Betrayed Chapter 20

I know I’ve asked before, but why is Zoey in charge of the DDs again? Is it just because she has the blessing of Nyx or is it because her mentor is Neferet? She doesn’t know any of the rituals and doesn’t know anything about being a vampire. I would think that even if Zoey takes over she should be learning the rituals and ceremony from one of the older students who’s been there for a couple of years before she’s handed the reins.

So as an example of bad leadership, we begin with Zoey giving out orders to everyone. I know that part of being in charge means delegating tasks but seriously, the DDs are basically a religious student council. Zoey’s duties aren’t so tough that she can’t handle them. Light a candle here, wiggle some burning herbs and sing the praises of Nyx using some mumbly jumbly she read in a book. The instructions that come with office chairs are more complicated than that.

Apparently Zoey did something by assembling a tray of fresh fruits, cheese and meat. Now she’s off to uncork a bottle of wine and place it all before Nyx’s statue. Zoey reminds us that she’s anxious and has only fifteen minutes before the ritual starts. She notices people coming in and hanging out while waiting for things to start. Then she says that in the two years Aphrodite was in charge it became a cliquish, snobby club and that was going to change tonight.

Wait, two years? That’s not really long enough to change the whole thing. There had to have been some older students who were already members who would raise protest if Aprhodite attempted to change things so drastically. Personally, I’d bet the DDs have always been exclusive and snobby like a well to do club at an Ivy League schools. So blaming Aphrodite for everything Zoey hated about them misses the important point that the vampires aren’t as perfect as she’d like to pretend.

Now Zoey notices that everyone has a necklace like hers. Wait, what? Yes, apparently the DDs changed in the span of a book, I mean a month. Now everyone wears that tie fighter logo with the only difference being that Zoey’s is encrusted with garnets. Then she says it was exactly like the one found by the body and she can’t figure out how that happened. As if there isn’t a chapter of DDs in every damn school and they all don’t have those stupid necklaces.

Zoey’s entourage has already set up their respective candles. Stevie touches hers, gets a shock and calls Zoey over. They can smell earth, that is to say plants, which Zoey tells us is weird because it shouldn’t be like that until she calls it. Damien says this means Stevie has an affinity for earth. Zoey is excited that her friend might have developed an affinity because it’s awesome, for some reason.

I still don’t know what having an affinity with the elements does for Zoey or her cohorts. In a pinch, I guess it means Stevie and Zoey can summon the smell of a fresh meadow or something. So far all it does it remind us that Zoey is special. Sure, her friends are special too but not nearly so as her.

Then Zoey tells them she wants everyone to take their places. She tells us that she’s not exactly the boss of them but they respect that she was in training to someday be their high priestess. Right, as long as they remain followers of Nyx and stay in Oklahoma. Of is Zoey going to be the high priestess of all vampires everywhere? And how much training has she done, exactly? Copying from a book the night before isn’t studying. Then Zoey looks around and decides she needs help so Erik shows up.

“What’s up, Z? You look like you’re going to explode,” Erik said, and then he lowered his voice, and for my ears alone added, “And you look as hot in that dress as I thought you would.”

Maybe it’s just me, but Zoey isn’t a long enough name to warrant a shorter nickname. Now if her name was Billy Jo or Carlotta or something like that, I could see it. But Zoey is short and in no need of truncating. Plus she’s done nothing to earn it aside from get dragged through the plot of one book before. Zoey tells Erik to take the red candle over to Shaunee while trying not to think about fire. Does anyone in the audience want to guess what happens next?

She took the red candle from Erik. I was watching her closely, but I hadn’t needed to. What happened was so obvious that several of the kids standing around the outside of the circle gasped along with Shaunee. The instant her hand touched the candle there was a whoosh noise. Her long, black hair began to lift and crackle as if it was filled with static electricity, and her beautiful chocolate skin glowed as if she had been lit from within.

This means she has an affinity for fire, I guess.  Then Erik acts as a gopher and hands candles out to the remaining two friends. Do they all have affinities as well? You bet they do. We can’t have Zoey stuck with boring friends who can’t do anything. That’d be just as bad as her dating a guy who isn’t the best Shakespearean actor or poet.

Then Zoey tells us how amazing it is that Damien is gifted with air. Apparently Nyx rarely gives magic out to the boys, opting instead to give them strength and other physical gifts. See, sexism is bad unless it’s practiced by the gods and then it’s cool. Oh and Zoey says that air is especially known as a feminine so it’s an even bigger shock. Damien is so happy he cries and Zoey figures it’s because Nyx has accepted him even when his parents haven’t.

“Your friends are spectacular, Zoey.” Neferet’s voice carried above the excited noise of the kids who were now converging on the four newly discovered talents.

The Unicus’s hunger knows no bounds. It will accept praise for things it merely owns as long as it doesn’t exceed the praise the owner gets. Zoey agrees that her little collection of friends are spectacular. Neferet says it only makes sense as Nyx was handing powers out like candy to spread a little around to others. She prophesizes that Zoey and friends will make history because never before has so much been given to so many at the same time.

Zoey is almost pleased but then sees the healing cut on Neferet’s arm and reminds herself that Neferet touched Elliott. Wait, why is Neferet’s cut still visible? Doesn’t she have advanced healing powers? And if that’s not fast enough, why wouldn’t she put on something with long sleeves? Certainly the other teachers would notice a marking their high priestess and be concerned. Because who or what would dare to scratch her? But while Neferet is dumb and evil everyone else has severe brain damage and couldn’t see the warning signs if they were illuminated by spotlights.

Then Neferet tells everyone about the DDs new structure and how the council will have one of Aphrodite’s old friends. Neferet says this will promote her vision of unity in the school and everyone cheers. This causes Zoey to seethe with anger. How dare Neferet take credit for Zoey’s idea. She was the one that put all the research on the internet and lifted it directly from another school, damn it!

Zoey whines that those were her ideas which she “sweated over for weeks!”  By weeks she means five minutes with Google and ten minutes talking it over with her friends. Neferet also says that the DDs are to be involved in charities to cultivate a better image and she tells them they’re going to be working with “Street Cats”.

There was good-humored laughter at this, which was the reaction Neferet had had when I’d told her my decision to have the Dark Daughters involved in that particular charity. I could not believe Neferet was taking credit for everything that I had told her that night at dinner.

This is just like that episode of [generic primetime drama] where [the bitchy girl] steals her ideas from [cute and naïve protagonist]! I can’t wait until she gets her comeuppance for this. But then some students come in with squares of wet concrete for handprints. Neferet gives Zoey credit for that, probably because it’s a dumb idea. Zoey says that finally she’s getting some credit for something even though it was Damien’s idea  in the first place. Good to see that Zoey’s hypocrisy shield is holding steady. Then Neferet says they’re all wonderful and wishes them goodnight while leaving to the cheers of the students.

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