Home > Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(9)

Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(9)
Author: Leia Stone

“Blake, you get those goblets’ inside,” Lincoln ordered. “We’ll protect her.” His tone changed with the word “her,” like I was a venomous snake.

“Let’s move out.” The doors popped open then and we rushed out of the vehicle. The second my boots landed on the curb, the tattoo shop door flew open to a woman in her mid-thirties, with tattooed sleeves, and long red hair.

“Linc!” she shouted excitedly.

Blake had just reached her with the goblets when a dark shadow passed overhead, momentarily blotting out the sun.

“Incoming!” Lincoln shouted, wrapping his big arm around my waist and tucking me into his body as his huge white wings snapped out. He crouched, bringing me to the ground with him while his wings curled around us to shield me. Bullets and shouts rang out as I stayed pinned beneath his body, eyes wide as saucers.

I grew up in the hood. Demon gangs were the vilest creatures on Earth, and Shea and I’d had our fair share of run-ins with them. I was robbed quarterly, so I knew we were totally getting jumped right now, and I wasn’t going to hide beneath this asshole and get killed. He smelled good, and his pecs against my back were making my stomach do somersaults, but he was still an asshole nonetheless.

I must never forget that.

Lincoln pulled his sword and popped up on his knees, keeping his wings curled forward to protect me. Or cage me in, depending on how you were looking at it.

Reaching into my boot, I pulled out my switchblade and prepared myself to throw down. I wasn’t going to have any luck against the guns, but I could gut someone if they got within two feet of me. I was good with blades.

“Lincoln, look out!” I recognized Noah’s smooth voice.

Lincoln stood to his full height then, his wings snapping back to reveal me, and I came face-to-face with a Monkshood demon.

Shit.

The Monkshood demons were by far one of the creepiest kinds. They didn’t have tongues, so they couldn’t speak. They wore hooded cloaks to cover their misshapen bodies, but their red knobby horns stuck out through the top, and they were masters of mental compulsion. The demon’s eyes were glowing blue, which I knew meant he was using his gift of compulsion. Lincoln was staring at him dreamily and lowering his sword. They didn’t even need to speak to use their gift, that’s how powerful they were. They only needed eye contact to get the job done.

I saw a glint of steel underneath the Monkshood’s cloak and acted quickly. As the demon pulled out his sword, I pushed the button on my switchblade, revealing the sharp knife. Reaching under his cloak, I slashed wildly, cutting into his thick ankles. A roar bellowed from under the demon’s cloak, and he broke eye contact with Lincoln to look down at me. The Celestial burst into action, his sword glowing a vibrant blue as he cut down the demon before us. I stayed crouched, assessing the situation, and wondering what the hell I should do.

Turning my head, I took stock of the scene. Demons and Dark Mages had rappelled from the roof, the ropes still dangling. There were a dozen of them, at least, one a Beast Shifter in the shape of a cougar, curled brown horns coming off his head. We had them outnumbered, but the Dark Mages were going to town on the Fallen Army.

A swarm of magical bees was spinning around a group of soldiers, while a demon-bound slave shot bullets, seemingly at random but in our direction. I sat there, crouched and in shock as the human with the red crescent tattoo on her forehead cut down the Fallen Army. It shook me to my core to know I had the same mark on my own head, as did my mother. For the first time, I was regretful about taking the mark. Maybe it would’ve been best to just let my father go…

One of the Fallen Army soldiers was a Light Mage, her hands were glowing a golden yellow as she built up a powerful spell between them. With a battle cry, she thrust her palms outward and the light exploded. I flinched, unsure what it would do. The demons and Black Mages left standing all began to scream and hiss, their skin growing an angry red as it smoked.

With one final attempt, a tiny twelve-inch-tall Snakeroot demon slammed against the door of the tattoo parlor. When it didn’t open, he leapt onto Noah’s shoulder and took a chunk out of it with his teeth.

“Ahh!” Noah screamed, and threw the Snakeroot demon on the ground. All of the demons were looking pretty uncomfortable—close to being set on fire, more like it—and collectively must’ve decided to ditch the plan. It might’ve helped that Lincoln was holding the bloody head of the Monkshood demon and his sword was doing a crazy swirly thing of blue light.

“Go!” Lincoln roared, then chucked the head onto the street as they scattered.

The demons and their consort scrambled then, shielded from view by a puff of black mist, and then they were just… gone.

Holy hell on wheels, what just happened?

“Noah!” Lincoln leapt to his friend’s side.

Noah was holding his bleeding shoulder with a glowing orange hand, and wincing. “I’m fine,” he stated in a gruff voice.

Lincoln turned to me then. “Are you okay?” he asked, his eyes roaming over my body for injuries, before stopping on the switchblade in my hand.

I just nodded, about all I could manage at the moment.

Lincoln seemed to be gathering himself as well. “All right, take up the perimeter and radio me if they come back. I’ll call the academy for backup. I want fifty more guards here within the hour!” he roared.

The warriors spread out, pulling their weapons, and watching the end of the street where the demons had fled with eagle eyes.

The door to the shop popped open again. “Hey, sweet thing. You okay?” the tattooed young woman asked me. I just nodded while her eyes fell to the shank in my hands.

Oops. I retracted the blade and stuffed it back in my boot.

“Dude, she sliced up that Monkshood demon’s ankles. That was hardcore!” Darren announced.

Lincoln was looking down at me like he wanted to say something but thought better of it. “Inside,” he finally snarled, and then I was being pulled up, and into the building.

If this was everyday events in Angel City, I was going to have to upgrade my switchblade, and work on my fighting skills.

Chapter Five

“Whoa.” The tattoo shop was not ghetto by any means. I’d been expecting crumbling plaster, maybe some mold, but the floors were a shiny travertine and the walls were smooth plaster with various angel-related artwork painted on them. There was a check-out counter, where a balding older man with Coke bottle glasses was reading through a magazine.

“Hey, Mr. Hensley,” Noah called out, his glowing hand still on his injured and bleeding shoulder.

Is he healing himself?

The man looked up, squinted at Noah and frowned. “Hello, son. You okay?”

Noah shrugged. “Snakeroot demon bite. I’ll be fine by tonight.”

The tattooed woman led us back to her desk. A leather massage table lay next to it, and a tattoo gun was on the desk beside the four goblets of blood. My heart started to pound in my chest.

“Four. So gnarly.” The woman grinned and looked me up and down.

I rubbed my arms. “Yeah… about that. I’m a bit needle shy. Can I get like one today and the rest next week?” I laughed nervously.

She looked at me with pity. “Hon, this blood won’t last a week, and neither will you without these tattoos. Once a Celestial goes through the Awakening, they need their tattoos of light within twenty-four hours or—”

“Let’s just begin, shall we? She’s demon bound, so we need to get her back to her side of the city by noon.” Lincoln cut her off.

Mothereffing prick! I wasn’t sure if shooting fire out of my eyes was going to be one of my gifts, but I sure felt like it right then. I wanted to burn him where he stood. I had the freaking red tattoo on my forehead, everyone and their mom knew what it meant. He didn’t need to explain it to people.

She looked down at her feet. “Yeah, I heard.”

Pity. Great. She felt bad for me. What an awful feeling to have people pity you.

“Can he wait outside?” I asked, flicking my head to Lincoln.

She grinned. “He can get a bit snippy, can’t he?”

My shoulders relaxed. “That’s putting it mildly.”

Lincoln rolled his eyes and patted the massage table. “Come on, clock’s ticking.”

I groaned and thrust myself forward, sitting on the table, and pinning him with a glare.

Murder. The guy made my blood boil.

She sat down and started preparing her space, pulling out cellophane, and little plastic cups of ink. When she was done, she picked up the tattoo gun, dipped it in one of the goblets and looked up at me.

“I’m Marleen, but you can call me Mar.”

I smiled. “Brielle, but you can call me Bri.”

Lincoln made what sounded like a gagging noise, and I had to refrain from pulling my switchblade back out.

“So here’s the thing,” Mar continued. “Tattoos of light aren’t like regular tattoos. They bind to your soul, and it can be quite painful. Do you pass out easily?” At her words, the room spun.

“Yes, she does,” Lincoln answered for me.

I crossed my arms and turned to face him. “Please tell me it’ll be part of my training to practice kicking your ass,” I said through gritted teeth.

Marleen flicked the gun on and it started buzzing. “I really like her.” She smiled at Lincoln.

He sighed. “Noah, I’ll handle her healing. You can’t heal her with your shoulder injured.”

The serial winker seemed to consider Lincoln’s words. “Yeah, if that’s cool with her?”

I chuckled. “I don’t need a healer. Let’s do this,” I urged Marleen. If these boys thought I needed a healer for a tattoo, they would always treat me like glass. They were my master teachers or whatever, and I wanted them to know I wasn’t frail.

Marleen grinned. “Hardcore. Take notes, boys.”

I gave her a conspiratorial smirk, and extended my left forearm. Marleen took a deep breath and leaned forward with the buzzing gun. Her eyes flashed silver, and it was only in that moment that I realized she was a Light Mage.

   
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