Wicked Enchantment(130)

By: Anya Bast

“Brother Gideon? Emily?”

Gideon gritted his teeth for a moment. His face—just for a heartbeat—made the transformation from medium to monster. Veins stood out in his forehead and neck. His skin went pale and his eyes bulged. He dropped her hands and moved away from her, his natural, unassuming visage back in place in a matter of seconds. Just the glimpse of Gideon’s true self was enough to leave Emmaline shaky, a reaction that luckily worked for this particular situation.

The tension in the air ratcheted upward between the two men. Power struggles within the structure of the group seemed to permeate all their interactions. Then, of course, there was the carefully orchestrated charade she’d been performing for Gideon to make things worse—making Gideon believe she was sleeping with his arch enemy.

As undercover HFF, it was her job to throw wrenches into the best of the Phaendir’s machines and she was good at her job.

“Are you ready?” asked Brother Maddoc with a warm smile. Brother Maddoc was annoyingly likable considering he was Phaendir. With him, you got what you saw on the surface. Trouble was, he hated the fae. Not as much as Gideon hated the fae, but enough to want to keep them imprisoned forever.

Her smile flickered. “No.”

Maddoc laughed and pulled her against him for a hug. “Don’t worry, you’re all set up. They’re expecting you at the Rose Tower as the newest addition to the Faemous crew. Just go in like you’re a real anchor and start snooping around for information about the bosca fadbh. I don’t think I need to impress upon you how important a job this is, Emily.”

Except it wasn’t her real job. She wasn’t going to step foot in the Rose Tower.

She knew all about the bosca fadbh and information about the valuable puzzle key would be found nowhere near the Seelie Court. The HFF had found clues to the second piece in records buried in a room of an ancient castle in Ireland. The piece she was trying to get was halfway around the world, off the coast of Atlit, Israel. It sucked that the only man capable of helping the HFF get that piece was stuck in Piefferburg.

She laid her head on Maddoc’s shoulder, an action that made Gideon shuffle his feet and cough as he tried to conceal his irritation and jealousy. “I won’t let you down, Brother Maddoc.”

“I know.” He smiled and kissed her temple. “Now go. They’re ready to let you in.”

She turned toward the heavy wrought iron gates that separated Piefferburg and most of the world’s fae from the fragile human world. The huge doors opened with a groan and all the heavy protocol that went with the admission of individuals began. On this side of the gate things were monitored by the Phaendir. On the other side of the gate, all deliveries or people passing through were carefully inspected by the fae and all arrivals reported to both towers.

Of course neither side trusted the other. The fae exerted what little control they had by checking to make sure no Phaendir entered—some had tried, all had been brutally killed. The Phaendir, of course, would not allow any fae to leave. Humans could come and go at their own peril. Not many did. Only the very brave and the very stupid dared cross into the land of the fae.

Or the very desperate. That would be her.

Glancing back at Gideon and Maddoc and shooting them a look of uncertainty she didn’t have to feign, she stepped past the gates.

Surely the Blacksmith wouldn’t recognize her under her powerful glamour. Surely she would be safe from his wrath. If she could fool all of the Phaendir, she could fool one fae. Even if somehow he did recognize her, hundreds of years had passed since that unfortunate day and her errand was of monumental importance to the fae.

Surely this would turn out all right.