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       Firebolt, p.11

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  “Master, I have to examine Becky,” Constance said, as she led her away. Becky started to protest, but Constance hissed something in her ear that silenced her.

  Lucian, Dean, Sammy, and I entered Master Longwei's office, and the look he gave the four of us was worse than the scolding.

  “What happened?” he asked harshly.

  “Master Longwei, she got hit by lightning and went down. I don't know how she can still be alive. There was so much voltage running through her I know for a fact that she should not be here.” Lucian spoke fast; it must be something he did whenever he was nervous.

  “Lucian, how could you go to the lake at this time of night? You of all people know better. Anything could have happened—”

  “It wasn't entirely his fault, we were all there too,” I said.

  Master Longwei's eyebrow arched and then he turned his glare at me. That one look made me suddenly wish I’d never found Paegeia. “I don't know how things worked on the other side of the wall, young lady, but here we have rules. You risk your own life and the life of your friends when you disobey them. We also do not speak out of turn when an elder is talking.”

  My lower lip started to quiver softly. My father always told me to share the blame if I was a culprit too. I wasn't being disrespectful and started to become angry that he had insinuated that.

  “I will have to think about what punishment to give you four. You can be glad Becky is still alive. You may go. If I ever catch you going for a midnight swim again, I promise none of you will see the light of day until you graduate!” he roared, allowing us to make our escape.

  My knees wobbled as I climbed down the stairs, and I had to catch my balance on the handrail several times.

  “It's going to be fine, Elena,” Lucian said soothingly, rubbing my arms to try to restore the blood that had drained from my body.

  I just nodded, trying hard not to cry.

  “My father is so going to kill me,” Dean said, walking next to Sammy.

  “Let's just hope that was a warning.” Lucian took a deep breath, clearly still shaken.

  I noticed Sammy didn't say anything about her father. He would probably laugh at it after having to deal with Blake's shit all of the time. Her punishment would probably be a breeze. She did look anxious though as we got closer and closer to our room.

  Dad would have been angry too. I silently wished he was still here to yell at me.

  “Hey, are you okay?” Lucian asked, as we were about to climb the stairs to the girl’s dorms.

  I shook my head, not knowing if I was okay, and he pulled me closer.

  His arms felt good, but somehow it didn't lessen my anger. “Everything's going to be okay, I promise. See you tomorrow.”

  I kissed him quickly on his lips and ran up the stairs.

  “Goodnight, guys,” Sammy said, and I heard their faint grunts in acknowledgement.

  We reached our room and fell on our beds. I felt as if I could have ripped my pillow into a gazillion pieces. My feelings were so messed up. A part of me felt so angry and the other part worried sick about Becky. I didn't know how to cope with it. How could lightning strike someone and the person still be alive?

  “It's okay, Elena,” Sammy said, walking over to my bed and trying to calm me down. “Becky's fine.”

  I just laid my head on Sammy's lap and sobbed. “Becky could have died tonight, and then what?”

  Sammy stroked my back softly. “It's going to be fine, you’ll see.”

  We both jumped as Becky opened the door. Her hair was still fanned out in every direction. I just wanted to hug her.

  “Stay away!” she ordered both of us. Her eyes were huge and she held her hands in the air as if she was a mime trapped in a glass box.

  “How is this possible?” I yelled, not quite sure what or whom I was furious with.

  “Are you okay?” Sammy frowned at me and looked back at Becky with soft eyes.

  “I'm fine, I have ascended!” she said.

  “You have what?” I was still yelling. What is wrong with me?

  “I have ascended.” She couldn't hold her tears back anymore. They came pouring from her eyes.

  Sammy stepped closer and reached out to touch her.

  She put her hands up in the air again, backing away and sobbing. “Don't touch me!”

  We just stood there in silence and waited for Becky to calm down. Sammy kept cooing that it was going to be okay and it began to calm her down.

  Becky took a deep breath. “Constance said that I still have so much electricity running through me that I can power up the entire academy for a whole week. She actually thought about doing that.” New tears streamed down her face and left small sparks in their wake. She didn't even flinch.

  I guess she was really immune to it. The image of Constance's wiring Becky to draw the electricity from her formed in my mind. It made it hard not to laugh.

  “They’re phoning my mom as we speak,” she explained.

  “It's going to be okay, Becky,” Sammy said again for the millionth time.

  “No, it's not,” she yelled. “Don't you guys get it? I can manipulate lightning. That’s my power, stupid freaking lightning.”

  Sammy and I looked at her as if she had fried some of her brain cells too.

  “I would give my left toe for an ability like yours,” I said truthfully, irritated that she was so unhappy when all I wanted was to fit in.

  She threw me a glare that made me feel like I was back in Master Longwei's office. “You still don't get it, Elena. I have the power of lightning. It means my dragon is a freaken' Moon-Bolt. The only one available in this school is George.”

  Chapter Twelve

  Even though George was an idiot, the guy was in the same league as Lucian when it came to his good looks. Hot as hell with dimples like Sammy's.

  “George?” Sammy asked. Becky fell on her bed and cried.

  “Okay, that sucks,” I said. It was the first words that popped into my head. It was the truth because I knew she didn't like George one bit.

  She looked rather upset at the realization that he was the only Moon-Bolt available. Tears streamed down her face, and Becky wasn't a soft crier. She looked comical, and I couldn't hold my laughter back anymore.

  “Elena,” Sammy sang.

  “I’m sorry.” I snorted as the tears ran down my cheeks too. Sammy and Becky joined me after a while, and it felt good to laugh, especially in lieu of what had happened tonight.

  Our laughter stopped abruptly. A minute or so of silence followed.

  “Can we please just talk about something else?” Becky asked quietly.

  “How was the kiss, Elena?” Sammy interjected. It worked.

  Becky got all excited as I explained to them how perfect his lips felt against mine. It was nice to relive it and all of us felt better when I finished my detailed review.

  “I told you he was crazy about you,” Becky chirped.

  “Excuse me, I told her he liked her,” Sammy snapped, and we fell back into laughter.

  As I let the events of the night wash over me, I tried to process everything that had happened. I went to bed wondering how Sammy felt now knowing her best friend wasn't a Fire Wielder.

  * * *

  We woke up the next morning and found Becky combing out her hair ferociously. Sparks flew onto her brush as she tried to get her hair to lay flat. She didn't really succeed.

  I started to laugh as her hair just kept jumping up again. Frustrated, she threw her brush at me, but missed. At least she was a good sport.

  When we entered the cafeteria, everyone stopped eating, turned, and stared at Becky.

  “Hell, news travels fast,” Sammy said as loud as she could, and some faces ducked behind their friends and others quickly turned away.

  We soon discovered that there were other Moon-Bolts at the school, because every one of them threatened her to stay away. She was instantly relieved and glad she had more options.

  I was glad to see Lucian smili
ng at me from his table. He looked better than he had last night. When we reached him, he stood up, cupped my face in his hands, and kissed me. It was scary how nothing else mattered, that all my worries and concerns just seemed to disappear whenever his lips touched mine. A lot of guys mocked Lucian for being so openly affectionate. I only wished that I could brush it off as easily as he did. Becky came back from the buffet line and seeing some of her hair standing up forced me to suppress my laughter again.

  “You gave us a heart attack last night,” Lucian said, as Becky sat down next to us.

  I burst out laughing again.

  “Elena, stop it.” Sammy bumped me hard in my ribs while trying desperately to suppress her laughter too. Becky rolled her eyes and looked irritated.

  Lucian just stared at me. “Am I missing something here?”

  I snorted again and shook my head, indicating that I would explain everything to him later.

  “Oh c'mon, Lucian. Don't tell me my hair standing in every direction is not one bit funny.”

  He smiled, knowing she was right.

  “I’ve had to listen to their jokes since last night.”

  “That’s so mean.” He was trying to make us feel bad.

  I took a deep breath. “Sorry, Becky, I’ll try harder to control it.”

  “Whatever, Elena. If it was you I would have broken myself in two.”

  “Umm, you did already,” I reminded her of my first Art of War lesson, and she finally giggled.

  “Becky,” A third-year boy had just walked up to our table sounding serious. He saw her hair and his lips drew in a thin line.

  “It's fine, you can laugh,” she said.

  He smiled. “Master Longwei wants to see you in his office, pronto.”

  “Why?”

  Our jokes suddenly became less funny.

  “I don't know. He just asked me to fetch you,” he said and walked away.

  “You want us to come with you?” Sammy asked.

  “No, you guys already took a beating last night. I guess it’s my turn,” she said and got up.

  “I hope that it’s nothing bad,” I said, resolved.

  “I guess we just have to wait and see,” Lucian said, stroking my back softly. We left the cafeteria hand in hand when the bell rang.

  He said goodbye with another soft kiss as we reached my class and ran off to his down the hall. I let out a satisfied sigh, feeling like some sort of fairytale character that had just found her prince. I had, literally.

  I became worried during Enchantments when Becky hadn’t returned from her meeting with Master Longwei. It was right before lunchtime, and I struggled hard to concentrate, not that I understood one word of it anyway. As I made my way to the cafeteria I found Lucian and Sammy speaking to her at a table outside.

  “What happened, what did he say?” I was upset as I plunged down next to Lucian. She tried to tell me, but she stuttered too much and then began bawling again as if somebody had died.

  “The Viden told Master Longwei about a foretelling. It’s about George. She told him that his Dragonian would be struck by lightning,” Lucian said solemnly.

  “She thinks it's you?” I asked, stunned.

  They both nodded on Becky's behalf, while she blew her nose into a hanky.

  “They're going to force me to claim George, Elena,” she bawled again.

  “You are part of a foretelling?” I finally understood what she was saying, and her lower lip quivered.

  “One that means absolutely nothing. I don't know why I can't refuse,” she stuttered, still upset.

  “Because of what it is,” Lucian said, trying to calm her down.

  “Wait, you guys know what this means?” I asked, and they just looked at me as if they didn't see the big picture at all. “George is your dent, Becky. It's rare, isn't it?”

  “Oh my word, Elena is right. It hasn't happened for a long time.” Sammy sounded excited.

  “Me and George?” Becky shrieked and fell onto her arms. A short buzzing sound emanating from her made us all stare.

  Wicked, Lucian mouthed, and I glared at him. Okay, so maybe she had seen that one coming and it was the reason why she was like this.

  “Calm down, girl,” Sammy said, almost stroking her back, but yanking her hand away just in time. “You should embrace this, Becky. Besides, he isn't that bad looking.”

  Becky shrieked. “That’s the absolute worst thing you’ve ever said to me. I’m not shallow!”

  “I didn't mean it like that,” Sammy said.“Maybe George will change.”

  “He's a freaking Moon-Bolt. He almost gave Elena a heart attack on her first day!” She looked at the sky. “Kill me now, please.”

  “Calm down, Becky. I know it’s hard to see the silver lining on this one,but maybe Sammy’s right. He could change,” Lucian said hopefully.

  “Not you too!”

  “What are you so worried about anyway? The fact that it's George, or the fact that he is a Moon-Bolt?” he asked.

  “The fact that he's a dickhead. And to make matters worse, he’s going to want to hang with us from now on.”

  “It's going to be fine, Becky, if George wants to hang with us. He just better treat Elena better,” Sammy said, and we all burst out laughing again.

  “It’s going to be okay,”I said, trying to boost her ego.“It's not the end of the world, and you rock. That dragon can count his lucky stars to have you as his Dragonian.”

  “Aw. I wish I could hug you both. You are the best BFs a girl could ask for.” Becky snorted and wiped her eyes.

  “You really electrify people if they come too close?” Lucian asked, pretending to poke her, and Becky giggled. “That’s so wicked,” he said out loud this time. I stood up, seeing it as the perfect moment to grab some lunch.

  When I got back, Lucian was talking about tricks to claim George and offered to train her if she wanted.

  The bell rang again, ending all our fun. I sulked all the way to Arithmetic.

  “So Elena is now with Lucian, what about Brian?” a soft voice said next to me.

  “Elena said she will think about Brian's offer. She did, but Lucian stole her heart, and his intentions are not like Brian’s.”

  “Elena is making a huge mistake,” he said.“Brian could have offered her so much more.”

  “Yeah, yeah, okay, Brian, we get it. Take a hike.” Lucian's voice came from behind us, and he squeezed in between Brian and me.

  “Your Highness' wishes are Brian's command,” he teased, and walked away.

  Lucian ground hard on his teeth. It made a horrible sound that I couldn't stand.

  “Stop doing that. Besides you are the prince of Tith and─”

  “Stop that,” he said, poking me playfully in the ribs. This escalated into a lot of laughter, and somehow I ended up in his arms. He kissed me softly just before our paths separated, and then he scurried away to his next class.

  “Your wish is everybody's command. You need to deal with it,” I joked, while he walked away.

  “Yours too?” he said hopefully.

  “You'll have to wait and see, Your Highness.”

  He roared with laughter, while the other students in the hallway were shaking their heads and twittering.

  I had finally learned how to ignore them. The left side of my lip curled up as I saw room 125. It became an involuntary reaction right before I opened the big door to Arithmetic.

  By the end of day, George had finally received the bad news and was really pissed.

  He cornered Becky in the hallway and threatened, “You just stay away from me.”

  Becky pushed him away, hard. We could hear some electricity pass between them but George didn't flinch one bit.

  “You think I wanted this. I will rather spend my life with a colony of wyverns before claiming you.”

  He huffed with a sideways smile accepting her challenge. “At least you know where you stand.”

  “As if. Let me rephrase. I would rather die than have you around me,
she yelled, standing inches away from his face.

  George grunted, bared his teeth, and raced off cussing.

  “He’s such an asshole. Why did I have to be struck by lightning? I would even claim a Night Villain over George Mills!” she shouted at his retreating figure.

  “It's going to be okay, Becky. In a couple of days he won't be such an arrogant bastard,” Sammy said in a soft tone, but it didn't seem right without the hug.

  I had to admit, a part of me did pray that I’d never ascend. I wouldn't be able to handle all of this fighting.

  Racing off with Becky to her favorite class, I hoped she would cheer up. Art of War was still not my thing and I felt as if I was going backward instead of forward. I struggled to concentrate as I worried about Becky. I couldn’t focus on Professor Mia's instructions. So in short, I got my ass kicked.

  * * *

  For the next couple of days,the glares between Becky and George grew worse. The girls that liked George kept bumping into Becky as a warning. Some even threatened her about what they’d do if she claimed George. As if she had a choice.

  Classes were the same and weren’t getting any better. The only thing I did look forward to was spending more time with Lucian. I felt our time together shrinking as he continued to train Becky for the day she was going to have to face George. By the third day of training, I was already annoyed. They only talked about fighting, and I found it foreign as they talked about highs, lows, and aims.

  On Tuesday during Enchantments, there came an announcement over the school’s speaker system. Master Longwei’s voice filled the entire school as he announced: "On Thursday at four in the afternoon, there will be a claim. Rebecca Johnston for the claiming of George Mills."

  There was a lot of applause from our class, as well as a lot of good luck punches on her shoulder. She couldn’t stop smiling.

  * * *

  As everyone began to fall into the rigor of the academy, I found myself alone most afternoons. Sammy had started with her extra activity─ who knew a dragon could be into drama classes. Lucian wanted me to come and watch how Becky and he trained, but I couldn't stand the sound of weapons slamming against each other. It gave me a headache after a couple of minutes, so I ended up spending my afternoons in the library.

 
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