Ethan looked at Jade, then at the glowing gem in his hand, and then at me. I could see the confusion in his eyes, but he was a smart guy. Even if he didn’t have any idea what was going on, he could still follow instructions.
“I, uh,” he said hesitantly, “wish you would stop Henry?”
I spun to face Jade, but she had already crossed the distance between us. With a glowing hand, she slapped me across the face, launching me all the way across the council chamber. A surge of energy tore through me at her touch, like the world’s worst static shock, and I slammed into the wall hard enough to crack the wood.
You’re in trouble, Legion, I thought. If I were you, I’d probably skip town.
As soon as Jade saw me struggling to my feet, she came for me again. Her feet hovered a few inches above the ground, and her long black hair flowed this way and that as if she were underwater. I had just enough time to throw myself out of her way before she reached me, and immediately whirled around to give her a taste of Splatsy. Jade’s hand shot out, knocking the hammer out of my grip as easily as if I were trying to hit her with cotton candy and sweet dreams. Legion gaped in amazement as the massive hammer flew across the room and clattered loudly to the floor.
Then Jade reached out with her other hand, and…
Ohhh, I thought, heart sinking into my stomach. This is gonna suck.
A pillar of green fire blasted out of her fingertips. I tried to dodge, but the roaring inferno still managed to clip my left arm, and I was sent spinning across the council chamber like a jetpack figure skater. I crashed into one of the raised desks, and somewhere under the ringing in my ears I heard Patricia scream.
Legion looked down at my arm, where the sleeve had been completely scorched away. The skin was an alarming shade of red.
So, how do you feel about giving up? I thought helpfully. Because I’m game if you are.
Of course, Legion ignored my advice and forced me back to my feet. The pain in my arm was nothing to it. This wasn’t Legion’s body, and that meant that so long as I had this stupid rock on my head, I would keep fighting until there was literally nothing left of me.
And I wasn’t the only one, I realized. Jade hovered down below me, expression blank. Now that Ethan had that necklace, she would be under his control until—
“You!” I yelled, spinning toward Ethan. “Give that to me!”
Mothercrumpet! How could I have been so stupid? Of course Legion would choose right then to start paying attention to me again! Gritting my teeth in anger, I made to sprint over to Ethan—
And then Aesop clocked me over the head with Splatsy.
I crumpled to the floor, my arms and legs as limp as soggy spaghetti. Aesop, in true leprechaun fashion, had managed to not only steal my weapon when I wasn’t looking, but sneak up behind me as well. And if the bump on my head was any indication, he might just have a future playing professional baseball.
“Don’t just stand there!” he yelled across the room. “Get her!”
Legion tried to stand me up again, my limbs wobbly and weak, but I was forced back down when two teenage boys fell on top of me. My arms were forced behind my back, and all my legs could do was kick uselessly behind me as my two best friends pinned me to the floor with all the efficiency of a SWAT team.
“Your wish,” Jade said, as her light slowly faded, “has been granted, Master.”
I looked up just in time to see her body fade into a shimmering green cloud of mist, which floated across the room to be absorbed by the jade necklace that Ethan had left on the floor.
“Wait!” Ethan exclaimed, beginning to stand up. “What just—”
“Don’t let go of her, you moron!” Aesop snapped.
“Just shut up!”
Reluctantly, Ethan stayed where he was, which was good because Legion would have ripped Aesop’s head off if he had loosened his grip even a little. I wasn’t worried about Jade. Well, okay, I was worried, just not about this. She’d be fine once she’d had a couple hours to recharge.
Legion looked forward when we heard the sound of footsteps. Grandpa Teddy was holding his hip in obvious pain as he limped toward us, but the fire in his eyes made the look he’d given Ichabod earlier seem downright friendly by comparison.
He slammed his cane down into the floor half an inch away from my face and growled, “You will tell me what is going on right now!”
I grinned wickedly up at my grandpa. “You will understand soon, clown. Soon you will all understand!”
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER?”
“No more and no less than what was done to us.”
“Answer my question!”
My grin widened. “Do you really want to know? Then look at your granddaughter’s true face.”
Grandpa Teddy paused in confusion, but then narrowed his eyes. My N.O.S.E. still sat on my face, invisible. He reached out, grabbed hold of it, and yanked it off.
A look of pure horror covered his face when the pendant materialized into view.
“No,” he whispered.
“What is it?” Aesop demanded. “What’s wrong with her?”
Teddy didn’t answer. He reached out without hesitation and grabbed hold of the amulet on my forehead.
“You think you’ve won?” I sneered as he began to pull. “We can not be stopped. We can not be predicted. Our revenge will—”
In one swift motion, he ripped the stone pendant off me like a band-aid. I gasped in relief, feeling the unwelcome consciousness leak out of my skull like air from a tire. Then exhaustion swept over me, and I laid my head down on the floor.
“You can let her go, boys,” Grandpa Teddy said, sounding just as tired as I felt. “She should be all—”
“I wasn’t done talking.”
I gasped, panic chasing away my fatigue, and tried to stand up — until the knife was rammed into my back.