Midnight Frost - (The Mythos Academy #5) Page 0,1

protect me from any Reapers who might try to kill me, something that had happened more than once within the walled confines of Mythos Academy.

Still, I didn’t like being watched all the time, even if it was for my own good. It made me feel weak and helpless and just . . . trapped.

Suddenly, the room felt unbearably hot and stuffy, and I couldn’t draw enough air down into my lungs. Even though my room was on the large side compared to some of the others at the academy, the ceiling seemed to swoop down and the walls seemed to creep closer the longer I stared at them, like they were all slowly sliding toward me, getting ready to surge forward and crush me in their cold, indifferent embrace.

I shivered and dropped my gaze to the floor, but even it seemed to ripple, as though it was trying to rise up to meet the ceiling. I sighed. My Gypsy gift was acting up and making me see things that weren’t really there. I stared at the floor, determined to control my psychometry, but once again, the boards rose and fell like the ocean waves I’d seen when I’d touched Ran’s net.

I bolted off my bed. “I need some air,” I said. “I’ll be back soon.”

Vic and Nyx didn’t say anything as I stalked over to the door, opened it, and peered out into the hallway. I expected to see a guy with hazel eyes, dark brown hair, and tan skin leaning against the wall, but Alexei Sokolov, my friend and the Russian Bogatyr warrior who served as my guard, wasn’t waiting to walk me across campus. That was a little strange, since Alexei took his assignment super seriously, but I wasn’t about to overlook my good luck.

I stepped outside, shut the door behind me, and hurried away from my room as fast as I could.

Despite the fact that Aiko was outside my dorm, it was easy enough for me to go to the common kitchen that all the girls in Styx Hall shared, open one of the windows, and crawl outside. I slid from one tree to the next until I was out of sight of Aiko and the dorm before I stepped onto one of the ash-gray cobblestone paths that wound across campus.

It was late January, and the air was bitterly cold. The blustery gusts of wind kicked up the hard bits of snow that littered the ground, while the thick gray clouds cast the landscape in shifting shadows, even though it was only late afternoon. I stuffed my hands into my jacket pockets and tucked my chin down into the dark gray, snowflake-patterned scarf wrapped around my neck, trying to stay warm.

Since it was so cold, I was the only one walking across campus. I thought about heading up the hill to the main quad and going over to the Library of Antiquities, but it was sure to be full of kids studying. I didn’t feel like being gawked at, so I veered onto a path to my left. I wound up in the amphitheater.

The amphitheater was really two pieces put together—a stage at the bottom and then a series of long, flat shallow steps that climbed up the hill above it. The steps, which also served as seats, arced out and up into an enormous semicircle, until it almost seemed like each row was a pair of arms reaching around to hug the stage close.

The shadows seemed even deeper here, but the theater’s bone-white stone glimmered like a ghost in the wintry darkness. Sparks of soft lilac, silvery gray, and forest green were embedded in the stone, giving it a pale, opalescent sheen and making it seem as if a hundred thousand fireflies were slowly winking on and off. It was a beautiful sight, and some of the tension and worry drained out of my body. Plus, the amphitheater was empty, just like I’d hoped it would be. I wasn’t in the mood for any sort of company.

I walked over to the stage, which was surrounded by four columns, one at each corner. Stone chimeras crouched on round globes on the very tops of the columns, their heads turned to stare out at the steps, almost as if they were waiting for a crowd to gather for some show. I hesitated, a bit of unease bubbling up in my stomach, but when the chimeras didn’t turn and glare at me, I climbed up the steps, walked to