He shook his head. "I can't, Sydney. It's for your own good. She's evil. I don't know what trick she's played on you or how she's got this illusion going on that hides her true identity, but you can't trust her. She'll turn on you. Let us - let us do what we need to." The words were all correct, right in line with the Warriors' propaganda. But, there was something in the way Trey spoke, something about his posture... I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that made me question him. People teased me about my inability to pick up on social cues, but I was almost certain he wasn't entirely on board with whatever this group wanted him to do.

"This isn't you, Trey," I said. "I know you well enough to know. You wouldn't kill an innocent woman."

"She's not innocent." There it was again - that mix of emotions. Doubt. "She's a monster.

You know about them. You know what they can do. Not ones like her." He nodded toward Jill.

"But the others. The undead ones."

"Does Sonya look undead?" asked Eddie. "You see any red eyes?"

"No," Trey admitted. "But we have other reports. Witnesses who saw her in Kentucky. Reports of her victims."

It was hard to keep a calm face through that. I'd actually seen Sonya when she was Strigoi. She'd been terrifying, and given half a chance, she would have killed my companions and me. It was hard to accept that when one turned into a Strigoi, they weren't in control of their senses or soul. They lost touch with their humanity - or whatever Moroi had - and weren't the same as they'd once been. Sonya had done terrible, terrible things, but she was no longer that creature.

"Sonya changed," I said. "She's not one of them anymore." Trey's eyes narrowed. "That's impossible. You're being deceived. There's some kind of...

I don't know... dark magic going on."

"This isn't getting us anywhere," growled Eddie. "Call Dimitri. Between the two of us, we'll get him to tell us where this compound's at. I've broken into a prison. Getting into this place shouldn't be that much harder."

"Oh, you think so?" A humorless smile crossed Trey's features. "That place is surrounded with an electric fence and packed with armed men. Plus, she's heavily secured. You can't just walk in there."

"Why is she still alive?" asked Angeline. She seemed to realize how weird that sounded and was quick to elaborate. "That is... I mean, I'm glad she is. But if you think she's so evil, why didn't you finish her off?" She glanced at my friends and me. "Sorry."

"It's a good question," Eddie told her.

Trey took a long time in answering. I had a feeling he was torn between keeping the group's secrets and wanting to justify his actions to us. "Because we're all being tested," he said finally. "To see who's worthy of performing the kill."

"Oh my God," said Jill.

"Hence all your bruises recently," I said. My fears of domestic abuse weren't far off, really.

"You're competing to kill a woman who's done nothing to you."

"Stop saying that!" Trey cried, truly looking distraught. "She's not innocent."

"But you're not so sure," I said. "Are you? Your eyes aren't telling you what your hunter friends are."

He evaded the accusation. "My family expects this of me. We all have to try - especially after we messed up the alley attack. We lost our authorization to kill her then, which is why the council ordered these trials to redeem ourselves and prove we were up to it." Getting

"authorization" to kill someone was sickening, but it was the rest of what he said that made me do a double take.

"You were there," I said in disbelief. "In the alley, and - and it was you! You're the one who grabbed me!" It came back to me now, my assailant's surprise and hesitation.

Trey's face confirmed as much. "I knew you were friends with them. I can tell by looking at all of you, although I didn't figure you two out right away." That was to Eddie and Angeline.

Trey turned back to me. "I recognized your tattoo the first time we met. I just ignored it because I didn't think you were involved in anything that I was. I thought you only hung out with harmless vampires, so I didn't expect you to be there that night. I never wanted you to get hurt. I still don't, which is why you need to let this go."

"I'm tired of this," said Eddie. It was a wonder he'd been patient this long. "We need to bust down the doors of that place and - "

"Wait, wait." An idea was forming in my head - and it was another crazy one. "Trey, you said Eddie couldn't just walk into that place. But could I?"

"What are you talking about?" asked Trey, a mix of suspicion and confusion on his face

"You know what I am. You know what I do." Trey nodded. "Our two groups used to be united. Those guys who stopped me on the street even said they thought we should all be working together. The Warriors want Alchemist resources."

"So, what... you want a trade?" asked Trey, frowning.

"No. I just want to talk to this council of yours. I want to explain why Sonya isn't... er, why she doesn't look the way she used to. There's a Moroi who uses a certain kind of magic who could even show you - "

"No," said Trey immediately. "None of them would be allowed inside. They're tolerated, but that's it. You hybrids wouldn't be allowed either." Again, he spoke to Eddie and Angeline. I'd never heard the term hybrids used, but the meaning was clear.

"Okay," I said. "Only humans. I'm human. Your group wants to work with my group. Let me go with you. Unarmed. I'll talk to your leaders and - "

"Sydney, no," protested Eddie. "You can't go there alone! They tried to decapitate Sonya, for God's sake. And remember what Clarence said about radicals stalking him?"

"We won't hurt humans," said Trey adamantly. "She'd be safe."

"I believe you," I told him. "And I know you wouldn't ever let anything happen to me either.

Look, aren't you curious about why Sonya is the way she is? Can you take the chance your people are making a mistake? You said you tolerate Moroi. She's one of them. Let me explain.

I'm not asking for anything else except a chance to speak."

"And a guarantee of safety," added Angeline, who looked almost as outraged as Eddie.

He nodded at her words. "You guys are big on the honor stuff, right? You'd have to promise she'd be safe."

"Honor's what makes us do what we do," said Trey. "If we promise she'll be safe, she will be."

Tags: Richelle Mead Bloodlines Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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