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Darkbeam part i, p.19
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       Darkbeam Part I, p.19

           Adrienne Woods
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  Irene didn’t let him finish. “She isn’t who you think she is. There is no way. You said it yourself: her father was a dragon.”

  “I think you two should get back to your room now.”

  I squinted at Master Longwei. “What is it that none of you want to say?”

  “Oh no,” I heard Irene speaking.

  “Blake is here,” Matt said absently while Master Longwei stroked his face, not answering my question.

  “Go back to your room. I mean it, Blake. We will speak about this later.”

  Matt’s eyes found mine as he exited the hallway. It was written all over his face. Confusion, excitement, hope. He looked at the ceiling and back to Master Longwei and I knew what he meant. I had to wait for him on the roof of the boy’s dorms. He will speak to me later.

  I spun without saying a word, but Lucian still wanted to know more about the dragon spawn. I didn’t wait for him and retreated to the elevator, back to the top, the roof, where I would get some answers.

  I waited for about forty-five minutes. I knew it was forty-five minutes because I kept checking my watch every five seconds.

  Matt’s head popped through the opening that led to the roof. He saw me sitting on the edge and climbed up. He reached me in a few seconds and came to sit down next to me, both our legs dangling from the roof.

  It was silent for a few seconds and then I couldn’t take it anymore. “Who is she, Matt?”

  He stroked his face hard, the exact same way Master Longwei had tonight. “I don’t know, Blake. All I can tell you is that her father wasn’t an idiot. I didn’t even know about their existence until he called me this morning, saying that he needed to speak to me urgently, that the matter was of great importance and that he couldn’t discuss it over the phone. How he knew my number, knew my name and what I was, I have no idea.”

  I squinted. “They weren’t registered?”

  He shook his head and took a deep breath. “Fox and his colony were after him.”

  I stared at him, my mouth agape.

  “Yeah,” he agreed. “I bet Fox saw them a mile away, and I would give anything to know what he knew.”

  “Knew?” He’d used past tense.

  “Her father died minutes before I got there. His face was badly burned, and Fox was a heap of torn limbs. Copper-Horns are gentle creatures, but you don’t mess with one. Especially when it comes to family.”

  “Okay so she is a dragon spawn?”

  Matt nodded.

  It still didn’t explain why I woke up, why my body reacted the way it had.

  “One that carries the mark of the riders, Blake, and a very dark one too.”

  I stared at him again. Dragon spawn weren’t riders. Sure, they were human, but they carried dragon DNA. Although they didn’t have dragon forms, it was against dragon law for one to claim a dragon. They were never born with a mark either, not to mention a dark one.

  “I don’t understand. Her father is a dragon? Is that the reason why Irene…”

  “No,” Matt interrupt. “The reason why Irene is shaken up is because of who she looks like.”

  I waited for more and he took a while. “I need to know, Blake. You need to be straight with me. Honest. Please.”

  I hated when people begged.

  “Did your father ever mention Queen Catherine being pregnant?”

  I leaned back on the heels of my hands. “What?” Had I heard him right?

  “Do you know if Queen Catherine was ever pregnant? Did they lie? Dragons remember every detail of their lives. What can you remember?”

  I thought about it.

  She wasn’t pregnant, but there was a time when she was on her self-discovery quest... No, it couldn’t be.

  I shook my head. “No. I remember nothing like that. Why are you asking me this?”

  He took another deep breath. “She looks like them, and no, not just a part of her reminds me of him. She looks like him. Like he was her father and the queen her mother.”

  “Do you even hear yourself? You of all people should know that no human can pass the Wall, so it doesn’t matter what she looks like, Matt. She wouldn’t have made it past that wall.”

  He nodded and closed his eyes.

  When he opened them, he look straight down to the ground thousands of feet below us. “I kept telling myself that, Blake. But you haven’t seen her. They say a dragon always knows.”

  “Matt, c’mon. You don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo, do you?”

  “I’m not Chromatic, Blake. You need to tell me…”

  “No. You think I want to turn evil? You think I want to know that one day I might incinerate my world, kill the people I love? Fight whoever is brave enough to kill me, which will probably be the one guy who would be able to tame me? No. I promise you this: if they had a child, my father would’ve known, I would’ve known, and I wouldn’t be the dark mess that I am now and I would’ve had hope. She is a dragon spawn. The Wall would not have let her leave if she wasn’t.”

  Silence fell again. Why was I lying to Matt?

  Many people had shown up from all over Paegeia over the years, sprouting rumors and speculation that they were the king and queen’s children. Many. Not once had they been royalty. Not even close.

  This was the same. This girl, whoever she was, was a dragon spawn, nothing more.

  I found Lucian waiting on the couch of our small living room.

  I sighed. Here it comes.

  The sound effect of bikes racing played from the TV screen. A controller was lodged in Lucian’s hand and his thumbs jabbed the buttons like there was no tomorrow.

  “Where were you?” he asked without taking his eyes off the screen.

  “So what, you’re my mom now?” I asked sarcastically.

  He put down the controller hard on the coffee table. “Who is she, Blake?” He stood up and pointed toward the window. “You were not awake. You fall asleep before me. Now tell me the truth?”

  “What are you talking about?” I pretended I had no idea what he meant.

  He huffed. “You know exactly what I’m talking about.”

  “Lucian, please. I heard voices, got up, and went to look and saw Matt. She is dragon spawn, that’s all. Matt wanted to speak to me because of Fox. I swear.”

  His eye twitched. I never knew what it meant whenever his eye twitched. It twitched for many reasons. When he was tired, didn’t buy a stupid excuse, or if he was hiding something in return.

  His body relaxed and then he looked at me again with softer, kinder eyes. “So what did Matt say about Fox?”

  “He’s dead. Her father was a Copper-Horn and killed him in the process.”

  “Fox is dead?” Lucian sounded just as surprised as I felt.

  I nodded.

  “Must have been some Copper-Horn.”

  “He must.” My words were barely audible.

  “Still,” he said. “What is she doing here?”

  I sighed. Like I said, Lucian was smart and always asked questions. “She was born with the mark of the Dragonians,” I said, wishing he would just let this go as I knew where this road would lead.

  “What? But she is dragon offspring.”

  “From what I gathered, her mother was human and her father a dragon.”

  “Still, dragon offspring never carry the mark of the Dragonians.”

  “She does,” I said as if it was not impossible.

  “Wicked.” He grinned.

  I fell on my bed and stared at the ceiling. Whenever Lucian said wicked, the conversation was over. Motorcycle sound effects blared from the speakers again.

  I missed the old days. When I was still me, still sane and good, and he was still my best friend. I wanted that so bad again… But then, why had I lied tonight when Matt asked me to be honest with him? That a dragon knows his or her rider... I told him it was mumbo jumbo, that I didn’t believe in it.

  Why had I woken up? Why had I lied to Lucian? Was she who Matt thought she was?

  No, she couldn’
t be. Again I thought about the time Queen Catherine had gone on a self-discovery quest to enhance her hearing.

  A cold finger traced along my spine. She was part of a Dent. She didn’t need to go on a quest to enhance her hearing; she could hear just as well as her dragon.

  Then why had she left for five months?

  The next day the whole school was talking about our visitor. By the end of the day, the stories had grown. Some said her father was an ex–military man who hid out because he was on Paegeia’s wanted list. Others said he was one of Fox’s ex-members, which was how he’d managed to kill Fox. I didn’t listen to half the stories, but by the end of the day Master Longwei had to step in.

  He called us all to the auditorium and in less than thirty minutes every chair was filled. I took a seat next to George, and saw him shaking as one of the first years walked away. He clearly didn’t like her that much.

  I couldn’t help but snigger. “That girl confess her undying love for you or something?”

  “What?” he asked, squinting.

  “First year, short brown hair, fights like a dude?”

  “Oh.” He shook his head as if he had no idea what the hell I was talking about.

  I let it go. I wasn’t imagining things. Why did I get the feeling that George was hiding something?

  Tabitha suddenly plopped down into the chair next to me along with one of her Green-Vapor friends, Susan or was it Sarah. I could never tell the two apart. The girl was excellent when it came to making up stories, and lied through her teeth to get out of any situation, but then again, that was what Green-Vapors were known for.

  Tabitha gave me a kiss as my eyes caught Irene walking in. Irene gave me that one-raised-eyebrow look. The one that made me feel like I was going to be in the doghouse if I didn’t break the kiss.

  I turned my head away from Tabitha’s face and smiled. Tabitha didn’t make a big fuss. I wasn’t the cuddling type and it was easy to hide from her that she was merely a cover-up so I could see Irene. I loved Irene and didn’t care if she was a three-hundred-year-old Moon-Bolt.

  It was never a bad thing to have someone close to you who can see the future. She would know when things got too dark. Or when the end was near.

  The lights in the auditorium dimmed. Guys made dumbass mating sounds around us. Master Longwei walked onto the podium and grabbed the microphone, telling us to keep quiet. Right then grabby hands pulled my face and my lips found Tabitha’s. I didn’t know what it was about her kisses—hers and Irene’s—but whenever the two of them started to kiss me, the beast was temporarily satisfied.

  I didn’t listen to a thing that Master Longwei said, except for the few words that slipped through the raging hormones here and there. Like Fox and dead, words that got the beast’s attention.

  And then just like that Tabitha stopped kissing me. Why? When I opened my eyes, my lips were puffy from all the kissing and my hormones were cranked up. The lights were on. Tabitha sucked in her lips as she waved goodbye.

  Meet me tonight? she mouthed.

  I nodded with a smile spreading over my face.

  I found George grinning at me like an idiot. “You didn’t hear a thing Master Longwei said, did you?”

  “Nope,” I said and he just laughed as we made our way out the auditorium.

  I climaxed. The beast inside of me felt satisfied again. Jumping from Tabitha to Irene like a bee pollinating flowers, or deflowering as Brian would call it, was a game the beast liked to play. I sounded like Brain but it was so not the moment to think about him.

  “That was amazing,” Tabitha said in a tired voice and I grinned.

  “Amazing is my middle name,” I joked.

  She laughed sweetly in my ear, which she gently nibbled. It drove me insane the way only Tabitha could. This was getting confusing. Like, what the hell was Tabitha doing to me? At the same time, I felt bad for Irene.

  I chuckled and pushed her back onto the bed, pinning her down.

  Her legs twirled around my waist as I stared down at her. “You know what your sucking and nibbling does to me, young lady,” I grunted playfully, pressing her harder into her bed.

  She screamed with laughter as I dug my mouth into her neck and pretended to rip her apart.

  It led quickly to hard, pounding sex. Afterward, she collapsed in my arms. We fell asleep.

  Usually when I was exhausted, I didn’t dream. But ever since the new girl showed up with Matt, I had nightmares each night.

  The suffocation of the Colosseum. The crowd making me feel small. My normally silent heart pounding in my ears. The screech as the gate opened, and the sound of metal marching inexorably toward me, thousands of knights in white armor, and the sun’s blinding reflection. Everything then fell silent. The type of echoing nothingness that made me feel like I was drowning in it.

  I woke up at the chirp of the alarm in my ear. Six-thirty. I’d slept for like twenty minutes. My eyes felt raw from the lack of sleep.

  Since the girl had arrived, I hadn’t slept well. Why was she doing this to me? Why her? Why was I so worried, she is a dragon spawn?

  I didn’t like any of this. I didn’t like the way I was reacting to her, to some creature who didn’t even know dragons existed—or at least, that was what Lucian told me the day after Master Longwei called us to the auditorium. He said that Constance didn’t know if her mind was going to perceive our reality.

  Typical. Lucian already knew what she looked like; he was a real knight in shining armor. More like a royal pain in my ass. He’d already asked Constance if there was anything he could help with. So noble of him.

  I stroked my face hard. Why this girl?

  She didn’t even know that our world existed. Probably didn’t even have enough balls to face a dragon. How had her father hid it from her all these years? Why did he hide it from her?

  The more I thought about her, the more I wanted to know who she was and what it meant for me. She was dragon spawn bearing the mark of the riders.

  I’d thought Matt was overreacting that night when he said she looked like the king and queen, but over the past few days, I was starting to worry. Just a little.

  Mia, Professor Gregory, Sir Edward, and even Professor Pheizer, they all had the same look. They were trying to contemplate how the girl had made it to the other side.

  She couldn’t look that much like the king and queen. I had to see her with my own eyes. I had to know. I had to get this over with, so I could fucking carry on with my messed-up life.

  If I saw her, I would know the professors were wrong.

  She would be just another dragon spawn.

  I had no true rider.

  “So, Blake, would you mind sharing your input on why…”

  “Excuse me,” I interrupted Professor Pheizer. She never asked me for my input and I wasn’t going to start giving it now. “I’m not interested in input. Well, not in class, that’s for sure.”

  Sniggers traveled through the students as they got I was saying. Professor Pheizer’s cheeks turned bright red.

  “That was uncalled for. Fine, please leave my class if you are not going to participate.”

  I stared at her while packing my bag. I hated this class anyway. She was all for Dragonians, dragon bonds, and whatnots. It was wrong. Humans and dragons should never mix like that.

  To my surprise, Tabitha started to pack her bag, too, throwing a wrench into my plans to seek out a certain Moon-Bolt for the rest of the afternoon.

  “Stay,” I grunted and saw confusion with a little hurt fill her expression.

  I ignored it and walked out of Professor Pheizer’s class.

  “I know you think his behavior is so wretched, but that is the attitude of someone who is not going to get far.”

  I tuned her out. Everyone was still jostling for my better half. I was going to become dark. It was time that the rest of the world knew it too.

  Just then, an electric surge went through my core. It turned my stomach and nausea overpowered me. I looked ar
ound to see if I could spot Lucian. He hadn’t made me feel like this in a long time. It had died slowly after the Arianna incident. But here I was, feeling it again. The innate, disgusted rejection of his purity.

  I swallowed hard and sped up toward the tower by the boys’ dormitories. Purple flowers stuck out from green leaves of the thick ivy that ran up the length of Irene’s tower. There was something magical about that tower, not to mention how magical the dragon was inside that tower. I felt aroused just thinking about the next hour.

  I pushed the door open and the more stairs I climbed, the quicker the feeling dissipated. I didn’t feel sick anymore.

  I went to knock on the door when it suddenly opened and Irene grabbed me around my neck, pulling me inside the room.

  Our lips touched feverishly. The kiss was fast and hard. My hands were needy. I lifted up the long blue dress that perfectly hugged her body.

  She ripped off my shirt and I didn’t even worry about not bringing an extra with me.

  I just wanted her. She was making my head hurt with want.

  Pulling off each other’s clothes was vigorous and when we were naked, Irene jumped on top of me, slamming into me hard.

  I bit her shoulder. The feeling of being inside of her was driving me more insane.

  My grunts and Irene’s soft moans satisfied the beast’s demands. I shielded us from the rest of the school. Not that her tower wasn’t soundproof, but her window was open.

  She always needed fresh air. Well, she was going to be begging for it soon.

  We fell, spent, on her bed.

  Two fucking hours. I had no idea how humans were done so fast.

  Irene gave me her tired laugh as she lay on my shoulder. She smelled of violets and warm sand.

  The Moon-Bolt sense always came through the strongest after our sex-capades.

  I loved her more than anything in this world and for some reason I knew this wasn’t going to end well. I could feel Irene’s eyes on me. I opened mine, looking down at her. She was resting her chin on her hand, leaning on my chest.

  I gave her my famous lopsided smile, which she returned with a vague one. “What is it?” I asked. “And if you say we can’t do this anymore, well, I might just end you.”

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