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The Quickening – the power that some of us craved, and that sent others crazy. To anyone else, it looked like the mother of all storms, but each flash of lightning slammed directly into my body, bringing with it all of McCarthy’s knowledge and experience, and that of everyone he had killed.

In the end, there can be only one. One Immortal with the power and knowledge of us all.

When it ended I was lying on the ground too, totally drained. I pulled in a breath that felt like my first, and opened my eyes. I became aware that there was another Immortal near. Adam was standing there.

“If you’re looking for a fight, you’ll have to wait,” I gasped.

He didn’t even smile, but he did come and help me up.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have left it to you.”

I shook my head. “It was my fight.” I was starting to recover and stand without wavering. “I’m just glad it’s over at last.”

“You know...” Adam said quietly, looking at me, “I’m almost sorry I pretended to be your uncle.”

I wasn’t sure what to say to that, but I was saved from having to answer by the distant barking of a dog.

“Oh, hell,” he said, “the search party. What’s your excuse?”

“Excuse?”

“For running away from school, of course.”

“Um... I hadn’t exactly thought that far ahead,” I admitted.

“Come on!” He grabbed my hand and ran with me, stopping only long enough for me to pick up my coat from where I’d thrown it during the fight. We dodged trees and puddles, ending up back at the San.

“You obviously came to visit me,” he informed me, “and got caught in the storm. So I put you to bed. In any case, you’ll have to change.”

I looked down at myself. He was right. Aside from being drenched and muddy, there was blood on my clothes from wounds that had already healed. That was another explanation I didn’t fancy. Luckily, we didn’t pass anyone; he scanned the corridor and hurried us into an empty room.

He would have to leave, to intercept whoever was searching for me from the school and give them our story – and I hoped they’d believe it, although they’d certainly never believe the truth – but, well, we had a little time before that...



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