Infinity Reaper (Infinity Cycle #2) by Adam Silvera



One


Bright Night


BRIGHTON

I drink every last drop of Reaper’s Blood while looking up at the Crowned Dreamer.

The elixir smells like burning bodies and tastes like iron and charcoal. The blood from the century phoenix, the golden-strand hydra, and the dead ghosts is heavy on my tongue like mud. My throat is burning and I’m this close to spitting out the rest, but I force myself to swallow it all because this Reaper’s Blood is game changing. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born with powers—to be born a celestial. But now that I’ve absorbed these creatures’ abilities, the world will get to welcome me as their new champion—a one-of-a-kind, unkillable specter.

I drop the empty bottle and it rolls toward my brother, who has been stabbed. Emil is eyeing me like a stranger as I lick my lips clean and dry them with the back of my hand. I’m about to help him up when I stumble, falling onto my knees. My vision becomes fuzzy. It’s as if everyone in the church’s garden is spinning slowly, then faster, faster, faster. My entire body feels like countless fingertips are grazing my skin. I suck in the sharpest breath of my life, like someone has been strangling me and finally lets go, and before I can full-on panic about whatever is happening, light surrounds me.

I’m glowing. I’m nowhere near as bright as the Crowned Dreamer above me, but I still feel like my own constellation—the Bright Brighton, the Bright King, whatever you want to call it. I have no idea if all specters experience this warm white glow when getting their powers. The only specters in my life I could ask are special cases who wouldn’t remember—Emil, who was reborn with his phoenix powers, and Maribelle Lucero, who just discovered hours ago that she isn’t a regular celestial. Her biological father was a specter—the very founder of the Spell Walkers—marking her as the first-known celestial-specter hybrid. But I’m a special case too. I feel it; I feel this change in me, even when the glowing stops.

Emil is stunned, but his expression turns back to pained. “Hel-help me,” he breathes. Blue blood from the dead phoenix, Gravesend, is wet and sticky on Emil’s chest, but it’s his own red blood spilling out his wound that needs attention. Luna Marnette, the supreme alchemist who created the Reaper’s Blood I just drank, stabbed him with an infinity-ender blade. She must’ve gotten Emil so deep with that infinity-ender blade that he can’t even tap into his phoenix powers to heal himself.

I cradle Emil’s head. “I got you, bro.”

I flinch as spellwork explodes across the Alpha Church of New Life’s garden. The fighting hasn’t stopped because my brother is dying. It’s like the Blood Casters and their acolytes won’t rest until every Spell Walker is dead. In the fray, I see my friends Prudencia Mendez; Wesley Young; and Iris Simone-Chambers, the leader of the Spell Walkers. Despite their innate powers, they’re struggling to contain Stanton, a specter with the blood and the powers of a basilisk, and Dione, a specter with the speed of a hyrda and the extra arms to match.

Then I see Maribelle, our most powerful player, as she crouches beside Luna with absolute murder in her eyes. “You had my parents and boyfriend killed so you could live forever. Now I get to watch you bleed out.”

Luna is fading in and out as she stares at the stars like they can still make her powerful. Not happening. Her silver hair is plastered to her sweaty forehead and she’s pressing down on the hole I blasted through her stomach with my wand’s spell. “You won’t . . . you . . .” Luna tries to speak but keeps choking on her own words. It triggers a flashback of Dad gagging on his own blood. It’s so vicious that I turn away, even though Luna deserves every ounce of pain.

Unlike Luna, I’ll never have to fear death again thanks to the Reaper’s Blood.

But my brother does.

“Maribelle! Maribelle, we have to get Emil to the hospital.”

Then June appears out of nowhere—moon-white skin, dark silver hair, big empty eyes. She’s a specter with ghost blood, the only Blood Caster with those powers, we think. And she possessed Maribelle and made her kill Atlas Haas, the love of her life and one of my very favorite Spell Walkers. I keep calling Maribelle’s name, but it’s like her need for vengeance has me on mute. There’s no stopping her as she scoops up the oblivion dagger, the one that’s made of bone and can vanquish ghosts, and chases the young assassin around the garden.

Back home when I told Maribelle my plan to steal the Reaper’s Blood away from Luna, she didn’t question it. She wants Luna to die powerless, and I don’t want to die at all; we’re both coming out winners. Except it’s all pointless for me if Emil doesn’t live too. I have to get him out of here. I try lifting him, but it’s a struggle; it’s like he has rocks hidden in his power-proof vest. It’s a shame that none of my new abilities is powerhouse strength, but I still manage to muscle up and get Emil on his feet, and he wraps his arm around my shoulders.