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       Firebolt, p.15

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  “She what!” Her eyes turned a shade darker that seemed almost pitch black.

  I was glad that Sammy wasn’t here, otherwise the whole fourth floor would have heard that Arianna had almost killed me.

  “She’ll be fine, I hope. I think I got there in time.”Lucian’s voice broke a little, like on the night Becky ascended. He hugged me again.

  “We have to tell Master Longwei. Princess or no princess, she’s going down,” Becky threatened.

  “Don't please,” I finally managed to speak. “She’s the best at enchantment, and I need the best to pass my exams.”

  “Elena, she almost killed you.” Lucian's tone was full of disbelief.

  “She wasn't going to. I disrespected her. She had the right to do that.”

  “What, by not calling her princess?” he snapped back.

  “Well, she is one.”

  “I can't believe you fell for that, it’s an old trick of hers.”

  “Oh, come on,Lucian. You know it’s not the reason why she used a moon spell on Elena,”Becky quipped. I finally understood what she was saying. It was because I hadn’t backed off from pursuing him.

  Tears were close by again.

  Becky turned her gaze on me. “You must be really desperate to graduate or really stupid.”

  “Becky!” Lucian chided.

  “Don't, Lucian, please,” I whispered. “Becky, I begged Master Longwei to give me a chance. I’m not going to fail. She can use whatever spell she freaking wants and believe me,she’s not getting off easily. She hates every minute as much as I do, but I will learn every single one there is, and if Arianna is the best one to teach me, then so be it.”

  “Elena?” Lucian sounded concerned. I could tell that he didn't like my tone one bit.

  “Lucian, I’ll be fine. I have a week to learn a spell to protect myself,” I said. “You guys think you can help me?”

  “Whatever, Elena, you're nuts,” Becky snapped, and Lucian just sighed.

  “Fine, there’s a basic protection spell that might do the trick,” he said.

  “Thanks.”

  “However, I’m with Becky. You are nuts.” He raised his eyes playfully. The corner of his mouth slightly twitched.

  “Oh, do you now,” I said, and gave him a hug. “I’ll be fine”

  The door opened and Sammy entered. She was returning from drama rehearsal and still had paint all over her face. I had no idea what the hell she was supposed to be.

  “Oh crap, what happened?” She dropped the costume that she was carrying, and her tone was ten times worse than Becky's.

  “Nothing, just that Elena has lost her marbles. Oh, and that Arianna almost killed her with a moon spell.” Becky gave her a very sarcastic four-one-one.

  “She did what!”

  “That's nothing. Elena wants to face her again next week.”

  “That biatch. Elena, are you insane?” Sammy shrieked.

  “It’s not that bad. Becky is a big drama queen,” I said, giving Becky a look.

  “Sweetheart, you almost died.” Lucian was serious again, and Sammy just gawked at me.

  “Elena, a moon spell is not to be taken lightly. She can get expelled for that.” Sammy's tone was exactly the same as Lucian's.

  “Well, that is nice to know.” I smiled softly.

  Both the girls just looked at me with wide eyes, and Lucian squinted at me. “I’m not the blackmail type, but if I have to use it, I will. I'm sure daddy would just love it if his little princess got expelled.”

  Lucian finally chuckled. “You are spending way too much time with Becky and Sammy.”

  “Hey,” Becky said, and Sammy threw a pillow at him. He caught it. His reflexes were wicked. Guess the girls weren’t the only two that rubbed off on me.

  “Well,I’ve got to go. I’m sure tomorrow will go much better. Cheng is hardly someone that will feel the need to use a moon spell.” He kissed me quickly and walked to the door.

  “Good bye, Lucian,” the girls sang in unison, which made him blush with a super cute smile. I walked with him to the door.

  “Thanks for being there,” I said, trying to sound as sincere as possible.

  “I will always be there, Elena. I want you to know that.”

  I nodded, letting him know I knew.

  “Just be careful next time, please,” he begged, and I was in his arms again. He deserved a long passionate kiss for really being my knight in shining armor.

  We said goodbye and I went back into the room.

  “She really used a moon spell on you?” Sammy asked, and I nodded. “How does it feel?”

  “Sucks big time. I thought I was a goner for sure.” I shivered as I remembered the suffocating feeling again. “Wait, neither of you has ever gotten hit with a moon spell?”

  “They don't work on dragons,” Sammy said.

  “Moon spells only get covered in the third year,” Becky interrupted. “I guess she must be very good if she can cast a moon spell already.”

  “See, that’s why I need her.”

  “Elena, you have to be careful,” she warned.

  “She told Lucian that he used to do it too.” I tried to change the subject away from me. “Do we have to defend ourselves in some sort of exam?”

  “It only takes place at the end of the year. Lucian cast something similar in his second year. It was in all the magazines. It’s called a Riptide, but not as powerful.” Sammy still looked worried, or maybe she was wondering how it was possible that I was still alive.

  “Can he be more perfect,” I said out loud, and fell backwards on my bed just imagining him in his exam last year. I felt sorry for his opponent. Both the girls laughed. "So what is it we have to do for the exams?" I asked after a couple of minutes.

  “You need to know all eleven protection spells and need to cast at least three.” Becky sat down on the edge of my bed and took one of my pillows.

  I sighed. They were right, I was only kidding myself. I needed a miracle to graduate with this year's class.

  The conversation changed to Becky and her new classes with George. It all sounded extremely interesting, especially the one that taught her everything about her ability.

  George was still the same though. They were supposed to train together and learn new kinds of magic that was meant for both of them.

  During dinner, I tried to ignore Arianna as her group laughed and nodded towards me. Becky and Sammy wanted to lose their patience and almost said something.

  “Don't. It will only satisfy her more knowing that it bothers us.” I put my hand softly on Becky's. She bit hard on her lip, trying not to chirp something over her shoulder, and took a deep breath.

  “She's so not worth it.” She repeated that a couple times softly until she calmed down.

  Lucian wasn't there, and Ihated that I wasn’t going to be able to tell him goodnight.

  I went to bed not knowing what to expect with Cheng. He was going to help me make some sense out of Paegeia's history. It was such a boring subject. For the love of blueberries,why couldn’t people just leave things in the past?

  That night wasn't any different. As I drifted off to sleep, the lady appeared again, and I was relieved when Becky's clock went off the next morning.

  Chapter Sixteen

  At three, I went to the cafeteria to meet Cheng. Today was my first History lesson, and I was nervous, but not as nervous as I had been when I was going to meet Arianna. Scanning the room, I noticed a group of four boys huddled around one of the tables. Not one of them resembled the description Sammy had given me earlier of Cheng, and I became discouraged. Suddenly a tall figure appeared from behind a Buddha statue. He wasn't oriental, as I imagined he would be, and looked like he was a true ethnic mix.

  “You must be Elena. I'm Cheng,” he said, and held out his hand for me to shake. I noticed the bronze glint in his hair, realizing what he was.

  “You’re a dragon?” I asked.

  “Busted.” Holding out his hands in mock surrender, his
smile reached up to his eyes, changing his entire face.I couldn’t help but to smile back at him, it was infectious. “I hope that it's not going to make you uncomfortable.”

  I shook my head. I was used to dragons now. Hell, I was sharing a room with one.

  “Good, shall we take a walk?” He led the way, taking me along the same route that Lucian had last week. We went to the stables and found Ginger standing outside in the pen, lazily eating grass. Cheng took out a handful of sugar cubes from his pocket and started calling her by clicking his tongue. He stroked her gently as she nibbled at the sugar cubes in his palms.

  “Horses like dragons?” I asked, shocked at how calm she behaved.

  “No, only the Metallic ones,” he said in a very soothing tone.

  “What is it about horses that you love?”

  “They’re such graceful creatures, Elena. I do believe that they have a soul too. The way some humans use them to get over their fears tells me that they are teachers just like us, in their own special way,” he said as he stroked her mane.

  “Yeah, there's something soothing about them,” I agreed, and remembered my trip with Lucian.

  “I know history can be boring, but you're looking at it the wrong way. Without history, we would not know where we came from or what direction to go,” he said. He blew gently into Ginger’s mouth. Her lips vibrated and she stomped her feet, neighing.

  “What are you doing?” I giggled.

  “I'm making her used to my smell. It's a small human trick, the Sioux Tribe used to believe that blowing in their faces makes them used to your smell. I hope it's true, otherwise I just looked like an idiot.”

  I laughed. “So what is it that makes history so exciting?”

  “What are they teaching you?”

  “Oh, very boring stuff about medieval times.”

  “You don't like the medieval times?” he asked as we carried on walking toward the Coliseum.

  “Not really. They were cruel and saw dragons as the enemy, right?”

  “Yes, it was. I'm really lucky to be born during King Albert's time.”

  “Why were they so afraid of the dragons?”

  “It was mostly the Chromatic dragons that gave them reasons to fear us. There was no enchanted wall back then and Paegeia was free for everyone to visit. People passed fluidly through the barrier. The Metallic dragons, like me, were wise to hide. They knew that the humans would never trust dragons, so they disguised themselves as the very creatures who wanted to destroy them. At that stage, it was still a dragon secret. I can just imagine how hard it was for them to watch their kind being slaughtered like monsters. When King Alexander ascended the throne, with the help of a great sorcerer, the wall was erected to protect magic from the humans on the other side who wanted to abuse it.”

  “A sorcerer?”

  “Yes.” He chuckled, but it quickly disappeared and was replaced by a sad frown. “I wish he’d died before he could produce an heir,” he sulked.

  “Why?” It was a weird thing to say.

  “Because the most powerful sorcerer that ever lived was descended from his bloodline. His power consumed him, and he betrayed and murdered his best friend.”

  “Who did he betray?”I was intrigued by Cheng’s story. Why couldn’t they talk about the interesting stuff in class?

  “King Albert.”

  “His best friend was a sorcerer?”

  Cheng’s lips twitched while he stared holes into the ground. “It happened about fifteen years ago. The Viden did warn King Albert, or so my mother tells me. The Viden said that someone in his kingdom would betray him. He didn't want to believe her because everybody loved him. She did plant the seed of doubt though. My mom said there was a time that he became suspicious of everybody, became really quiet too. My mom was a serving maid in his castle, and she remembered the sadness in his eyes around the dinner table, just looking at his men and wondering who was going to betray him. My mom told me that it was a look that didn't suit him at all,” he said softly.

  The story of King Albert had hooked me, and I stumbled over the only rock in the path.

  Cheng's reflexes were fast, however, and he caught me before I landed on my face. He chuckled. “I can see why you don't do so well with classes this side.”

  I giggled at his sarcasm. “If you think this is bad, you don't want to see me in Enchantments.”

  We walked past the coliseum toward the edge of Dragonia, while he continued his story. Looking around, he chose a spot on top of a big rock and wanted me to sit with him, but I chose to stay on the grass with my back turned toward the view. My fear of heights had spoiled plenty of breathtaking scenes and this was no exception.

  He told me how King Albert had been the only one who had given Chromatic dragons a chance. He explained how Sir Robert was very evil, but King Albert was adamant about claiming him. Night Villains were not very pet-like, he explained while shrugging his shoulders, and I laughed at his comment when he said that it was the Metallic dragon’s job. I was mesmerized by King Albert's bravery, how he’d claimed the first Chromatic dragon. It had changed Paegeia forever. Cheng told me it was also when he decided to build Dragonia. It took many sorcerers and strong enchantments to raise the academy into the air, and keep it aloft. The minute King Albert discovered that the humans born with the mark could actually bond with the dragons, he chucked them inside too.

  “I don't know why people like that always have to die. The world doesn’t have many of them to start with.” His tone was soft, and I could hear some sadness lining each word.

  “So this best friend that betrayed him, is he still around?”

  “Goran.” He gave me the sorcerer’s name. “He's the reason Etan is forbidden.”

  “Yes, Becky told me about the creepers. Is it true that only Blake and his Dragonian can enter?”

  He grinned. “I doubt that anyone would be able to claim the Rubicon.”

  “Why do you think that? King Albert claimed the first Chromatic dragon, how should the Rubicon be any different? There always has to be a first, even if it seems impossible.”

  He looked at me, surprised. “You've listened.”

  “Well,your story’s interesting,” I complimented him. For the love of blueberries,I hadn’t even fallen asleep!

  “It's history, Elena.”

  I frowned when I realized what he meant. “Then why’s mine so boring?”

  He roared with laughter. “Don't tell anyone but I agree.”

  We both laughed and then he sighed. It was quiet for a while, before he spoke again. “I know you and Lucian have something going on, and don't get me wrong, he's got the makings of a great Dragonian, but I truly don't believe that he'll be able to claim Blake,” he said honestly.

  “Why not?” I was intrigued by his statement.

  “Easy. The Viden.”

  “The Viden sucks things out of her thumb." Just thinking about her made me pissed off all over again. Grabbing a rock that was next to my leg, I threw it as far as I could, pretended it was her crystal ball.

  “Yes, most of the time, but when she makes a true foretelling, it always comes true.”

  “You mean like when the so-called wind blows and her eyes become silver,” I joked.

  He threw a stone over the edge. “Yes, it freaks me out too.”

  “It happened when you were with her?” I asked, and he nodded. “What did she say?”

  “That's only meant for me, Elena. Foretellings are very personal, and you'll never find anyone that will reveal what the Viden told them.”

  “Then how do you know that Blake won't get claimed?”

  “Because it's written in the Book of Shadows for everyone to see,” he said.

  “Book of Shadows?”

  “It’s a book that follows the Viden’s foretelling’s. Nobody knows how it came to exist. Every time she makes a foretelling that is of importance to Paegeia, it will magically appear in the Book of Shadows,” he said.

  “What did it say?” I ask
ed, curious. I was always curious when it came to Blake and should have known that his foretellings had reached the Book of Shadows.

  “That the only one who will ever claim Blake is his true Dragonian. His egg hatched three years before King Albert and Queen Catherine were murdered. When she said that the Rubicon would be claimed by a royal, it meant them. When she received a foretelling about King Helmut or King Caleb, she would refer to them as the Knights. My mom said that it was the best news she ever gave them,because she was telling them indirectly that they’d get a child. It was the only thing they ever wanted. My mom told me that before the Viden made the prediction, the queen prayed for a child every single day for at least a hundred and fifty years.”

  I gasped. “She had the essence of life too?”

  “Yes. Their dragons gave them each a piece. King Albert was two hundred and fifty years, and Queen Catherine was about two hundred and forty-five.”

  Jeez. It sounded so old to try to have children. “Are you sure it was one of their children? What if the Viden had it wrong just this once?”

  He laughed. “Then she wouldn’t be the Viden.”

  “Is it true that all Moon-Bolts can see the future?”

  “Depends on how old they are.”

  “I saw two, before George, I mean.”

  “Yes, I know. How did it happen?” he asked.

  I couldn’t believe it when my mouth just opened up and my story started spilling out.

  “My dad was a Copper-Horn. I never even knew that he was a dragon. We used to flee from our home every three months. He told me a lot about Paegeia when I was little, but I thought it was just bedtime stories.”I didn't tell him that I’d forgotten most of it. Tears started to well up. The pain buried deep inside of me slowly emerged to the surface. I missed Dad so much. I told him everything about that night, and when I was finished, I looked away to wipe off a tear before it rolled down my cheek.

  “No wonder you don't cope with classes. You’ve hardly dealt with all of this.”

  “I just don't know why it happened. What was so important that they felt his life had to be the price? What if he died thinking that I would never forgive him? I can’t tell you how many nights I’d prayed for a miracle, a normal life. One where we didn’thave to flee anymore. Now that I’ve gotten my wish, I feel like such a nobody. The way some of the students look at me as if I don't belong here, the Viden...”

 
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