Deviant Descendants (Descendants Academy #2) - Belle Malory Page 0,2

again. The renewal of that bond is opening your heart. Riley’s death would hurt Sheridan, and you won’t put her through the loss.”

Petra snorted. “Come now, sister. You know me better than that.”

“The two of them once had the relationship you and I should’ve had. Deep down, you care. And Sheridan has been through enough already. They both have.”

“Oh, for Apollo’s sake.” Her lip twitched. “Are you saying you saw me allowing her to live?”

Selena nodded.

If that was true, it remained to be seen. She wouldn’t take Selena’s word on it, not while she had ulterior motives for saying so.

“Notify me when they arrive.” Selena stood up. “I’m not sure what role I have to play, but I would like to help too.”

“Oh, I will,” Petra smiled wickedly. She planned to send Selena’s daughter’s corpse to her in a body bag. A delightful notification, if there ever was one.

Selena drew the hood of her robe back in place, frowning. “We don’t have to be enemies, you know. We never did.”

“Who knows what might have been,” Petra said sarcastically. “If only we hadn’t fallen for the same mage.”

The same stupid, worthless mage.

“All the same, you know where to find me.” Petra flinched as Selena briefly touched her shoulder. Just as quickly, she removed her hand, her eyes tightening with disappointment. “Take care of yourself, sister.”

1

One of two—both futures, bleak. She is strong, and you are weak. Like two broken halves to a whole, you must break some more, to pay the toll.

The woman from Twilight Island’s prophecy repeated inside my head, her voice a harrowing echo that wouldn’t stop. Over and over again, I heard those words. Break some more. Pay the toll. What did it all mean?

I was so focused on deciphering its meaning that I didn’t pay attention to my surroundings. Or the sharp voices coming from behind.

The blow came hard on my right side, and I jerked forward. Books and papers flew everywhere as my bag slid across the sidewalk. I fell, scraping my palms and knees on the cement.

“Watch yourself, Two.” Calypso tossed her long, dark braid over her shoulder, narrowing her fiery gaze on me.

Her catty Ares girl squad, Anastasia and Ren, snickered. They stomped their muddy sandals on the covers of my textbooks as they passed. Seeing those books brutalized stung more than my hands and knees. What had those poor, defenseless books ever done to anyone? Other than belonging to me, AKA, Two. It was a nickname everyone liked to call me. I’d heard others—traitor, defector, turncoat, and the like. But Two was the one that stuck, thanks to its clever double entendre.

Two, for two-faced.

Two, because I was the second Thorne daughter.

It also implied that Riley was One. Since the other Ares students latched onto my sister like their own personal gift from the gods, they wanted me to know which Thorne they preferred. Riley had only been at Arcadia for a month, but she’d already declared herself their reigning queen. Calypso and her bitchy sidekicks were her ladies-in-waiting. The three of them walked ahead without looking back. I turned my hands over, wincing at the angry red scratches.

I was over the constant bullying, the comparisons, and the name-calling. Meanwhile, those same girls kept my sister on a pedestal.

Two broken halves—ha! Riley was not even close to broken. Ares welcomed her with open arms. Her catapult to the top of the social ladder didn’t surprise me either. It was no different from back home, in Davidson. She shined no matter where she went. Unlike her, I was fine with not shining. In fact, I preferred it to this. Invisibility was far better than being a social pariah. Small hiccups, I told myself. Okay, not small, exactly. More like medium-sized hiccups.

Moments later, someone was there, helping me pick up my books.

“Who did this?” Xander tried to mask his outrage, but I could hear it in every syllable. He was ready to hold that who accountable.

“No one. I fell.”

The lie slipped too easily from my lips. He gave me a look to let me know he didn’t appreciate it. But if he knew, he would rip those girls to shreds. This was something I needed to figure out on my own. Xander couldn’t fight my battles for me.

“Who was it, Sheridan?” Xander said again, his jaw ticking.

“It doesn’t matter,” I sighed. “They all hate me.”

His face crumbled, and he let out a breath. He hated this situation more than I did. “That won’t last, you know.”

But

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