When he finally finds Zoe at lunchtime—dressed in an Attack on Titan Survey Corps uniform—she double takes.
"What happened to your face?" she asks, incredulous.
"Huh?" He didn't think the Goon Squad roughed him up that badly.
Zoe makes a gesture in her own general facial area. "I seem to recall a lot more light wounds last night."
Eli puts his own hand on his cheek before he realizes she means the injuries from his fight with the peryton, not Arthur Lacroix. "Oh. Yeah, they were gone this morning. Guess your magic potion worked, huh?"
Zoe gives him a very strange look. "Ee, you realize it's just, like, herbs and honey, right? It's not . . . I mean, it's never"—another vague gesture—"before."
"So you're more powerful than you thought. That's good, right?" Because if Zoe's a witch, maybe it won't matter Eli's a monster.
"I guess . . ." Though Zoe looks like she can't decide between being proud and being scared. She finally settles on resigned, sitting down on the retaining wall behind the science block. "I heard you got the third degree from Lady Lacroix this morning," she says.
It's as good a segue as any, so Eli takes it. He tells Zoe about Lacroix, senior, and Lacroix, junior. The latter in particular elicits a great deal of consternation and warm hands, running across his cheeks and his limbs, checking him for injuries.
When she's convinced Eli's not going to drop dead of internal hemorrhaging, Zoe sits back with a, "Well. My morning wasn't nearly as exciting. I've been trying to scout shadows."
Zoe gestures towards the overcast, steel-grey sky with a self-deprecating twist of her lips. "Short of shining a flashlight on everyone . . ." She drops her hands. "I think I may have found something else, though. A locator spell."
"To find the sorcerer?" It still feels strange saying the word out loud like it actually means something. Like it's a Real Thing existing in the Real World.
"Kinda," Zoe says. She starts rummaging around in her satchel, eventually pulling out a thick, leather-bound book.
This is Zoe's grimoire, her book of magic. Eli's seen it before. It has rough-edged, hand-pressed paper and looks ancient, but was really brought back from San Fran by Mr. Chung as a gift. Bits of leaves and feathers stick out from various points, the pages covered with a combination of Zoe's overly ornate handwriting, colorful magical diagrams, and not-half-bad sketches of things Zoe's seen while wandering the woods around Rosemont.
Zoe opens the grimoire to a page that sports a valiant attempt at sketching the peryton. Next to it, she's written the directions for a spell.
"The problem," she says, "is we need a piece of the thing we're trying to locate."
"That's going to be hard, given we don't know what we're looking for."
"Hah!" Zoe announces, a devious sort of gleam creeping into her expression. "No, see. All we need to do is get something from the—"
Zoe's mouth clicks shut with such force Eli's surprised her eyes don't roll from the jolt. When he looks up, it's into the gormless face of Jake Smith.
"Hey," Eli says.
"Whatcha up to?" Jake shuffles anxiously a bit, then sits down on the other side of Zoe. She's already halfway through stuffing her grimoire back into her bag.
YOU ARE READING
The Dragon of Rosemont HighTeen Fiction
Four months ago, the death of his parents sent Elias Drake from New York City to the small town of Rosemont. Living with his workaholic aunt and trying to fit into a new school is no small task, especially not when a string of murders turns out to h...