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       Firebolt, p.12

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  I saw it as time to learn about Paegeia. Most days it was an exercise in failure,because I couldn’t concentrate and was instead worrying about Becky.

  I crawled into bed late, scared that I was going to dream again about the woman on the hill. She had been harassing my dreams for the past week, and I still didn't know who she was, what she wanted, or why I was dreaming of her. At least I didn't wake up screaming anymore. I just wished that she would tell me what the hell she wanted.

  I couldn't wait for Thursday─ the day Becky was going to claim George. After that, things should go back to normal, I hoped as I settled into bed. I turned off the light and fell asleep faster than I thought I would. As usual, I felt my dream shift as the mysterious woman made her appearance once again.

  Chapter Thirteen

  I was woken up by the slamming of the bathroom door. Sammy sat on her bed and glared vehemently in the direction of the bathroom.

  “Is everything okay?” I asked in a croaky voice.

  “Whatever you do, don't look in that one's direction.” Sammy pointed to the bathroom door.

  “You think it's got to do with the claim?”

  “I think it's got more to do with her last session with Lucian this morning. She looked highly pissed off when she stormed in.”

  Becky came out of the bathroom as we were talking and yanked her dresser drawer’s open.

  “Are you okay?” I asked. I hated to see her like this.

  “Yes,” she said, as if she was about to take an exam, instead of fighting a dragon. T-shirts flew out of her drawer as she searched for something.

  Sammy and I just stared at each other, perplexed.

  “Becky, what's wrong? You seem... upset.” Sammy sounded as if she’d struggled to find the right word.

  “I'm fine.” She turned around and sighed. “Lucian has taught me well.” Her voice changed, sliding into deep sarcasm. So, Sammy was right about Lucian being the culprit behind Becky's bad mood.

  “Spill!” Sammy demanded.

  Becky curled her lip. “He's a 'slave driven demon' when it comes to fighting. I mean, the guy is good with a sword in his hands, but he has no sense of when he needs to stop. He's driving me insane!”

  “What?” Sammy shrieked.

  “Lucian McKenzie, my Lucian?” It felt great saying that.

  “You heard me.” She plunged down on her bed with a pair of socks in her hand. “You only know his sweet side, Elena. He's head over heels for you.”

  “Well I hope so. Since he's been training you, I hardly see him,” I said, irritation filling my voice.

  “I'm sure he'll spend all his time with you after today. You know he told his parents that he won't be going home over weekends anymore,” Becky said arching her eyebrows.

  “Get out of here,” Sammy shrieked excitedly while my stomach was doing a back flip.

  “It's the truth.”

  “Do you guys think he told them about me?” I asked. My gut turned into a big knot.

  “Who cares? He's going to stay.” Sammy sounded happy on my behalf.

  I had to admit, as much as I loved to spend more time with Lucian over weekends, a part of me panicked when I thought about his parents. I mean they’re ruling a country for crying out loud. What if they have certain expectations of me? I swallowed hard. Did they know I was the girl with the dragon father? For the love of blueberries,what if they didn’t approve?

  I anxiously looked for Lucian during breakfast, but he was nowhere to be seen. To make matters worse he was constantly on my mind, so I had no idea what the professors were talking about during their lectures. At lunch, we had pasta for the zillionth time. Riley had gotten most of the riddles lately.

  “Elena, please, I'm begging you, if it's going to be pasta tomorrow again, I'm going to puke,” Sammy complained, begging me to solve the days riddle.

  I giggled and walked over to the Chef's board to see what he had in store for us today.

  “All about, but cannot be seen. Can be captured but cannot be held. Can be heard but have no throat, what am I?'”I tried to think. Usually the answer just popped into my head, but today was completely different. I felt someone standing behind me. When she started to tap her foot, I assumed she wanted to see the riddle. I turned around and Arianna, princess of Areeth, was all up in my face.

  Long strawberry locks curled down her back and around her face. Her lips twitched as a sly smile spread across her face, and she raised an eyebrow. To her right, a girl with a pug face glared at me, and on her left was a ginger that tried desperately to hide her freckles with too much concealer.

  “Sorry,” I said, and tried to step away.

  Arianna stepped in front of me, blocking my exit. “I'm not done with you, and yes, you'll be sorry if you won't do as I say.”

  “Excuse me?”

  “Stay away from Lucian McKenzie. He always goes through a mild crush on whoever is new.” Freckles and Pug Face sniggered.

  “You see,it doesn't even matter if you two do get along. Lucian is royalty, Elena, and he can't waste his time with a commoner. So the way I see it, is that you stop whatever‘this’ is before you get hurt.” She emphasized the word “you” a little too harshly.

  After all that venom, her lips turned into a perfect smile, and she turned around to walk away.

  Becky and Sammy were walking toward us, and Arianna slammed into Becky violently. It was a miracle that Becky was still standing.

  “Get out of my way,” Arianna spoke down to them.

  “This is not Areeth, Arianna,” Sammy yelled after her.

  “Are you okay?” Becky said.

  I nodded and felt tears clog my throat.

  “Elena, whatever she said, ignore it. She is a big biatch.”

  “Yeah.”My mind was stumped with what she’d said.

  “What was that all about?” Sammy asked, as we sat down at the table.

  “It doesn't matter.”I sulked and started to eat my bowl of Alfredo pasta. I’d totally forgotten about the riddle when Chef rang the bell.

  Lucian mimicked Becky with her happy dance and the entire cafeteria cheered.

  Could he be sexier?

  I closed my eyes and pushed away my tears. What do I do now? Arianna was right and had only spoken out loud what I already knew, but how could I stop what we had?

  "Hey, beautiful." Lucian sat down next to me.

  "Not now, okay, I have to go," I said quickly. I rose to leave as one tear lurked in the corner of my eye.

  The fact that he was royalty wasn't going to change,and having a commoner for a girlfriend was probably against the law or something. How was I supposed to get rid of my feelings for him? Ever since he’d kissed me, I'd felt as if I could fly. Now, whatever had made me feel so powerful died painfully with Arianna's words.

  I tried to push Lucian to the back of my mind, but struggled.

  Sammy and Becky came into the room a little while later.

  “What's up, Elena?” Becky stood with her arms folded,and I knew I wasn’t getting off the hook that easily.

  “It doesn't matter, Becky.” I picked up my brush and pulled my hair up in my famous ponytail.

  “Lucian is asking if he did something wrong.” She just kept talking as if she didn't hear my reply. “Is it about what I said this morning?”

  “No, Becky, just leave it, please.”

  “Elena, come on, I can see something is bothering you,” she said.

  “It's not that, okay, just leave it.”

  “Oh my word, it's Arianna, isn't it?” Sammy gave an I-don't-believe-this-crap giggle.

  “It's Arianna?” Becky asked confused. “Elena, what did she say?”

  “It doesn't matter, she's right. Lucian is royalty, Becky, and I'm not.” My voice broke, and my hands somehow found the top of my head. This was so wrong. Why couldn't he choose who he wanted to be with?

  Becky paced up and down. Her lips pressed hard in a thin line.

  “Don't listen to her,Elena. She’s always ha
d a thing for Lucian and my brother. Believe me;she’s been trying her luck with both of them. Don't let her get under your skin.” Sammy folded her arm around my shoulder.

  “He's royalty. Someone is going to get hurt in the end, and I know it's me.”

  “If Lucian finds out about this, she’s going to see her ass.” Becky fiddled with her necklace.

  “Don't tell him, please.” I hated confrontations.

  “Fine, one condition,” Becky said, and stopped pacing. “You forget what she said.”

  “Becky?” I sighed.

  She lifted her index finger for me to stop.

  “She scares the living crap out of me!” I yelled fast.

  Both girls laughed.

  “Elena, she's got a big mouth, that's it. She's just like Tabitha.”

  “Sammy's right.” Becky came over and hugged me too.

  The bell rang and we were forced to head back to class.

  We still had a full hour of Arts of War left, and I wasn't in the mood to fight with a sword, pretending to be the greatest gladiator that ever lived.

  Unfortunately, Professor Mia had the opposite idea and drilled me even harder. I slouched to my room, stumbled into the shower, and fell onto my bed. I’d shut my eyes for only a couple of seconds when Sammy stormed in.

  “Elena, what are you doing?”

  “What?” I said, sleepy, and looked at the clock. Somehow,I’d dozed off until four o'clock. Becky was about to claim George. I jumped up, slipped on my flip-flops, and darted for the coliseum.

  Goose pimplescovered my entire body as we neared. I couldn't believe that I’d almost missed it.

  When I heard loud cheers and chants, I made a run for it. I gasped as I saw how packed it was. There were other people beside the students and professors sitting in the stands, and I finally understood how big of an event this was. Thankfully nothing had happened yet.

  George threw a show for the crowd. He ran up and down the sides where all the dragons sat, touching the hands of the people he passed. Loud music boomed through the coliseum, and he ripped off his T-shirt. The girls screamed wildly.

  I had to admit, he was very muscular, with an eight pack bulging from his stomach.

  I still hated his arrogance. The Chromatic dragons cheered the loudest and instructed him to show Becky what he was made of.

  “They're wasting their time,” Sammy said in a singing tone. She led me to the side where all of the Dragonians sat.

  “Why?”

  “That down there is Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde will come out in a couple of minutes.”

  I understood that analogy and should've known that she would take me straight to Lucian's seat.

  He seemed agitated as he stared over at the small entrance where Becky would emerge.

  Arianna's words were still fresh in my mind, making me fidget.

  “Aren't you supposed to be on the other side?” A girl with short mousy blonde hair twittered at Sammy.

  “Oh, bite me,” she snapped back, and squished through to the only two empty chairs in the row, right next to Lucian. She took the first one and forced me to sit down next to him.

  I stared at the crowd, anywhere but him.

  “Are you okay?” he asked, finally looking at me.

  I gave him an assuring smile, and he gave me a quick kiss on my temple. His hand folded over my leg. He smelled amazing, but by his clenched jaw and his firm grasp around my leg, I could tell he was uptight.

  “Where's Becky?” I stretched my neck to see if I couldn't spot her somewhere.

  “She's still inside going over some strategies with Mia.” He called the professor by her first name.

  “So, she helps?” I asked, trying to keep the conversation neutral.

  “Not really, but she gives one hell of a pep talk.”

  I giggled. A hint of a smile appeared on his face too. I remembered how big George was that first day when he’d stood in his dragon form in front of me, and the one that killed my father. I didn't have faith that a pep talk would do much good.

  “We Will Rock You” from Queen started to play, and it didn't take the crowd more than a few seconds to get up on their feet and clap their hands with the rhythm. “What's this?” I shouted.

  “It is Becky's song. We each have to choose one to be introduced by before a claim,” he shouted back.

  Just as the music started, George exploded into his huge dragon form which made me stare like an idiot. Again.

  He looked so evil that it struck fear into everything that owned a soul. I still thought the humans were crazy to even consider doing this.

  The crowd went ballistic when the coliseum's walls vanished. Sand dunes appeared in the distance and the air became humid. I gawked andpulled my Tee away from me to fan myself. The Coliseum’s floor changed into sand, and George growled.

  “What's this?”

  “The dragons can choose any type of scene they're comfortable with. Moon-Bolts’ are desert freaks,” Lucian explained. “Like their temperament isn't enough.”

  “Is this going to turn ugly?” I sounded scared.

  He didn't reply because Becky had appeared. The Dragonians jumped to their feet and started to cheer and whistle like mad. A traditional gladiator outfit, modified for girls, hugged her body perfectly, and the tiny metal skirt showed off her slender legs. Knee-high boots and a black Tee under her vest made her look sizzling hot. The guys made cavemen sounds, and I rolled my eyes. Typical.

  The music stopped, and Professor Mia walked right to the middle of the arena. She had a white flag in her right hand, and when she lowered it, a big lightning bolt came shooting out of George's mouth.

  Becky blocked it with her shield, but it didn't look like the wisest choice, as electricity ran through the metal. If she wasn't immune to it, she would've been on the ground shaking like she had that night at the lake.

  George kept breathing lightning bolts aimed directly at Becky. I hid behind Lucian, unable to handle seeing one of my best friends take such a beating.

  “C'mon, Becky, get up!” Lucian yelled. “Use your lightning.”

  “Her lightning?”

  He didn't answer.

  I hated not getting an answer; this was so confusing. My Tee crinkled up inside my fists, and my skin started to feel baked from the sun's heat. I flinched every single time the lightning zapped her shield. It sounded like thunder, and when I had finally gathered enough courage to peek, I hid again as George threw Becky to the ground. It wasn't a fair fight, and I wished that somebody would help her. Sammy shouted things for Becky to watch out for, but I doubted that Becky could hear it.

  George blew out another thunderbolt and hit Becky directly in her gut. She flew through the air and fell on her back. My heart stopped. She just lay on the floor, lifeless.

  Suddenly, she did a back flip, righting herself once more, and I took a deep breath. My heart started to pound heavily as the whole coliseum went crazy.

  She egged him on, showing him with her index finger that she wanted more.

  George growled and breathed out another lightning bolt. It bounced off her body and headed straight back at him. He released another one and repeated it over again. Every single one backfired on him. She finally took control, catching the last lightning bolts in her bare hand. The entire Coliseum gasped. She then threw it back at him. After that, the lightning bolts only seemed to harm George. She was so fast that he couldn't block or dodge them as he was pelted with his own weapon.

  “That's it, Becky!” Lucian roared with a huge grin.

  George stammered as Becky went Zeus on his ass. She gained more confidence with every counter attack, or maybe she’d just realized George didn't have anything over her anymore. It wasn't natural to see such a small person like her fighting against a beast of George's size, and winning.

  He flew toward the crowd, trying to escape, but smashed against the invisible force that protected us. His talons made a screeching sound as he struggled to grab onto something solid.

/>   “Yeah, it sucks when your perfect little place bites you in the ass!” Lucian yelled, and the students nearby laughed.

  He landed on the sand again and gave it everything he had. Becky dodged and slid just like the gladiators in the movies. She caught most of the lightning bolts, and George finally went down. The crowds cheered and she raised both of her arms in triumph.

  Suddenly she collapsed, as if a sniper had taken her out.

  I jumped up while everybody booed.

  “What happened?” I shrieked. “Is she okay?”

  “Relax, Elena.” Lucian held me back by the arm. “He's such a coward.”

  “What happened?” I demanded.

  “She's fine. She'll be out for a couple of hours, maybe a day,” Lucian said.

  Sammy cussed right next to me.

  “He forced her ability on her. Our human form is too weak to carry them. That’swhy your dragon is the keeper or what some would call the‘carrier’,” Lucian explained, not taking his eyes off Becky's motionless body. “The lightning he breathes out is actually Becky's. He was born with it, but it never belonged to him. Becky is the true possessor. He just gave her the full dosage of what it feels like to carry that kind of power, and it always knocks humans out stone cold. She'll be fine, Elena.” He gave me a side hug, as a tear rolled down my cheek. “But it's very cowardly for a dragon to do that, and you'll see this behavior only around the Chromatic ones.”

  “Do all of them do that?” I asked still shaken.

  “Only when they know that the battle is lost,” he said.

  The Dragonian side still cheered as Constance and another student carried her away on a stretcher.

  “So what's going to happen now?”

  “George is Becky's. Doesn't matter how bad he's going to resist at first, if he's part of a dent, he'll end up as tame as a lamb. We don't know what it is they are going through, but it's some sort of transformation that makes them stay together forever.”

  “You mean like a couple?” I wanted to know if it was what Becky spoke about on my first day.

  He chuckled. "Yes, Elena. She's part of his foretelling. It's just a matter of time before he dents. I would give my left arm to be part of a dent." He smiled. He was really nuts, but then again he had tried to claim Blake twice.

 
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