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Splintered: The Society Book 3 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 21535

Updated: 2019-06-11 13:26


Chapter 29

All was quiet as they descended. Thinking about the last two visits to the archives, Ivy tried to swallow back her rising fear.

'No one is down there, ' Ivy told herself. 'All of the golems are where they should be and if I have to I can deal with the golems.' She had no desire to take any more of them apart, but the fact that she knew she could if necessary was a comfort.

After what seemed like an eternity, the elevator opened into the archival level. Ivy forced herself to step out of the safety of the box and into the atrium. As Jane promised, the area was cleaned. Not a trace of the past few days remained. The scent of the industrial cleaner stained the air. It looked much as it had on her first visit, albeit without the presence of Marylyn. She saw Ruben sniffing the air. If he scented something, he kept it to himself.

"The Teds definitely do good work, " Ivy said envisioning an army of mustachioed janitorial staff tucked away somewhere. She was certain no one individual could have completed the task in so short a time span. "They even got the soot off of the ceiling. To the archives then?"

"I will check on my own archives and return here to meet you. The mage guardians would not tolerate my presence."

"Theodore didn't like vampires, did he?" Ivy asked.

"He considered us untrustworthy, " Ruben replied. His lips twitched in amusement. "I trust you will not leave me down here?"

"We will wait for you here if we return before you do, " Ivy replied.

"I hold you to your word Ivy Chambers, " Ruben said. He inclined his head, then turned and strode off down the corridor leading to the vampire archives.

"Does this mean I get to meet Crush and Stab?" Danny asked.

"As I don't have permission to grant you access, you might want to peer through the doorway, " Ivy warned. "I'm not certain how they will react."

"One of us really needs to read up on golems at some point, " Danny said as they began to walk.

As she was the only one who visited the mage archives prior, Ivy led the way. Owen looked as though he was scanning the silent and relatively normal looking hallways for trouble and Ivy didn't want to interrupt him so they walked in silence. When they reached the mage archives both Danny and Owen remained in the hallway.

"If you can't guarantee Danny's safety, I'm not betting on mine, " Owen said. He didn't look happy about the fact. "At the first sign of trouble you run back out of this door. No hesitation, no second guesses."

"I promise, " Ivy said. "As the only place I can deal with a rampaging golem without incurring damage from the other defenses is the atrium, running is the only defense. After Vlad, I will be very quick to take it."

Ivy realized her palms were sweaty as she wiped them on the legs of her pants before reaching for the doorknob. Crush and Stab may not have been part of her personal nightmares as a child, but the thought of them coming after her was not a pleasant one. She took a deep breath to steady herself and opened the door.

Crush and Stab were in their usual positions. If they moved even a millimeter she would have been surprised. Despite their appearance, she found the sight of them exactly where they belonged somewhat of a relief. Behind her she heard Danny gasp at the sight of the two giants. Ivy stepped into the room and took her position. She saw the guards' eyes shift to stare at her and felt the weight of the stare as an almost physical thing.

"I am Ivy Chambers and I have permission to research in the archives, " she said. She was pleased that she kept her fears out of her voice. The guards looked away at her words, disregarding her presence and becoming statue like once more. The door to the archives opened and Ivy saw Fig standing inside. She relaxed slightly at the sight, even if a part of her was amused that this had become a normal sight. She moved into the archives.

"It is good to see you took no harm from your incarceration, " Ivy said as she approached. He held out his hands in a beseeching manner.

"You are apologizing for your absence?" she asked. He nodded vigorously.

"Don't, " Ivy told him shaking her head. "It wasn't your fault." She held out the stack of images to him. "Were any of these people responsible for putting you in the closet?"

Fig shuffled through the pages. He pointed to the earth mage and one of the vampires before handing the pages back to her.

"Were any other people involved?" She asked. He shook his head. "Just these two?" he nodded. "Good. They won't be coming after you again."

Surprisingly, Fig clapped his hands and did a little dance. Ivy couldn't help but smile.

"I'm glad too, " she said. "Are you up for a little research? It won't be much as I need to take the files with me."

Fig nodded so vigorously Ivy feared his head would snap from his neck.

"Right, " Ivy said. "Can you find files by image if you don't have the name?" His large eyes dropped to the pages Ivy held. "Good guess, " she told him. He nodded and held out his hand. Ivy handed him the pages. "I would also like any information you have on the Chambers family. I'll be taking the information with me."

Fig nodded and then waited to see if there were further instructions.

"That's it, " she told him. He nodded once and nearly spun around as he raced off into the depths of the archives.

"It is good to love your work, " Ivy said as she moved back through the doors, left the archives behind and joined Owen and Danny in the hallway. "To room twenty six, " she told them. "Everything seems normal here." She closed the door and they began walking.

"Normal, " Danny repeated. He shook his head.

"Nothing attacked, " Ivy told him, feeling relieved that something was at least as it should be. "If anything else is off I can't tell. I just feel the weight of many interlocking incantations, not what they do or if they have been tampered with. Someone else will have to check that out."

The hallways seemed less ominous now, but as they approached the door to her research room, Ivy felt nerves begin to dance in her belly. She took a deep breath and ignored the nerves as she pushed the door open. The scent of the cleaning solution was strong in the air. The white board was gone and judging from the chunk gouged out of the wall, she suspected it was broken when Vlad broke through the wall panel.

She looked to t

he told her avoiding the use of the word mage in a public place due to the number of pedestrians around them. "Given the unsettled nature of things at the moment, a hex is a possibility. Given my Pride's state of mind, having me debilitated at the moment would put undue strain upon relations. So, I avoid the bar."

"I see, " Ivy said. "I hope I have not added undue strain."

"No, we are closer to being out of your debt though, " Owen told her.

"That bad huh?" Ivy smiled.

"A few drops in the bucket at least."

They reached the restaurant and Owen left as she entered the bar. Despite seeing no one lurking, she suspected someone was.

'As long as they are lurking here, ' Ivy thought, her mind with Danny.

At this time of day there were few patrons in the bar, although early lunch diners were beginning to trickle in. While Ivy spotted a few mages, they were not ones she was acquainted with, so she was spared the need for small talk. Ivy took a seat at a table where she could be seen from the window and ordered an Italian soda while she waited for her brother.

'Hopefully everyone is still watching me, ' she thought as she sipped her drink slowly.

While Danny was taking the files to the car and loading the luggage, as they told Owen, he was also taking the keys to a locksmith and having a copy of Hamilton's master key made. Even though she still had the guard's keys, something no one seemed to realize yet, that key wouldn't let her escape the archives if the building was locked down again. If Ivy was going to be working in the archives again in the future, a prospect that seemed likely, she wanted to know she had the ability to leave whenever she wanted.

'Besides, ' she added thinking of her clan leader's mean smile. 'I don't exactly trust Hamilton.'

She didn't think Hamilton had anything to do with setting Vlad loose and ordering it to attack her, she wasn't entirely certain he didn't have anything to do with the lights going out and the additional file added to her stack. 'The earth mage could have been under Hamilton's orders when he took out Fig, ' she added. While she knew who to look at for possible Brotherhood payoffs, when it came to power within the clan, Hamilton still needed to be watched.

'And adding the file is something he would definitely do, ' she thought. 'It suits his style.'

Ivy smiled and shook her head. Part of the reason she came to town was to help Hamilton out by correcting rumors. She wasn't sure why she wasn't more surprised that she ended up suspecting Hamilton of some sort of power play to maintain his position or eliminate someone he viewed as a threat.

'Whether that threat is me or Brandon, ' Ivy thought. From this point on, she knew she would be watching Hamilton with a keener eye than before. It was no longer enough just to stay off his radar. She thought of the file box Danny took with him. 'If I ever was off his radar.'

Danny arrived and slipped into the seat opposite her. "I don't think I was followed, " he said. "And all our bags are in the car and ready to go. The original keys are still in the bag and the extras are in the glove box. Albert had someone drop some books by for you. They are in your vehicle."

Ivy nodded. To save time Danny ordered a soda of his own and they ordered three of the best looking appetizers to go, not staying to try them out. They each also got a sandwich to go. Ivy hoped the timing looked acceptable to Owen, or if he sensed something was off, he would still have enough good feelings for her to keep it to himself. With luck, they would pay a quick visit to Hamilton and be eating lunch as they drove.

The kitchen was quick and in short order they were heading back to their vehicles. Danny got into his mud spattered car and Ivy slid behind the wheel of Russell's Land Rover. She checked her cell phone and saw there were no missed calls. She put the cell phone in the cup holder and looked into the back. Her suitcase, the duffle bag and both file bags were on the seat while the file box was placed on the floor boards. In the passenger's seat were three books she guessed came from Albert. Satisfied everything was in its place, Ivy put the medical center's address into the dashboard GPS and pulled away from the curb.

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