Home > Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(5)

Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(5)
Author: Leia Stone

I did a quick check to make sure my boots didn’t have bloodstains on them. Maybe I should have dressed nicer.

“Sucks that your mom can’t sit with us,” Shea commented.

My heart pinched as a pang of sadness washed through me. I craned my neck to try and find her. There, in the nosebleed section with the other demon bound slaves she sat, looking tired as hell. I’d made an executive decision to not tell her about the whole fight thing, not yet.

She caught me looking and gave me a little wave. I waved back with a small smile.

“Please be seated, and we will bring out the students.” Raphael’s voice boomed from the stage.

Shea and I fast-walked to the front row and took our seats between some really important-looking people. One was an older dude wearing a Fallen Army uniform with tons of medals on it, and the other was a lady with her hair so tight in a bun, it made her eyes pull up at the sides.

Shea and I tried to contain our giggles.

Oh my God, am I going to actually get to experience the after-party? The chocolate fountain and bliss donuts and all of the other things I never got to at my ceremony?

I looked up at the stage and tried to suppress my anger at seeing Grim and another demon there. His beady little eyes roamed over me, and then with a scowl, he turned away.

I should have killed him when I had the chance.

After a moment of sitting in the quiet, I heard the back doors open and everyone began to file in. Mikey looked super handsome in the black suit he wore. I gave him a thumbs-up and he rolled his eyes, red-faced and clearly embarrassed.

Whatever. I was a cool older sister.

Raphael gave his remorseful speech about the fallen war and infecting the humans with powers, and then he started to call the first name. Atwater would be one of the first.

Oh God, I was so nervous.

What if he was a Centaur? I’d never give him a hug without getting on a ladder first.

Shea must have known I was stressing, because she reached out and grasped my hand.

There was something so comforting about having a best friend. Not just a bestie for a few years and then you grew apart. A. Best. Friend. Shea was stuck to me like glue, for life. No matter what, she was my person, and I was hers. Knowing we had each other, it took the weight off my shoulders in that moment. Whatever Mikey was, we would deal with it together.

“Melanie Anderson. Free soul,” Raphael boomed, and I released the breath I’d been holding.

Being first sucked.

A waif-thin, timid-looking girl with mousy brown hair shuffled to the stage, her chin down. When she stood before Raphael, he beamed at her and held his hands over her head. A fine sprinkling of gold dust fell into her skin and we all froze. Even though she wasn’t my family, I felt myself go rigid with anticipation. It was like watching a suspenseful movie.

Suddenly she began to cry, staring at her hands.

“No!” she shouted.

Raphael’s upper lip curled, and Lincoln, who stood behind him, discretely covered his nose.

“Melanie Anderson. Gristle.”

Oh shit.

I wasn’t a pro lip reader, but I thought Raphael muttered, “I’m sorry,” before she ran offstage crying.

Craning my neck back, I could see that my brother was as white as a sheet.

“Michael Atwater. Free soul,” Raphael said next.

I hadn’t expected the pang of pride that would swell in my chest when Raphael said “free soul” after my brother’s name, but there it was. My mother and I had made some mistakes, but Mikey was a clean slate.

Shea squeezed my hand, and I squeezed back.

Damn, going after a Gristle reveal was a hard act to follow.

“You got this, Mikey!” Shea called out like a loud New Yorker.

I flinched as the snooty people next to us scowled down their noses at us, but it had worked. Mikey smiled shyly, and the color came back in his cheeks.

Okay. Breathe. Just breathe. God, please don’t let him have black wings, or be a Centaur.

By the time I’d gotten out of my head, and focused on what was happening, Raphael had already started to drop the magic reveal dust or whatever it was.

Mikey just stood there, hands fisted and eyes forward. Terrified.

‘Poor lad,’ Sera said from my boot.

‘You scared me!’ I told her. I’d forgotten she was there.

‘Sorry,’ she whispered and then went quiet.

I was staring at my brother, waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. Raphael had finished sprinkling the dust, and now just stood in front of him watching, same with Lincoln.

Oh God. He’s a dud. A freaking worthless human!

He’d get no admission to Fallen Academy, no job with the Fallen Army, and would be homeless. Tears welled in my eyes, and Shea clenched my hand tight enough to hurt.

At that moment, a howl ripped from Mikey’s throat and he lurched forward on all fours, panting in pain. The hairs on my arms shot up, and I leaned forward in my seat.

That howl wasn’t human.

“Mikey?” I stood, brushing Shea’s hand off.

His body was contorting, and the sound of cracking bones was so familiar to me, I actually felt some relief, and sat back down.

He was a beast shifter, like Luke. I could handle that. That was okay with me.

I glanced at Shea, who was smiling in relief as well.

My brother’s suit tore as his body bulked out, black fur popping up everywhere, muscles stacking up over his form, and enlarging his mass. Beast Shifters were usually animals—deer, bears, mountain lions, and so on, whatever animal had been in the vicinity when the fall happened—and then they had horns, which gave them a demon look. Luke would be able to help Mikey through what shifting was like, and everything associated with being a Beast Shifter. I was actually okay with it. It felt right.

At least it did until my brother turned into a huge black wolf, with black velvet horns, and searing yellow eyes. He looked freaking possessed as he bent down low, and started to growl at Raphael.

The Archangel went stiff, and Lincoln slowly pulled his sword.

What the hell!

“Call Clark!” Lincoln barked to someone offstage, and the whole crowd gasped as Mikey lunged for Raphael.

Shooting out of my seat, I barreled towards the stage within seconds.

“Mikey, no!” I shouted, but it was too late. Raphael was forced to grab Mikey’s shoulders and slam him to the ground in self-defense.

Lincoln held his sword aloft; it was glowing blue, and my brother was staring at it with a venomous gaze. His lips peeled back and he growled from his place, pinned on the floor beneath Raphael.

What the hell is happening? That was not my brother. I knew Lincoln wouldn’t hurt him, but why the hell was he holding his sword at him?

I climbed onto the stage, and Lincoln’s gaze shifted to me. “What’s wrong?” I asked in a low voice.

Raphael still had my brother pinned, and I could tell it was taking great effort, his arms shook as the muscles flexed. My brother jerked, trying to slip free, but Raphael laid more of his weight on him and strengthened his hold.

Lincoln looked out over the crowd and kept his voice low. “He’s a pack animal. When pack animals shift for the first time, they’re consumed with the need to hunt. He’ll wipe out half this crowd if we can’t get an alpha here soon.”

What. The. Fuck.

I swayed on my feet, looking down at my little brother. He was huge, almost as big as Luke’s bear, and it was clear now that Raphael was using all of his angelic strength to hold him.

An oversized wolf with demonic powers that wants to hunt humans. Awesome.

“Mikey?” I knelt down and tried to meet his eyes.

The growl that ripped from his throat, as he jerked his head in my direction, had tears lining my eyes. He’d wriggled his head free from Raphael, and was now snapping his teeth in my direction like a rabid dog.

“I can’t hold him much longer.” Raphael confessed through gritted teeth.

Oh. My. God.

‘Pull me out,’ Sera instructed.

‘What? No way. I’m not hurting my brother.’

‘Pull me out. We won’t seriously hurt him, but we might have to keep him from mauling the crowd,’ she told me.

I pulled Sera out, and Lincoln dropped his sword. He wrestled onto Mikey’s back half, trying to hold him down. Raphael was becoming weaker; every time my brother thrashed, he gained more way.

“Where’s Clark!” Lincoln roared to someone offstage. I kept my eyes on my brother, while I wondered who the hell this Clark guy was.

“He’s coming!” a voice called back.

Mikey ripped free then. In one thrust, he rolled out of Raphael’s and Lincoln’s grasps, and then stood with his back to the demons, who’d been watching keenly the entire time.

“Evacuate the building,” Lincoln ordered a Fallen Army guard, who was standing offstage with a gun in his hand.

“We’ll take him off your hands,” the demon sitting with Grim informed us, winking.

“Screw you,” I snapped at the ugly demon.

Mikey had his head down and was glaring at me with those freaky yellow eyes.

“Mikey. It’s me, Bri,” I told him.

Movement to my left pulled my attention, but not enough to take my eyes off my brother.

“I can stun him if he lunges. It’ll wear off quick, but it might help in the short run,” Shea said as magic crackled at her palms.

I was trying to keep the tears at bay. My poor brother had been taken over by a monster.

‘Let her,’ Sera instructed me.

Turning my head slightly to my best friend, I nodded to Shea.

An Abrus demon I didn’t know stepped closer. “He could learn more about his powers at Tainted Academy,” he cooed.

I pivoted my body to him, Sera raised and glowing in my hand. “I will cut you if you go near my brother.”

The demon scowled at me and took a step closer as if to threaten me.

I’d never seen Raphael with a weapon until right then. He tore across the space, blindingly fast, with a twelve-inch golden dagger in his hands. His wings flapped earnestly, causing a gust of wind to pick up my hair.

“He’s a free soul. And free souls are mine to protect.” Raphael’s voice was so deep and menacing, I barely recognized it.

The demon cowed, taking a step back with his head lowered, and that’s when Mikey lunged. Not for me, or Raphael, but for the demon.

Without uttering a word, Shea threw an orange fiery ball at Mikey’s right shoulder. My brother howled as if in pain, hitting the ground. Limp. He’d dropped twelve inches from the Abrus demon.

“Shea!” I snapped.

“It’s just a stun spell. He’ll be—” She didn’t finish her sentence because Mikey stood once more, a bit wobbly, and shaking his head as if to clear his thoughts.


I really, really, really didn’t want to kick my brother’s ass.

“If he lunges for me again, I’m putting him down!” the demon roared, smoke billowing from his ears.

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