Home > Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)

Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)
Author: Linsey Hall



In the last few days, my world had become nothing but bird poo and dust.

My friends and I had been cleaning the newly discovered Shadow Guild tower for three days straight, and we still hadn’t made it out of the first room.

“How the hell did those pigeons get in here?” I grumbled as I scrubbed at the floor with an ancient mop. “This tower was magically hidden for hundreds of years, and yet those flying rats still managed to get inside and roost.”

“I have no idea.” My best friend Mac dragged her forearm across her sweaty brow, her hair tied up in a messy knot as she tried to dust the ceiling. “But I must say, this place is turning into some major dead weight.”

I heaved a sigh and looked around the main room of the Shadow Guild tower. It was a lot cleaner than it had been, but it had taken us days of scrubbing.

“I’ve asked every cleaning company in town.” Seraphia, the local librarian and one of my new friends, scrubbed vigorously at the windows. “They all refused. They said the place was still too cursed.”

I like it. Cordelia, my familiar, grinned at me from her place on the only chair in the room. Somehow, she’d managed to drag the huge wooden thing in there, and she hadn’t left it since. Not close enough to the kebab place though.

“Your butt is going to become one with that chair soon,” I told her. “Why don’t you grab a rag and help me out?”

Cordelia gave a strange little chortling laugh and adjusted herself but didn’t move to help. Eve, my Fae friend, would be here after her shop closed to help out, and Quinn would swap with Mac when it was time for her shift at the Haunted Hound. There were five of us in the new guild—six, if one included Cordelia, which I didn’t since the little freeloader wasn’t doing squat to help. But Mac, Quinn, Eve, Seraphia, and I all formed the new Shadow Guild, and we needed to get our tower cleaned up if we were going to be official.

“I can’t believe all of this has been hidden so long because of Rasla,” Mac said. “That bastard.”

Rasla had been a council member hundreds of years ago—one with a serious bone to pick with anyone who was different. Since the Shadow Guild was comprised of all the weirdos in town who didn’t fit nicely into any other guild, he’d directed his ire right at it, using a combination of magic and malice to wipe it from the history books.

“I still have no idea why he hated the guild so much,” I said. “I want to figure it out, though.”

Last week, my friends and I had uncovered the mystery of the ancient guild, solving one of my biggest problems—my guildless status, which would have eventually gotten me kicked out of Guild City. Mac, Eve, Seraphia, and Quinn had all had guilds, but they’d never fit in well. As soon as the Shadow Guild had appeared, it had called to them, a more perfect fit.

Now it was the five of us, trying to make this work. But first, we needed to get it cleaned up so that we officially had a Guild Tower. Whether or not we would live there was still uncertain. Cordelia would mutiny if we moved away from the kebab place, and I liked my new little apartment.

Sighing, I looked at my phone, hoping for a text from Miranda. I hadn’t seen Grey since the battle to save the tower. Neither had Miranda, his second in command. We’d never been friendly, but she was as worried as I was. As a vampire and my Cursed Mate, he was doomed to die if he didn’t drink me to the death.

Talk about a no-win scenario.

I’d convinced Miranda to text me as soon as he returned, but I’d heard nothing still.

A tentative knock sounded at the door, and I straightened.


My heart leapt.

Seraphia, who was closest, leapt down from the deeply inset windowsill and hurried to the door, swinging it open. An older woman with red-rimmed eyes and wild hair stood at the entrance. Even though it was early afternoon, a bathrobe hung off her shoulders.

I stepped forward. “Hello. How can we help you?”

“Are you the new mystery solver in town?” Her voice shook.

“Yes.” I gestured her inside. “Come in, please.”

Behind me, Cordelia trundled off the chair and pointed to it. She can sit.

Sometimes my familiar managed to pull some manners out of the dumpster. I gestured to the chair. “Please, sit. I’m sorry. We don’t have any refreshments we can offer you.”

“I couldn’t drink or eat if I tried.” Her voice was so thin it seemed like it would break. She ignored the chair and came to me, gripping my arms tight. “My baby has been stolen. My Katine—just nineteen. She was taken right out of her bed late last night.”

I gasped. “Kidnapped?”

The woman nodded her head, her teary eyes desperate and her grip viselike. “I heard a bit of noise but thought nothing of it. Then a few minutes later—a scream, short and fierce.”

The guilt in her voice sounded heavy enough to drag her to the bottom of the Pacific. “Did you see anything?”

Mac, Seraphia, and Cordelia all gathered around, concern vibrating off them.

“I ran to the window.” The woman’s voice nearly broke, but she stiffened her spine. “A man—perhaps a demon—was dragging her through the back garden, right into a portal he made with a transport charm.”

Oh, shit. This was so much worse than a normal kidnapping case. In the human world, you had twenty-four hours to solve the case before your chances plummeted. In the magical world, with portals and transport charms, you had minutes.

They could be anywhere by now. I could see the thought reflected in my friends’ eyes, but none of us spoke it aloud.

“You didn’t go to the police?” I asked.

“I did. I’ve just come from there. But they’re slow. And I’ve heard what you’ve done for Guild City. If you can save so many, surely you can save Katine.”

Oh God, that was a lot of pressure. But I had to try. “What did the kidnapper look like? Did he leave anything behind?”

I tightened my hands into fists, wishing that my power didn’t require something to touch.

“He looked human for the most part, but he had terrible red eyes. Evil eyes.” She bared her teeth in a snarl, as if she could reach through her memories and strangle the kidnapper. “He was tall—dreadfully so. Two meters if he was an inch. And he wore a dark cloak that concealed almost all of him except a shock of dark hair and the red eyes. Like blood, they were.”

I looked at Seraphia and Mac. “Have you ever heard of anyone like that?”

They shook their heads.

I looked back at the woman. “And you have nothing of his? Nothing from the scene?”

“I can go search again. I didn't spend long before I went to the police. But they….” She shook her head, clearly irritated. “They’re working on it, but too slowly.”

“I can try.” I really needed something to touch, though. I held out my hand, palm up. “May I touch you?”

She frowned. “I suppose so.”

“Thank you. My gift relies on touch.”

She thrust out her hand. “Anything for Katine.”

Gently, I laid my palm on hers, trying to corral my magic into doing my bidding. Show me what she saw.

An image blasted into my mind. A young woman, pale and terrified, was being dragged backward by a cloaked figure with brilliant red eyes. She screamed, fighting his grip, but he was too strong. He slammed a transport charm to the ground, and a poof of orange smoke burst up next to them. He dragged Katine into it, and the vision ended. I shuddered, withdrawing my hand from the woman’s.

“The portal was orange. Is that strange?” I’d only been in the magical world a short while, but all the transport charm portals I’d seen had been silver gray.

“That is strange,” Mac said. “There could be some residue left behind if you’re lucky.”

“Could Eve track that?” My Fae friend was a potion master. In this strange, magical world, she was a combination of forensics and weaponry.

“Maybe,” Mac said.

“Do you want me to take you?” the woman said. “It hasn’t rained yet, and the garden is shaded from the sun.”

“All right.”

“Come.” She turned, her bathrobe flapping.

“Wait, I don’t know your name,” I said.

“Oh, of course.” She turned back, eyes weary and face drawn. “I’m Martha Templeton. Mother of Katine Templeton.”

“I’m Carrow Burton, Martha.” My phone buzzed in my pocket, making me jump. I pulled it out, my heart leaping when I saw the two little words from Miranda.

He’s back.

Mac’s eyes zeroed in on my face, knowledge sparking in her gaze. “I’ll go to Martha’s and get a sample if there is one. You go see what’s going on there.”

I hated not going with Martha, but for all I knew, Grey was at death’s door. The curse had an unknown time frame, but soon it would drag him to hell. He already wasn’t healing normally, his immortality draining away because of our Cursed Mate bond. I’d appeared in his life, and now he was fated to die.

I suppressed the shudder and nodded. Mac could get the sample and, if I needed to, I could visit the site as soon as I’d seen Grey. “Thank you, Mac.”

“No problem.”

“If you need anything from the library, just let me know,” Seraphia said.

“The library?” Skepticism sounded in Martha’s voice.

“You never know what secrets can be revealed by research,” Seraphia said.

Martha nodded, but the skepticism didn’t fade from her eyes.

We split up, Martha taking Mac to her home while I raced through the streets to Grey’s tower. It was a quiet afternoon, the shops doing a slow business as people ambled around the historic streets browsing for magical objects. Normally, I’d window shop while walking down the ancient roads, but not today.

I had eyes only for Grey’s tower, and I darted through the sparse crowd, reaching his headquarters in record time.

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