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Thunderlight, p.22
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       Thunderlight, p.22

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “Helmut, you don’t! Dinner will be ready in an hour and a half.”

  “Let me be woman!” He darted past us and into another hallway on the far right.

  “Come,” the Queen said and we followed her.

  Lucian glared at his father’s retreating figure, his nostrils flaring slightly and his jaw muscles pumping.

  “Calm down, please,” I whispered and put both my hands around one of his as we followed his parents.

  We heard a noise of dishes cluttering and cupboards closing. “Leave me Chef. I can make my own sandwich.”

  “Helmut, calm down.” Queen Margerite’s voice came after.

  I followed Lucian into a kitchen the size of Lucille’s entire house. It was massive with a beautiful oak island in the middle. Pots and pans hung from the ceiling and a fire’s clutter was in the back. Rows of stoves were stacked against one wall and rows of huge fridges on another. The wash up area was so big five maids could use it at the same time.

  “Sit, both of you,” The Queen ordered. “Sorry, Chef, please give us a moment. We won’t be long.” The Queen spoke to an open fridge and a huge guy with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a chef’s uniform closed the fridge and left.

  King Helmut already had a sandwich in his hand and was starting to gulp it down.

  “It’s not going to work this time, Dad,” Lucian said.

  “Lucian, your father wanted to tell you so many times. It was me that told him to keep his mouth shut.”

  “Why, Mom? I’ve asked so many times. Dammit, Blake even asked. How could you just stand there and lie.”

  “I’m not proud of it, but we couldn’t, Lucian.”

  He mumbled something and turned his gaze to his father. “Who is Tanya, Dad? Was she Queen Catherine’s dragon?”

  His Dad nodded, cheeks stuffed with food.

  “Elena, I’m so sorry you had to witness this. He has an eating disorder whenever he stresses.” The Queen sighed and looked at her husband. She started to laugh, putting her hand in front of her mouth.

  “It’s not funny, Margerite,” King Helmut said and swallowed. “I told you this would happen and what did you say?” He waited for her. “Oh, if it does I’ll make you your sandwiches,” he mimicked and I had to suppressed my laughter.

  Lucian didn’t think it was funny one bit.

  “Fine, let me make you another. Speak to our son.”

  “Why didn’t anyone tell us about her?”

  “Lucian, relax. I’ll explain as soon as my sandwich is finished.”

  Lucian took his father’s sandwich and chucked it onto the floor.

  “Lucian,” Queen Margerite said, and yelled at Cat as he went for the pieces of bread, lettuce and baloney with pickles and relish strewn over the floor.

  “Leave him.” Lucian was starting to sound like a spoil brat.

  The King swallowed the food in his mouth and took a sip of his coke. “May I ask who told you about Tanya Le Frey?”

  “I did,” I said suddenly terrified. Me and my big mouth.

  King Helmut gave me a surprised look.

  “I didn’t know. There’s a boy at school that helped me get up to date with Paegeia’s history. He said his Mom used to be one of Queen Catherine’s maids. He told me about her dragon.”

  “Is this true, she had a dragon?”

  “Yes, but we don’t know where she is.”

  “Why didn’t anyone mention her?”

  “Because the Ancients forced us to never mention her name ever again. There was a tie vote about what to do with her if we ever found her. The Ancients ruled with the other party, saying that she left because she knew what Goran was planning.”

  “She would never do that, they shared a dent,” I spoke out of turn. “Sorry.”

  “They were dents! What was the Queen’s ability, Dad?” It looked as if Lucian was going to breathe fire any minute.

  “She was immune to chlorine, and I agree with Elena. I don’t think it’s why she left.”

  “Why did she leave then? Where did she go?”

  King Helmut quickly told him the story of Tanya Le Frey. It was the same one Cheng’s had told me. A sad memory lingered on King Helmut’s face after he was done.

  “If I find her, do you think she can help with my foretelling?”

  “Lucian, if she is alive and does know something, you better be a good guesser.” He took a bite out of the sandwich Queen Margerite put in front of him. He chewed fast and swallowed. “If she’s still bound to Queen Catherine’s vows, she can’t tell you anything. Not even death can break her of them. That is how powerful a dent’s bond is. So you better guess right. It’s the only way the vow can be released and she can tell you what she knows.”

  “Still, it’s worth a shot Dad.”

  “We don’t know where she is,” Queen Margerite said. Her tone went a bit higher and her hand flew in the air. “She might still be on the other side, and so help me I’m not going to let you go to the Acker Woods to search for her either. People don’t come out of there.”

  “Mom, I can take care of myself. I don’t need your permission anymore.”

  “Lucian.”

  “No, you should’ve told me. Did Cheng mentioned where she was?” He looked at me.

  Wow, thanks for that Lucian. Now everyone knew it was Cheng who had told me. I shook my head.

  “She might still be on the other side, son. She had a family.”

  “She had a family?” I asked this time. Cheng didn’t mention anything about a family.

  “Jako, the Copper-Horn I told you about earlier was her husband. When she left with his daughter, he followed them.”

  “She had a daughter?” Lucian asked.

  “Yes, she was about six when Tanya left with her. Jako went to search for them. I remember it so well. King Albert refused to sign for a free pass. He said something about not able to rule Paegeia properly without him. He begged him to stay, but Jako’s love for Tanya was stronger than his loyalty to the King, so he found another way without King Albert’s pass. Nobody has seen Jako since.”

  Lucian gave a chuckle of disbelief. “Dad, didn’t anyone think that she was important to society? Here all of us thought that the Queen got a piece of Sir Robert’s essence, meanwhile she had a dragon. And not just any dragon, they were a dent, Dad. Which means that Queen Catherine might have been the first person to dent with a dragon, apart from the Ancients. It’s history that just vanished.”

  “The Ancients, Lucian.”

  “Screw the Ancients, Mom. They are a bunch of old farts who think they know everything.” He glared back at his Dad. “You are my father. You know how long I’ve been struggling with this foretelling. You should’ve told me about this.”

  “Lucian.”

  “Don’t Elena, Lucian is right. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you about Tanya, son. I just don’t think your answer lies with her,” King Helmut spoke quietly.

  “She is the only one that can tell me, at least, if there is something out there to help me claim Blake, Dad.”

  “And what if you can’t find her, Lucian?” the Queen sounded hysterical.

  He jumped up from his chair. “I will find her.”

  “Margerite,” King Helmut put his hand on her shoulder as she wanted to argue more. He blew out a gush of air and moved his plate with the sandwich on it away from him. “You can’t tell anyone that you know about her. They won’t believe that Elena told you. They will think that it was me.”

  Lucian shook his head. “Don’t worry Dad, your secret is safe. I won’t mention her name.”

  HE AMBIENCE AT dinner hung around us like a thick curtain. Even Cat was nowhere to be found, and he was always around when food was being served.

  After a tense dinner with his parents we went up to his room. Lucian was still upset but at least he wasn’t growling anymore.

  I watched a movie as he typed vigorously on a laptop in his room.

  “She’s here,” he said as I was just getting into th
e movie.

  “What?” I jumped up from his couch and went over to stand behind him.

  “She’s here and if she’s somewhere in Paegeia I will find her.”

  “Do you have a picture of her?”

  He chuckled. “For some reason I can’t find one. They must have erased her from Paegeia’s database when they ruled against her.”

  “She would’ve never betrayed the Queen like that.”

  “Not if she was her dent,” Lucian added.

  “So what did you get?”

  “I can’t seem to find the date of her departure, but I found the date she returned. It wasn’t through the elevators though. She flew directly past the Wall. They have sensors that alarm when someone passes through without authorization and with her ability she could have easily compelled the guards.”

  “Do you think Queen Catherine could compel minds too?”

  “She might have, but thanks to the Ancients it’s something we’ll never know.”

  “Did you find anything on Jako?”

  “Nope, I don’t know how he left and he certainly never came back.”

  “So you think she’s in the Acker Woods?”

  “She’s got to be, it’s the only way she could have made it. My Mom is right about people not returning once they enter.”

  “Then you can’t go, Lucian.”

  “Have a bit of faith, sweetheart. I’m not planning on dying.” He pulled me onto his lap and gave me a kiss. “I still have a lot of plans for the future and you are in all of them.”

  “Then how are you going to come out of there?”

  “I’ll find a way. I always do.”

  We kissed again and the kiss quickly turned into something more. My hormones fought a battle I loved and I felt like I could kiss him forever.

  He growled when a knock came at the door.

  “We’re going to crawl in,” his mother’s voice yelled through the thick oak.

  “Okay,” he rolled his eyes and I laughed into his chest. I saw the time and decided it was time to go to bed too.

  “I’ll see you tomorrow, Sire.” I buffed my eyes playfully at him and he slapped me on the ass as I walked away.

  He laughed deep in his gut as I glared at him and rubbed it.

  Once I was back in my room, I took a long bath and the effects of the kiss vanished as Lucian’s mission jumped into my mind.

  He really was a knight, taming dragons and going on missions to save his friend. They don’t make them like that anymore.

  As my mind whirled, Paul followed after Lucian. A part of me was scared now that I’d listened to King Helmut’s warnings. His ability was dangerous. Still, the fact that he killed his own kind to save us must say something about his character.

  I dozed off quickly after my shower and found myself at the bottom of the grassy hill once again. I was done with this shit and I knew I couldn’t look at Queen Catherine anymore. I didn’t know what the hell she wanted from me and I refused to find out.

  In frustration, I plunged myself down onto the grass and rested my head on my knees. It was quiet for a while and when I lifted up my head I saw the hem off her dress standing inches away from me.

  I sighed and stared up at her. She was really beautiful, but the dark shadows under her eyes and her pale skin made my skin crawl.

  “What do you want from me?”

  She just stared, pointed into the woods again and I shook my head.

  Her mouth opened and she let out a shrill scream. Blood roll down her cheeks from her eyes and nose, gushing into her mouth. She gurgled and then she burst into a ball of fire.

  I jumped up in bed as my veins were injected with adrenaline and I struggled to find my breath.

  This was really getting too much and this dream made no sense. Why the hell am I dreaming this shit?

  I turned on the TV’s device and quickly found a movie to watch. Once it got transferred to the screen, I just lay there watching the images moving across the wide screen. What it was about I really didn’t know. I must have dozed off once again because when I opened my eyes the sun started to lighten my room. The next time they opened, I found Denise scurrying around my room.

  “Sorry, Elena,” she said as she bowed slightly with towels in her arms. “Breakfast is served on the porch,” she announced as my stomach began making gurgling noises.

  I gave her a pleading look and she smiled. “You want me to take you?”

  I nodded.

  She waited for me to get dressed and then I followed her down a bright hall with beautiful curtains that hung the length of the windows. When we reached the end of the hall she took a right and a short left, finally opening another door that dead-ended in a huge hall which looked like a ballroom. I ran to keep up with her as she exited through doors and entered another set.

  “Believe me, this is actually the short way,” she said over her shoulder and I giggled. If she hadn’t led the way, I might have ended up missing for three days wandering around this huge castle.

  The last room we entered led to a beautiful porch complete with a long glass table with big comfortable chairs stretched over half of the space. On the other side was a small buffet area run by chefs in full uniform. She opened the glass doors and Queen Margerite smiled at me as I exited the castle to join them. Lucian was busy reading through a newspaper.

  “It’s a perfect day; I thought having breakfast on the porch would be refreshing.”

  “It’s really beautiful out here.”

  Lucian put away the newspaper and winked at me as I went to his side. The butler pulled the chair right next to Lucian and waited until I sat down before pushing me back closer to the table. He picked up the napkin that was folded into some sort of exotic flower or bird, I couldn’t tell what it was, and with one shake landed it perfectly onto my lap.

  I gave him my super-smile and thanked him. He nodded once and retreated as another staff member asked me what I wanted to drink. He carried a jug of juice and a silver pot filled with coffee.

  “Juice will be fine, thank you.” I wasn’t use to this kind of service and found Lucian smiling at me as our eyes met. He just pulled his fork out of his mouth and chewed with a smirk on his face.

  “Don’t,” I whispered back.

  The door opened again and King Helmut entered with a familiar face; one I’d only saw for a brief moment. It wasn’t the face that I remembered from that night on Interstate 40, it was the nose.

  He smiled as he saw me next to Lucian. “Hello, Elena.”

  “Hi,” my voice broke and my tone sounded awkward.

  “You don’t remember me, do you?” He took a chair opposite me with a smile.

  “It’s Matt, right?”

  He nodded. “I’m glad that you are alright. We thought we might have lost you that day.”

  I didn’t want to remember that night. It was the night my whole life changed in a split second and I found Lucian stroking my leg softly. He seemed to rub away all my worries and I gave him a smile.

  “Thank you,” I said to Matt.

  Lucian tried to change the subject and started asking him questions about the hippogriff, as Matt was still working on the case.

  It was interesting to hear what he had to say, but it led to a dead-end too and Matt only had speculations. The same ones Sir Robert and Master Longwei had that night.

  The butler took my empty plate and I decided to have a cup of coffee.

  The strong roast did the trick and I felt a buzzing sensation flow through me as my senses were brought back to full alert. My tired eyes didn’t burn anymore and I felt like I could finally start the day.

  “Elena, can we talk for a couple of minutes?” Matt asked.

  I nodded. My eyes fell on Lucian as I pulled out my chair and he gave me a concerned look.

  “It’s okay. I need to talk to him too. Find out a couple of things,” I whispered softly.

  He gave me a peck on the head and I ran after Matt who was already descending the stairs.
<
br />   We walked in silence and down the stairs that led to the orchard.

  “Elena,” Matt said. “Not knowing what your father wanted to tell me that night gave me a lot of restless nights. I tried to open up a case, but I couldn’t find a Herbert Watkins living this side, so the only explanation I could come up with was that your Dad was born on the other side. It happens from time to time. They usually don’t know about the registration, but it also leaves me with plenty of unanswered questions. Why where those dragons after you?”

  “I don’t know. I didn’t even know my father was a dragon.” Dad did know about Paegeia though, I knew it from the stories he’d told me. Why couldn’t I remember the details?

  He frowned. “You never saw his true form?”

  He brought me back out of my string of thoughts and I shook my head to answer his question. “We used to flee every three months. I thought my Dad was paranoid or something. Fleeing from nothing, but it wasn’t nothing in the end.”

  “You must have known something.”

  “I don’t,” I said sternly. “Sorry, I just have so many questions that I know I’ll never get any answers to. Why didn’t he tell me what he was?”

  “I don’t know. One thing I just don’t understand is where he got my number from?” He sighed. “I wish I could give you the answers you need. The leads I had all ended up nowhere.”

  “I can’t help you.”

  “I can see that now. I hate to bury a case but I’ve got no leads to take this one further. I’m sorry. I really thought the next time I saw you, I would have some sort of answer for you.”

  “It’s fine. The answers died with him that night.”

  “Sorry,” he whispered again with a strong strain pulling his mouth downwards.

  I forced a smile. “I’ve got a good life here, Matt. You tried everything you could and who knows, maybe one day you’ll find something again and I’ll get some answers.”

  “Yeah, who knows?”

  Pretending to be positive was the only thing I could do. I’d made peace with not getting the answers, although I wanted them so badly. I knew deep down inside me that I would never get them.

  We walked back to the castle and talked about the King of Lions mission. I would never be able to escape that either as everyone I met wanted to know everything in detail. I told him as much as I could, but left out a couple of things, like what was inside the cavern. He wanted to see my scar and looked at it with admiration.

 
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