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Thunderlight, p.18
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       Thunderlight, p.18

           Adrienne Woods
 

  I chucked the book away thinking of what Paul had said. If they couldn’t even get the names right, none of the other information about them was going to be correct. At least now I knew what they looked like.

  At dinner I plunged down onto the pillow next to Becky. She was so frantic to have me solve the riddle she didn’t even give me time to properly say hello to Sammy and George. “What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?”

  “Seriously?” I asked.

  “C’mon, Elena. Tomorrow is Friday, and both Sammy and George are clueless.”

  “Your phone app can’t tell you that?”

  “Chef knows when we use that. We can’t even use it in secret. He always knows.”

  “It’s a dragon thing,” George interrupted.

  “Spill.” Becky forgot all about the riddle and wanted to know how Chef always knew whenever someone cheated.

  “Becks, Copper-Horns are like lie detectors. Human or dragon, it makes no difference.”

  I didn’t know that. So that’s why Dad had never bought my bullshit.

  “Nice job, stupid,” Becky slapped George hard on the chest and rolled her eyes towards me.

  “Oh, sorry Elena. I’m an idiot,” George apologized.

  “It’s fine. I just never knew that about my Dad. It explains a lot though.” They all laughed.

  I saw this as the perfect time to grab something to eat. I greeted Chef with a wave and started scroll down the buffet line at the feast he had prepared for us tonight. My mouth started to water as I saw the pumpkin and steamed veggies. The smell of roasted gammon steak with pineapple and cherries pricked into the meat filled the air. There were way too many choices but I was sold only by that bulk of pink meat.

  I dished up excitedly.

  “Did you see today’s riddle?” he asked.

  “Becky already asked me.”

  He smiled.

  “Give me some time though. You forgot that my Dad was fond of riddles too, I’m sure it’s in me somewhere.”

  “I’m sure it is, Elena.”

  I moved over to where the sodas were stacked high.

  What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? The words turned inside my head as I thought about them over and over.

  I grabbed a mousse cup and put it on my tray after I grabbed a can of lemonade. “It’s a towel.”

  Chef looked at me with a smile playing at the corner of his lips. He walked over to the bell and rang it again.

  “So what will it be?” He asked and I looked over at Becky who did her funny dance.

  RIDAY, NOBODY WAS in the mood for lectures anymore by the time we reached Enchantments.

  Paul permanently took the chair behind me now and kept whispering what Professor Georgiou said.

  We were past the box and feather thing and had moved on to deeper-challenging-our-minds lessons. She gave us each an apple. She explained that we had to grab it from the person next to us using only the power of our mind. It was hard at first but with Paul telling me how I should concentrate and clear my mind the apple rolled a couple of times off his hand. He caught it just in time before it reached the ground as I struggled to make it come to me.

  “You are getting better,” he said as he took a bite out of a second apple he was supposed to practice with. “Small steps, Elena. You are doing great.”

  I laughed as he saw this lesson as an excuse to fill his stomach.

  The bell rang and I waved goodbye to Paul. It was a pity that I couldn’t spend more time with him in the open. He really wasn’t a bad guy, but then again Lucian had been crazy about Wyland before he turned into psycho.

  For dinner we had our favorite; burgers and fries. Becky had two and when I arrived George was busy stuffing his fourth one into his face.

  We laughed at Lucian teasing Coop about beating his ass.

  “You’re getting there, Your Highness,” Coop said in a serious tone, and Lucian’s face fell immediately. We roared with laughter as Lucian just stared at him.

  “So you guys—”

  The most horrifying siren interrupted Sammy’s question. A shiver of fear ran through me; the last time that siren had gone off, they had announced the King of Lions sword was stolen.

  HE GUARDS STATIONED around the table moved first. Coop stayed behind and guided Becky, George, Sammy, Dean, Lucian and I to safety. The other four parted ways as our small group followed Coop closely.

  As we passed through the halls my eyes caught on Cheng who was leading a group of first years to their dormitories.

  Lucian tried his best to help with whatever had made the siren go off, but Coop wanted nothing of it. “Lucian if anything happens to you, your father will have my head. Now move your ass.”

  We had no choice and all of us were shoved into our room. The door made a loud thud as it was slammed on our confused and frustrated expressions.

  Lucian and George rushed over the window to see what the hell was going on as shouts from below and a faint orange light played on the edge of the window. The minute both of them touched the windows electricity zapped through them as if they had just touched a live wire. Lucian fell backwards and groaned on the floor, but George could handle the zap thanks to his abilities and moved over to Lucian. I dropped down at his side as George spoke to him.

  “Are you okay?” I asked.

  He sat up straight but held his hand in between his legs, the pain reflected clearly on his face. “They put a protection charm over the windows.”

  “They what? So we’re prisoners in our own room!” I yelled.

  “All the rooms are like that. It’s something that happens whenever the academy is under attack. I’ve just never seen it for myself, until now.”

  “That is just perfect,” I yelled beside him.

  Becky dropped some ointment and bandages on the floor next to us. It was a miracle she had these since the school was filled with Swallow-Annexes, but then again, they could only heal humans. She must have gotten it for George in case he ever needed it.

  I picked up his injured hand softly and gently put on some of the ointment. Lucian’s jaw muscles clenched as the hurt pulled at his face.

  “Sorry,” I whispered as I wrapped his hand with a bandage.

  “Thank you,” he gave me a quick kiss and I helped him to his feet.

  We went over to the windows again but kept our distance. Lucian’s other hand pulled me closer so that I could see better.

  My eyes grew in horror at the view of professors and guards fighting against a group of magic wielders in black cloaks. The scene was lit up by flames and a couple of fire bolts flew through the air. There was a Sun-Blast, two Fin-Tails and a Copper-Horn fighting to protect the academy. My throat became dry as my eyes lingered on Chef’s dragon form. The last time I’d seen one in action was the night my father died, and memories of that night flashed through my mind.

  “This can’t be happening, it’s not real,” Becky said as panic griped her as she asked George to pinch her.

  The two Fin-Tails fought against at least ten magic wielders alone. Their tails kept shooting out small spears, like a porcupine. I’d never even known they could do that. Professor Gregory was down there too and I could see how one of the Fin-Tails pulled him back just as a fire bolt flew past them.

  A Swallow Annex and Night Villain flew past our window and descended onto the scene. Acid balls fell on some of the wielders in cloaks and screams filled the night as they ripped off their cloaks trying to put out the stung. Julia, I always knew she was a bad ass, I thought to myself. One of the black cloaks fell on the ground in a lifeless heap. The Swallow Annex stomped on another one and shredded his limps off with its mouth. Constance? Million off goose pimples made my skin crawl and turned my stomach. The Sun-Blast and Night Villain appeared to be teaming up and Mia’s name popped into my head. In one fluid motion they blew fire and acid onto another group. The men in black cloaks wielded an invisible wall and blocked the impact of the dragon’s abilities. The fire and acid didn’t eve
n reach them.

  “We should be down there,” Lucian roared. George seemed just as frustrated as his hands vibrated with anger.

  “Just don’t shift in here, our room has already been in ruins once before,” Becky snapped at him.

  The door opened again. Arianna and Tabitha entered as the guard escorting them closed and locked the room behind them.

  Lucian ran over to the door and almost knocked Tabitha over. She looked at him in disgust but I could see fear laced the corners of her eyes and her body trembled slightly.

  He beat hard on the door with his fist. “Seriously? We should be out there!”

  “Lucian, calm down,” I begged him.

  “There are more than enough professors down there, they don’t need our help.” Tabitha gave a nervous chuckle as she said the final word.

  “Speak for yourself,” Becky bit back. “I’m not going to stay here.”

  “What’s the plan?” Lucian was instantly in too.

  “C’mon guys, there is no way out,” I said as I gestured to the windows that had just zapped our asses.

  “George and I can handle the zap, Lucian. I don’t know how the rest of you will get out.”

  “Becky you can’t just leave me here.”

  “I’m sorry. We can’t just sit here either.” Becky gestured to her and George with a small swipe of her hand.

  George was already on the ledge as he held out his hand for Becky. She hung on his back like a monkey with her arms around his neck. “You ready, Becks?”

  “Go for it?”

  He jumped through the window and transformed as they both passed through the magic barrier. Electricity sparked across their bodies but they both managed to escape.

  “Becky, you need a weapon,” Lucian yelled through the open window.

  “I’ve got my weapon right here,” she said as the palm of her hand released a ball of sparks.

  “Lucian is right. We should be out there,” Dean said and I saw how his hands were starting to glow. Sammy held the one in between hers gingerly.

  “Just calm down,” she said and Dean’s anxious expression started to dissipate.

  Lucian began to pace up and down in the room, trying the door on a regular basis.

  When it seemed like nothing wanted to budge and we were sure there were no guards behind the door, Lucian looked at me.

  “Sorry, Sweetheart. But I can’t wait here any longer.”

  “I’m coming with,” I said without thinking.

  “Elena, it is dangerous. You saw how they blocked magic. This is the real deal. If you come with me, you’ll have to be able to take a life.”

  I nodded. There was no way I was going to stay here while all my friends were fighting for their lives.

  “Do you have your axes?”

  I ran over to my bed and took both of them out of their wooden case.

  “Don’t forget to put on your gloves too,” he yelled.

  I quickly slipped them on and tied the Velcro pieces tight around my wrists. I wrapped my holster around my hip and put both of the axes in their sheaths.

  “I don’t like this one bit, but there is no way I can say no to you.” Lucian looked at me and gave me a hard kiss. Our lips parted and he nodded at Dean and Sammy.

  I buried my face in his chest as two fire bolts crashed against the door.

  “You are all crazy,” Tabitha yelled.

  Sammy said something to her as Lucian grabbed my arm, but it was so fast that I couldn’t hear.

  Arianna, Dean and Sammy were right behind us. I guess Tabitha stayed as she would not be of much help anyway. Why Snow Dragons had all the brains but no courage beats me.

  “I need to go pick up some armor.” Lucian ran up the other set of stairs as we reached the lobby.

  “Just be safe,” I said and gave Sammy a quick hug before I followed Lucian up the stairs. I reached Lucian as he ran up the fifth set of stairs and at the seventh set of staircases we found an open space with an elevator.

  So this place does have one.

  It felt like it took us forever to reach the last floor and the elevator opened into a round landing with one door. The room had two beds with a huge sofa and a flat screen like the one Becky had back at home. It even had a small kitchen, something our room didn’t have. One of the beds was made while the other one was empty. I found Lucian in front of a huge cupboard. He threw a hammer, a sword and a couple of other gadgets on the floor.

  He closed the door and pulled some sort of a contraption over his shoulders and shoved a small round pendant into my hand. “Just put this on, please.”

  When he pushed the button his Samurai Three Thousand vest appeared. He helped me put it on and adjusted the straps so it would fit before he placed the weapons into the holster he’d put around his shoulders. He looked like Rambo as he stacked himself up with weapons. Two daggers went into his shoes.

  One glance at his window was all the time we had to assess what was happening outside. It looked like War of the Worlds out there with fire and lightning flying through the air.

  We walked back to the elevator without saying a word. His arms wrapped around my body and he held me tight for a couple of seconds. “Just stay close to me, and please don’t hesitate to strike, Elena.” Our lips met and when the ping of the elevator announced the seventh floor, we ran down the remaining stairs to the main entrance.

  The fight had already reached the cafeteria. Wielders and dragons mixed in battle came as a shock and surprise.

  One sent magic in our direction but the incantations leaving Lucian’s mouth blocked all of them. I gasped as Lucian pulled out his sword and stabbed a wielder through the chest. I wanted to scream that there was one behind him, but my voice was gone. The wielder behind Lucian grunted and I saw that somehow he had back tracked the sword out of the other wielder and into the one behind him. One of his gadgets flew past me and I ran forward the minute it struck a person to my left. Lucian grabbed me in his arms and we fell down to the ground, hard. A huge explosion shook our ears and pieces of limps and guts, mixed with rocks, landed everywhere. “Were those bombs?”

  He nodded once. “You okay?” he spoke fast and got up. “You have to kill, Elena, or you will be killed. You hear me?” He lifted me to my feet with one pull.

  “Okay!”

  We ran toward the others.

  He jumped into fighting mode and I forgot to look in front of me. I ducked just in time and heard a fire bolt explode against the ground behind me. The force made me fall over and I covered my head as ground and rocks fell around me.

  “Elena! Get your ass moving.” I heard Lucian growl and I got up. One of my girls lay on the floor and I grabbed her by the shaft, throwing her in the direction of one of the black cloaked wielders that came charging my way. Before she reached him the other left my hand following close behind. I saw the first ax fly in the opposite direction of my throw as he had used magic to block the hit, but he didn’t have the time to deflect her twin.

  He folded over as it hit him in the chest and landed a few paces from Lucian. Lucian drew his sword, stabbed him, and retrieved one of my girls.

  An overwhelming emotion jolted through my chest as I took in the reality that I had just taken a life. It was mine or his, I reminded myself as I jumped back into the battle. I didn’t have the time to search for my other ax.

  Lucian yelled a command. “Lift up your hand, Elena,” he roared and I did what he asked. I ducked as I heard something flying through the air past me.

  When I looked at what it was I saw my other ax. I lifted up my hand again, but it was too late. To my surprise she back tracked and landed inside my palm.

  My mind quickly went to the girls’ excitement that day when I had opened them for the first time. Now I knew what they meant about these being an Alex Rodes product.

  Alex Rodes is a genius.

  I really needed to get that command from Lucian when this was over.

  More men in cloaks surrounded us. I threw my babies
in every direction and each time Lucian yelled the command I lifted up my hand and they landed in them perfectly.

  It didn’t matter how many bodies fell, it felt as if two took their place each time and I didn’t know if we were ever going to get out of this mess.

  I didn’t know where Becky or Sammy was, not to mention if they were okay or lying dead somewhere. Lucian disappeared through the crowds too and I felt way in over my head. I didn’t throw my axes, as I needed them to defend myself and I didn’t know how to get them back so I was forced to rely on close combat.

  Lucian’s instructions played through my mind as I ducked and dove while stabbing my axes into limps and body parts. I even got in a kick or two at a cloak figure that walked into my space. Blood spattered onto my clothes and face and I felt bad when Lucian’s shield got ripped as a knife damaged it. I had to admit, the Samurai Three Thousand really did its job.

  Suddenly, one of the figures grabbed me from behind and his arms pressed around my neck and throat. I tried to get his arm away by hitting him with my ax but nothing happened. It was as if he was made of steel and my babies did absolutely nothing to his flesh.

  An umph sound released from his throat and his grip around my neck loosened.

  I kicked myself away from him and coughed as I fell down onto the hard ground. I looked at his back and saw an arrow stuck in his neck. My gaze followed the direction the arrow had come from and I saw Paul with a bow releasing arrows as fast as he could.

  He raised another one in my direction and I didn’t even see the arrow flying. I only heard a body drop to the floor and saw the man lying inches away from me with an arrow inside his chest.

  A pair of hands lifted me up. “You’ve got to move, Elena,” Cheng said. He was fighting in his human form.

  I picked up my girls again and when I looked back to Paul’s direction he was gone.

  My axes found the chests and heads of other figures as I jumped back into the fray. Most of them were men and they were amazing at wielding magic. If it hadn’t been for Cheng’s wielding abilities I would’ve had several bolts against my head.

 
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