Dragon's Gift Complete Series - Linsey Hall
The alley stank of dark magic and death. I crouched behind a trash can with my sister Bree, trying to breathe shallowly. Black magic swirled on the air, almost invisible but obvious from its stench.
“Remind me what the heck we’re doing here, Rowan?” Bree asked.
“You keep poking into my business, so I’ll show you.” I peered out onto the darkened street. We were in The Vaults, the underground dark magic district of Edinburgh. The twisty-turny cobblestone streets were located right below Edinburgh Castle, and if one were inclined, they could find all manner of dark magic there.
But I wasn’t inclined to find dark magic.
I was inclined to find a murderer.
I shifted, trying to keep my black leather boots out of the mucky puddle, and debated if we should actually be on a different street altogether.
“How’d you know to come here?” Bree whispered from beside me. “Doesn’t look particularly murderous.”
Without removing my gaze from the street, I dug into my pocket and withdrew the little slip of paper, then passed it to Bree.
This had to be the correct alley. Right?
Paper rustled as Bree opened the note. I could hear the frown in her voice. “It says to come to the crossroads of Evil and Despair, and there you will stop a murder.” I glanced over to see her gaze shoot toward mine. Her dark hair glinted in the light, and her black leather jacket helped her blend with the shadows, just like mine did. “Who the heck sent this to you?”
Actually, that was a second mystery I needed to figure out. “I don’t know. But I can’t ignore it, can I?”
She frowned. “No, I guess not.”
“But it’s dangerous.”
I shot her a scowl. Bree had so much magic that she was basically a god. A Dragon God who had fully come into her power, to be precise. She had been gifted the powers of the Norse gods, a transaction made possible by dragon magic. She had more than a dozen powers. Our world was full of magic, and Bree was one of the most gifted of all.
Not so much.
I had basically no power—not anymore, at least—but that didn’t mean I’d turn away from something dangerous. Especially if it meant stopping a murder.
My glare worked, and Bree got the point. Contrition flashed on her face. “Sorry.”
“I know.” She worried because she loved me, but it still stung. Not only did I have Bree, my mega-powerful sister, I also had Ana, my second mega-powerful sister. I loved them so much that I’d die for them, but it was still a little tough to live in their shadows.
I shoved the thought away.
That way lay madness. And I wasn’t here to mope about my crappy magic. I was here to stop a murder.
Only two people could possibly know a crime was about to go down—the perpetrator or a seer. I really hoped my info came from a seer.
I fingered the dagger strapped to my thigh and frowned. The crossroads of Evil and Despair, the note had said. “This street is named Evil and this alley is called Despair, but I don’t think it’s the right location.”
“How do you know?” Bree asked.
“Just feels wrong. Too quiet.” Maybe it was instinct. I had pretty good instincts after learning how to operate in a magical world without magic.
Unbeknownst to humans, the world was full of magic. Shifters, Magica, vampires, and demons all existed right under their noses, either walking in disguise or sticking to all-magic cities and neighborhoods. The Great Peace, the most powerful bit of magic ever created, hid us from human eyes. They could see us but not our magic—which we tried not to use around them anyway.
Edinburgh had one of the biggest all-magic neighborhoods in the world, located right in the Grassmarket. The Vaults, where we were currently located, was situated right next to the Grassmarket and stuffed full to the gills with dark magic and questionable individuals.
“Don’t you have class in the morning?” Bree asked. “Should you be out so late?”
I scowled at her. “Off topic.”
“Not really. You’re about to officially start at the Undercover Protectorate’s Academy of Magic, and you can’t miss class.”
I huffed. The Undercover Protectorate was a secret organization dedicated to protecting vulnerable supernaturals and keeping magic in check. My two sisters and I lived at their castle headquarters in the Scottish Highlands, and they were both full members. Six months ago, Bree and Ana rescued me from five years of captivity—just the memory made me shudder—so I lived there with them.