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Thunderlight, p.26
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       Thunderlight, p.26

           Adrienne Woods
 

  He chuckled and sniffed hard. “So that’s what it feels like.”

  “What?”

  “To care about someone so much, it hurts.”

  I smiled at him, and wished I could move my head. My skin felt as if it was a size too small for my body and when I moved it still burned like hell.

  “Good, you’re awake,” Constance said and looked at Paul. “You need to leave now, Paul. I have a lot of healing still to do with Elena.”

  He nodded and I could see her hand tapping him on his shoulder.

  “It was an accident.”

  He gave her an unsure smile and left.

  Julia walked to my other side and showed me a tablet that was lodged in her index finger and thumb. “I knew you wouldn’t like the I.V. Take this, it will help.” She slipped a small white tablet into my mouth. I swallowed hard and tasted the bitterness of the pill. If my body would have allowed me to shudder I would have.

  The effects kicked in immediately and the pain started to go away. My eyes felt heavy and before the horrible taste disappeared, everything went dark again.

  HEN I WOKE up again, my back felt ten times better. My skin still felt tight, but at least the pain was gone.

  I opened my eyes and found Sammy, this time, in Paul’s chair. Her eyes were red and she had a pink glow on the tip of her nose.

  “Hey, I’m fine.” It hardly came out and I tried to give her a reassuring smile.

  “You could have died,” she said and sniffed hard.

  “I didn’t and it isn’t Paul’s fault. I hope you didn’t go mental on his ass or anything.”

  She left out a small giggle. “No, but I wanted to.” She sighed. “I thought…”

  “I know what you thought, okay. It wasn’t him, Sammy. Believe me I’m going to do crazy things when I Ascend and claim him, so you have to stop thinking that it’s him, okay.”

  “Elena,” she started to whine. Concern pulled deeply at the corner of her eyes.

  I giggled as I now knew that whine. She hated when I spoke about crazy things. “Don’t worry I’m not planning another mission soon. I’ll let you know the minute I do, okay?”

  She gave me the look.

  “It was a joke Sammy.”

  She sighed again. “I have to admit, I’ve never seen a Wyvern attacking its own kind. Paul doesn’t have a cruel aura hanging around him and the Ancients did check him out properly.”

  “That’s my girl; always weighing things up.”

  She giggled again and crawled in next to me. She sure was a softy for a dragon.

  Becky was right the first time I met them. Sammy couldn’t even hurt a fly. It was one of the reasons I loved her so much. She was the total opposite of Becky.

  She rested her head on her arm and looked at me. “I just don’t want you to get hurt. Please, promise me you will be careful.”

  “I promise. You have nothing to worry about. Ginger got spooked, that’s all. Paul was nowhere near her.”

  She let out a huge gush of air. “Okay.”

  “Where’s Becky?”

  “She and George went to Elm to go buy George some gear for the Warbel games.”

  “They already chose teams?”

  “No, there’s like a week to go, but you know Becky.”

  I laughed.

  “How long have I been out?”

  “Only a day. It’s Sunday. Constance healed you pretty fast compared to the condition Paul brought you back in.”

  “It was an accident. If he wanted to hurt me he wouldn’t have brought me back.”

  “I know, I’m just saying. You were pretty banged up. She did a great job fixing you.”

  “Magic touch.”

  We both laughed softly.

  “So, are you and Dean a team now?” I desperately wanted to change the subject.

  “They are taking their time with the paperwork. But at least we have a date to go and see the Council.”

  “Yay, when?”

  She laughed. “A month from now. It still feels so far away.”

  “A month goes fast, you’ll see.”

  “So how is it going to work with you and Paul?”

  “I don’t know Sammy. All I know is that we are going to make history.”

  She smiled but it disappeared fast as she looked down at me again. “You sure that it’s him, Elena?”

  “Dead sure.”

  “That’s not funny.”

  “Sorry, I just don’t like it when you sulk. It doesn’t suit you.”

  “I know,” she mumbled. “I don’t like it myself. But compared to what happened so far it’s a miracle that I’m still sane.”

  “You are one tough little dragon who I’m sure will find her red flame soon.”

  She sucked in both her lips and I knew she was hiding something from me. Her red fire. “Get out, when? How?”

  She gave a frustrated laugh. “Paul.”

  “How can you doubt him then?”

  “I know.” She sighed.

  “You tell your brother yet?”

  She rolled her eyes. “He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anybody but himself.”

  My hand touched her hip softly and silence filled the room.

  Sammy broke it by taking a deep breath. “The beating didn’t last him long. He’s recovered and the dark side has definitely started again.”

  “How do you know?”

  “He beating Tabitha, but she is good at hiding it.”

  “He hits her?”

  She nodded. “Please, don’t tell him that I said anything.”

  “When would I tell him? If you haven’t noticed, your brother isn’t very fond of me.”

  “Blake isn’t fond of anyone, Elena. Tabitha used to calm him down; she can’t even do that anymore.”

  Tears filled her eyes. She wiped one away with the palm of her hand just as it was about to roll down her cheek.

  “Hey, everything will work out. You’ll see. Lucian will find something. He won’t go evil, okay?”

  “You sound so sure about that.”

  “Because I know my Lucian.”

  Just then, Constance entered with Julia at her side.

  It was time for another dose of her healing gift.

  Sammy got up and gave me a peck on my head. “See you later,” she said and disappeared.

  “How do you feel?” Constance asked.

  “Better, thanks to you.”

  “Do you want to eat something?” She asked.

  “No, I’m not hungry.” I should be starving but I wasn’t. Weird.

  She helped me to get onto my stomach and I could feel her hands untying the strings from the ugly garment dress I wore. Her touch to my back felt warm and my eyes closed at the zing feeling coming from her hands. It felt so nice.

  “Do you really hear Paul’s voice?”

  My body stiffened. How does she know that?

  “He told me,” Constance answered as if she was a mind reader too.

  “Yes. Do you think we could turn into dents?”

  “I don’t know, baby. It’s his gift and you are the first rider to claim a Wyvern. Something tells me we are going to learn a lot from you two.”

  “Again with this mark crap.”

  Both Julia and Constance giggled while Constance’s hands move every minute or so to another spot. “Sorry that the Council decided not to put your name with the others that made it out of the Sacred Cavern. Believe me, a couple of us fought for it, but we weren’t enough.”

  I sighed. It still hurt, but at least I had the scar to prove it. “It’s fine, really.”

  “It’s not right. Even if your father was a dragon, it didn’t give you the advantage they claimed you had.”

  I didn’t say anything. I really wanted to forget about the whole Sacred Cavern thing, with its rainbow dragon and mind games, all together. I was glad that I couldn’t set foot in that cave ever again. She carried on healing my back. My flesh crawled as a picture of a horse running wild, dragging my limp body
behind her jumped into my mind.

  After a few minutes, I fell asleep as Constance was busy healing the scrapes on my back.

  Paul checked on me later that afternoon. I felt fine, so Constance said I could go back to my dorm.

  “That gift of yours doesn’t take away crappiness, does it?” he asked.

  Constance and Julia laughed.

  “Paul, it was an accident. Stop blaming yourself.”

  Julia put her hands around my shoulder. “Something tells me the two of you are going to need Constance’s constant healing ability when this one Ascends.” She cocked her head toward me.

  He chuckled. “The two of you sure look at things differently. If this happened back home…” He shuddered just thinking about it.

  “Well, you’re not at home. Just be careful next time, especially with this one. We’ve grown really fond of Elena.” Constance smiled and winked at me.

  “I can just imagine,” he said and gave me a one arm hug as we left the Infirmary.

  “Why didn’t you tell me that you helped Sammy find her fire?” I asked when we passed King Albert’s statue.

  “I’m not the bragging type of dragon.” He flashed his white pearls at me. “So has she forgiven me yet?”

  I nodded. “She knew it wasn’t your fault.”

  When we reached my room, he pulled his hands nervously through his hair.

  “It’s going to be fine.”

  I opened the door and found Sammy on the couch. Paul stood in the door, and didn’t want to enter. “I’m just gonna go.” He gestured with a hitch-hiker thumb to the stairs.

  “Paul,” I whispered.

  “Don’t push it,” he mouthed and winked. I watched him skip down the stairs. He was really a dish, a bit taller than Lucian and the size of a bear. I felt so safe with him near me. At that thought, Lucian jumped in my head and I felt guilty again as I had started having other feelings for Paul. I didn’t know if this was Paul’s doing, but I didn’t like it much.

  I loved Lucian; that I was sure of.

  OR THE NEXT couple of days I struggled to stop thinking about Paul whenever we had separate classes. This whole situation wasn’t fair. I didn’t choose Paul. I wanted to be with Lucian.

  “You okay?” Sammy asked when she saw my face that evening in our room.

  I pushed my worry away and nodded with a faint smile. “I just miss Lucian, that’s all.” I did miss him, and felt guilty again as I thought about what I’d discovered. I crawled into bed and could hear Becky entering the room. “Is she okay?”

  Sammy must have nodded as I didn’t hear a reply.

  I wasn’t hungry that night and stayed in bed while the girls went down to grab some food. The whole accident thing had left me drained and I fell asleep in no time. When I woke up the next morning, the hunger pangs were still missing.

  I tried to eat something light for breakfast but the minute my tongue tasted the toast and jam, it felt as if I wanted to hurl. I swallowed the piece and shoved my plate to the side.

  “You’re still not hungry?” Sammy looked at me skeptically.

  “It’ll pass,” I said and folded my arms around my stomach. It was a weird feeling inside of me. A part of me wanted to eat but another part didn’t. I couldn’t explain it. What the hell is going on with me?

  Art of War drained me completely and I felt like having a huge plate of food. Again when supper time came, I couldn’t eat.

  Sammy just looked at me and I gave her a lopsided smile, hoping that she wouldn’t catch my worries about not being able to eat.

  Can this have something to do with being a child of a dragon?

  Maybe it was something to do with my Ascending. What if I am close to it, like really close?

  Professor Pfeizer had said that we get horribly sick before we Ascended. I shook my head, trying to dispel the thought.

  The next day was hectic, my energy levels were low and to top it off, Professor Georgiou didn’t hold back on the Enchantment lesson either. After school I fell onto my bed and drifted away. I woke up in the middle of the night with Paul’s voice in my head. He sounded angry about something, but what it was about I couldn’t tell. The only thing I knew was that the growls and snarls in between weren’t a good sign.

  I listened to him until the sunbeams lit up our room. My eyes felt as if someone had poured sand into them and the combination of lack of sleep and food didn’t go so well together either.

  “Dammit, Elena, eat something.” Sammy yelled at me at breakfast.

  “It’s not that I don’t want to eat, Sammy.” Tears welled up in my eyes. This was starting to freak me out. “Whenever I put something into my mouth, it tastes off.”

  “What do you mean, it tastes off?”

  “Rotten, what other kind of off is there?”

  “You don’t have to bark at me,” Sammy snapped back.

  “Sorry,” I took a huge breath. “I think I’m close to Ascending.

  What else could this be?”

  “Maybe you should go to Constance. She might be able to help you,” she sounded concerned and I nodded.

  Sammy went with me to the Infirmary.

  “Hello…” Constance smile disappeared the minute she saw me, Julia gasped too.

  “What the…” a remark slipped from Julia’s mouth as she scanned me with her eyes.

  “Elena, what’s going on?” Constance asked.

  “She hasn’t been eating for almost a week,” Sammy said and the eyes of both the women in front grew larger.

  Constance immediately put her hands on the glands in my neck and started with her examination. She looked into my eyes and a huge frown appeared.

  “I think I’m close to Ascending?”

  “No, you’re not. I’ve never seen an Ascending like this before. This is something else.”

  “I’ve got to be. Believe me it’s not that I didn’t want to eat. I’m starving, but the minute I put something in my mouth, it has that strong metallic taste to it. It tastes acidic, rotten.”

  “You’re hungry?”

  “Starving.”

  She gave me a soft smile. She was still frowning, but at least she was smiling, sort off. “We can help you with that, but it involves an I.V.”

  I cringed just thinking of the needle that they were going to stick inside my arm.

  “It only hurts for like two seconds, really,” Julia said sympathetically.

  I looked at Sammy not convinced. “Please, Elena. If it’s the only way you won’t fade into nothing, do it,” she begged.

  “Okay.”

  Constance led me to the nearest bed and tapped on the edge. “Hop on.”

  My heart pounded as I climbed on top. Julia fluffed a pillow before she pushed me down gently.

  “So, I forgot to tell you this. Dean asked me if I wanted to go with him to a tryout game for the Warbel games.

  “You’re up for it?”

  She nodded eagerly and a huge smile appeared on her face.

  “There is only one week of tryouts left. I’m really scared though, but they say a Fire-Tail is a huge asset to a team. They can either be a safe keeper or an attacker.

  “Awesome…ow.” I flinched and looked at Julia taping the bandage over the needle that was already inside my arm.

  “See, I told you, two seconds.”

  “Don’t look at it,” Sammy said and she started telling me again about the Warbel tryouts. “Because Blake can’t participate, he is going to be coaching one of the teams this year. I have to admit, I’m a bit scared and excited at the same time. It can either be good for him, or it could go terribly wrong for the team. He is extremely competitive and he might ask them to do horrible things.”

  As I laid there and listened, she couldn’t stop babbling about her brother. She was always worried about him, no matter what. I feel sorry for her again, thinking what would become of him in the end, and what it might do to her.

  A slight pain emerged from the pit of my stomach. It grew stronger and I doubled
up with my arms hugging myself.

  “Elena,” Constance was at my side.

  “My stomach, it aches.” I said through clench teeth.

  She squinted, while trying to get her hand on my stomach. “We need to get Paul in here, now.”

  What the hell is he going to do about any of this?

  Julia left and a couple of minutes later, Paul ran in the Infirmary and to my side. He looked worried again as he saw me. “What’s wrong?”

  “We think she’s close to Ascending?” Constance answered.

  Paul looked at her terrified. Worried wrinkles dented his forehead and around his eyes. “You sure?”

  “Paul, I heard you last night again. You were angry at someone.”

  His eye brows arched and his lips went thin.

  “Sorry, about that. It’s nothing you have to worry about.”

  “Is it one of your abilities that could lead to this?” Constance voice was gentle.

  “It might be the fire ability, I don’t know. This has never happened to a Wyvern before.”

  “Then why is Elena not eating?” Sammy snapped.

  “She’s what?”

  “I can’t. Every time I try to eat something the food tastes rotten.”

  He frowned again.

  “Paul, we need to know how to treat this. Elena doesn’t feel well.” Constance begged.

  “I don’t know.” His swallowed hard. “If I knew how to treat it, I would.”

  “Fine, we’ll just have to monitor you, if the pain gets worse, you’ve got to tell us, Elena.” Her hand was still on my stomach and I had to admit, Constance’s zing made the pain disappear slowly.

  I nodded.

  “Can I stay?” Paul asked and his fingers brushed mine softly. He really did care.

  “I can stay too.”

  “Don’t you have Warbel tryouts tonight?” I looked at Sammy.

  “It can wait, Elena.”

  “Go, I’ll be fine,” I said and she gave me an unsure look. “Go Sammy.”

  She gave me a hug. “Please let them call me if it gets worse.” She let go and I nodded.

  I looked back to Paul. The corners of his mouth twitched slightly.

  “Are you really in pain?”

  Constance and I just stared at him for a while.

  “That’s not what I meant. Sorry. I sometimes don’t know how to say the right thing and then it comes out messed up. Forgive me?”

 
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