are we?His confused contemplation now turned into a frown. Stepping forward, he took my mug and set his and mine on the shelf. His hands rested on my hips, and I flinched but didnt break away-how could I when he looked so much like my Dimitri? This is our house, he said, order of payment me near. In Pennsylvania.Pennsylvania are we at theRoyal Court?He shrugged. A few miles away.I slowly shook my head. No thats not possible. We cant have a home together. And definitely not so close to the others. Theyd never let us.If in some crazy world Dimitri and I lived togethe r, wed have to do it in secret-somewhere remote, like Siberia.You insisted, he said with a small smile. And none of them care. They accept it. Besides, you said we had to live near Lissa.My mind reeled. What was going on? How was this possible? How could I be living with Dimitri-especially so near Moroi? This wasnt right and yet, it felt right. Looking around, I could see how this was my home. I could feel the love in it, feel the connection Dimitri and I had to it. But how could I actually be with Dimitri? Wasnt I supposed to be doing something else? Wasnt I supposed to be somewhere else? Youre a Strigoi, I said at last. No youre deceased. I killed you.He ran a finger along my cheek, still giving me that rueful smile. Do I look like Im dead? Do I look Strigoi?No. He looked wonderful and provocative and strong. He was all the things I remembered, all the things I loved. But you were I trailed off, still confused. This wasnt right. There was something I had to do, but I still could nt remember. What happened?His hand returned to my hip, and he pulled me into a tight embrace. You relieve me, he murmured into my ear. Your love save me, Roza. You brought me back so that we could be together.Had I? I had no keeping of that, either. But this all seemed so real, and it felt so wonderful. Id missed his arms around me. Hed held me as a Strigoi, but it had never felt like this. And when he leaned down and kissed me, I knew for sure he wasnt a Strigoi. I didnt know how I could have ever deluded myself back at Galinas. This kiss was alive. It burned within my soul, and as my lips pressed more eagerly into his, I felt that connection, the one that told me there was no one else in the world for me except him.Only, I couldnt shake the feeling that I wasnt supposed to be here. But where was I supposed to be? Lissa something with LissaI broke the kiss but not the embrace. My head rested against his chest. I really saved you?Your love was too strong. Our love was too strong . Not even the undead could keep us apart.I wanted to believe it. Desperately. But that voice still nagged in my head Lissa. What about Lissa? Then, it came to me. Lissa and Avery. I had to save Lissa from Avery. I jerked away from Dimitri, and he stared in surprise.What are you doing?This isnt real, I said. This is a trick. Youre still Strigoi. We cant be together-not here, not among the Moroi.Of course we can. There was hurt in his deep brown eyes, and it tore at my heart. Dont you want to be with me?I have to go back to LissaLet her go, he said, approaching me again. Let all of it go. pacify here with me-we can have everything we ever wanted, Rose. We can be together every day, wake up together every morning.No. I stepped further back. I knew if I didnt, he would kiss me again, and then Id real be lost. Lissa needed me. Lissa was trapped. With each passing second, the details about Avery were coming back to me. This was all an illusion.Rose? he asked. There was so much pain in his voice. What are you doing?Im sorry, I said, feeling on the margin of soaks. Lissa. I had to get to Lissa. This isnt real. Youre gone. You and I can never be together, but I can still help her.You love her more than me?Lissa had asked me near the same thing when Id left to hunt Dimitri. My life was doomed to always be about choosing between them.I love you both, I replied.And with that, I used all of my will to push myself back to Lissa, wherever she was, and tear away from this fantasy. Honestly, I could have spent the rest of my days in that make-believe world, being with Dimitri in that house, waking up with him each morning like hed said. But it wasnt real.It was too easy, and if I was learning anything, it was that life wasnt easy.The trial was excruciating, but suddenly, I found myself looking back at the room at St. Vladimirs. I focused on Avery who was staring me and Lissa down. Shed pulled out the memory that tormented me most, attempting to confuse me and tear me fr om Lissa with a fantasy of what I wanted more than anything else in the world. Id fought Averys mind trap and felt pretty content about it-despite the ache in my heart. I wished I could communicate straightway with her and make a few comments about what I thought of her and her game. That was out of the question, so instead, I threw my will in with Lissas once more, and together, we stepped down off the ledge and onto the rooms floor.Avery was visibly sweating, and when she realized shed lost the psychic tug of war, her pretty face turned very ugly. Fine, she said. There are easier ways of killing you off.Reed suddenly entered the room, looking as hostile as ever. I had no idea where hed come from or how hed known to show up right then, but he headed straight toward Lissa, hands reaching out. That informal window loomed behind her, and it didnt take a genius to guess his intentions. Avery had tried to get Lissa to jump by using compulsion. Reed was just going to push her.A menta l conversation flew between Lissa and me in the quadruplet of a heartbeat.Okay, I told her. Heres the situation. Were going to have to do a little role reversal.What are you talking about? Fear flooded her, which was understandable, seeing as Reeds hands were seconds away from grabbing her.Well, I said, I just did the psychic power struggle. Which means youve got to do the fighting. And Im going to show you how.