“What’s wrong with science and technology?”

Grimalkin actually rolled his eyes. “If I thought this would turn into a history lesson, I would have picked a better classroom than a city street.” His tail lashed, and he sat down. “You will never find a faery at a science fair. Why? Because science is all about proving theories and understanding the universe. Science folds everything into neat, logical, well-explained packages. The fey are magical, capricious, illogical, and unexplainable. Science cannot prove the existence of faeries, so naturally, we do not exist. That type of nonbelief is fatal to faeries.”

“What about Robbie…er…Puck?” I asked, not knowing why he suddenly popped into my head. “How did he stay so close to me, going to school and everything, with all the iron around?”

Grimalkin yawned. “Robin Goodfellow is a very old faerie,” he said, and I squirmed to think of him like that. “Not only that, he has ballads, poems, and stories written about him, so he is very near immortal, as long as humans remember them. Not to say he is immune to iron and technology—far from it. Puck is strong, but even he cannot resist the effects.”

“It would kill him?”

“Slowly, over time.” Grimalkin stared at me with solemn eyes. “The Nevernever is dying, human. It grows smaller and smaller every decade. Too much progress, too much technology. Mortals are losing their faith in anything but science. Even the children of man are consumed by progress. They sneer at the old stories and are drawn to the newest gadgets, computers, or video games. They no longer believe in monsters or magic. As cities grow and technology takes over the world, belief and imagination fade away, and so do we.”

“What can we do to stop it?” I whispered.

“Nothing.” Grimalkin raised a hind leg and scratched an ear. “Maybe the Nevernever will hold out till the end of the world. Maybe it will disappear in a few centuries. Everything dies eventually, human. Now, if you are quite done with the questions, we should keep moving.”

“But if the Nevernever dies, won’t you disappear, as well?”

“I am a cat,” Grimalkin replied, as if that explained anything.

I FOLLOWED GRIMALKIN DOWN the sidewalk as the sun set over the horizon and the streetlamps flickered to life.

I caught glimpses of fey everywhere, walking past us, hanging out in dark alleys, stealing over the rooftops or skipping along the power lines. I wondered how I could’ve been so blind before. And I remembered a conversation with Robbie, in my living room so long ago, a lifetime ago. Once you start seeing things, you won’t be able to stop. You know what they say—ignorance is bliss, right?

If only I’d listened to him then.

Grimalkin led me down several more streets and suddenly stopped. Across the street a two-story dance club, lit with pink-and-blue neon lights, radiated in the darkness. The sign proclaimed it Blue Chaos. Young men and women lined up outside the club, the lights sparkling off earrings, metal studs, and bleached hair. Music pounded the walls outside.

“Here we are,” Grimalkin said, sounding pleased with himself. “The energy around a trod never changes, though when I was here last this place was different.”

“The trod thingy is the dance club?”

“Inside the dance club,” Grimalkin said with a great show of patience.

“I’ll never get in there,” I told the feline, looking at the club. “The line is, like, a mile long, and I don’t think this is a minor-friendly place. I won’t make it past the front door.”

“I would think your Puck taught you better than this.” Grimalkin sighed and slipped into a nearby alley. Confused, I followed, wondering if we were going in another way.

But Grimalkin leaped atop an overflowing Dumpster and faced me, his eyes floating yellow orbs in the dark. “Now,” he began, lashing his tail, “listen closely, human. You are half fey. More important, you are Oberon’s daughter, and it is high time you learned to access some of that power everyone is so worried about.”

“I don’t have any—”

“Of course you do.” Grimalkin’s eyes narrowed. “You stink of power, which is why fey react to you so strongly. You just do not know how to use it. Well, I shall teach you, because it will be easier than having to sneak you into the club myself. Are you ready?”

“I don’t know.”

“Good enough. First—” and Grimalkin’s eyes disappeared “—close your eyes.”

Feeling not a little apprehensive, I did so.

“Now, reach out and feel the glamour around you. We are very close to the dance club, so glamour is in ready supply from the emotions inside. Glamour is what fuels our power. It is how we change shape, sing someone to their death, and appear invisible to mortal eyes. Can you feel it?”

“I don’t—”

“Stop talking and just feel.”

I tried, though I didn’t know what I was supposed to experience, sensing nothing but my own discomfort and fear.

And then, like an explosion of light on the inside of my eyes, I felt it.

It was like color given emotion: orange passion, vermillion lust, crimson anger, blue sorrow, a swirling, hypnotic play of sensations in my mind. I gasped, and heard Grimalkin’s approving purr.

“Yes, that is glamour. The dreams and emotions of mortals. Now open your eyes. We are going to start with the simplest of faery glamour, the power to fade from human sight, to become invisible.”

Still groggy from the torrent of swirling emotions, I nodded. “All right, becoming invisible. Sounds easy.”

Grimalkin glared at me. “Your disbelief will cripple you if you think like that, human. Do not believe this impossible, or it will be.”

“All right, all right, I’m sorry.” I held up my hands. “So, how will I do this?”

“Picture the glamour in your mind.” The cat half slitted its eyes again. “Imagine it is a cloak that covers you completely. You can shape the glamour to resemble anything you wish, including an empty space in the air, a spot where no one is standing. As you drape the glamour over yourself, you must believe that no one can see you. Just, so.”

The eyes vanished, along with the rest of the cat. Even knowing Grimalkin was capable of it, it was still eerie seeing him fade from sight right before my eyes.

“Now.” The eyes opened again, and the cat’s body followed. “Your turn. When you believe you are invisible, we will go.”

“What? Don’t I get a practice run or something?”

“All it takes is belief, human. If you do not believe you are invisible on the first try, it only gets more difficult. Let us go. And remember, no doubts.”

“Right. No doubts.” I took a breath and closed my eyes, willing the glamour to come. I pictured myself fading from sight, swirling a cloak of light and air around my shoulders and pulling up the hood. No one can see me, I thought, trying not to feel foolish. I’m invisible now.

I opened my eyes and looked down at my hands.

They were still there.

Grimalkin shook his head as I looked up in disappointment. “I will never understand humans,” he muttered. “With everything you have seen, magic, fey, monsters, and miracles, you still could not believe you could become invisible.” He sighed heavily, leaping off the Dumpster. “Very well. I suppose I will have to get us in.”


Blue Chaos

We stood in line for nearly an hour.

“All this could have been avoided if you just did what I told you,” Grimalkin hissed for about the hundredth time. His claws dug into my arm, and I resisted the urge to drop-kick him over the fence like a football.

“Give me a break, Grim. I tried, okay? Just drop it already.” I ignored the odd stares I was getting from the people around me, listening to the crazy girl muttering to herself. I didn’t know what they saw when they looked at Grim, but it certainly wasn’t a live, talking cat. And a heavy one at that.

“A simple invisibility spell. There is nothing easier. Kittens can do it before they walk.”

I would’ve said something, but we were approaching the bouncer, who guarded the front doors to Blue Chaos. Dark, muscular, and massive, he checked the ID of the couple in front of us before waving them through. Grim pricked my arm with his claws, and I stepped up.

Cold black eyes raked me up and down. “I don’t think so, honey,” the bouncer said, flexing a muscle in his arm. “Why don’t you turn around and leave? You have school tomorrow.”

My mouth was dry, but Grim spoke up, his voice low and soothing. “You are not looking at me right,” he purred, though the bouncer didn’t glance at him at all. “I am actually much older than I look.”

“Yeah?” He didn’t seem convinced, but at least he wasn’t throwing me out by the scruff of my neck. “Let’s see some ID, then.”

“Of course.” Grim poked me, and I shifted his weight to one hand so I could hand my Blockbuster card to the bouncer. He snatched it, peering at it suspiciously, while my stomach roiled and cold sweat dripped down my neck. But Grimalkin continued to purr in my arms, completely undisturbed, and the bouncer handed the card back with a grudging look.

“Yeah, fine. Go on, then.” He waved a huge hand at me, and we were through.

Inside was chaos. I’d never been to a club before, and was momentarily stupefied by the lights and the noise. Dry-ice smoke writhed along the floor, reminding me of the mist that crept through the wyldwood. Colored lights turned the dance floor into an electric fantasyland of pink, blue, and gold. Music rattled my ears; I could feel the vibrations in my chest, and wondered how anyone could communicate in such a cacophony.

Dancers spun, twisted, and swayed on the stage, bouncing in time to the music, sweat and energy pouring off them as they danced. Some danced alone, some in pairs that could not keep their hands off each other, their energy turning to passion.

Among them, writhing and twisting in near frenzies, feeding off the outpouring of glamour, danced the fey.

I saw faeries in leather pants and outfits that sparkled, slinked, and were half-torn, far different from the medieval finery of the Summer Court. A girl with birdlike talons and feathers for hair fluttered through the crowd, slashing young skin and licking the blood. A stick-thin boy with triple-jointed arms wrapped them around a dancing couple, long fingers entwined in their hair. Two fox-eared girls danced together, a mortal between them, their bodies pressed against his. The human’s face was flung back in ecstasy, unaware of the hands running over his butt and between his legs.

Grimalkin squirmed and jumped out of my arms. He trotted toward the back of the club, his tail looking like a fuzzy periscope navigating the ocean of mist. I followed, trying not to stare at the unearthly dancers spinning among the mass of humanity.

Near the bar, a small door with the words Staff Only stood near the back of the club. I could see the shimmer of glamour around it, making the door difficult to look at; my gaze wanted to slide past. Casually, I approached the door, but before I got too close, the bartender rose up from behind the counter and narrowed his eyes.

Tags: Julie Kagawa The Iron Fey Book Series
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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