I sat in English with my head buried in a book. The teacher was beyond caring whether or not I paid attention. She knew full well by now that I knew enough about the language and literature to teach the class in her stead. English was one of the only lessons I attended, my love of literature overpowering my desire to laze about. I glanced around me at my classmates, seeing most of them were off in their own worlds, paying little or no attention to the teacher who was trying her best to amble through the themes of various plays. I was a hairs breadth away from standing and teaching them myself when I was summoned out of class as someone wished to see me. I was led to a corridor where Theodore stood by a window, gazing out through the sheet of glass to the woods beyond. It reeked of Lilianna and I could only assume she visited there often.
"You wanted to see me?" I said once the two of us were alone.
"Yes. How much do you want to join The Shadows? And don't lie" he said, his gaze still focused on the woods.
"As much as any other, I suppose"
"Hmm, how well do you know my daughter?" he asked, turning to look at me.
"Not all that well"
"How well are you at spying?"
"I can't say I have ever tried it. Why so many questions, if you don't mind my asking?"
He held out his hand, something resting in his palm. I glanced at it, seeing a ring set with a black stone carved into the shape of a rose. "If you can watch my daughter you will be allowed to be part of The Shadows. Not a Shadow yet but part of The Shadows. You'll need to find a shadow to train you to become one"
I looked at him, part of me not registering what he had just said. Would that put me into a similar position as my father or would it mean more?
"Yes or no?"
I smiled a little, nodding.
"If you fail to report to me you will be left in the sewers with no memory. Clear?"
I nodded again and he instructed me to take the ring he held. I did so, sliding the cool metal band onto my finger and fighting back the urge to grin at my success.
"Don't disappoint me" Theodore said sternly before turning to leave.
"Wait" I said, a little rudely, I must admit, as Ianthe sprung into mind.
"I have a question on behalf of my sister"
"What might that be?"
"Can you marry into The Shadows?"
I nodded, imagining how upset she would be. "I shall let her know"
Theodore turned to leave once more. "Some are allowed in ‘cause marriages put them in a position of power but that is it"
And with that he left, no doubt going to see Lilianna. I chuckled a little to myself and headed back to English but it was only when the teacher was halfway through the themes in Romeo and Juliet that I realised the terms of our agreement. I had practically agreed to be Lilianna’s babysitter.