The Empresss Tomb | Page 6 of 187

Author: Kirsten Miller | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2890 Views | Add a Review

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Hidden entrances to the Shadow City could be found in the basements of banks, boutiques, and fancy homes throughout Manhattan, and anyone with access to the rat-infested tunnels could enter and rob the buildings at will. Of course the Irregulars weren’t interested in lining our pockets with ill-gotten goods. We just wanted to keep the tunnels to ourselves. But we knew our underground playground came with a price. Instead of letting the authorities ruin our fun, we took responsibility for keeping a new generation of criminals out of the Shadow City.

I’d like to say we succeeded. But like the bloated bodies of giant squid that wash ashore on the coast of New Zealand, even the best-hidden secrets surface sooner or later. Six months earlier, an incomplete map of the Shadow City had fallen into the very worst hands, and Kiki Strike’s murderous relatives—the evil Queen of Pokrovia and her morally challenged daughter—had used it to plot her destruction. After the Irregulars foiled their attempt on Kiki’s life, Livia and Sidonia Galatzina fled to Russia. But it was only a matter of time before they returned—and as far as we knew, they still had a copy of our map.

While we waited for the Galatzinas to make their next move, the Irregulars stayed busy. Over the summer, we explored new tunnels and expanded our map of the Shadow City, collecting the treasures (gold coins, silver watches, surprisingly valuable antique bedpans) we found along the way. Whenever we came across an entrance in danger of discovery, we either blocked it or set booby traps. It was exhausting work, and much of it was done at night while most girls our age were snuggled up in their beds. We had hoped to complete our map before school started in September. But by the time Principal Wickham decided to rat me out, there was still one tunnel left to explore. Nothing my mother might have threatened could have kept me from finishing the job.

It’s not that I didn’t take her warning to heart. As my friend Verushka would say, when a quiet dog begins to bark, it’s best to pay attention. I even tried tackling the geometry homework I’d long been neglecting. But math has always made my mind wander, and it didn’t help that every room in our apartment was littered with books on more interesting topics. (Lost South American civilizations, forensic analysis of prehistoric dung, and the MI5 plot against Princess Diana, to name just a few.) While brewing a pot of strong coffee, I spotted a book titled Female Poisoners of the Seventeenth Century leaning against a box of Sweet’N Low. Unable to resist, I convinced myself I needed a short break from numbers and let my eyes sink into the story of the greedy Marquise de Brinvilliers, who poisoned half her family before being burned at the stake. When I looked up again it was almost nine o’clock in the evening. As I threw on a pair of black pants and a black T-shirt, I cursed my lack of discipline. Books have always

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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