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She lifted one hand, and Elodie jerked.

"I wondered why it took you so long to figure it out," Alice said, still looking at me. "You're supposed to be such a bright girl, Sophie, and yet you couldn't tell the difference between a ghost and a demon? Or was it more?"

She turned her hand a little to the left, and Elodie screamed as she flew to the side, landing in a heap against the graveyard fence. She lay still after that, but I didn't know if she'd been knocked out or if Alice was using magic to keep her from moving.

"Do you know what I think, Sophia? I think you knew what I was but you didn't want to face it. Because if I'm a demon, then what does that make you?"

My whole body was trembling now. I wanted to cover my ears to block out what she was saying. Because she was right. I'd known there was something off about her, but I hadn't wanted to question it because I'd liked her. I'd liked the power she'd given me.

"I've waited for you for so long, Sophia," Alice said, and now she looked like she always did--just a girl my age. "When those pathetic excuses for dark witches did their summoning spell, I clawed my way over a horde of demons to be the one brought forth. In the hopes that I could find you."

Blood was rushing in my ears, pounding at my temples.

"But why?" I whispered through chattering teeth.

Her smile was beautiful and terrible. Her eyes glowed as bright as a furnace. "Because we're family."

Then I was flung backward, my back slamming painfully against a tree, the bark scraping me through my shirt. I tried to move, but my limbs were heavy and useless.

"I apologize for that," she said, moving toward Elodie, "but I can't have you in the way just now."

She knelt beside Elodie while I sat helpless and paralyzed. As gently as a mother with a baby, Alice lifted Elodie's head into her lap. Her eyes unfocused and half shut, Elodie rolled her head to one side as Alice stroked her temple. Then Alice lifted her hand to Elodie's neck. Two thin claws shot from her fingertips, illuminated by the light from the orb.

Elodie barely flinched as the claws punctured her neck, but I screamed. When Alice lowered her mouth to drink, I shut my eyes.

I didn't know how much time had passed before I could suddenly move again--but when I finally stood, Alice was standing in front of me, and Elodie lay, very pale and very still, against the cemetery gates.

I ran to her, and Alice didn't try to stop me.

Kneeling at Elodie's side, I felt the damp earth beneath us. Elodie's face was cool under mine, but her eyes were still half open, and I could hear her shallow breathing.

The wounds at her neck were red and raw, the rest of her very white.

Our eyes met and her lips moved, like she was trying to say something.

"I'm sorry," I whispered. "I'm so sorry, for everything."

She blinked once, and her lips moved again. Hand.

Thinking she wanted me to hold her hand, I reached down and took her left hand in mine.

She gave a deep sigh, and I felt a low vibration, like a low voltage current.

I felt her magic settle over me, just like she'd described. It felt soft and cold, like snow. Then her hand slipped from mine, and she went very still.

I heard Alice laugh. I turned to see her twirling in a circle, her skirt held out to her sides. "I must say, of all the gifts you could have given me, that one was the best."

Slowly, I rose to my feet. "Gift?"

Alice stopped twirling, but she was still giggling. "That night you brought her with you, I was sure you had figured out what I really was. It was kind of you to bring her to me and save me the risk of getting caught in that horrid school."

The magic Elodie had passed on to me still thrummed in my veins, but I had no idea what to do with it. I knew I was no match for Alice, even if we did share the same type of power. She'd had a lot longer to use it, plus I guessed her stint in hell had taught her a few tricks. So the only thing I had going for me were the few paragraphs I could remember from the demon books I'd read, and pure, clean rage.

Alice was laughing again, magic drunk on Elodie's blood. "Now that I've regained my full strength, we'll be unstoppable, Sophia. Nothing will be out of our reach."

But I wasn't listening to her. I was looking at the statue of the angel and the black sword in its hands. Black rock.


In Defense, the Vandy was always going on about how everyone had a weakness, and I knew what Alice's was.


"Break," I murmured, and with a loud crack, the sword split in half.

The jagged stone landed in the grass just in front of me. I picked it up even as it burned hot and its edges sliced my hand. It was heavier than I'd thought it would be, and I hoped I'd be able to lift it high enough to do what I had to.

Alice turned around and saw me holding the shard, but she didn't look scared, just confused. "What are you doing, Sophia?"

She was standing about ten feet from me. I knew that if I ran at her, she'd flick me into a tree like a bug. But she was so giddy and didn't think I'd hurt her. After all, we were family.

I closed my eyes and concentrated, calling on my own power and the magic Elodie had given me. A fierce wind whipped around me, a wind so cold that it took my breath. My blood slowed in my veins even as my heart raced. I opened my eyes to find myself directly in front of Alice.

Her eyes widened, but not with fear or surprise. With delight.

"You did it!" she said excitedly, like we were at my ballet recital.

"Yeah. I did."

And then I hefted the shard of demonglass and sliced her neck.


"So it turns out I'm a demon," I told Jenna the next afternoon.

We were sitting in our room, or, more accurately, she was sitting. I was still in bed, where I'd been pretty much ever since Call and Mrs. Casnoff had dragged me back to Hecate. Call had been able to repair most of the damage done to my feet by my crazy bare-footed run through the woods, but my hand was another story.

I looked down. My left hand was fine, but the right had three long gashes across my fingers, palm, and the heel of my hand. They were puckered and angry looking, the edges of each slash a vivid purplish-red.

Call had done the best he could to heal them, but the demonglass had done too much damage. I'd probably always have scars.

Or maybe Call just hadn't had much magic left after trying to revive Elodie. He and Mrs. Casnoff had come crashing into the clearing only moments after I'd cut off Alice's head and watched her body dissolve into the dirt. Call had run to Elodie right away, but we'd all known it was already too late. Anna had told me Call couldn't raise the dead, but he had tried that night. Only when it was obvious that Elodie was gone did he turn to me and take the blade out of my hand.

On the way back to the school, I'd been pretty out of it, but I remember Mrs. Casnoff telling me that Alice's body had been buried in the cemetery, along with a few other demons. That's why the angel had held the blade of demonglass--just in case any of them ever managed to get out.

"You people are more prepared than the Girl Scouts," I'd muttered.

Then I'd fainted.

"I always thought you were pretty evil. I just never wanted to say anything," Jenna said now. Her voice was light, but her eyes were sad when she looked down at my hand.

I'd gotten most of the story from Mrs. Casnoff that night. She hadn't lied when she'd told me that Alice had been changed through a black magic ritual. She'd just neglected to tell me that Alice's ritual had been a summoning incantation, designed to bring forth a demon and make it do your bidding.

I had no idea what anyone would ever need a demon for. Errands?

General evil tasks that needed doing around the house?

But demons are tricky, and so instead of becoming Alice's do-boy, it had stolen her soul and made her a monster. Since she was pregnant at the time, her baby had been a demon too. Lucy had married a human, so Dad was half demon, making me only a quarter demon.

"But," Mrs. Casnoff had told me as Call had tried to heal my hand,

"even a diluted amount of demon blood can result in enormous power."

"Great," I'd replied, my hand on fire as Cal's white magic raced over it.

Mrs. Casnoff had known what I really was all along, of course. That's why she hadn't been able to sense Alice. She thought she was just picking up on my demon vibes.

"So what happens now?" Jenna asked, getting off of her bed to sit gingerly on the edge of mine. "What about Archer and your dad?"

I shifted, wincing as my hand bumped against my leg. "I haven't heard anything about Archer other than what you told me about how he and his family have dropped off the face of the earth. Apparently there's a big group of warlocks out hunting for him."

And what they would do when they caught him. . . ? I didn't want to think about it.

"Call thinks he and his family probably ran to Italy," I continued, trying to ignore the pain in my heart. "Since that's where The Eye is based, it seems like a safe bet."

To my surprise, Jenna shook her head. "I don't know. Something I overheard in Savannah. A few witches were talking about the ll'Occhio di Dio contingent in London. There've been a few sightings of a new guy with them. Dark-haired, young. Could be him."

My chest constricted.

"Why would he go there? He'd be right under the Council's noses."

She shrugged. "Hiding in plain sight? I just hope they catch him. I hope they catch all of them." Her eyes were cold as she said it, and a little shudder ran through me.

"As for my dad, I don't really know. The Council always knew he was half demon, but I guess since he'd never attempted to eat anybody's face and was super powerful to boot, they decided it was okay to make him Head, so long as no other Prodigium found out what he really was."

"And Mrs. Casnoff knew too?"

"All the teachers did. They work for the Council."

Jenna reached up and started twirling her pink streak.

"So you're not a witch," she said. It wasn't a question. Now my wince had nothing to do with my hand.

I wasn't a witch. I never had been. Mrs. Casnoff had explained that the powers of demons are so similar to those of dark witches that it's easy for a demon to "pass" as a witch, so long as she doesn't do anything crazy, like . . .

well, like drinking the blood of a bunch of witches to make herself stronger.

I'd liked thinking of myself as a witch. It was a lot nicer than demon.

Demon meant monster to me.

Jenna suddenly reached over and started scratching the top of my head. "What are you doing?"

"I was seeing if you have horns under all that hair," she said, giggling.

I swatted her hand away, but I couldn't help smiling back. "I'm so glad my monsterness amuses you, Jenna."

She stopped playing with my hair and wrapped an arm around my shoulder. "Hey, speaking as one monster to another, I can tell you it's not so bad. At least we can be freaks together."

I turned and dropped my head on her shoulder. "Thanks," I said softly, and she gave me a squeeze in return.

There was a soft rapping at the door, and we both looked up. "It's probably Casnoff," I said. "She's checked on me like five times already today."

What I didn't tell Jenna was that the last time we had talked, I'd asked Mrs. Casnoff what all this meant for me.