Dragon's Gift Complete Series - Linsey Hall Page 0,1

join the Protectorate, you had to pass their Academy. The only reason I even had a chance at starting at the Academy was because Bree and Ana had gone there and done so well.

Except I currently had no magic, so I was the pity add.

I’d done a few informal classes there, but tomorrow was my first full, official day. Considering that I’d lost all my power during my captivity, class was going to be a doozy. I was damned good with weapons and potions and never, ever gave up, but even that wasn’t going to get me through.

I ignored the thought and focused on the street in front of me. On the possible murder that was about to occur.

This I could control. With my actions here, maybe I could do some good.

“I won’t miss class,” I said. “And I have to do this.”

“This isn’t the first note you’ve gotten, is it?” Bree asked.

“No. I’ve gotten a few others, slipped right under my door. The first was a robbery. I thought it was crap, but it wasn’t. I went to the assigned place and time, and stopped old Mr. Amos from having all his pygmy toads stolen.”

“The old guy who has the shop at the entrance to The Vaults?”

“Yep. Then it was stopping an arms deal, and a black magic mob beating. But this is the first time one of the notes said murder.” And now I was definitely sure we were at the wrong place. It’d been too long, and it was too quiet. I stood. “Come on. We’ve got to try Option B.”

“What’s that?” Bree whispered as we hurried out onto the street.

“There’s a shop called Evil and a bar called Despair located right on a little square at the back of The Vaults. Maybe it’ll happen there.”

“You sure know this place well,” Bree said.

It’d taken a lot of practice to learn the ins and outs of The Vaults, but it had paid off. I’m still alive, right?

But there was another reason, too, one I didn’t want to share. Not even with my sister.

I liked the place. Something in the darkened streets reached into my soul and soothed. I shouldn’t have liked such a place, one that was full of dark magic and evil.

But I did.

I hadn’t always been that way. On bad nights, I thought that something in my soul was changing, maybe. Turning dark.

I shivered and shoved the thought away.

We headed down the street, a narrow cobblestone affair that had been built hundreds of years ago. The Vaults had been carved right out of the huge cliff beneath Edinburgh Castle. The old buildings down there were pressed cheek by jowl, each rising about three stories tall. Though they looked like they were built of regular materials, they were actually carved right from the rock itself.

We passed a trio of shops that sold potions, each looking nastier than the last. Bottles full of acid-green liquid lined the window of the first shop, while a massive cauldron bubbled away in the second. The third had windows that were entirely blacked out, and that was scariest of all.

And though it was scary, something in me liked it.

Nope. Don’t think about it.

There were still a lot of people out and about despite the late hour. Every magical being in the world had a signature—something that hit up one or more of the five senses—and most of the people down here had gross signatures. Dark magic came with disgusting scents, sounds, and tastes. The smell of burning tires or the taste of rotten meat, that kind of thing.

I didn’t make eye contact as we slipped by mages and shifters who would spit on us as soon as talk to us. Bree stuck close to me, eyeing everyone suspiciously. They would have no idea how powerful she was, since she suppressed a lot of her signature.

I didn’t blame her. Better to fly under the radar. We’d spent most of our childhood running from the Rebel Gods, a fanatical cult that had hunted us because we were Dragon Gods. It’d taught us to be wary and try to blend in with our surroundings.

They’d eventually captured me, keeping me prisoner for five horrible years. But now I was free. I’d lost my gift of telekinesis and had no magic left, but I was free.


I focused on that, determined not to fall into the darkness.

I skirted around a witch selling fortunes, then hurried toward the back of The Vaults.

“It’s quieter back here,” Bree said.

“Yeah. Perfect for