Assassin of Truths(3)

By: Brenda Drake

“The initials stand for something?”

“I think it’s an acronym.” I frowned.

A look of concern crossed his face. “What’s the matter?”

“I thought he might have some clues in here. Something that said what I needed to do. I have no idea what it means to be Royston’s protector or guardian or whatever I am.”

His wings hugged his back as he rubbed his bald head. “You are a warrior. Follow your instincts. In time, you will know what to do.”

“I’m glad you have faith in me.” The sarcastic tone of my voice suggested I didn’t. I needed to get out of my own brain, stop the insistent fear from freaking me out. I placed the prayer card into the journal and closed it.

“May I see that?”

I gave him a quizzical look before removing the card. “You mean this?”

“Yes,” he said.

“It’s just a prayer card.” I offered it to him. “There’s some writing on it. I can’t figure out what it means.”

Cadby flipped it over as he studied it. “The church on this directs to the clue you seek?”

“I think so.”

“In older times,” he said, “people would hide love letters and notes of treason in or around prayer candles. They’d write the whereabouts of such secrets on handkerchiefs and other items to pass the clue to the intended receiver. This”—he pointed out the handwriting on the backside of the card, and I followed along as he read it—“prayer candle, seventh row, three in. It’s directions to the candle in this chapel.” He handed it back to me.

“That’s clever,” I said, taking the card.

If it’s still there.

My eyes went to his. “Listen, don’t tell anyone about this, okay? I’m not sure who’s trustworthy anymore, and I have to keep Royston safe. With my luck, you’re probably on the wrong side.”

“I assure you, I am on your side, Gianna. We must think of Royston’s safety before all else.” Cadby glanced over his shoulder at the others down the hill. “But your safety matters, as well. Without you, he hasn’t a chance against the Tetrad. You have inherited a great responsibility. It’s best you stop acting on your emotions and use your head. Let others help you.”

Even though he was right, I started to protest. “I don’t act—”

His hand went up to stop me. “I don’t mean that as an insult. We all let our emotions direct us. Remove the heart so the head can think.” He turned and plodded back down the hill, not waiting for a response from me. His injured wing lay flat against his back while his good one twitched and moved as he walked. He’d broken it while saving me right before I’d crashed Nick’s motorcycle. The wing had almost healed, and he was able to do short-distance flights now.

The Tetrad. Hearing him say the name scraped at my thoughts. A high wizard back in medieval times had created the beasts by sewing animal parts to four slain warriors and connecting them with one soul. The beings were frightening and haunted my dreams. One creature resembled a lion with a cleft lip and claw-like hands. Another had a boar’s head with sharp tusks sticking out of its jaw. The third had two large ram horns coming out of its forehead, which pulled and distorted its face. And the final one was part lizard, with razor-sharp teeth and scales. Each could command one of the elements, but they could never separate from one another or they’d die. The creatures were a myth to me, yet I was key to their destruction.

All I had to do was find the seven Chiavi, which, when combined, would unlock the beast from its prison, buried in some elusive mountain somewhere in a world full of mystical creatures. Simple. I rolled my eyes before returning my attention to Gian’s journal.


It must be a puzzle.

There were seven letters in the clue. There were seven Chiavi.

I sat up straighter.

Which meant there were seven libraries.

We had retrieved five of the keys. I wrote down the names of the libraries where we’d found them, but none of the initials matched the letters in the acronym.

It’s not the names of the libraries. What am I missing? I stared at the page. Maybe it’s the location of the libraries. I printed them next to the libraries. No matches.


I scribbled on the page—Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland.

That has to be it. I just need two more letters. One starts with a “C” and the other an “N.”

I removed the list of libraries with artwork that could be a Chiave. Nick and I had assembled it with Uncle Philip’s help. I compared the clues for the final two Chiavi with our notes and circled the Czech Republic. Uncle Philip had suggested a painting in that library for In front of the world; he wears his honor on his chest. It was a portrait of some royal guy from the eighteenth century. He wore a uniform with a badge on his chest. It was the only library that could represent the C in the acronym.

Hot Read

Last Updated


Top Books