The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Sydney Sage/Melrose/Melbourne has just been called from her bed in the wee hours of the morning to assist her history teacher/mentor/witch Ms. Terwilliger with a scrying spell. Sydney has done one before, recently, to find kidnapped Sonya Karp, but this one is different, namely because the caster has to be a virgin. Step up, Sydney! In the desert in the middle of the night, Sydney prepares to scry to find Ms. Terwilliger's older sister. Sydney sees a Victorian bed and breakfast in the suburbs of LA, but can't get any closer than that, so now she'll have to research and find the specific location. Apparently, this is a life or death situation, or it will be soon. Sydney, as an Alchemist, is still not a fan of using magic, but it's saved her and those she cares about before, so she's getting more used to it. Speaking of those she cares about, Sydney is struggling with Adrian since he professed his love for her at the end of book two. That can never be! Vampires and humans do not mix! She sure does think about him a lot though, especially considering she told him she doesn't like him like that. Sure Sydney, sure. The next day, after school, Sydney is flying solo to a Moroi wedding. Jill is bummed that she can't go, but since she's in hiding from the Moroi who want her dead to dethrone her half-sister, it's obvious why she can't attend. She's also been a little surly with Sydney anyway on account of the spurned affections she's getting through the spirit bond she shares with Adrian. When Sydney gets to the airport, she learns that her seat on the plane has been given to someone else and she's been bumped to a different flight, first class. And who just so happens to be her seatmate? Sexy Vampire Adrian Ivashkov. When they finally talk about their awkward situation, Adrian declares he still loves her and is going to continue to love her no matter what. Maybe someday she'll love him, too. He's half sure she loves him a little bit already. (And he's right!) Sydney and Adrian part ways after the flight, Sydney to a small bed and breakfast and Adrian to a fancy hotel. Sydney is met by Stanton, her Alchemist boss, and Ian, another Alchemist with a crush on Sydney who we've briefly seen before, back when the Moroi were holding them during that time that everyone thought Rose murdered Queen Tatiana. Those two have been invited to Sonya and Mikhail's wedding in an effort to be more diplomatic and bridge the gap between Moroi and Alchemists. Sydney is there for the same reason as far as most everyone else knows, but we know she's friends with Sonya. The wedding is lovely and so is the reception, but Sydney is stuck with the Alchemists and forced to pretend she hates everything going on around her. She takes this time to ask Stanton if she ever found out anything about Marcus. She says no, but Sydney can tell she's lying. Ian flirts with her and asks her to visit him at his new work assignment in St. Louis. Sydney feigns interest, but it's too bad Alchemists can't really take vacations... shrug. Then Adrian asks her to dance, diplomatically of course. She feels swoony about this but has to pretend she doesn't. While they dance, Adrian asks about Marcus, too, and then suggests that Sydney use the scrying spell she did when she tried to find Ms. Terwilliger's sister. That's GENIUS! They sneak out of the reception and perform the spell and it works! And even better? Adrian knows pretty much exactly where he is! Back at school, Sydney asks a local history teacher for help finding Veronica's neighborhood and then visits Ms. Terwilliger who gives her a magic concealing amulet. She reveals that her sister sucks the magical life force from young people, making them shrivel and age, and a powerful young witch would be especially appealing, which, whether she likes it or not, that's exactly what Sydney is. Sydney needs to hunt her down before any other young women get shriveled. Before she begins to track down Veronica, Sydney finds Marcus and a girl she recognizes from the Warriors of Light. Sydney uses a charm to break inside Marcus's apartment and they all fight. Sydney uses a charm that makes semi-noxious fumes and pins Marcus to the floor, but he does get in one good punch to Sydney's face first. They finally stop fighting and realize they're on the same side and that Sydney is not looking for Marcus to turn him in to the Alchemists but to get information about them. He agrees to tell her stuff, but not all at once because she has to prove herself. She takes Marcus to Adrian for healing which is cool for Marcus because he's never met a spirit user before. He tells her about breaking the Alchemist tattoos, but doesn't really explain what that is but assumes that's why she found him. They plan to talk more later. Before leaving, Sydney lets Adrian use his spirit to heal her punched face which is a BIG DEAL™. Back at school the next day, Sydney is awoken early by Angeline who needs a math tutor. She's barely scraping by in her classes and needs help or she'll get expelled. Sydney is too busy with hiding Jill, finding Marcus and stopping a soul-sucking witch to help, so ends up getting Trey to tutor her. That might be awkward since he's a disgraced Warrior of Light who has been taught, like the Alchemists, to dislike vampires and Dhampirs, but maybe it'll be okay. Even if Trey has an opposing viewpoint, he and Sydney are still friends. Ms. Terwilliger gives Sydney a list of girls her sister might seek out and makes warning them of Veronica her independent study project for a while, but she must take Adrian and have him use spirit magic to mask her appearance. That evening, she and Adrian take off, first to find Veronica and then track down one of the girls from the list. They find the Victorian bed and breakfast that Sydney saw when scrying, and take a tour of the establishment pretending to be a couple in order to stake out the place, which involves "Jet Steel" calling "Taylor" cutesy names that make Sydney uncomfortable but also do not at the same time. They mention their friend Veronica, but the quirky bejeweled girl at the desk, Alicia, says they apparently just missed her. Darn. They move on to the list of girls and find the first one who is violently opposed to joining any covens and she can't believe that they'd come to her door. They try to explain what's going on but she's skeptical and then tries to pepper spray Adrian, but Sydney jumps in front of him and uses magic to protect him. The girl, Wendy, takes their information and will hopefully follow it so as to not get shriveled. Sydney meets with Ms. Terwilliger to update her on missing Veronica. She does a really powerful scrying spell to track her sister but it doesn't work, so she sends Sydney out to protect the other girls, reminding her to protect herself as well. After this, Sydney meets with Marcus again at an arcade. They play skee ball and talk more about why he left the Alchemists... because he made friends with a Moroi and started questioning his superiors. He found out they were working with the Warriors of Light and keeping Moroi prisoner and that they control them with the tattoos. So he ran. And if Sydney wants to find out about breaking the tattoos, she has to go on a mission and meet others who have left. Back at school, Sydney has more Angeline troubles to deal with. Angeline nearly gave Trey a concussion when she hit him in the head with an algebra book. So Angeline doesn't get expelled, Eddie says they were playing around throwing a book and Trey accidentally got hurt, so he gets detention. That's much better than Angeline getting kicked out. Later, Sydney and Adrian try to track down more girls, but when Sydney goes to meet Adrian, he tells her that the Mustang and other cars' tires were slashed. They wait around for police and a tow truck then finally drive to the college campus where they hope to find another girl. They find her dorm but apparently just missed the girl, Lynn, so they go to a nearby party thinking she could be there or at least they'll be close enough to check back in later. They spend the party painting t-shirts, including but not limited to the skeleton pirate riding a motorcycle with throwing stars (and a necktie added by Sydney), but things heat up when Adrian paints a shirt for Sydney with a fiery heart on it, telling her she's his light in the darkness. They start making out, but stop abruptly when someone runs in yelling about poor Lynn who was found in the auditorium... aged and shriveled. Oh no. They missed her! They talk to police and overhear them talking to a witness who can't recall anything at all about the girl Lynn was with. Sounds like magic use! The next day, Sydney and Eddie meet up with Marcus and learn more about breaking the tattoos' compulsion and tattooing over them so they can't be repaired. If they do get repaired, or touched up, it's just so the Alchemists can tighten their control and then send them to reeducation. Some other Alchemists are there learning too and have already gone on their missions to prove they are ready. Sydney gets her mission, too. It involves going to the Alchemist facility in St. Louis and retrieving the video files of those who have visited the compound. They are looking for evidence that the leader of the Warriors of Light has been there. Marcus has received word that the Warriors heard about a missing Moroi girl and that if they find her, they can really do damage in the Moroi court. Oh shit. They're probably talking about Jill! Sydney and Eddie don't let on that they know who the Warriors are looking for, but they're certain they have to stop them. But how is Sydney going to get to that facility? Oh no... Ian. She's already formulating a plan. Ms. Terwilliger is adamant that Sydney be able to protect herself after learning about the second shriveling. They go out to the desert to practice and Adrian tags along. On the long drive, Sydney thinks about kissing Adrian and how she'd like to maybe do more but no! She can't! Vampires! Gasp! But is it her beliefs and feelings making her think that or the compulsion in the tattoo? When they arrive, Ms. Terwilliger teaches Sydney how to form fireballs from thin air and throw them at her opponents. They practice a lot, and Sydney decides it's a lot like skeeball! The intense magic use really takes a lot out of Sydney and Ms. Terwilliger, so Adrian takes them to a pie shop, Pies and Stuff. They enjoy dessert and coffee and Sydney thanks Ms. Terwilliger for all her help. She asks how she can repay her, and Ms. Terwilliger invites her to meet with her coven, the Stelle... only meet! Not join! Sydney says she'll think about it. On the way out, Adrian compliments Sydney's abilities when she begins to doubt herself again. Is it the compulsion of the tattoo though? Their conversation moves to them making out and even Sydney doesn't even believe herself when she tells him they should never kiss again. Back at school, there's more trouble with Angeline. Eddie and Jill think she's up to something, but Sydney just doesn't have time to deal with it. She sees Trey who asks how much longer he'll have to work with her and Sydney tells him not much longer. She runs into Marcus of all people on campus after that and he gives her the floor plans for the facility she's going to infiltrate. Luckily she got permission from Stanton to go, so it seems everything is falling into place. Speaking of falling into place, Sydney, or Taylor, then gets a call from Alicia at the bed and breakfast, asking if she and Jet were going to rent a room, and letting her know that Veronica checked in again. Excellent! They will be there soon to surprise their friend! Sydney texts Ms. Terwilliger and she and Adrian head that way. Unfortunately, Alicia let slip to Veronica that she was going to have surprise guests. Damn! They manage to borrow a key and check out her room, but it looks like she left in a hurry, without checking out. They sit on the bed, Sydney worried about what's going to happen next. Also, hey, she's sitting on a bed with Adrian. She gets flustered again when he gets near enough to kiss her and pulls away. Her necklaces, the golden cross and the protective charm, break away. She fixes the charm quickly and then she asks why Adrian keeps trying to kiss her even when she says she doesn't want to. Oh Sydney, it's all in your aura. Adrian tells her her aura burns for him whenever he touches her. They almost make out, but then Alicia comes in and they bolt. Back at school, Sydney tries to distract herself with studying and then falls asleep. She is greeted in her dreams by darkness and a menacing voice telling her she can't hide forever and then she's strangled awake. It seems that Veronica has discovered her. Sydney tells Ms. Terwilliger about the dream and she suggests that they focus on defensive magic. They plan to meet that night. Ms. Terwilliger also suggests that Sydney get a more traditional form of protection and Adrian realizes she means a gun. They drive out to Wolfe's and borrow one from him after Sydney prices she can use one. That night, Sydney's supposed to meet up with Ms. Terwilliger, but it seems Ms. Terwilliger never called to get her out past curfew. She calls later, upset that Sydney didn't show and then upset that she forgot to call to give her permission to leave. Sydney doesn't want to go to sleep, afraid that she'll be tracked in her dreams, but she falls asleep anyway. Instead of being met by Veronica, Adrian pulls her into a spirit dream in which they play board games. It's a very peaceful night for Sydney, even if she loses at Dream Monopoly. The next day, Sydney sees Eddie, Jill and Angeline together at breakfast. Jill is excited about Micah and some of his friends who apparently have crushes on her joining in her sewing and modeling club. Eddie doesn't like it and Angeline isn't even paying attention. She perks up when Trey comes by to talk about math though... Sydney goes to talk to Ms. Terwilliger but she doesn't show up for class, which is troubling. She's there later for independent study though and gives Sydney ingredients for a protection spell. Turns out, Ms. Terwilliger was absent from her morning classes because Veronica attacked a member of her coven. A full-fledged adult witch. Sydney is worried that Veronica is going to come for Ms. Terwilliger, but Ms. Terwilliger really doesn't think she will. She makes Sydney leave to perform the spell and she invites Adrian to go along. The spell summons a tiny dragon! Who thinks Sydney and Adrian are its parents! Uh oh. When Sydney calls Ms. Terwilliger, angry, Ms. Terwilliger says don't worry, it's not a dragon, it's a demon, which of course makes things worse. They have to care for it for a year and a day, but it will sense and protect them from dark magic. On the way back to school, Sydney and Adrian get into an argument about Sydney going off with Marcus to Mexico to break her tattoo. It's a silly argument, but they're both upset by it. Later, in a spirit dream, a drunken Adrian apologizes for being upset and they talk about caring for their dragon and play Monopoly. It's finally time for Sydney to go to St. Louis to infiltrate the Alchemist facility for Marcus. She takes advice given to her by Adrian for flirting with Ian and dressing more provocatively and it works very well. She convinces him to take her to the archives the next day and they have dinner and go to a church service. Who else should be there but Sydney's father and younger sister, Zoe. Everything is super awkward, but Zoe eventually comes around with Sydney again after their last meeting, which was at the start of the series with Sydney insisting she take Zoe's place in this mission. Ian and Jared, Sydney's father, get along well and at the end of the night, Ian leans in for a goodnight kiss. No thanks! How would that even compare to Adrian?! Speaking of, he visits Sydney in her dreams again to keep Veronica away. The next day, Ian takes Sydney to the Alchemist archives. Luckily, he has work to do, so he leaves an enraptured Sydney to explore the stacks. Little does he know that she goes to the bathroom, makes herself invisible, sneaks into the security room, sets a fire and steals files from the cameras at the entrance to the facility. She makes it back to the archives with a flash drive hidden in her bra and no one the wiser. A short while later, Ian finishes his work and drops Sydney off at the airport. On the flight back, she checks the footage and finds exactly what Marcus said she would. Master Jameson of the Warriors of Light visiting the facility. He was right. When Stanton said the Alchemists and the Warriors didn't have anything to do with each other, she was lying. The Alchemists and the Warriors really are in cahoots! Sydney meets up with Marcus as soon as possible and tells him and the others, the girl from the Warriors and the other two Alchemists, everything she learned. They're all surprised but not at the same time. Marcus breaks Sydney's tattoo by injecting tiny bits of charmed vampire blood into her golden lily. Eventually the color in her tattoo will fade to silver, but it'll be covered by the Mexican indigo before then. Except not. Sydney refuses to cover her tattoo. She says she'll be able to do so much more for the cause working from the inside without compulsion. That could be really great for everyone! She leaves and immediately calls Stanton, telling her that she found out from her Warrior contact, Trey, that the Warriors know about Jill and are planning something. Sydney's very demanding of Stanton, which is not like her in the slightest. Is that because her tattoo is broken? Will Stanton notice? Has she already? Sydney quickly begins to explain about constantly being around vampires and Dhampirs and how she saw her father at the Alchemist ceremony and she's overwhelmed about failing him again. Hopefully that cover up will suffice for her drastic change in demeanor. Speaking of drastic demeanor changes... later that night, in a spirit dream with Adrian, they very nearly have sex. Seems like her tattoo really is broken. She's woken from her sexy dream by Jill who has come by with bad news. Angeline tried to sneak Trey into their room and got caught. No Sydney, she didn't really want to work on her math... She and Trey are a thing! Jill really wants Sydney to talk to Eddie about it after Angeline breaks the news to him, but come on. Is Sydney really the best person to get relationship advice from? She does talk to Trey about it during classes and, while he knows that Sydney, Angeline, Eddie, Jill and Adrian aren't really family, he didn't know that Angeline and Eddie were dating and he feels terrible about it. He also struggles with the fact that Angeline is a dhampir. Sydney shocks him when she tells him maybe he shouldn't give up on her just because of that. Whoa, yeah, tattoo DEFINITELY broken. Later, Sydney has plans to meet up with Eddie to discuss his side of the Angeline fiasco, but first, she has to go by Adrian's. She tells them that they're over, not because she doesn't want to be with him, not because she's not attracted to him, but because Jill saw everything. Adrian doesn't think that he should have to put his life on hold because of Jill but Sydney says she's leaving. She's going to Mexico to seal the tattoo, so she's leaving for good. That terribly sad conversation with Adrian over, Sydney meets with Eddie. He's pretty distraught, but Sydney tells him that Jill likes him and maybe that can be a thing now. Maybe someone can be happy at the end of all this... They leave and then Sydney's car explodes! Well... It doesn't *exactly* explode, but it is filled with foam like from a fire extinguisher, so it's definitely totaled. What's with these vandalisms? As they call the police, Sydney realizes she has Wolfe's gun in her glove box, so she'd better get that out. Whilst digging through foam, Sydney also finds her cross necklace, which she lost during the bed and breakfast fiasco. When she touches it, it burns! This can't be good at all. Did Veronica use her necklace to track her? Speaking of necklaces, Sydney finds another one in her bag along with a book that she completely forgot about, given to her earlier by Ms. Terwilliger. It's another protection charm that looks exactly like one that quirky Alicia was wearing at the bed and breakfast. Oh no. Alicia must be working with Veronica! Better call Ms. Terwilliger to see what she thinks. Ms. Terwilliger does not answer, so Sydney calls Adrian despite their troubled conversation earlier and they go to her house. When they get there, Ms. Terwilliger and all her cats are nowhere to be found. You know who is there though? Nope. Not Veronica. Alicia! Veronica found her and was teaching her and then, in a shocking turn of events, Alicia absorbed her! Sydney sends Adrian off to look for Ms. Terwilliger and then she and Alicia have an epic battle that ends with Ms. Terwilliger's house on fire. Acid globs, icy stairs, fireballs, flying razors... It's a serious battle. Sydney's last move, the razors to the face, knocks Alicia down the stairs and into the flaming basement. Adrian comes back, not having found Ms. Terwilliger, and carries Sydney out. When they get outside, they follow a cat to the park where they find Ms. Terwilliger safe and sound. You know what they didn't find? Alicia's body. Sydney decides to leave with Marcus to Mexico after all this. Jill tries to persuade her to stay, telling her she and Adrian will learn to block each other and even if they don't, the awkwardness is worth Adrian's, AND SYDNEY'S, happiness. She's going to have to let go of her need for control. Jill gives her a letter from Adrian, but she doesn't open it, and doesn't listen. She returns Wolfe's gun and gets some advice from him as well. Don't let Adrian become Silver-Tooth Sally, aka, don't lose your one true love because you think you have more important things to do. When she gets back to school, about to meet up with Marcus, another dhampir arrives. His name is Neal and he's there in response to Sydney's frantic call to Stanton for help. Well, good, the more people protecting Jill the better. Sydney meets up with Marcus and they head to the train station, but she learns that that's pretty much the end of her helping. They're only going to wait and watch now to see what happens next. That is not Sydney's style. She thinks over what Jill and Wolfe said and tells Marcus never mind. She's not going. So he gives her his car and then she finally opens the letter from Adrian. Inside are coordinates for a museum so she goes and finds him waiting. They kiss a lot and enjoy a dinner of fondue then go back to campus. Sydney learns she's going to get detention for being back after curfew even though it's winter break and then is asked about her cousin. Angeline? What has she done now?! No, not Angeline, the other cousin currently in Sydney's room. Uh oh. Sydney goes to her room and finds Zoe, freshly tattooed and ready to learn from her big sister, the best Alchemist ever who never breaks any rules.