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Black Magic Sanction

Black Magic Sanction: Page 108

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Trent pulled Tulpa back, the move easy and full of grace. He was different on horseback, wild, dangerous. I thought of his demon mark tied to me, just under his shirt. A thread of anticipation pulled through me. I wanted to ride.

"Some of it was Lee," he said. "He told me what happened, what you did, how you handled yourself afterward. Some of it was that damned hoof pick, believe it or not."

I couldn't help the smile quirking the corners of my mouth.

"But most of it," Trent added, "is because of my father."

My smile faded as I remembered the Pandora charm.

"My father was friends with your father," he said, head bowing for an instant. "He trusted him with his life. They fought to find a way to bring the war between the elves and the demons to an end. I think that's why my father chose you to live. Fixed you."

I took a step forward. "And."

"And you did that. Or at least gave us the way to make ourselves whole again. It's just like my father, the bastard, to use the same tool that saved us to save the demons."

"You think I like having been your dad's science fair project?" I said, and the horse beside me nickered at my anger.

"No," Trent said. "But you can't simply pretend that you're like everyone else."

I wasn't liking this at all. "So we're good?"

He laughed, his face growing darker, harder to read as the night took over. "No. If my familiar mark isn't gone by the end of the witches' meeting, I will kill you to nullify it. I hope it doesn't come to that."

Yada yada yada. But I couldn't read him while he was on Tulpa, and it made me nervous. "You still haven't answered me about why you asked me to ride with you."

Tulpa pranced, impatient, and Trent soothed him, whispering in a language I couldn't understand. "My father saw you as a way to save both elves and demons," he said when the horse was still again. "Why don't you want to run Jonathan into the ground, ride after him with hounds at his heels, see his terror, know that he fully understands the folly of betraying those who trusted him?"

I shifted the reins in my fingers as the horse dropped her head, snuffling for something to eat. "Pity, I suppose. Having been on the other side... I can't do that to anyone, even Jonathan." Nick, maybe.

Trent was nodding. "Get on the horse. The Hunt awaits."

Looking up the tall expanse, I shook my head. "Why?"

He sighed. "You want to live in your church, going about your life as if you're like everyone else."


"You aren't. And because of that, someday you're probably going to find yourself in a position where your choices will have an impact far beyond what you see right now. And when that happens, I want you to remember what it's like to ride through the woods on horseback under a night sky with no moon and nothing stronger than you are. I want you to know so you will fight for it. So that my children will know of it. You have to keep the demons where they are, Rachel. No one else can do it. You won't fight for us unless you know. Let me show you what you're fighting for."

He was entirely dark now, a shadow on a moving wisp of wind, eager to be away.

My heart was heavy. I didn't want to believe him. I wanted to be like everyone else. I'd worked hard to be like everyone else. I'd gotten the coven to rescind my shunning, even if it was only temporary until the official meeting in June. My name was cleared. I'd failed Brooke, but I'd found Pierce and the chance for what might pass as a normal relationship for me. I even had the joy of knowing that Jenks was going to survive. I had my life back. But someday it was all going to end and I wouldn't be able to rebuild my walls of pretend. I should play while I could. And tonight... I felt good.

Taking a deep breath, I gathered myself and swung up into the saddle. The horse under me shifted until I pulled the reins in, demanding obedience. I started this morning crawling out of a hole in the ground, and now I was riding with elves.

"Race you to that tree over there," I said, and with a wild yell, I thumped my heels into my horse... and we were gone.

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