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Chapter 2 Rescue

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Hunter never came back out of the Heka building. Eventually, some Smith with a sharp, blonde crew cut came outside and told us, "You need to head back to Veles hall."

I balled my fists. "What about Hunter?" I said. "Isn't he coming, too?"

The Smith opened his jacket and showed off a canister of eirineftis, a spray the Smiths used that could neutralize magic and knock out wizards, that he had tucked away inside. A warning. Blake grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back. Watching the sunlight glint on the metal can, I had no doubts the Smith would spray me, so when Alison and Blake started back to Veles hall, I gave the Smith a dirty look before following them.

Once we were back in Veles Hall, we gathered in my room. "They're not going to let Hunter out of there," I said, walking up to the window and staring into the quad.

Alison sat on my bed and kicked her legs. "So, what do we do?" I turned and looked at Blake with her.

Leaning against the wall near the door, Blake split a glance between us. "What're you two looking at me for?"

          Alison extended her neck toward him. "Okay, Legacy boy. Are you really going to act like you can't do something?"

Blake tossed up his hands. "What do you think I can do?"

          "You got us out of the Institute," I said.

          "I have clearance to leave the Institute, not clearance to get you under the Heka building."

I furrowed my brows. "You're just going to leave Hunter in there?"

          Blake wrinkled his forehead at me. "What're you going to do, Ryan? Even if you manage to save him, and you try to escape, the grims or the Smiths will hunt you down. You already missed your chance to flee with the Defectors."

          He was right. I didn't have a plan for what I'd do after I got to Hunter. To me, getting back to him was the most important thing. Everything else came secondary. When I didn't say anything, Blake said, "Look, Ryan, just have some patience. We'll figure something out, okay?"

Blake waited a minute to see if I'd say anything back, but I didn't, so he approached Alison, and she stood up off the bed and hugged him. After Blake pulled away, Alison said, "I'm going to stay with him, Blake." Giving me one last painful glance, Blake headed for the door then left for Thorn hall.

I stayed at the window, a million thoughts coursing through my mind like minnows traveling upstream. Alison sat back down on my bed and kept her worried eyes on me. "You're being weirdly quiet," she said.

          "No, I'm not."

          "Yes, you are."

          "No, I'm not!"

          "Ry! Don't do anything stupid, okay? I know we just got Hunter back, but don't go trying to get in there and save him or anything."

          Angrily, I spun around and shot her full of holes with my eyes. "So, you're taking Blake's side? The guy who's with the Legacies?"

          "The guy who's saved your ass, like, a bunch already?"

          I got quiet. She was right. Blake was our friend. No matter how mad I was, I couldn't deny he was probably in Thorn hall at that moment, trying to figure how to help Hunter. But nothing short of escaping the Institute would do. The spell we'd cast to bring him back had left the scientists curious. Why they hadn't dragged us under the Heka building with Hunter had me a little puzzled, but Melchior was patient, and no doubt he was waiting for us to try something else. Just like when we led him right to Gaspar.

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