Home > Charmfall (The Dark Elite #3)(8)

Charmfall (The Dark Elite #3)(8)
Author: Chloe Neill

“Maybe they’ve figured out some way to save up the magic,” Paul offered. “Like charging a battery?”

“That would be a new one,” Jason said with a frown.

That would definitely be bad news bears. If young Reapers figured out a way to save up stolen energy and somehow transmit it to the older ones, they could build a traveling army of teenagers who could steal magic a little at a time. But if they could do that . . . “If the Reapers can save up that power somehow,” I asked, “could they do the reverse? Like, could they pull the magic out of us? Could that have caused the blackout?”

“That’s not possible,” Michael said, looking at Scout. “Is it?”

“Not that I’m aware of,” she said, but you could tell the thought made her nervous. “Saving up energy from one girl and somehow transporting it back to a sanctuary is one thing. Frankly, that wouldn’t surprise me much. But taking the power of all Adepts across Chicago? That’s different by, like, magnitudes. I’m sure there’s some reason for this, and whether it’s magical or not, it’s not something the Reapers just whipped out all of a sudden. It would take planning.”

I can’t say I was convinced. We didn’t have the most up-to-date information about Reapers and their activities in Chicago, and we weren’t out there setting the magical pace. Sometimes it felt like we were playing catch-up, trying to keep our heads above water and hoping we didn’t fall too far behind.

After that, no one said a word for a few minutes. The entire room was completely silent. Everyone looked uncomfortable, like they were wearing clothes that were a little too tight. That was when I knew this was going to be an important test for Chicago’s Adepts. Maybe the most important test of all.

We’d promised that in a few years, when our magic dissipated, we wouldn’t fight the loss. We’d let the power return to the universe instead of stealing the souls of others in a vain attempt to keep it.

It was easy to make that promise when you still had your power. When you were right in the middle of the magical high life and life without magic was years away. That decision would be a lot harder, or so I figured, when you were beginning to weaken. Sure, I hadn’t had firespell long, so its absence felt more familiar than having it. But wasn’t it going to be hard for the ones who had gotten used to it—who’d lived with the hum of energy longer, who’d been able to change the world around them with the flick of a hand or a few words of a spell? Wasn’t it going to be hard to simply shut that door and walk away?

Adepts usually talked as if the decision would be easy. And sure, there were consequences to being a Reaper that would also be staring them down—stealing souls, for one. But looking at their faces today, they were beginning to realize that the consequences of giving up their lives as Adepts were going to be harder to bear than they’d thought.

The Enclave door opened. Daniel walked inside, and from the look on his face, he didn’t have any good news, either. We did the roll call and filled him in on our magical deficiencies.

“I spoke with Marceline Foley,” he said. Scout and I exchanged a look. Daniel and Foley were close. He’d known Foley’s daughter before she’d been killed, which I guessed was why he’d been hired to teach studio art.

“Lisbeth Cannon is going to be okay. Marceline found her family, and they’re going to help her get back on track.” He looked down at a piece of paper in his hand. “The Reaper’s name was Charlie Andrews. He’s part of Jeremiah’s crew. Comes from a single-parent family, and his mom works nights. She gets some kind of stipend from the sanctuary to help them out, so she’s gung ho on the Reapers. Thinks her son’s a superhero.”

“Fat chance,” I muttered. It was a long drive from liking Reapers because they helped you pay the bills to thinking it was cool that your son was stealing a teenager’s life force.

“He’s too young to need the magic,” I said. “Did Foley talk to him? Why was he using a girl? Does he know anything about the blackout?”

“She wasn’t able to interrogate him,” Daniel said. “She only heard about the mom. She didn’t actually see him do anything—she only saw Lily assault him with a suitcase.”

All eyes turned to me, and my cheeks flushed red. “No firespell,” I explained. “That was the only weapon I had.”

“Awesome,” Scout said. “So he’s off the hook, and we’re back to square one, except that we don’t have any magic and there might be an army of Reapers not just recruiting teenagers for food, but actually stealing their souls.”

“It’s gonna be a great week,” Michael said.

Daniel tucked the paper away and took a seat at the table. “Everybody, calm down. The council”—those were the really higher-ups who made decisions about Adept strategies—“are looking into the blackout. They have our best minds on it.”

“We are their best minds,” Scout grumbled.

“Be that as it may, for now we leave the heavy lifting to them. This situation is temporary—if there’s a cause, there will be a solution. And we will find that solution,” he said, giving Scout a look. “That said, for now we have no power. So I want everyone on full alert. You go anywhere, you go in pairs. Be careful underground, and just as careful above. Until we know what they’re planning, we take care.”

“We always take care,” Scout whispered. “It’s the Reapers we have to worry about.”

“If we’re all on the same page,” Daniel said. “I think we’re done for now. You’re dismissed.”

“Excellent,” Michael said, and fist bumped Jason again. “Back to the crib and a little midnight gaming.”

“What is it with you two and the fist bumping?” Scout asked.

“We can’t help it if we’re smooth,” Michael said, giving Scout a big wink. She looked away in exasperation, but not before her cheeks went pink.

“Smooth?” I asked, leaning toward Jason. “He saw that in a movie, right?”

“Three days ago. Action flick filmed in Chicago, and he won’t stop quoting the scenes.”

As if we needed any more action in the Windy City.


Daniel’s motivational speech and our business done, we left the Enclave again, but stopped in the tunnel outside. We said our good-byes to Jill, Jamie, Daniel, and Paul, and Scout, Jason, Michael, and I hung back.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology