Nix’s survival of the trip to the human plane had been a godsend, because it was the one thing that brought Ever and Mina back together. Ever had been five shades of furious over Mina’s error in being tricked with the Grimoire and losing Jared to Teague. She had actually still refused to talk to her until she learned Charlie and Mina saved Nix’s life by bringing him over. Ever had a few choice words about how dangerous and stupid it was, but she understood. And as Mina was trying to explain the school bus to Nix—how it wasn’t a giant yellow beast devouring a sacrifice of young children—Ever finally took pity on her.

T.J. returned to his seat amid laughter and a few claps. Mina had missed the entire thing, remembering. She’d need to pay better attention.

“Nan Taylor?” Mr. Morris called from his desk.

Mina craned her neck, surprised when her best friend popped up from the back corner of the classroom. She had thought, since the desk next to her was empty, that Nan hadn’t come to school today. Quite possibly though, she wouldn’t have recognized Nan with her bottleneck glasses, crazy ratted hair, and dark robe even if she were beside her.

It was apparent from her dress, Nan was trying to make a grand entrance. Her normally beautiful blonde hair was disguised beneath a very large witch hat. Her mischievous blue eyes were hidden behind thick glasses, which Mina could only assume were impossible to see out of. Mina’s assumption was proven correct when Nan banged her knee against a desk.

Once she reached the whiteboard, Nan turned up her iPhone, and familiar mystical music floated through the air. She always did prefer the dramatic approach to… well, everything. Nan decided to take a simple oral presentation and dress up as a character from the Harry Potter series.

Nan’s presentation was highly entertaining and informative, and she received bonus points from their teacher for taking the presentation one step forward with such creativity.

Mina’s heart sank when her name was called to do her presentation. Her hands clutched her paper, which was only slightly wrinkled from being folded and unfolded a hundred or more times in the last thirty minutes.

She desperately wished she had her best friend’s confidence in front of a crowd. Mina’s feet felt like they were encased in cement, and her heart pounded so loud and fast, she could hear it in her head. Why did she have to be so nervous? She happened to look out the window and saw that the clear sky had turned a dismal gray—which mirrored her feelings of distress.

She trudged up to the front of the room, desperately wishing for a giant crater to open up in the ground in front of her and swallow her whole. Or a meteor to come crashing into the school’s football field and cause a big huge distracting thing, so she could duck out the back of the room. But luck wasn’t on her side. Luck was never on her side. In fact she was pretty sure it avoided her at all costs.

She was standing in front of the class and she was now out of time. A small cylindrical object weighed heavily in Mina’s pocket, and she felt her hand gently brush against the seam ripper, its magic powerful enough to rip through the physical plane to the Fae plane by creating a door between the worlds. Oh, how she wanted to use it.


Her teacher Mr. Morris gave her a small smile of encouragement, and she felt her gumption leave. It was a bit ridiculous, if she thought about it. She could fight off bears, wolves, sea witches, Stiltskins, giants, ogres, and snakes, but she couldn’t handle standing in front of her peers and giving a dumb speech.

Her stomach dropped and a bitter acidic taste rose up in her mouth. Oh, Heaven Almighty, help her! She was going to puke. Was her face turning green? Isn’t that what happened right before an epic expulsion of bodily fluids? Or maybe her face would turn white.

Her curiosity got the better of her and she turned her head to try and see if she could tell from her reflection in the window. In the middle of the afternoon, she shouldn’t have seen anything, but the sky’s dimming its own sickly green made a reflection possible. A few seconds’ glance told her that her face was white.

She didn’t look well at all.

“My report is on Joseph and Wilhelm Grimm, otherwise known as the Brothers Grimm. Joseph and W-Wilhelm traveled the world collecting all of the various Fae—ry tales for their own records.”

Her hands began to shake. She saw that Nix had caught her blunder and quick recovery. Nan was smiling at her like a goon, trying to encourage her to keep going.

Mina smiled back and continued with her report. When her eyes flickered to Brody Carmichael, she started to stumble over her words again. Brody was leaning back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest with his head cocked ever so slightly to the side. He gave the impression that he was studying something of interest, and that something of interest happened to be Mina.

What had she just said? She’d been talking about their volumes of tales and then she lost her train of thought. Brody’s chair tipped forward and then gently settled on the ground again. With its impact, her thoughts scattered like cockroaches in the daylight. But it wasn’t Brody’s striking looks that distracted her; it was the person standing just behind him against the back brick wall.

He was wearing a long, dark jacket with a high collar, and his hair looked almost black. There was no mistaking the intensity of the hate rolling off of him in waves. But he wasn’t focused on Mina at the moment. Teague was glaring at the back of Brody’s head with enough hate to bore a laser hole through it—which confused Mina. Why would Teague hate Brody? Teague was the one responsible for Brody falling unnaturally in love with her and then promptly making him forget her. What was with the ire?

“Is that all Miss Grime?” Mr. Morris asked.

Apparently, she was so shocked by Teague in the room that she had completely stopped talking. Mina chewed on the inside of her cheek as she tried to retrace her steps and think of where she had left off.

“Um…um…” She faltered and shot Nan a desperate look, unwillingly casting another worried glance to the back of the room.

Nix frowned and followed her gaze. As soon as he saw the Fae prince, he turned around and slouched low in his desk, trying to hide from his prince—who may or may not recognize the Nixie in his human form.

“I uh, I’m…” She glanced down at her cheat sheet, but she could no longer read the words written across the plain notebook paper. They were simple bullet points, and facts about the brothers, but the script staring back at her wasn’t her own.

Careful what words you utter. For they may be your last.

Mina was careful to keep a neutral face as she read the threat. Instead of causing her to become scared, the words ignited a fire within her. Schools should be a safe zone, free from Fae influence—at least from the bad kind. There were too many innocents at risk: Nan, Brody, and Nix to name a few. And here Teague shows up and tries to intimidate her.

Nan noticed Mina staring and turned to follow her friend’s line of sight, but it was obvious from her confused looks at the brick wall that she couldn’t see Teague. Even though Nix could.

In fact, it seemed that most of the room couldn’t see Teague, so that eased her fears. But only a little.

“Mina, do you need a minute to regain your thoughts?” her teacher interjected.

Mina’s eyes never left Teague. He was now giving her his full, undivided devilish focus. Those blue eyes bored into hers with a clear challenge. Everything about him screamed Jared except for those blue eyes.

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