Rachel is back home after her disastrous attempt to infiltrate the records department at the I.S. Now she knows her ex-boss Denon probably got chewed out for losing Ivy, and he’s determined to make Rachel pay. She also learns Jenks’s kids, the little pixies, have been deflecting lethal splat-gun charms being lobbed at her while she works in her witch’s garden.
Desperate to get a look at the I.S. files so she can go after powerful councilman Trent Kalamack and prove his guilt in dealing illegal Brimstone (and thus get Denon off her back, she thinks), Rachel is studying the spellbooks she found in the attic of the church, looking for the perfect spell to get her inside undetected. She finally decides on a transmutation spell, and determines that since she has all the ingredients, she can turn herself into a mouse–even though she’s never actually done a transmutation before.
She invokes a circle and draws power from a ley line that runs below the church–something she’s surprised to find. After completing the spell, she and Jenks dodge Denon’s hitmen outside the church and head to the IS building a couple of hours before dawn. Even though she’s scared, Rachel downs the transmutation potion and collapses to the ground as her body begins the painful process of turning into a mouse.
Oh boy, things are going to really start picking up now.
We get our first good luck at Rachel’s magic in Chapter 9–how she invokes the spell, as well as the difference between good earth magic, black magic, and ley line magic. Rachel is worried, as she looks at the spells, about crossing the line from white magic to not-so-white, and fears she will have to cross that line in order to stay alive. This is a MAJOR issue throughout the entire series: how far will you go to protect yourself?
For now, the transmutation spell seems like a good idea for Rachel. All she has to do is turn into the mouse, go into the IS records room, look at the files Jenks has already found, then make her way back out and jump in her bowl of saltwater to undo the spell. Easy peasy, right? Ha.
We also get another look at the relationship between Ivy and Rachel in Chapter 9. Rachel is still afraid of Ivy and doesn’t trust her. She’s washing her clothes, dowsing herself in lavendar so she won’t carry Ivy’s scent and provoke another close encounter. Ivy, always the soul of calm, nonetheless shows some hurt feelings at Rachel’s lack of trust. We get another scene of a vamp tramp pointing out embarrassing things on the bus as Rachel reads the vampire dating guide.
We also get another glimpse at Jenks and the role he and his family will play–even Jenks’s many children (we meet his eldest son Jax in this chapter) are actively doing security on the church grounds.
Finally, we see a bit more about the ever-after, which originated as a utopia built by the Elves but ended up taken over by the demons. The ever-after (and the fact that the ley lines–or lines of energy that crisscross the earth–serve as direct conduits to the ever-after) also play a huge role in the series. Rachel believes, partly because of the glimpses of experience we’re getting to her father, who got in some trouble with ley-line magic, that drawing power from the ley lines adds smut to one’s soul, or aura.