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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
“What’s that?” I ask, squinting at the next building we pass, across from the chapel. Weird. While every other building on campus resembles a Victorian mansion, this one looks more like an abandoned factory. Built entirely of brick, it’s got boarded-up windows and barbed wire fencing. The whole thing screams “horror movie waiting to happen” and is totally out of place in this otherwise elegant, Gothic setting.
“Oh!” Lilli replies after taking a furtive look at the building, then turning away with a small shudder. “That’s ... Night School.”
Oh-kay. I wait for her long-winded explanation. The kind she’s given for every building, tree, and overturned rock we’ve passed on the property. But instead, bubbly exclamation girl seems to have suddenly turned mime. And while the momentary quiet should be somewhat of a relief, instead it makes me slightly nervous. I glance back at the building, a shiver crawling down my back. What is that place? And why is it here, an ugly wound on the otherwise beautiful Swiss mountainside campus?
“Here we are!” Lilli cries, interrupting my troubled thoughts. Her voice is all cheery chipmunk/exclamation points again. “The headmistress’s office and teacher quarters!”
I reluctantly turn away from the mysterious Night School and follow Lilli and Sunny into an impressive-looking two-story brick mansion at the bottom of the hill. Inside we find ourselves in a marble-floored lobby with sweeping staircase and majestic chandelier. I whistle, impressed. Seriously, this whole school is beyond opulent. Slaying vamps must command some serious coin. I’m so demanding a raise—or, let’s face it, a paycheck to begin with—when I see Teifert again.
A bored-looking receptionist reading, of all things, Vampire Academy waves us through and we step into a large office with dark crimson walls and mahogany furniture. Behind a massive desk sits an older woman, probably in her sixties, with watery blue eyes shielded by bifocals and a firm-set mouth, set off by thick frown lines. She wears a severe black suit with a high collar and a pristine set of pearls rests at her throat. If you looked up headmistress in the dictionary, you’d so find this woman’s picture. Cross-referenced with evil stepmother and fourth-grade math teacher.
“Here they are!” Lilli announces cheerfully. “I brought them, just like you asked me to. I even gave them a little tour along the way. Did you know they had no idea who—”
“That will be all, Lilith,” the headmistress interrupts in a haughty English voice that leaves no room for argument.
Our tour guide’s face falls, but she nods quickly and skitters out of the room. Feeling the headmistress’s hard stare, I can’t help but wish we could join her. I’d even put up with the exclamation marks.
“Sit,” the headmistress demands in a commanding voice most save for talking to dogs or small children. Compelled, Sunny and I scramble for nearby seats. I cross my ankles and fold my hands, my skin prickling with nervousness. We’re not in trouble, I remind myself. We did nothing wrong. Hell, it’s not like we asked to come to this stupid school in the first place.
“Sunshine and Rayne,” the headmistress reads off a piece of paper. She looks up at us with skeptical eyes. “Rather unusual names, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, well, we have ... rather unusual parents,” I say with a shrug. In fact, now that I know just how unusual, I’m only thankful neither of us ended up being called Petunia Bottom.
She sniffs. “So I am told,” she says—rather snottily, if you want my opinion. “Well, I suppose I have no choice, but to welcome you to Riverdale Academy,” she adds with a deep sigh, as if our presence is causing her great inconvenience. “As your Relocator probably told you, we’re a school for vampire slayers. Children come here on their twelfth birthdays to train for six years with our specialists. When they turn eighteen, each potential is evaluated to determine whether they’re fit for field assignments or should be placed elsewhere in the agency.” She looks over her thick, black-rimmed glasses, giving me a hard stare. I’m guessing this old biddy never saw a day out in the field. “I understand you were trained one-on-one by vice president Charles Teifert of the American division,” she says, a grudging degree of respect creeping into her voice. “So I expect you will have no problem keeping up with the slayers in your own age bracket while you’re here.”
I shrug. Teifert might not agree with that. After all, he’s always saying I’m the worst slayer ever. Not to mention I started my training just a few months ago, at seventeen. Unlike these child prodigy slayers they’ve evidently got here at Riverdale.
Still, I remind myself, I’ve taken down two big-bads at this point, not to mention a pack of cheerleading werewolves. I’d like to see these preppy prep school brats take on something like that!
“I understand you, on the other hand,” the headmistress continues, glaring at my sister as if she were a smooshed turd she’d just discovered on the bottom of her shoe, “have had no training whatsoever.”
“Yeah, weird, that,” I pipe up, feeling the annoying need to defend my twin, who is just sitting there looking ill and tortured. “Since, you know, she’s NOT A SLAYER.”
“Believe me,” Headmistress Roberta sniffs, “I am quite aware of that fact.” Her eyes bore through Sunny, who looks this close to bursting into tears again. Then she sighs deeply. “I guess we can put you in the beginner class.”