I laughed. "It's not West Virginia--which isn't that bad, by the way. It's Sonya Karp's-- '

I froze, unable to believe what I'd nearly said. I'd been so happy to see him, so at ease ... I'd let myself screw up. Adrian's face grew very, very serious.

"Did you say Sonya Karp?'

Several options played out in my head. Lying was the easiest. I could claim this was some place I'd been a long time ago, like maybe she'd taken us on a field trip to her house. That was pretty flimsy, though. Plus, I was guessing the look on my face screamed guilt. I'd been caught. A pretty lie wouldn't fool Adrian.

"Yes,' I said finally.

"Rose. Sonya Karp's a Strigoi.'

"Not anymore.'

Adrian sighed. "I knew you staying out of trouble was too good to be true. What happened?'

"Um, Robert Doru restored her.'

"Robert.' Adrian's lip curled in disdain. The two spirit users hadn't gotten along well. "And just because I feel like we're marching into full-fledged Crazy Territory--which means something, coming from me--I'm going to take a guess that Victor Dashkov is also with you.'

I nodded, wishing desperately then that someone would wake me up and get me away from Adrian's interrogation. Damn it. How could I have slipped up like this?

Adrian released me and walked around in small circles. "Okay, so. You, Belikov, the Alchemist, Sonya Karp, Victor Dashkov, and Robert Doru are all hanging out in West Virginia together.'

"No,' I said.


"We're, uh, not in West Virginia.'

"Rose!' Adrian halted his pacing and strode back over to me. "Where the hell are you then? Your old man, Lissa--everyone thinks you're safe and sound.'

"I am,' I said haughtily. "Just not in West Virginia.'

"Then where?'

"I can't ... I can't tell you.' I hated saying those words to him and seeing the look they elicited. "Part of it's for safety. Part of it's because ... well, um, I don't actually know.' He caught hold of my hands. "You can't do this. You can't run off on some crazy whim this time. Don't you get it? They'll kill you if they find you.'

"It's not a crazy whim! We're doing something important. Something that's going to help all of us.'

"Something you can't tell me,' he guessed.

"It's better if you're not involved,' I said, squeezing his hands tightly. "Better if you don't know the details.'

"And in the meantime, I can rest easy knowing you've got an elite team at your back.'

"Adrian, please! Please just trust me. Trust that I've got a good reason,' I begged.

He let go of my hands. "I believe you think you've got a good reason. I just can't imagine one that justifies you risking your life.'

"It's what I do,' I said, surprised at how serious I sounded. "Some things are worth it.'

Pieces of static flickered across my vision, like TV reception going bad. The world started to fade. "What's going on?' I asked.

He scowled. "Someone or something's waking me up. Probably my mom checking in for the hundredth time.'

I reached for him, but he was fading away. "Adrian! Please don't tell anyone! Anyone.'

I don't know if he heard my pleas or not because the dream completely disappeared. I woke up in the car. My immediate reaction was to swear, but I didn't want to give away the idiotic thing I'd done. Glancing over, I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw Sonya watching me intently.

"You were having a spirit dream,' she said.

"How'd you know?'

"Your aura.'

I made a face. "Auras used to be cool, but now they're just starting to get annoying.'

She laughed softly, the first time I'd heard her do so since being restored. "They're very informative if you know how to read them. Were you with Vasilisa?'

"No. My boyfriend. He's a spirit user too.'

Her eyes widened in surprise. "That's who you were with?'

"Yeah. Why? What's wrong?'

She frowned, looking puzzled. A few moments later, she glanced up toward the front seat, where Dimitri and Robert sat, and then studied me in a scrutinizing way that sent chills down my spine.

"Nothing,' she said. "Nothing's wrong.'

I had to scoff at that. "Come on, it sure seemed like--'

"There!' Sonya abruptly turned from me, leaned forward, and pointed. "Take that exit.'

We were nearly past "that exit,' and Dimitri had to do some fancy maneuvering--kind of like in our escape back in Pennsylvania--to make it. The car jerked and lurched, and I heard Sydney yelp behind me.

"A little warning next time would be helpful,' Dimitri noted.

Sonya wasn't listening. Her gaze was totally fixated on the road we'd pulled off onto. We came to a red light, where I caught sight of a cheery sign: WELCOME TO ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN. The spark of life I'd seen in her moments ago was gone. Sonya had returned to her tense, almost robotic self. Despite Sydney's clever negotiating, Sonya still seemed uncomfortable about this trip. She still felt guilty and traitorous. "Are we here?' I asked eagerly. "And how long were we on the road?' I'd hardly noticed the drive. I'd stayed awake for the first part of it, but the rest had been a blur of Lissa and Adrian.

"Six hours,' said Dimitri.

"Go left at that second light,' said Sonya. "Now right at the corner.'

Tension built in the car. Everyone was awake now, and my heart raced as we pushed deeper and deeper into suburbia. Which house? Were we close? Was one of these it? It was a fast drive but seemed to stretch forever. We all let out a collective breath when Sonya suddenly pointed.


Dimitri pulled into the driveway of a cute brick house with a perfectly trimmed lawn. "Do you know if your relatives still live here?' I asked Sonya.

She said nothing, and I realized we were back to promise territory. Lockdown mode.

So much for progress. "I guess there's only one way to find out,' I said, unbuckling my seatbelt. "Same plan?'

Earlier, Dimitri and I had discussed who would go and who would stay behind if Sonya got us to the right place. Leaving the brothers behind was a no-brainer. The question had been who would guard them, and we'd decided Dimitri would while Sydney and I went with Sonya to meet her relatives--who were undoubtedly in for a shocking visit.

"Same plan,' agreed Dimitri. "You go to the house. You look less threatening.'


He smiled. "I said "look.''

But his reasoning made sense. Even at ease, there was something powerful and intimidating about Dimitri. Three women going up to the door would freak these people out less--especially if it turned out Sonya's relatives had moved. Hell, for all I knew, she'd purposely led us to the wrong house.

Tags: Richelle Mead Vampire Academy Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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