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Thunderlight, p.3
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       Thunderlight, p.3

           Adrienne Woods

  The crowd began to panic, realizing that the wall was gone, and everyone started crashing toward the exits. We couldn’t move as the crowd pressed in around us and Sir Robert yelled something in Latin at George and Becky.

  Lucille moved in front of Sammy and me trying to tell us the plan over the roar of the fearful crowd. Her lips moved fast and she waved her hands around her head in a panic.

  In the time it took us to figure out which exit she was pointing too, the balls came flying our way again. In a flash Lucille had her arms stretched in the air and her mouth spoke the words of the protection spell softly. An electric popping noise told me that her invisible shield was up and ready, just in time for the first blasts to bounce off harmlessly. The last fire bolt came blazing at Lucille and hit her shield hard on an angle. Lucille fell down to the floor, unconscious.

  My heart pounded as I stared at her limp body immobile on the cold cement. Becky’s voice was filled with pure panic as she called her mother’s name, imploring her to get up.

  George pulled Becky back as she made her way to run toward Lucille. “Now is not the time. We have to get this shield up.”

  Isabel crouched beside Lucille, her hands already glowing. Becky took one last, hard look at her mother before turning around and going with George. She took Lucille’s place in line with the others and I could hear their chanting as more balls came our way.

  It was times like these I wished I could understand the stupid language and help out.

  Blood poured down Becky’s nose as the next ball bounced off her shield pushing it with great force into her face. Her part of the shield grew weaker just as a Sun-Blast came charging toward us. Sammy and her mom dragged Lucille’s immobile body out of the way while I just stood there, watching. It seemed as if he was right in line with me and nothing would get in his way.

  My eyes locked with his and I couldn’t move. My feet felt heavy and the same familiar feeling of Goran locking us in one spot that night only a few months ago emerged in my mind.

  The Sun-Blast opened his mouth to breath fire and I could see that Becky’s side of the wall was completely gone.

  I pulled my legs hard and sweat, mixed with fear, rolled down the side of my temple as I pleaded with my body to fight whatever force was keeping me rooted in place.

  This is it, I’m going to die!

  I was watching a stream of fire escaped the dragon’s toothy mouth when something hit me hard on the side. I crashed into the chairs next to me and fell on the floor with a thud.

  I was pinned down by whatever had knocked me over and I couldn’t move under the weight.

  Whatever had saved my life buzzed and trembled above me and I smelled the essence of roasted wood and musk.

  “Get the wall up.” I heard Blake’s voice roaring millimetres from my ear. My eyes flew open and I was face to face with him, our noses almost touching. We were so close I saw the muscles around his jaw clenched in strain. “Just stay down.”

  “What’s happening?

  “I don’t know, but for some reason they’re aiming at the four of you.”

  Something moved to my left and I saw that one of his wings was covering the both of us, creating a protective canopy. He had transformed partially and I stared at him with wide eyes.

  “Are you okay?”

  “I’m fine, just don’t move.”

  “How did you—.” I stopped in mid-sentence as an image of Goran jumped into my head again.

  “Did what?”

  “Goran is alive, he’s here!” I started squirming which only brought our bodies closer together.

  “Elena, calm down. He’s not here.”

  “No, Blake, he’s here! Before, I couldn’t move, just like that night.”

  “Relax.” My eyes met his and they started to calm me down. “He is not here. If he was, we would’ve been dead.” He looked over his shoulder. “Dad, get the shield up!”

  “We’re trying, Blake. Just hold on.”

  Goran can’t be alive. No, I saw how we killed him and that Dragonian that night.

  Blake cussed softly and I could see his muscles clenching again. “Elena, don’t move. I’m going to try to divert the Sun-Blast’s fire. Just lie still.”


  He growled at me and he had that annoyed expression on his face again. Rising up slightly he started to flap the wing that was over us and his other wing sprouted from his back. Gazing at him I noticed that he now resembled some sort of angel, albeit a really pissed off one.

  Fire singed my skin since Blake’s wing wasn’t in place to protect my body anymore.

  Just breathe. I drew in a huge breath.

  My skin started to boil, and I clenched on my teeth and closed my eyes as a muffled scream escaped my lips. I could feel the skin on the side of my body and shoulder begin to stretch and blister as the heat was too much to bear.

  “Mom?” Blake’s voice yelled.

  “I’m ready, just get that flame away.”

  I opened my eyes and could see what he meant about diverting the flame, and why his Dad was having trouble getting the wall up. We were lying directly in the Sun-Blast’s stream of fire.

  Blake’s body pushed the fire back and at the last second Sir Robert and a couple of other adults were able to complete the spell to spring the wall back into place.

  Blaze and her team members were among the wielders that helped and the minute we were safe, Isabel crouched low beside me.

  Her hands glowed and gently touched my body. “You are going to be okay, Elena.”

  Relief washed over me as the boiling and burning sensation faded, leaving a cool and comfortable zing that reminded me of my time with Constance.

  Isabel helped me to my feet carefully. My jacket was ruined from the fire, but at least it wasn’t burned into my skin, thank heavens for that. She quickly pulled me by my arm to a safe spot.

  Lucille grabbed and kissed me like she had Becky the day she picked us up from school. I was glad she was fine, though I struggled to shake the images of her lifeless body from my mind.

  “Thank goodness, you’re alright. When I woke up and saw Blake partially transformed, and that flame. . .” Her eyes were closed then they suddenly sprang open as a thought crossed her mind. “Why didn’t you move?”

  “I couldn’t.” I looked at her and then at Becky. “It was that same feeling, the one Goran used on us that night.”

  “Elena. Goran is trapped behind Etan. Compelling a dragon’s mind, he needs to be here if he wants to accomplish that,” Lucille said.

  “Trapped, he’s supposed to be dead. We killed him.”

  Everybody looked at me as if I was insane.

  Isabel put her hand softly on my shoulder. “Honey, he compelled someone’s mind, he’s not dead. He’s still alive. The Dragonian died. Goran only lost his connection.”

  “No!” I shook my head. Becky wrapped her arm around me as fear stronger than before made my stomach turn into knots. It was as if a thousand hissing snakes were slithering around my stomach and I felt like doubling over.

  Isabel touched my shoulder. “He’s trapped. There is no way he’s here. If he was…”

  “We would all be dead.” I gave her Blake’s answer.

  “You’re safe, but we need to find out what the hell went wrong tonight and, more importantly, who’s causing all this,” Isabel assured me.

  My eyes went back to Blake who was now fully transformed. My mouth hung slightly open as I looked at him. He had gotten bigger, probably twice the size he was when I last saw him. He tried hard to stop the dragon that was breathing the fire, but it was no use.

  In an instant, the flame from the dragon suddenly stopped and the Sun-Blast lost consciousness. He cascaded down at the speed of light, tumbling and twirling as he fell toward the cold ground.

  Luckily, eight humans from the various teams caught him with a magic bubble as they lowered him safely onto a metal floor. I could have sworn that floor wasn’t there before.

; The mayhem died down along with the dragons and everybody that was holding up the shield finally let go.

  Blaze grabbed her raider and went down toward the fallen dragon. I followed Isabel over to her husband along with Becky. Sammy was right behind us.

  “Is everyone okay?” Isabel asked.

  “We’re fine, Izzy It’s over now. Blaze went down to find out what happened.” Sir Robert had a very bad burn on his arm, and I couldn’t understand why Isabel didn’t heal him.

  “They just went berserk.” Becky’s hands flew up in the air as she described what we had all just experienced.

  “It’s more than that Becky,” Sir Robert said as worry lines made his eyes darker.

  “They were aiming at us,” I said evenly. Everything that Blake had told me was starting to make sense.

  “Aiming at us?” Becky shrieked. “Why?”

  “Relax honey, Elena’s just speculating like the rest. We will find the reason soon.” Lucille said trying to calm down her daughter.

  Blaze reappeared in front of us after a few minutes. She jumped off of her raider right in front of Sir Robert, landing feet first.

  Sammy stared at her with blind admiration.

  “Are all of you okay?” she asked with a slight European accent. We all nodded.

  “Thank you Blaze,” Sir Robert said reaching out a hand for her to shake.

  She yelled something in Latin at Blake who was still lingering in the air watching the crowd.

  He nodded his huge, ugly head without taking his gaze off the crowd, who were all making their way out of the mountain.

  Blaze gave a short chortle and looked back at Sir Robert. “One of the dragons woke up. She said that she was under a spell. The way she explained it along with the side effects, it resembled the Hickerus spell. They were forced to attack.”

  “Blaze, the Hickerus spell doesn’t work on dragons,” Sir Robert spoke heavily with huge round eyes.

  “Well, someone really strong made it work,” she alleged and jumped back onto her raider.

  “Make sure they’re okay, Issy,” she called Isabel by her nickname and flew away.

  “That’s not possible.” Sir Robert mumbled softly to himself seemingly oblivious to everyone crowded around him as he tried to come to terms with this new information.

  “What’s a Hickerus spell?” I asked.

  “It’s the same spell Goran used to compel that Dragonian’s mind,” Becky blurted out without a second thought.

  “Becky!” Lucille gave her a scolding look.

  “He’s here.”

  “Elena, he’s not,” Becky yelled at me but I could tell her irritation had less to do with me and more with the adrenaline leaving her body now that the attack had stopped.

  “Who are you talking about?” Sir Robert asked me.

  “Before Blake slammed into me, I couldn’t move. It was the same spell Goran used on us that day.”

  “Elena, a third year could do that spell. Goran isn’t here,” Sir Robert said confidently. “If he was, everyone here would’ve been dead. But, you have a point. He’s getting stronger on this side. He has people doing his bidding for him.” Sir Robert turned around and looked at Blake who still searched the crowd. “Goran is behind this. I can feel it.”

  We all stared at Blake. He stopped for a second and darted down with the speed of light. Sir Robert and George didn’t think twice and followed him, changing into their dragon forms mid-air. Pieces of clothing flew everywhere and rained down like tiny pieces of confetti. Before Lucille could protest Becky ran down the bleachers at a break-neck speed. She took a huge leap into the air in George’s direction.

  Lucille and I sucked in breath as she missed, but we saw George grabbing her with one of his paws, swinging her onto his back as if she weighed nothing.

  We all plunged down onto chairs.

  Lucille mumbled a couple of words in irritation.

  Sammy sat right next to me. “She’s one crazy chick.”

  FTER ALL THE commotion died down, we all went back to Lucille’s house. Rosa, the housekeeper who was more of a hands-on granny than the help, made us a hot brew that calmed all of us down.

  Sipping our drinks we waited in the lounge for the others to return. Lucille and Isabel couldn’t stop pacing while Sammy and I sat close to one another.

  “I don’t understand how that wall could just disappear,” Lucille finally spoke breaking the silence.

  “I don’t know. Elena might be right,” Isabel spoke softly. “Our children’s lives are once again in danger.”

  “I don’t know, Mom,” Sammy whispered, while staring into the fire. She looked back at her mom. “When I went to help Dad, they didn’t pay any attention to us when we used our gifts. They only aimed at Elena and Blake. It was like…” she looked at me.

  “What?” I said. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

  “Elena, all of the action was aimed directly at you and my brother. That flame. If Blake wasn’t there that Sun-Blast would’ve toasted you alive.”

  “Why me?”

  “I don’t know, easy target maybe?” A small smile tucked around her lips.

  “It’s not funny, Sammy.”

  “I know. I didn’t mean to smile. Sorry. It sucks not having all the answers.”

  “Welcome to my world.”

  She gave me a one-armed hug in apology for her earlier comment.

  “Maybe Sammy is right. Maybe the dragons did aim for you and Blake, sweetheart,” Lucille said. “But not in the way you think. They wanted to eliminate all of you, starting with the only one without any gifts. Sammy is right; you were an easy target, that’s all.”

  A sudden knock on the door made all of us jump. Rosa went to see who it was, and Master Longwei’s booming voice filled the house.

  He gave Isabel and Lucille a quick greeting as he settled into one of the armchairs across from Sammy and me. “Are the two of you okay? I saw what happened on the TV and flew as fast as I could.”

  “You flew here all the way from Elm?” Isabel looked at him.

  “No, just to the wall. I took an elevator to Tith.”

  “We’re fine,” Lucille answered his previous question reassuringly. “Just a bit shaken up.”

  “Where are the others?”

  “Blake saw something and they went after it.” Lucille blew out a huge breath.

  “They’ve been through much worse, Lucille. They’re really strong kids. They’ll be fine.”

  Rosa asked Master Longwei what he wanted to drink as she scurried into the room. “I would love a cup of cocoa with a bit of Fire-Powder if you have it.”

  “I can give you a pinch of my private stash,” she said smiling.

  I gasped. “Rosa, are you a dragon?”

  Everyone laughed and Sammy slapped my knee gently.

  “Yes, she’s a Copper-Horn,” Lucille said with a gently smile. “We took her in when her son and Ettienne didn’t make it.”

  “Her son was Will?” Will was Lucille’s husband Ettienne’s, dragon. Ettienne had died the night the creepers consumed Etan sixteen years ago.

  Lucille nodded. “The gal didn’t want to stay for free, so she decided to help around the house.”

  “You’re too kind, Lucille. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The pay isn’t so bad either.” She said with a wink as she stood with both hands on her side. Then she snapped out of it, remembering about Master Longwei’s cup of cocoa and walked fast in the direction of the kitchen.

  We all listened to her preparing the cup and how the metal of the spoon clinked against the cup as she stirred it. She entered the lounge with three cups of hot cocoa on top of a tray. “Now that everybody knows there is Fire-Powder in the house, I thought the two of you would like a cup too.” She handed Sammy and Isabel each one.

  Fire-Powder was a dragon condiment, like ketchup, except it wasn’t a liquid but a bright red powder that could enhance a dragon’s meal or drink into something they absolutely love. It was dangerous to
humans, but a part of me was really curious about what it tasted like. Sammy tried to explain it to me once and said that where cats have catnip, dragons had Fire-powder.

  Sammy didn’t care how warm it was and started drinking right away. She sunk further down into the couch as if the Fire-Powder had the ability to wash away the effects of tonight’s commotion.

  “What does it taste like?” I asked.

  Sammy gave me a look. “It’s hard to explain.” Suddenly, her Cammy played her favorite techno song and she pulled it out of her bag. “It’s Dean.” She put the cup on the coffee table right in front of us and answered as she got up. Dean was Lucian’s best friend and since George’s welcoming party they were sort-of an item now. He’d recently Ascended, a late bloomer like Lucian, into a Fire-Wielder.

  I kept staring at the cup in front of me with an all-consuming fascination. Curiosity made me pick it up and the aroma filled my nostrils. It smelled herby, mixed with the sweet smell of chocolate and something else I couldn’t put my finger on. I smelled it again. I shot Sammy another glance as she spoke to Dean’s holograph. I could make out a little of their conversation and assumed it was about tonight’s events. I lowered my lips over the edge of the mug and slurped up a sip without really thinking about it.

  The small sip set everything on fire, the inside of my ears burned and my tongue was scorched as it was bathed in the liquid flame. In my panic, I swallowed it and lava ran down my throat and into my stomach.

  “Elena!” Sammy yelled as she dropped her Cammy and yanked the cup away from me. Dark liquid spilled over Lucille’s white carpet, sinking in deep. “Are you insane?”

  Both mothers reached me in two seconds. Isabel’s hand was already glowing and she wanted to put it on my throat but suddenly stopped.

  “What is it?” Sammy asked, horror plastered on her face.

  “Shhh,” Isabel said with concern while looking at my throat. She looked at Master Longwei.

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