Home > Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(20)

Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(20)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“Organised groups began searching for humans with the same blood as Emeric’s woman, and after many years of research and study they discovered that there were others out there with these unique genetics. Their findings showed that the blood of die Äußerste Macht was extremely rare and only carried through female bloodlines. To date, there have only been four or five women of die Äußerste Macht blood discovered, a single drop of her blood will render a vampire ten times stronger and more powerful, as well as providing them with an immunity to sunlight. The problem is that only one of these handful of women were discovered by actual vampires. The others were hunted down by the Slayers, experimented on and then killed so that no vampire could ever gain the power of their blood.”

I stare blankly out the window for a moment, information swirling in my clogged up brain. “So – what you’re saying is that I’m one of these women. That I’ve got this power in my blood that can make a vampire immortal. And that the Slayers will most likely kill me before I can ever be used to the benefit of their enemies.”

“That’s about it in a nutshell, deary,” says Alvie sombrely.

Rita scowls and gives him a whack on the arm. “What Alvie means is that yes, judging from what we saw your mother do in the vision, you are one of these rare women. But that doesn’t mean that the Slayers are going to find out about you. You see, the spell we witnessed your mother cast was one that can only be mastered by a very powerful and learned witch,” she stops and smiles, “which your mother certainly was. She created a spell of her own devising that would hide the fact that you are die Äußerste Macht to any vampires or slayers you might come across. What the vampires sense from you is the kind of attraction they have to the blood of any ordinary human, only it’s slightly heightened because of your different biology, which is why they are drawn to you. Your mother made a spell that contained her very own blood as its basis, and that means that the only way to break it is with her blood. And so, since she’s dead, that can never be done.”

“So if my mum had never hidden my blood with her spell, would the vampires know what I am simply from smelling me?” I ask.

“Definitely. Not only that, but it would probably call to every vampire within several miles of you. They can’t sense you because your mother made sure that her spell hid it deep within you, obviously you inherited the biological trait from her, so she knew first-hand what it was like to be always running from those who wanted to drain her, or kill her so that she couldn’t be drained.”

I rub my forehead, and a cold sweat comes away on my hand. “But I don’t understand. If she could have hidden this thing in me, then why couldn’t she have hidden it in herself too?” I ask.

Rita frowns. “A witch can’t cast a spell on herself, she’d need another witch to do that for her. So if your mother was like me and my mum, then she probably wasn’t from an official magical family, and therefore didn’t know any other magic users who could do it for her.”

My heart aches, as I think of my mother, alone with this stupid blood, with nobody to help her hide it. My mind pictures her in that first vision, running helplessly through those woods, finally caught by whoever it was who had been hunting her. Had it been the vampires or the slayers who’d gotten her in the end? And did my very normal father know anything about what she’d been going through?

She’d possibly kept it a secret from him. But then why had he lied and told me she’d died in a car accident, because that definitely wasn’t how her life had ended, if that vision of the woods is anything to go by. Abruptly, I turn to Rita and Alvie. “You two have to promise to keep this a secret,” I tell them frantically. “I – I can’t have anybody finding out about this.”

“We’re not going to tell anyone, honey,” says Alvie. “We’re outsiders, we don’t align ourselves with any of the divisions in this city, and we certainly wouldn’t sell you out to anyone.”

Rita cocks an eyebrow. “Yeah but how does she know that?” she asks, looking to Alvie. “She needs something to reassure her,” she ponders for a moment, “how about a simple pact spell, which seals this information between the three of us, so that we couldn’t tell another soul even if we wanted to.”

Alvie nods. “That sounds like a plan, what do you think Tegan?” he asks.

“I think it’s the best I’m going to get.” I answer, while also thinking that Rita and Alvie could just perform some fake spell to make me believe they’re making a pact, when really they could go running to the next vampire they find to tell them of my unfortunate genetic inheritance.

“It’s agreed then,” says Alvie. “Come on Reet, let’s clear the table and get what we need for the pact.”

I sit still and watch as Rita and Alvie clear the table, and then set out a shallow green glass bowl containing a candle. “A hemlock candle for cleansing,” Rita tells me. “So that the remnants of the last spell don’t spill over into this one.” I nod and take it all in like a good little student of the herbal magical arts. Something falls onto the floor over by the stove where Alvie has been fiddling with herbs.

“Oh for God’s sake, Alvie! You’re making a mess, just sit down and let me finish it,” says Rita, and soon after Alvie comes and sits by me at the table with a face like thunder.

The constitution of this spell appears to be a lot simpler than before. Rita sets a pestle and mortar down in front of her. Into it she adds firstly some cloves of garlic. “To safeguard our secret I use garlic,” Rita begins, not putting so much showmanship into the spell this time. The very second she crushes the cloves I feel the air thicken around me.

“To preserve the strength of our pact I add Frankincense Resin,” she continues, and grounds in some beige and cream coloured rough stones. “And thirdly, to bring an extra sense of trust and extra strength to our agreement I add Galangal Root,” finally she crushes up a root that looks almost exactly like ginger but not quite.

Rita takes my hand, then takes Alvie’s before he takes mine and we form a circle once more. “A pact of secrecy we three make. Tegan’s hidden power we will never betray. Not even on our dying day. Her secret we venture to keep, and never from our mouths the words will we speak.” Rita looks to us then. “Repeat after me, we promise to keep this secret forever unspoken, until she to whom it pertains wishes this pact to be broken.” I take it that means I can decide if I want to reveal the truth. Then Alvie and I repeat her words, and the pact spell is sealed.

“Well, that’s that then,” says Alvie, after we’ve all been silent for several minutes.

“I suppose it is,” I reply, feeling somewhat hollow on the inside. How could such an avid disbeliever in anything less than scientific be proven so wrong in so many ways in such a short period of time? It’s sort of darkly poetic when you think about it.

Rita gets up from her seat and begins cleaning away the spell ingredients. “I have one more thing I need to give you,” she says, and disappears from the room. I hear her jogging up the stairs, leaving me alone with Alvie.

“So, how did you two get into all this magic business?” I ask to fill the silence.

Alvie flexes his fingers. “Rita’s mum has always been into it, she taught Rita, Rita taught me. Although I’m definitely nowhere near as powerful as Reet. I can do some basic spells but nothing even remotely like what you saw her do tonight.”

He pauses a second, considering what to say next. “Don’t mention I said this, okay?” I nod and he continues, “Well I’m sure Rita’s told you all about the twelve families and how they believe you can only be a skilled magic user if you’ve got their blood. Rita denies this all the way, saying she’s a prime example of the fact that anyone can practice magic with a little study and determination. But sometimes I’ve got to wonder if that’s really the truth, because I’ve been practising almost as long as she has and I’ve never been able to even fractionally reach her level. That’s what makes me think that maybe she is related to one of the families and just doesn’t know it. I mean, she’s never met her dad, doesn’t even know his name. He could be a warlock for all we know.”

“It is possible,” I reply, and simultaneously wonder about my mother. If you’ve got to have magic in your blood to be a witch, then does that mean my mum was also related to one of these families? As well as being cursed with the stupid Ultimate Power blood? She hadn’t been a very lucky woman. Before we can continue with Alvie’s theory, Rita re-enters the room carrying a silver locket on a chain.

“You’ll need this,” she tells me, handing me the chain.

“What for?” I ask, while rubbing my thumb over the indentations of the carving on the locket.

“It’s been magically infused with salt water. You’ll need to be wearing it whenever you go to work because it will block Marcel’s magic when he tries to unlock your spell. As long as you’re wearing this, whatever he tries won’t work, which means your secret will be safe.”

I grin at her widely. “Thanks Rita, that’s really thoughtful. I promise I’ll pay you back for this, and when I get my next pay check I’ll throw you some money for your time. I really appreciate everything you’ve done.”

She actually blushes, and shrugs me off. “Aw, don’t worry about it, it was no trouble at all.”

At this my phone buzzes in my pocket and I take it outside to the hallway to answer it. I don’t recognise the number.

“Hello?” I say, wary of who might be calling at so late an hour.

“Tegan, it’s Delilah. I need you to come and meet me at the club,” says the dhamphir in a whispering voice.

“Excuse me? It’s a quarter past eleven, and I’m busy, so I’m sorry I can’t come.” I tell her straight out.

“You have to come, it’s urgent,” she replies, and the desperation in her voice shocks me a little. Call me a nosey cow, but my curiosity peeks, and I want to know what’s going on with her.

After a beat of silence, I reply, “Okay, but this better be quick. I’ve got work in the morning.” She talks to me for another minute before signing off. I say my goodbyes to Rita and Alvie, and make my way out, and at the same time realise I only have enough money left for bus fair to Davis Street. No more taxis.

This better be good.

Chapter Thirteen

Women Who Look Like Men Who Look Like Women

The Ultimate Power. The Extreme Power. Whatever. If my poor, long-suffering mother’s spell is still intact, then none of the vampires, none of the warlocks, none of the slayers, and none of the dhamphirs will ever know about it. I take peace from the fact that the only way to break the spell is with my mother’s blood, and she has long since gone to her grave. And, if this locket Rita gave me really does work, then no amount of Marcel or Gabriel’s magic will ever be able to uncover the truth about me as long as I’m wearing it.

The silver chain puts my mind at ease, and if it weren’t for that then I probably wouldn’t be stepping foot in Crimson tonight. But I feel safe with this salt around my neck. Delilah’s call came as a surprise, and I can’t imagine what could be so urgent for her to want me to come to the club at this hour to meet her. Thinking about it, her whispers down the line are just a little bit ominous.

When I get to the entrance of Crimson there’s only a short queue outside since not so many people go out clubbing on a Monday night. I check my watch for the time. Eleven forty five. Fuck. I better make this quick if I want to be in any fit state to go to work in the morning. Lucas is on the door again, and after greeting me with a questioning look I explain that Delilah wants to speak with me and he waves me on through.

“Don’t bother paying at the window,” he tells me casually as I make my way in. Yeah, damn skippy I won’t be paying. The shock and conflicting emotions that Rita’s clairvoyance spell pulled out of me has me feeling slightly unstable in the head department. Story of my life. And just when I’d been making such progress.

Delilah told me expressly that I am to come to the staff common room to meet her and under no circumstances am I to go near Ethan’s office. I wonder at this. But I’m sure all will be revealed once I talk to the flame-haired dhamphir. Actually, on second thought, I’ll probably be even more clueless once that happens. I slip through the staff door without being stopped by any of the workers and make my way down the corridor.

Obviously, Delilah didn’t exactly think through the whole part about me not going near Ethan’s office, because to get to the common room I have to walk directly by it. As I near said office I notice that somebody’s standing outside the door, in a stance that suggests they’re keeping guard. Another three steps and they turn their head in my direction, clearly having heard me coming.

I feel like an idiot because I can’t help but to gawk at the guy since he’s sort of boy-pretty. You know like Leonardo Di Caprio in Romeo and Juliet or a very young Johnny Depp. He’s about a head taller than me with messy dark brown hair cut short to the neck line and hanging long over the face. He’s also wearing tight black skinny jeans, a studded belt, a sleeveless muscle T that’s showing an inch of flat, toned stomach any girl would give her right arm for. Bright hazel green eyes meet my blue ones, and I instantly redden and look away, embarrassed for having been so engrossed in sizing him up.

I’m just passing him when I look up again and go even more red in the face. But this time for a very different reason, because it isn’t a boy standing at Ethan’s office door, it’s a girl, just a very ambivalent one. We make eye contact for the briefest of seconds before I return my gaze to focusing straight ahead of me. I just about catch her smirk.

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