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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
“Was there ... one more piece of paper?” I ask Francis in a low voice, mostly so Magnus won’t overhear. He’s going to kill me. Seriously kill me.
“Um.” Francis looks around. “I don’t think so. Unless it blew away before I grabbed the stack?”
Or I left it on the printer back at the B&B. Either way, I’m missing a page. Probably a very important page ...
“Try it again,” Jareth urges, unaware of my distress.
So I do. I mean, why not, right? I stand at the cliff’s edge, I raise my hands, I say the whole stupid poem. But, of course, nothing happens. Whatever that final step is, the door isn’t going to open without it. And we’re an hour outside of town. That means two more hours of wasted time if we have to return to the B&B and come back. Two hours for Sunny to go and get married to someone else.
Did I mention Magnus is going to kill me?
“Was there anything else you’re supposed to do?” Jareth asks, trying to be helpful. Once again I wish I had real vampire telepathy with the guy to tell him what’s really going on without alerting the master. “Another step?”
“Maybe you’re supposed to make some kind of hand movements or something?” Magnus suggests, not so helpfully. “Or do a little fairy dance?”
“I don’t know, okay?” I cry, exasperated, feeling the bloody tears well up in my eyes. Why wasn’t I more careful? Why didn’t I look through the notes more thoroughly before I left? I’m such a careless idiot. And now Sunny’s going to be stuck in fairyland forever and it’s all my fault. “I wish I knew what I was supposed to do. But—”
Suddenly a flash of light bursts from the heavens. I look up, startled. A bright, twinkling star, hanging high in the sky, seems to wink at me, then goes dark again.
And suddenly, I get my wish.
I know exactly how to open the portal to fairyland.
I walk over to the edge of the cliff and step off.
“Rayne! What are you—?”
But Jareth’s words are cut off by a loud scraping sound—like that of a skate on a sheet of ice. Mist rolls in over the coastline, climbing the cliff until it reaches the spot where I’m hovering, forming a cloud staircase under my feet.
I glance back at the vampires, who are, I note smugly, mouth-open in disbelief.
“How did you ... ?” Magnus starts to ask.
“Easy. I just wished upon a star,” I reply, taking a step up the cloud staircase. It’s soft and a little sticky, like marshmallow, but solid enough, and I’m sure it’ll be able to hold all our weight. “Like, literally. This is fairyland, remember?” I add. “From now on, all fairytale rules apply.”
The vampires shake their heads in amazement, but after a few tentative steps, they follow me up the staircase. At the top, we come to a door, which opens into a long, dark, dusty hallway. Evidently this entrance isn’t used too much. We step inside and walk down the corridor until we arrive at a huge pair of double doors, complete with brass knockers. I consider using them to knock, then decide to see if the doors will open by themselves first. I grab the handles and pull the doors open, revealing fairyland at long last. And it’s ...
... Disney World?
I do a double take. Sure enough, it appears we’re not in Ireland anymore, but rather a good reproduction of Orlando, Florida, standing outside the entrance to the Magic Kingdom itself. Same Mickey Mouse-shaped flower garden on the hillside, same old-fashioned elevated train station above. Same three billion tourists meandering about.
Except many of these particular tourists seem to be sporting wings along with their mouse ears.
“Wow.” Jareth whistles under his breath. “I’ve heard people say fairy tales have become way too Disneyfied these days. But this is a little ridiculous.”
The other vampires nod their heads in agreement, all pretty much as speechless as I am. That weirdly handsome fairy army that attacked us suddenly makes a lot more sense.
“Well, at least we’ll know our way around,” I point out. “I’ve been to Disney twelve times. We used to go every summer, when visiting Grandma.” I stop, sobered as I remember suddenly that the sweet old lady in Florida isn’t my real grandmother at all, but rather an actress my parents hired to play the part. Our real grandmother, a woman we never met, was assassinated in this very magic kingdom, not too long ago.
I shiver, suddenly a little creeped out.
“Is it safe to go out there?” Francis asks worriedly. “It looks pretty sunny.” It’s then that I realize all the vampires besides Jareth and I are pressed against the hallway wall, avoiding the beams of sunlight streaming in from outside.
Magnus sticks his hand through the door experimentally and instantly his palm catches fire. He pulls it back quickly, blowing out the flame. “Damn it,” he swears, shaking it off.
“I guess they’re in a different time zone than we are,” Jareth concludes. “The sun looks pretty high in the sky—I’d say it’s about three o’clock in fairyland.”
Magnus scowls and attempts to try again. Francis grabs him and yanks him back, a split second before he willfully flambés himself for my sister. “You can’t go out there, master,” the bodyguard tells him gently.
“But Sunny—” Magnus says, a distraught look on his face.
“You’ll be no good to her dead.”