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       Frostbite, p.18

           Adrienne Woods
 

  but a date that matters. We need to go find out what happened on the 23rd of August.”

  “So we have to go through all those dates?” George sulked.

  Cheng got up and hit the print button. “I think it’s time to work full speed guys. The meeting is only a couple of days away.”

  We each got a couple of pages and started to go through them. We took turns asking one another if a date and what happened there meant anything to them, but none of them did.

  “We need help,” Cheng said early Saturday morning. We’d spent an entire night searching and came up with nothing.

  “What kind of help?” I asked.

  “Leave this to me,” he said. “But first we all need to sleep.”

  We agreed and went to bed. I felt bad for Blake. Ever since they had sedated him, I no longer had a feeling of wanting to kill him. It was gone and a part of me was ashamed of how badly I’d wanted him dead.

  I fell asleep and hoped that I would wake up with Lucian again, but nothing. If a month felt like a day, I’d probably see him again next month, which was eons away.

  The three of us woke up around three. Becky made us all a mean cup of coffee before going to the library to meet Cheng.

  I couldn’t help but stare when we found Tabitha sitting next to him.

  “Are you insane?” Becky hissed.

  “She won’t tell, but she can help.”

  Tabitha looked at me. “Just as long as you promise not to kill him.”

  “I said I’ll try my best to help find a way to stop him from turning. When he’s dark and destroys everything, I can’t stand by and watch, Tabitha.”

  “Swear you will help,” she spat.

  “I’ll do everything in my power,” I grunted back.

  “Fine.” She turned her chair and started typing away. She came to the website of the Wall and archives.

  “We already tried that,” both Becky and I said.

  Cheng held up his hand.

  “Please, you haven’t done shit yet,” Tabitha said.

  Cheng suppressed his smile and I stared at him.

  He tapped his forehead and I watched Tabitha typing away codes and keys. “What are you doing?”

  “Shush, for Blake, I’ll do anything. Now shut up, I need to concentrate.”

  “She’s hacking into the system,” I mouthed at Cheng.

  He nodded.

  We all just stared at her as she typed away like a crazy person. The codes appeared and disappeared followed by more codes and in ten minutes she stopped. Another archive file filled the screen.

  “Tada,” she said and I stared at her. “What do you want, what is that date again?”

  “23rd of August. No year.”

  “First just a name and now no year.”

  I rolled my eyes at her knowing she was referring to when she’d tried to help find my dad.

  There were six August dates and two that landed on the 23rd.

  “Matt entered on the one, and someone named Tanya Le Frey exited on the other one,” Tabitha said.

  We all cheered and the entire library shushed us. We giggled as we flinched and went back to silence.

  “Tanya Le Frey, I guess.” Tabitha sounded sarcastic and I found Becky shaking her head softly.

  “So the answer does lie with Tanya. Lucian was right.”

  They all looked at me.

  “You know what I mean,” I said, hoping they didn’t see through that one either. “Can you find a picture of Tanya?” I asked Tabitha.

  Tabitha didn’t reply but she typed away like mad. She stopped and we all stared at the computer watching the codes disappear.

  “What is it?” Cheng asked.

  “I don’t know. It is un-hackable. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Tabitha answered as she tried one more time. We watched again as her codes disappeared. “Whoever this Tanya was, they didn’t want anybody to know about her.”

  “Yeah, we know,” Becky said in a sarcastic tone.

  Tabitha just glared at her. “You need me for anything else?” She looked at Cheng.

  “Nope, that’s it.”

  “Remember our deal, Cheng.”

  “I’ll remember.”

  She got up and walked away.

  “What deal?” I asked.

  “Don’t worry about it. It won’t come to that.”

  We now knew that Tanya Le Frey was the key to Lucian’s foretelling and Blake’s destiny. In what way, George and Becky still had to find out.

  HE BOARD MEETING was set for this afternoon and we all worried about the outcome.

  Cheng gave them a really good reason to give to the board members, but if they didn’t see fit to grant permission to go on this quest, then they wouldn’t even reconsider it. The truth was far from the reason though.

  “I wish we had a stupid foretelling inside that book,” Cheng said.

  My head snapped to him. “Why?”

  “Because then they don’t have a choice.”

  “Really?”

  “It’s linked to Paegeia, Elena. Everyone who has a foretelling inside that book has to make it known the minute they discover it. It’s law,” Becky said.

  My heart stopped for a couple of minutes. I so didn’t know that. Shit, what if they were going to find out about mine? I could never tell them about it now.

  “Are you okay?” Sammy asked me.

  “You have a foretelling inside the book?” Dean made a joke.

  “Hahaha, if she did she would’ve told us a long time ago,” Sammy joked back.

  I giggled with them. They were so wrong about that last part.

  “What is it, Elena?”

  “It’s nothing. It’s just crazy with all these foretellings and stuff. I mean, Victoria went on one and she isn’t even back yet.” I sighed. Victoria, or Vicky as Becky called her used to be one of their roomies. I got her spot while she went on her self-discovery quest.

  Cheng chuckled. “She hasn’t found what she needed to find. They won’t let you come back until you find it.”

  I looked at Becky and George.

  “Oh, please Elena,” Becky said. “Have some faith. We are not that stupid. Besides we are dreaming about someone remember,” she joked.

  “I hope it will be enough,” Cheng said.

  “You and me both. These knots inside my stomach are driving me insane.”

  “Says the most incredible and fierce dragon alive,” Becky joked and we all laughed again.

  Cheng went over the plan one last time as we went to the location of the board meeting which was to be held in the hall right next to Constance’s infirmary.

  “We get it, Cheng. Don’t worry,” Becky was starting to sound annoyed.

  “I’m just saying, Becky. These are key points and you can’t forget about them.”

  We waited outside for a couple of minutes before a girl in her mid-twenties came out and called George and Becky’s names. They disappeared and Cheng caught the door right before it closed.

  “Come,” he said softly.

  “Cheng, are you insane?” I whispered.

  “They can’t mess this up, Elena.”

  Sammy and Dean stayed behind as Cheng and I crawled inside.

  We hid in the small hallway and could hear Becky starting to describe her quest. She was really good, she spoke loud and clear and they all gasped as she told them that she was dreaming about a woman in a cloak named Tanya Le Frey. Then the question came of how much money they wanted for the quest and what went with it.

  “This is good, usually they throw it out before they ask questions like these,” Cheng smiled.

  They broke for a short while and Becky and George had to wait.

  “I think they got it,” Cheng whispered and gestured for us to leave.

  Just as I took that first crawl, the members came back and Cheng took his post again right at the door.

  “What is it?”

  “They never make a decision that fast.”

  “We’ve co
me to a decision.” One of the board members spoke. “We do consider this dream important, but it’s not life threatening and it’s not written in the Book of Shadows, so I’m sorry. We can’t grant you this…”

  “No, but you don’t…”

  “Our decision is final, Miss Johnson.”

  I looked at Cheng. His eyes were closed and he clenched hard on his jaw.

  We’d worked too hard on this to just get a ‘no, sorry’. It was time and I’d just have to deal with my friends’ wrath later.

  I touched Cheng softly on his knee and his eyes flew open.

  “I got this,” I whispered, got up and went into the board meeting.

  “Elena!” I could hear Cheng’s whisper behind me. Becky and George’s eyes flew up when I came in and I gave both of them an unsure look, but turned to the board members that were halfway out of their seats ready to leave. Master Longwei was one of them.

  “My name is Elena Watkins. They were here on my behalf,” I lied. “I’m sorry for the trickery, but I couldn’t deal with all of this. I’m ready now.”

  Through the corner of my eyes I could see Becky’s mouth gaping slightly. She had that disappointed look frosted on her face, the one I really hated.

  “Elena?” Master Longwei asked.

  “I have a foretelling.” I spoke softly.

  “What?” A couple of people asked at the same time.

  “I have a foretelling,” I almost yelled.

  The Viden’s head snapped up. “I don’t recall…”

  “It was the first day we met.” I looked at her. “It’s in the Book of Shadows.”

  LL THEIR EYES were on me.

  “Which one?” the Viden asked.

  “Believe me I didn’t want to know what it means as I keep on losing the people that are close to me when I follow it. It has caused nothing but heartache and headaches. But not knowing what it means drives me insane. I want to go on a quest with Cheng in order to help me to find out what this means.”

  “WHICH ONE!”

  I sighed and took a deep breath. “A day will come and a day will go, a choice you have to make otherwise the truth will never be known.”

  The Viden knew exactly which one I was talking about. I didn’t even have to finish it. It was written on her face.

  I closed my eyes as I could see Becky through the corner of them. She was shocked and hurt because I hadn’t told her about any of this.

  “Irene?” Master Longwei asked, and I opened them.

  “The girl speaks the truth. It’s hers.”

  “The two of you are excused, we have to speak to Elena and Cheng,” Master Longwei said to Becky and George.

  “Why didn’t you tell us?”

  “Shush,” George grunted and left the room.

  Cheng answered all the other questions as to why I wanted him with me. He was really smart and his answers came naturally.

  “We’ve come to a conclusion. You do know what is at stake here, Cheng?”

  He nodded.

  “Don’t come back if you haven’t fulfilled it Ms. Watkins. That is final.”

  He pounded his hammer and that was it.

  Cheng led me out.

  He opened the door and I pulled my coat tighter as the wind felt icy against my skin. I got pushed hard from the side. “Why didn’t you tell us?” Becky yelled.

  George grabbed Becky from behind.

  “Shush, Becky. As far as those people inside the board meeting are aware, you were Elena’s cover up. Speak about this later.”

  She shook George off her and walked with huge strides to the main building. I closed my eyes as Sammy just stared at me. “What else did you hide from us, Elena? It feels like I have no idea who you are.”

  “Sammy…”

  “No, Cheng, she should’ve told us.”

  She and Dean left, leaving Cheng and I behind.

  “I’m so sorry about that. I shouldn’t have brought your name into all of this. I’m just so scared…”

  “Shhh, Elena, this is my last year. I don’t have anything to lose. It might be my only chance to see the rest of the world.”

  “It’s not a joke, Cheng. If I don’t find out what that stupid foretelling means…” My hands tugged hard on my hair. I realized what he’d just said. “Is it just Dragonia Academy, or all of Paegeia?”

  “All of Paegeia for us dragons.”

  “That sucks.”

  “At least I’ll be able to spend it with the one dragon that knows the other side.”

  We started to walk back to the main building. Neither of us said a word.

  Then Cheng finally opened his mouth. “Why didn’t you tell me that it was yours that day we saw it?”

  “I don’t know. Scared, I guess.”

  “Scared of what, Elena?” We paused at the bottom of the stairs leading to the girls’ dormitories.

  “Cheng, I’d just started. I still had to get used to the fact that dragons were real, and that magic existed. My dad had just passed away. The more I kept it to myself, the harder it became to tell someone about it.”

  He nodded and then sighed. “It’s going to be okay. Just don’t keep any more secrets from those two. They are your best friends, Elena. You are supposed to share this type of things, not hide it from them.”

  “I know.”

  “I’ll meet you in the library, say around six. There is a lot to go over.”

  I nodded and watched him climb the stairs to the boys’ dormitories. “Cheng,” I yelled.

  He turned around.

  “You can always back out of this. I will do it alone if it comes to that.”

  He grinned. “Elena, you might be a Rubicon, but you’ll always be a damsel in distress to me. I’m in, no matter what.”

  I smiled as he waved goodbye and carried on running up the stairs.

  When I opened the door of my room, both girls sat on the sofa with George and Dean beside them. Seriously. This needed to stop.

  “Dean, George. Can I please have a chat alone with Sammy and Becky?”

  All of them looked at me and then the guys looked at the girls. Becky nodded and Sammy smiled at Dean saying she would be okay.

  When the boys were out both of them started yelling at me at once.

  “Stop it. This is why I didn’t tell anyone about anything. It’s got nothing to do with any of you. Those words were directed to me, what I must find, not you Sammy and not you Becky.”

  They looked at one another.

  “Still, you should…”

  “No! I should’ve nothing, Becky. It was mine and if I wanted to keep it a secret it was my choice to do so. You can be mad as long as you want to be. To be honest I didn’t say anything in the library because of how I felt about your brother, Sammy. He doesn’t deserve the things we are doing for him, and I still believe that. But now I’ve got no choice. If I don’t find out what those words mean, Cheng and I can never come back.”

  Both gasped and looked at one another.

  “What do you mean?”

  “Seriously, it’s not just exile somewhere inside Paegeia for us dragons, Sammy. It’s the other side.”

  They both shared a horrified look.

  “It won’t happen, you have Cheng with you.” Becky walked over to me and hugged me. “Together you will find what Lucian discovered.”

  “I’m sorry, Elena. I just hate the fact that you’ve kept something from us for such a long time,” Sammy said. “Sorry that you have to give up your home to save my brother.” She had tears in her eyes again.

  I opened the hug I shared with Becky and pulled her into it. “I’ll do anything for you Sammy Leaf. I know it sounds crazy, but you guys are the best friends anybody could ask for. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, I just didn’t know how to tell you guys that I’ve got a stupid foretelling in the Book of Shadows.”

  Sammy looked at me. “Is that the reason…”

  I nodded. “It’s the reason why I decided to trust Paul too. Every time I followed that stupid
riddle, trying to fulfil my destiny, someone close to me died. Now it might lead to me never coming back.”

  “Don’t think like that. If there is one person that can succeed Elena, it is you.”

  “Becky if those words don’t turn red when I return, they are going to send me away. I’ll never be able to come back.”

  “You will. After you find Tanya and discover what can claim Blake, you phone us. And then go and find what those words mean. You’ve proven plenty of things, this will be solved. I promise you.”

  I nodded and sighed again.

  “I want to take a bath before six o’clock.”

  “Why, what’s happening at six?”

  “Cheng and I are going to prepare for this stupid mission.”

  “Please can we just promise no more fighting, and no more secrets,” Sammy mumbled inside my shoulder.

  “Agree,” Becky seconded and joined our hug.

  I winced. “Oh for crying out loud, what else?”

  “I sort of dreamed about Queen Catherine. It’s how I came up with that idea.”

  Both stared at me again.

  “You dreamed about Queen Catherine?” Becky spoke first.

  “Yes, and no I don’t know what it means but I’m sure I’ll find out once I discover what can claim Blake. Just don’t make a big deal about it, please.”

  “I can live with that.” Sammy lifted her hands up in the air.

  “Elena?”

  “Please Becky. I don’t know why I’m dreaming about her. I can’t answer your questions.”

  She sighed. “Fine, but whatever it is, Elena, it’s big to dream about royalty, especially her bloodline.”

  “The story of my life. Just another thing to throw onto the pile of the unknown.”

  They both started to laugh and I couldn’t help but join in.

  HE NEXT COUPLE of days Cheng and I thought about everything we would need for the mission. How much money we needed for food, lodging, and camping equipment. It added up to a lot of Paegolians. The day we got our budget we had to make a few cancelations. It wouldn’t be enough for everything. Cheng at least had a tent and Dean had let me borrow his sleeping bag and everything that went with it.

  “I could always ask Queen Margerite for a loan.”

  “No, Elena. Nobody can know where we are going.”

 
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