Blue Lily, Lily Blue Page 29

“Oh. Our auras? Okay, sure. But Persephone says that you’re psychic, and I am definitely not.”

Very bored, Gwenllian spread her arms out dramatically. Both hands once again pointed at the mirrors. “Mirrors! I am telling you, that is what we do.”

Something prickled in Blue, uncomfortably. She eyed the mirrors; Neeve had used them for divination, Calla said. She’d stood between them and seen endless possibilities for herself stretched out on either side, in either mirror.

Maura was always shuffling the page of cups out of her tarot deck and showing it to Blue: Look, it’s you! Look at all the potential she holds!

“Yes,” Gwenllian said, shrill. “You’re getting it. Do they use you, blue lily? Do they ask you to hold their hands so they can better see their future? Do you make them see the dead? Do you get sent from the room when things get too loud for them?”

Blue nodded dumbly.

“Mirrors,” Gwenllian cooed. “That is what we are. When you hold a candle in front of a glass, doesn’t it make the room twice as bright? So do we, blue lily, lily blue.”

She leapt onto her mattress. “How useful! A wonderful addition to the stables. Like the steed of Gwythur and Gwarddur and Cunin and Lieu.” She broke from her song to shake her head and say, in a more normal voice, “No, not of Lieu. But the others.”

Blue couldn’t quite believe that she had finally met someone who was like her. She hadn’t known it was possible. “What is blue lily, then? Where is that name from?”

Gwenllian charged the mirrors, stopping just short of going between them. She flung herself around to stand an inch in front of Blue. “Witches, my little floral cushion. That’s what we are.”

A delicious and wicked thrill went through Blue at the word. It was not that she had aspirations of being a witch; it was that she had been a nameless accessory for so long that the idea of having a title, or being anything, was a delicious one.

But misguided.

“Maybe you,” Blue said. “But the best I can do is not help people. Sometimes.” She thought about how she had pulled the plug on Noah in Monmouth but had been unable to at Jesse Dittley’s. That, she realized, had been Gwenllian.

“People!” Gwenllian laughed gloriously. “People! Men? What makes you think you are a friend to men?”

It could be argued, Blue thought, that Blue was only a friend to men, but she didn’t feel it was useful to bring it up.

“Whoever wants to talk to people!” Gwenllian gestured grandly to the two mirrors. “Go! Stand in there! Stand!”

Calla had previously made it quite clear that she didn’t want to stand between Neeve’s two mirrors. And she’d also implied that doing so might have had something to do with how Neeve had disappeared.

Blue did not want to stand between them.

Gwenllian shoved.

Blue hurtled toward them, arms wheeling. She could see the light flashing off their surfaces. She teetered. She stopped short.

“Okay, I —” she said.

Gwenllian shoved her again.

Blue only stepped back once, but that was enough to put her squarely between the two mirrors.

She waited to be vaporized.

She waited for monsters to appear.

Neither thing happened.

Instead, she peered slowly to her left and then to her right, and then she looked at her hands. They were still visible, which was notable because her reflection was in neither mirror. The mirrors merely reflected each other, again and again. There was something a little dark and troubling about the images inside them, but nothing more.

“Where am I?” Blue asked Gwenllian.

Gwenllian laughed and sprang about, clapping gleefully. “Grieve not for your stupidity! Mirror magic is nothing to mirrors.”

Blue took the opportunity to step out quickly, back into the middle of the room. “I don’t understand.”

“Nor I,” said Gwenllian carelessly. “And I starve from this idle talk.”

The woman started down the attic stairs.

“Wait!” called Blue. “Will you tell me about my father?”

“No,” Gwenllian replied. “I will get mayonnaise.”


The very first supernatural artifact Greenmantle had acquired had been a haunted doll. He’d bought it on eBay for $500 (the price included two-day shipping). The auction listing had promised that the doll had spent the last two weeks in the seller’s basement growling and rolling its eyes into its head. Sometimes, the listing noted, a scorpion would crawl out of the doll’s ears. The listing warned that this was not a child’s toy and indeed was only being offered to augment Satanic or left path rituals.

Greenmantle had purchased it with equal parts skepticism and hope. To his annoyance but not surprise, the doll was unremarkable upon arrival. It did not growl. Its eyes closed and opened only when the doll was tipped. There was no sign of any insect life.

Piper — his girlfriend at the time — and he had spent the evening eating take-out sushi and throwing edamame beans at the doll in an attempt to provoke some demonic activity.

Afterward, Piper said, “If we had a puppy, it could pick up those beans for us.”

Greenmantle had replied, “And then we could sacrifice it and use its blood to activate the doll.”

“Will you marry me?” she asked.

He thought about it. “I love myself the most, though. Are you okay always coming in second?”

“Samesies,” she replied. Then she cut herself and smeared her blood on the doll’s forehead, a level of personal involvement that Greenmantle had yet to achieve.

The doll still never growled or bit anyone, but that night, Greenmantle put it in a box in the spare bedroom, and in the morning it was lying on its face by the front door. He felt the appropriate level of thrill and fear and delight.

“Lame,” Piper said, stepping over it on her way to her ladies’ fencing class or her na**d baking club. “Find me something better.”

And he had.

Or rather, he had hired people to find something better. Now, years later, he had loads of supernatural artifacts, nearly all of them more interesting than the occasionally moving doll. He still preferred his artifacts to be mildly atmospheric. Piper liked hers dark.

Something was happening to her here in Henrietta, and it wasn’t just her yoga class.

He shouldn’t have brought her.

Greenmantle stepped into the rental house.

“Piper,” he called. There was no response. He paused in the kitchen to get himself a bite of cheese and a grape. “Piper, if you are being held up by Mr. Gray, bark once.”

She was not being held up by anything except the mirror. She was in the hall bathroom staring at herself, and she didn’t answer when he called her name. This wasn’t particularly unusual, as Piper was easily entranced by her own reflection. He returned to the kitchen to get himself a glass of wine. Piper had used all the wineglasses and not washed them, so he poured a nasty little Pugnitello into an Aglionby Academy mug.

Then he returned to the bathroom. She was still gazing intently at herself.

“You’re cut off,” he said, pulling her away. He noticed a tarot card — the three of swords — sitting on the edge of the bathroom sink. “It’s time to stare at me now.”

She was still looking off into nowhere, so he snapped his fingers rudely in front of her for a few minutes, and then after he began to get a little creeped out, he dipped her fingers into the mug and then placed the wine-covered fingertips in her own mouth.

Piper came to.

“What do you want? Why are my fingers in my mouth? You are such a perversion.”

“I was just saying hello. Hello, honey, I’m home.”

“Great. You’re home. I’m busy.” And she slammed the bathroom door in his face. From inside the bathroom, he heard humming. It didn’t sound like Piper, even though it had to be.

Greenmantle thought it was probably time to finish this job and get the hell out of this place.

Or maybe just get the hell out of this place.


Sometimes, Gansey forgot how much he liked school and how good he was at it. But he couldn’t forget it on mornings like this one — fall fog rising out of the fields and lifting in front of the mountains, the Pig running cool and loud, Ronan climbing out of the passenger seat and knocking knuckles on the roof with teeth flashing, dewy grass misting the black toes of his shoes, bag slung over his blazer, narrow-eyed Adam bumping fists as they met on the sidewalk, boys around them laughing and calling to one another, making space for the three of them because this had been a thing for so long: Gansey-Lynch-Parrish. Mornings like this one were made for memories.

There would be nothing to ruin the crisp perfection of it if not for the presence of Greenmantle somewhere and the non-presence of Maura. If not for Gwenllian and Blue’s hands and looming caves full of promises and threats. If not for everything. It was so difficult for these two worlds to co-exist.

Morning crows and workmen on scaffolding called to one another over the campus as the boys walked across the school green together. The sound of hammers echoed off the buildings; they were replacing part of the roof. The scaffolding was piled with slate tiles.

“Look at this,” Ronan said. With a jerk of his chin, he indicated Henry Cheng, who stood with a placard on the corner of the school green.

“ ‘Make a difference: After you graduate,’ ” Gansey read as they approached him. “Jesus, have you been out here all night?”

Henry’s shoes were slick with condensation, and his shoulders were shrugged up against the cold. His nose was extremely pink. His usually gloriously and enormously spiked hair, however, was still glorious and spiked; he clearly had his priorities. He’d planted another sign into a pot behind him; that one read THINK DEEPLY … but not about Aglonby. “No way. Only since six. I wanted them to think I’d been here all night.”

Adam raised a diffident eyebrow at the scene. “Who’s ‘them’?”

“The faculty, obviously,” Henry replied.

Gansey removed a pen from his bag and carefully added an i to Aglonby. “Is this still about the student council?”

“They totally ignored my petition,” Henry said. “Fascists. I had to do something. I’m standing here until they agree to start one.”

“Looks like you’ve hit on a good way to get expelled,” Ronan observed.

“You should know.”

Adam narrowed his eyes. There was something different about him. Or maybe there was just something different between him and Henry. Henry was a boy. Adam was a —

Gansey didn’t know.

Adam asked, “On what grounds did they ignore the petition?”

Henry paused to shout across the green: “ChengTwo — if that coffee isn’t for me, get me another! Please! Thank you! Please!”

The other Cheng distantly lifted the coffee cup in salute and shouted, “Sorry! Sorry!” before disappearing into one of the academic buildings.

“No honor,” muttered Henry. To Adam, he said, “They said it would be too much of a drain on the administration’s resources to set it up and monitor it.”

“That seems like a reasonable reason,” Adam replied, his eyes already on the class buildings. “What are you even going to council about? The lunch menu?”

Ronan smirked in an unpleasant way.

Cheng shivered and said, “You, Parrish, are part of the problem.”

“I’ll get you a coffee.” Gansey eyed his watch. “I’ve got time.”

“Gansey,” complained Ronan.

“I’ll meet you in there.”

Cheng said, “You’re a prince among men, Dick Gansey.”

“More like a man among princes,” muttered Adam. “You’ve got seven minutes, Gansey.”

Gansey left them talking to Cheng and headed to the faculty room. Broadly speaking, students were not supposed to come and go freely through the faculty room, but narrowly speaking, Gansey was exempt by virtue of gross favoritism. He scuffed the damp cut grass off his shoes on the mat by the entrance and shut the door behind himself. The old floor by the door was buckled by the weight of tradition and required a hefty, familiar shove to close it; Gansey did it without thinking.

Inside, the room was spare and drafty and smelled of woodsmoke and bagels. It had all of the comforts of a quaint prison: wooden benches on the walls, historic mural on the plaster, spidery chandelier overhead, gaunt spread of breakfast foods on a warped old table. Gansey stood in front of the coffeepot. He was getting that odd time-slipping feeling that the campus often gave him: the sense that he had always been standing in this old room in this old building, or someone had, and all times and all people were the same. In that formless place, he found himself intensely grateful for Ronan and Adam waiting outside for him, for Blue and her family, for Noah and for Malory. He was so grateful to have found all of them, finally.

He thought about that pit in the cave of ravens.

For the barest second, he thought he knew — something. The answer.

But he hadn’t asked a question, and then it was gone, anyway, and then he realized that he was hearing something. A shout, a crash, Adam’s name —

He didn’t remember the decision to move, only his feet already running to the door.

Outside, the courtyard looked like a set piece for a play: Two dozen students dotted the green, but none of them were moving. A slow, pale cloud moved among them, slowly settling. Everyone’s attention was turned toward the corner of the green where Henry had been standing.

But it was Adam’s name he’d heard.

He saw that the topmost area of the scaffolding hung crookedly, the workmen staring down from their positions on the roof. Dust. That’s what the cloud was. From whatever had fallen from the scaffolding. The slate tiles.

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