Home > Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)(10)

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)(10)
Author: Richelle Mead

"Hey, we're just happy to see you," I said.

"I believe you. But I also believe you've got an ulterior motive."

Lissa's smile grew. She was amused by me being caught in my spy game. "What makes you say that? Can you read Rose that well or do you just always assume she's got an ulterior motive?"

Now Mia smiled again. "Both." She scooted forward on the couch, fixing me with a serious look. When had she grown so perceptive? "Okay. No point in wasting time. What do you need my help with?"

I sighed, busted. "I need to get inside the guardians' main security office."

Beside me, Lissa made a sort of strangled noise. I felt kind of bad for her. While she could conceal her thoughts from me on occasion, there wasn't much she did or said that came as a true surprise. Me? I continually blindsided her. She had no clue what was coming half the time, but honestly, if we were planning on springing a renowned criminal out of prison, then breaking into a security office shouldn't have been that big of a shock.

"Wow," said Mia. "You don't waste time with the little stuff." Her grin twitched a bit. "Of course, you wouldn't come to me with little stuff. You could do that yourself."

"Can you get me--us--in there?" I asked. "You're friendly with some of the guardians here... and your dad has access to a lot of places...." I didn't know Mr. Rinaldi's exact job, but I thought it was maintenance-related.

"What are you looking for?" she asked. She held up a hand when I opened my mouth to protest. "No, no. I don't need details. Just a general idea so I can figure this out. I know you're not going there just to tour the place."

"I need some records," I explained.

Her eyebrows rose. "Personnel? Trying to get yourself a job?"

"I--no." Huh. That wasn't a bad idea, considering my precarious position with being assigned to Lissa. But no. One issue at a time. "I need some records about outside security at other places--schools, royal homes, prisons." I tried to keep my expression casual as I mentioned that last one. Mia was on board with some crazy things, but even she had her limits. "I figured they must keep that stuff there?"

"They do," she said. "But most of it's electronic. And no offense, but that might even be beyond your abilities. Even if we could get to one of their computers, everything's password protected. And if they walk away, they lock the computers. I'm guessing you haven't become a hacker since the last time I saw you."

No, certainly not. And unlike the heroes of those spy movies Lissa teased me about, I had no tech-savvy friends who could even come close to breaking that kind of encryption and security. Damn. I stared glumly at my feet, wondering if I had any chance at all of getting more information out of Abe.

"But," said Mia, "if the information you need isn't too current, they might still have paper copies."

I jerked my head up. "Where?"

"They've got mass storage rooms, tucked away in one of the basements. Files and files. Still under lock and key--but probably easier to get to than fighting the computers. Again, depends on what you need. How old it is."

Abe had given me the impression that Tarasov Prison had been around for a while. Surely there was a record of it in these archives. I didn't doubt the guardians had gone digital a while ago, which meant we might not find up-to-the-minute details on the place's security, but I'd settle for a blueprint.

"It might be what we need. Can you get us in?"

Mia was quiet for several seconds, and I could see her mind whirring. "Possibly." She glanced at Lissa. "Can you still compel people into being your slaves?"

Lissa grimaced. "I don't like to think of it like that, but yeah, I can." It was another of spirit's perks.

Mia considered a few moments more and then gave a quick nod. "Okay. Come back around two, and we'll see what we can do."

Two in the afternoon for the rest of the world meant the middle of the night for Moroi, who ran on a nocturnal schedule. Being out in broad daylight didn't feel particularly sneaky, but I had to figure Mia's planning here was based on the fact that there would also be fewer people around that time of day.

I was trying to decide if we should socialize more or head out when a knock interrupted my thoughts. Mia flinched and suddenly looked uncomfortable. She rose to get the door, and a familiar voice drifted down the hall toward us.

"Sorry I'm early, but I--"

Christian stepped into the living room. He abruptly shut up when he saw Lissa and me. Everyone seemed frozen, so it looked like it was up to me to pretend like this wasn't a horribly awkward situation.

"Hey, Christian," I said cheerfully. "How's it going?"

His eyes were on Lissa, and it took him a moment to drag them to me. "Fine." He glanced at Mia. "I can come back.... "

Lissa hastily stood up. "No," she said, voice cool and princesslike. "Rose and I have to go anyway."

"Yeah," I agreed, following her lead. "We have... stuff... to do. And we don't want to interrupt your..." Hell, I had no idea what they were going to do. Wasn't sure I wanted to.

Mia had found her voice. "Christian wanted to see some of the moves I've been practicing with the campus guardians."

"Cool." I kept the smile on my face as Lissa and I moved toward the door. She stepped as far around Christian as she could. "Jill will be jealous."

And not just Jill. After another round of goodbyes, Lissa and I left and set back off across the grounds. I could feel the anger and jealousy radiating through her bond.

"It's only their fight club, Liss," I said, having no need for her side of the conversation. "Nothing's going on. They're going to talk punches and kicking and other boring stuff." Well, actually that stuff was pretty sweet, but I wasn't about to glorify Christian and Mia hanging out.

"Maybe now nothing's going on," she growled, staring stonily ahead. "But who knows what could happen? They spend time together, practice some physical moves, one thing leads to another--"

"That's ridiculous," I said. "That kind of stuff isn't romantic at all." Another lie, seeing as that was exactly how my relationship with Dimitri had begun. Again, best not to mention that. "Besides, Christian can't be involved with every girl he hangs out with. Mia, Jill--no offense, but he's not really that much of a ladies' man."

"He's really good-looking," she argued, those dark feelings still seething within her.

"Yeah," I conceded, keeping my eyes carefully on the pathway. "But it takes more than that. And besides, I thought you didn't care what he did."

"I don't," she agreed, not even convincing herself, let alone me. "Not at all."

My attempts to distract her proved pretty useless for the rest of the day. Tasha's words came back to me: Why haven't you fixed this? Because Lissa and Christian were being too damned unreasonable, both caught up in their own pissed-off feelings--which were kind of pissing me off in return. Christian would have been pretty helpful in my illicit escapades, but I had to keep my distance for Lissa's sake.

I finally left her to her bad mood when dinner came around. Compared to her romantic situation, my relationship with a semi-spoiled royal playboy from a disapproving family seemed downright optimistic. What a sad and scary world this was becoming. I assured Lissa I'd head straight back after dinner and that we'd go see Mia together. The mention of Mia didn't make Lissa happy, but the thought of a potential break-in did distract her momentarily from Christian.

The dress I had for dinner was maroon, made of light, gauzy material that was great for summer weather. The neckline was decent, and little cap sleeves gave it a classy edge. With my hair in a low ponytail that did a decent job of hiding the healing tattoo, I almost looked like a respectable girlfriend--which only went to show how deceptive appearances were, seeing as I was part of a crazy scheme to bring my last boyfriend back from the dead.

Adrian surveyed me from head to toe when I arrived at his parents' town house. They kept a permanent residence here at the Court. The small smile on his face told me he liked what he saw.

     Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
     Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
     Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)
     Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)
     Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)
     Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)
     The Meeting (Vampire Academy 0.9)      Homecoming (Vampire Academy #6.5)