Home > Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5)(4)

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5)(4)
Richelle Mead

I cleared my throat. “I have sinned against my own kind and let my soul become corrupted. I am ready to have the darkness purged.”

“And what are your sins?” the voice demanded. “Confess what you’ve done.”

That was harder, but I still managed the words. If it got me closer to Adrian and freedom, I could say anything.

I took a deep breath and said: “I fell in love with a vampire.”

And like that, I was blinded by light.

CHAPTER 2

ADRIAN

“DON’T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY, but you look like crap.”

I lifted my head from the table and squinted one eye open. Even with sunglasses on—indoors—the light was still almost too much for the pounding in my head. “Really?” I said. “There’s a right way to take that?”

Rowena Clark fixed me with an imperious look that was so like something Sydney might have done. It caused a lurch in my chest. “You can take it constructively.” Rowena’s nose wrinkled. “This is a hangover, right? Because, I mean, that implies you were sober at one point. And from the gin factory I can smell, I’m not so sure.”

“I’m sober. Mostly.” I dared to take off the sunglasses to get a better look at her. “Your hair’s blue.”

“Teal,” she corrected, touching it self-consciously. “And you saw it two days ago.”

“Did I?” Two days ago would’ve been our last mixed media class here at Carlton College. I could barely remember two hours ago. “Well. It’s possible I actually wasn’t so sober then. But it looks nice,” I added, hoping that would spare me some disapproval. It didn’t.

In truth, my sober days at school were about fifty-fifty lately. Considering I was making it to class at all, though, I thought I deserved some credit. When Sydney had left—no, been taken—I hadn’t wanted to come here. I hadn’t wanted to go anywhere or do anything that wasn’t finding her. I’d curled up in my bed for days, waiting and reaching out to her through the world of dreams with spirit. Only I hadn’t connected. No matter what time of day I tried, I never seemed to find her asleep. It made no sense. No one could stay awake that long. Drunk people were hard to connect to since alcohol dampened spirit’s effects and blocked the mind, but somehow I doubted she and her Alchemist captors were having nonstop cocktail parties.

I might have doubted myself and my own abilities, especially after I’d used medication to turn spirit off for a while. But my magic had eventually come back in full force, and I’d had no difficulties reaching out to others in their dreams. Maybe I was inept at a lot of other things in life, but I was still hands down the most skilled dream-walking spirit user I knew. The problem was, I only knew a few other spirit users, period, so there wasn’t a lot of advice I could get on why I wasn’t reaching Sydney. All Moroi vampires use some sort of elemental magic. Most specialize in one of the four physical elements: earth, air, water, or fire. Only a handful of us use spirit, and there’s no well-documented history of it like there is of the other elements. There were a lot of theories, but no one knew for sure why I wasn’t reaching Sydney.

My professor’s assistant dropped a stack of stapled papers in front of me and an identical one in front of Rowena, jarring me out of my thoughts. “What’s this?”

“Um, your final exam,” said Rowena, rolling her eyes. “Let me guess. You don’t remember this either? Or me offering to study with you?”

“Must have been an off day for me,” I muttered, flipping uneasily through the pages.

Rowena’s chastising expression turned to one of compassion, but whatever else she might have said was swallowed by our professor’s orders to be quiet and get to work. I stared at the exam and wondered if I could fake my way through it. Part of what had dragged me out of bed and back to college was knowing how much education meant to Sydney. She’d always been envious of the opportunity I had, an opportunity her controlling ass**le dad had denied her. When I’d realized that I couldn’t find her right away—and believe me, I’d tried plenty of mundane ways, along with the magical ones—I’d resolved to myself that I’d carry on and do what she would have wanted: finish this semester at college.

Admittedly, I hadn’t been the most dedicated of students. Since most of my classes were introductory art ones, my professors were usually good about giving credit as long as you turned something in. That was lucky for me because “something” was probably the nicest description for some of the crap pieces I’d created recently. I’d maintained a passing grade—barely—but this exam might do me in. These questions were all or nothing, right or wrong. I couldn’t just half-ass a drawing or painting and count on points for effort.

As I began making my best attempts at answering questions on contour drawing and deconstructed landscapes, I felt the dark edges of depression pulling me down. And it wasn’t just because I was likely going to fail the class. I was also going to fail Sydney and her high expectations of me. But really, what was one class when I’d already failed her in so many other ways? If our roles had been reversed, she probably would’ve found me by now. She was smarter and more resourceful. She could’ve done the extraordinary. I couldn’t even handle the ordinary.

I turned in the exam an hour later and hoped I hadn’t just wasted an entire semester in the process. Rowena had finished early and was waiting for me outside the classroom. “You want to get something to eat?” she asked. “My treat.”

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