Out for Blood Page 70

“Yeah, we knew that. Her friend’s already off those.”

“They’re not the real problem,” Marcus said.

“This just gets better and better. Hit me.”

“The second sample, from that kid who died?”

“Yeah?”

He looked grim. “He was poisoned.”

I went cold. Hunter said people at her school were falling sick all over the place.

“And the poison wasn’t just meant for him.” Marcus’s fangs flashed. “It was meant for us.”

Chapter 28

Hunter

Wednesday night

“Got something!” When Chloe’s computer beeped the next night, she dove across the room, elbowing Jason in the gut.

He rubbed his sternum. “The hell, Chloe?”

“I hooked it up to beep when it cracked the TH file password,” she said excitedly.

“I thought you didn’t want to do that on campus, where they might tamper with the connection?” Jenna asked as we crowded around the back of her chair.

Chloe waved that off. “I put in a few more security shields and a red herring or two. We should be fine. Besides, we’re running out of time and I’ve mostly been concentrating on my mom’s files.”

“So what’ve you got?” I pressed, bewildered by the gibberish on the screen. “What did you find?”

“Another file hidden in my mom’s notes—labeled TH.” Chloe bounced in her chair. I knew that bounce. She was onto something. “I want it.” She chewed on her lower lip as the screen flashed. “Different password.” She hit a few more keys. “This would be easier if I had my mom’s actual computer. I could dust her keyboard.” She tapped her foot impatiently. “Come on. Come on, I said!” It took a few more minutes but she finally grinned. “Gotcha, you sneaky bastard.”

We all leaned in to read.

“That’s some kind of chemical breakdown, isn’t it?” Jason frowned. “For medications, or something.”

I skimmed the page, nodding. “Looks like. Here’s a list of side effects.”

“The steroid?” Chloe asked in a small voice.

I shook my head. “No. Just the TH. And … holy shit. Holy shit, we were right. It is meant for poor fighters. It says right here that it should only be given to weak hunters who aren’t expected to survive vampire attacks.” I felt sick to my stomach. “It goes through their bloodstream and makes it poisonous to Hel-Blar, to any vampires.” I remembered the blond Hel-Blar who’d disintegrated right in front of me after biting Will. “The League is sabotaging its own hunters to poison Hel-Blar.” My head was spinning.

No one said anything for a long moment.

“That’s just …” Jenna shook her head, unable to find a word heinous enough to describe what we’d just discovered.

“There has to be some mistake,” Jason said doubtfully.

I marched over to my supplies and started shoving stakes in my pockets and checking microphones and night goggles. They turned slowly, staring at me.

“Hunter?” Chloe asked, as if she was afraid I was about to lose it. “What are you doing?”

“We’re taking York down,” I said forcefully. “Right now.”

“Um, we’re going to beat up a teacher? That seems like a really bad idea.”

“We’re not going to beat him up. Give me a break. We’re just going to nail him for passing out that disgusting pill, and then we’re going to dismantle the entire League if it comes to it.”

Because sometimes you had to betray the League in order to safeguard it. Sometimes you had to break the rules. Sometimes duty was hard and uncomfortable and burned inside your chest. Grandpa taught me that last part well enough.

“How exactly are we going to do that?” Jenna asked. She held up her hands, palms out. “I’m all for a little payback, but I’m hunter enough to know better than to fight a battle I can’t win.”

“I have every intention of winning.”

“I get that, I really do.”

I tied my hair back in a braid, tucking it under my collar. “We use the same plan we had before,” I explained. “For now. Jason is going to nose around and see if he can’t get someone to sell him drugs.”

Jason winced. “I feel like I’m in one of those after-school specials. If I get branded a narc, I’m blaming you.”

I ignored him. “I’m going to e-mail this file to Kieran and have him give it to Hart. And then Jenna and I are going to switch off shifts staking out York when he’s not in class.”

“Am I going to need a fake nose and a trench coat?”

“And Chloe’s going to ask York for after-school training help and act all clumsy and weak.”

She sighed. “I guess I should be used to that.”

“Are we ready?” I asked, sounding like a drill sergeant. “We need evidence and we need it soon.”

“Sir! Yes, sir!” Chloe shouted with a mock salute.

I made a face at her. “Let’s just go. Last class ends in an hour.”

I took the first shift, creeping around the pond to perch on a boulder at the edge of the woods, where I had a good view of the teachers’ residence. If York left the building for any reason, I’d be able to see him and follow him. I felt a little like a detective in the old movies Grandpa loved so much.

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