The Gorgons Gaze # 2 (Companions Quartet)

Free The Gorgons Gaze # 2 (Companions Quartet) by Julia Golding

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Authors: Julia Golding
thought of Godiva’s warning against voices in her head and delusions. Her great-aunt was partly right then—her gift could lead to madness.
    A few defensive tools, such as the hauberk, are the result of harmonious co-operation between universal and creature. In them, you become one with your companion and take on the properties that make them what they are
.
    Connie picked up her pen and began to take notes, underlining each tool in heavy black ink.
    Many universals have devoted their time to the learning of the weapons of battle, such as sword, arrow, and spear. Be warned: it is these tools that enable us to reach beyond our puny selves and manipulate those around us, but in them lies great danger. We only act as channels for the power of others—we are not the power itself. If we take where we are not welcome, we will pay. Many fear us now; if we abuse our gift, they will reject us, turning us from the king among them to the leper beyond their gates
.
    Some hours later a distant bell rang below on the main floor of the library, warning her that her time was almost up. She was deep into a chapter about mental exercises for controlling shared thoughts—the helm—and was reluctant to stop. She was trying to imagine what it would be like to use this tool, thinking through the process ofusing the helm to defend a mind against invasion by another, a useful alternative to the shield. Could she take books out? she wondered.
    Picking up the volume, she moved to the stair. On her approach, the snake sprang into life once more and hissed a warning, blocking her exit with a furious weaving dance.
    “I think I’ve got my answer,” Connie said to herself, beating a hasty retreat to put the book back on the shelf.
    Once she was bookless, the snake had no objection to guiding Connie down the stairs with its eerie copper glow. At the bottom, it opened its mouth and dropped the key at her feet before returning to its vigil, curling around the handrail and becoming as still as if it really had been forged from metal. Relieved to be getting out of there in one piece, Connie picked up the ribbon, closed the door behind her, and returned to Antonia by the desk.
    “Well?” asked Mr. Dove curiously, holding his wrinkled palm out for the key.
    “A bit fierce, isn’t he?” she said, handing it over still damp from the snake’s mouth. Antonia looked mystified, but Mr. Dove gave a grim smile and locked the key back in the box with the universals’ register.
    “We call him Argonaut.” Seeing Connie’s expression, he continued, “It’s our little joke, you know. Long ago, Jason and his Argonauts got past one of its kind to steal the Golden Fleece. The great snakes have made up for it since by never sleeping on watch. But we librarians like toremind the door-ward of Jason, just to keep him in his normal good humor, which no doubt you enjoyed today.”
    “Yeah,” Connie muttered to Antonia, “I’ll never complain about paying a library fine again.”

    Horace joined them in the entrance hall. Over his shoulder, Connie could see her great-uncle outside, sunning himself against the old stone dragons, looking up at the building in wonder.
    “I hope you’ve learned something today,” said Horace as they signed themselves out.
    “Yes, loads of things, thanks,” said Connie, showing him her fat notebook. “I only wish I could try them out. I know I won’t really understand them until I do.”
    “Oh, I didn’t mean that,” Horace replied, his broad smile beaming at her. “I was thinking that you might have learned that where there’s a will, there’s a way.” She looked at him blankly. “What I mean is that where you have a will to do something, a way will be found. A universal cannot be kept from her destiny.”
    “Ah, Miss Lionheart, I heard that you were in the building.” Mr. Coddrington, the assessor who had originally refused Connie membership in the Society, glided stealthily from behind a pillar to intercept them

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