“Ok, fine. But why couldn’t we go after school?” I asked, as the remorse set in for skipping class.

“Don’t worry about that. We have permission,” Avalon replied confidently.


“Sure. Sure,” I decided not to argue the point as another wave of car sickness washed over me.

Just when I decided I couldn’t take anymore and the car ride seemed endless; Avalon shut off the engine and let out a huge sigh of contentment. “We’re here,” he said as if referring to his home.

I opened my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but I was content with what I saw. We were surrounded on every side by corn and bean fields. The rows of farmland stretched on and on as far as I could see, rolling over hills and down into shallow valleys. The gravel road that got us here seemed endless as well, and I mentally calculated how fast Avalon had to be driving on it to get us here as quickly as he did.

Avalon was parked in front of a large two-storied farmhouse that looked as if it was just given a fresh coat of white paint; the black shutters also looked new. A long porch wound around the front of the house to the side and back where I couldn't see. A boy and a girl that seemed about the same age as Avalon and I, swung back and forth on a porch swing hanging from the ceiling.

A beautiful flower garden sat next to the house and I could see a woman working strenuously in it to pull weeds. Down from the garden was a large modern barn made out of steel siding. I noticed the green of John Deere tractors just inside the door. Behind the barn was a large fenced in area where I could see horses milling about inside its boundaries.

When Avalon jumped down from his truck, several teenage boys exited the barn entrance and made their way over to us. Avalon waved at me to come with him, and I obeyed, hesitantly. I tugged at my school uniform, embarrassed for some reason to be wearing it here.

“Well, Eden, welcome to the Resistance,” Avalon gave me a roguish smile and gestured widely with his arms as I took my place at his side.

“No way,” I said softly, but disbelievingly. I didn’t know what I had expected the Resistance to look like, but a quiet farm, surrounded by all the beauty Nebraska had to offer, was not it.

The woman in the garden looked up from her work and smiled at Avalon. She took off her work gloves and sat them down before joining the others. Avalon leaned against his truck smugly and I took in the extraordinary view again. I was suddenly nervous and not sure what to do with my hands.

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“Welcome, welcome,” the woman reached us first. She walked straight over and embraced me. “We are all so happy to have you here, finally,” she sounded as if they had been waiting for me to come forever. Magic buzzed all around and I could inwardly feel all of their Immortal power.

I hugged her awkwardly, musing at her energy. In fact, all of their magic seemed different than the magic at Kingsley. Their electricity felt lighter somehow, weightless. I hadn’t even noticed the heavy feeling at Kingsley before, but now that I was surrounded by these people I felt a huge difference. It was almost as if their magic was somehow made of light. I was overwhelmed by the sensation, but I felt at home at the same time.

“We meet again,” a very familiar voice greeted me next and I pulled out of the embrace of the woman realizing that I hadn’t caught her name yet.

“Jericho,” I mumbled with mixed feelings as I turned to greet the boy who was not that long ago trying to kill me.

“Eden,” he mimicked with faux menace and I was able to pick him out of the gathering crowd.

He was definitely nothing I expected. Jericho seemed to be close to my age, maybe a year or two older. He had chocolate brown hair that hung roughly around his chin, a little bit shorter than Avalon’s. His large hazel eyes gazed into mine with an expression I couldn’t read. His nose was a little crooked as if it were broken in a fight and his sinister mouth, curved into an amused smile.

Jericho reached out a long muscled arm to shake my hand. He was almost as tall as Avalon, and each of his muscles were clearly defined underneath a white t-shirt. He was a little bit sweaty, evidence that he had been working in the barn. I took his hand tentatively, unsure what to expect.

He took my hand, firmly shaking it in his warm grasp. He smiled wider at me before giving me a playful wink and letting my hand go from his. My hand fell limply to my side as I stared at him with mouth half opened. He tucked his hair back behind his ear and I couldn’t help but find him completely adorable.

“Oh, brother,” Avalon sighed.

“You tried to kill me,” I accused defensively, covering up my initial reaction and replacing it with mock defensiveness.

“No I didn’t,” Jericho was just as defensive, but I saw the playfulness behind his eyes. I was suddenly embarrassed at my outburst as the crowd around us stayed silent, listening to our diatribe. “I only tried to keep you out of the way so we could get the job done. It’s not my fault you needed a little extra discipline,” other boys around him snickered and I felt the heat rush to my cheeks.

“Oh really? I’m the one who needed discipline? If I remember right you were getting your ass kicked,” I shot back out of pride and watched with self-righteousness as his tan cheeks colored quickly to match the shade of mine.

“Enough. You’re both awesome,” Avalon interrupted, if not sarcastically and pushed me towards the barn. I walked silently, brooding next to him.

Once inside the coolness of the barn, we took seats made of hay bales in the back, near the horses. A large white board was positioned on the wall with names and locations I didn’t recognize. I stayed close to Avalon, using him as a security blanket. Jericho sat across the semi-circle from me and I noticed a glance from him about every five seconds. I couldn’t tell if he was angry, or curious or what.

As everyone filed in to take their seats, Avalon stood up from the hay bale we were sharing and took his place in the front of the room. The woman from the garden filled his seat and placed her arm around my shoulders. At first I was uncomfortable with her closeness and the unfiltered flow of magic between us. Not a very touchy person myself, her lack of a personal bubble was hard for me take.

“Alright, everyone, let’s give our attention to Avalon,” the woman said authoritatively. She must have been in her seventies or eighties, but her hair was still long and flowed down in white curls from the low pony tail she wore. Her skin was hardly wrinkled, except near her eyes and smile. Her frame was anything but frail, and I could tell that she was strong despite her skinny bones.

“Thank you Angelica,” Avalon smiled at her with an emotion on his face that I couldn't read. I remembered that Amory told me after Avalon moved in with me that he was raised by someone named Angelica after we were split up as infants. I realized this was her and I suddenly felt more comfortable around her. "First order of business today is Eden,” Avalon turned to me and waggled his eyebrows. I was nervous, what did he mean me? “Well, this is it, this is the Resistance. Are you ready to join?” my mouth dropped open and I stood up instinctively.

I felt like I had just walked into a trap. What did it mean to join the Resistance? Did it mean I had to help them murder Kiran? Did it mean I had to plot against a King I knew nothing about? I turned from my standing position and walked as quickly as I could back the way I came. I could never hurt Kiran. Joining the Resistance was impossible.

Chapter Thirty-Three

“What is wrong with you?” Avalon asked half concerned, half pissed off.

He followed me immediately outside and didn’t let me get nearly as far away from the barn as I would have liked. The sun was warm despite the cool autumn breeze of October. The trees surrounding the farmhouse had turned to brilliant shades of orange and red. The fields had been fully harvested and made ready for the winter coming soon.

“I can’t be a part of this Avalon. I wish you would have given me some warning; maybe a head’s up, like ‘hey we’re on our way to dig your grave,’” I rolled my eyes and folded my arms defiantly.

“Ok, first of all. You would have known what we were doing if you would use your magic just an eency bit. Second of all, it was nice of me to give you the option, but you don’t really have a choice. And lastly, if you don’t join this, then we are all going to die!” Avalon was animated in his very characteristic dramatic way, I fought back a smile and forced myself to focus on the fact that his surprise attack, really just pissed me off.

“Stop being the self-righteous martyr,” I quipped harshly.

“And stop pining over the one guy that you can’t have, the one guy who is only using you, the one guy whose sole purpose is to kill everyone you love,” I closed my mouth sharply, not realizing it had been open. Tears welled up in my eyes and I watched Avalon flinch from remorse.

“I’m pretty sure he’s not the only guy using me; and I can promise you he’s not the only guy trying to kill everyone I love,” I could barely get the words out before tears began to fall down my cheeks.

“Except if I am the one who gets me killed, at least it will be on my terms. I’m not going to live in oppression under a violent dictator only to die of a horrible disease that could strike at any moment,” Avalon folded his arms the same way I fold mine, and I noticed the same defiant expression cross his face. I was kept in the dark so often that sometimes my biggest moments of revelation came through Avalon’s side of the argument.

“What about the using me part?” I asked timidly.

“Maybe I’m using you, well not you, but, fine, your magic,” he admitted. “But if I’m using you, it’s with your best interest in mind.” he gave me a playful grin.

“Sure it is,” I stuck out my bottom lip in a mock pout.

“It’s true. I’m not the only one who’s stronger when we’re together,” he turned to walk back into the barn; he thought he had won the argument. Please Eden, we need you. His voice was in my head, and I could feel, more than hear the desperation in his emotion.

“I’m not saying that I’m joining. But I will listen to the rest of your meeting,” he turned and bowed a little with his hands pressed together. I kicked a rock at him, sending it with extra force via magic and watched him duck out of the way just in time.

Instead of sitting down in my previous place I chose to stand in the back, hoping to remain anonymous. I knew that it was impossible since every person in the room was tuned into my magical current, just like I was tuned into theirs. Their lighter, brighter magic was unique and interesting. I felt their currents flow, each distinctive, almost illuminating their person. It was as if their blood was glowing from underneath their skin, only in an invisible way; like I could have seen it glow if I had held a black light up to them.

Avalon began the meeting by updating the group of twenty or so Immortals about the skirmish on the rooftop at Kingsley a few weeks ago. My cheeks burned hot as he recounted a little too in detail what went wrong and how lucky they were to get out of there discretely.

The five guys who were involved were all given pats on the back or some variation of a high five or fist pound. They were apparently all part of the reconnaissance team. Besides Avalon and Jericho, there were three other boys, all probably two or three years older than me. Avalon seemed to be the youngest and I found it odd that even though he was the youngest in the entire room he seemed to also be the leader.

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