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Thunderlight, p.30
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       Thunderlight, p.30

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “Do they have human bodies too?” I asked Paul as he poured tiny drops of water into the powder to make it into a paste.

  “No, they are the only dragons that don’t have a human form. You see, where dragons have the essence of life, Elementals are the opposite. They only have one purpose, to eliminate danger. Once they have fulfilled this, they only have one day to live before they turn back to stone.”

  “That is so sad,” I said and watched the little Elemental’s body expanding every two seconds. His eyes were still closed and he snuggled himself so deep into Paul’s jersey that only his snout stick out. The two whiskers hanging over Paul’s hoody almost touched the ground.

  “Is it true that they reach their full size in only a couple of months?” George wanted to know.

  Paul nodded. “The next two months will be the hardest. They don’t grow that fast but from the third month to the six they almost triple their size.”

  “What are we going to do with them, Paul?” I looked at him.

  “This cave isn’t big enough for all four of them.”

  “Don’t worry about that. I will tell Master Longwei about them when the time is right.”

  I blew out air softly, so did Becky and we smiled at each other.

  When the paste was ready Paul took out a syringe and pulled up about a teaspoon of the goo he’d diluted with liquid. The little guy was hungry but couldn’t even finish the entire syringe. It took about half an hour to feed him.

  Paul gave us instructions about how much we should give every five minutes. It was almost nothing. When the baby Elemental was done slurping up, he took a huge yawn which made us all sigh again and then he turned on one spot like a cat on Paul’s jacket until he found his place and fell back to sleep.

  “For the first five days we don’t give any water, only start from the sixth day, and also only about a teaspoon. I will prepare his food for him every day and we’ll have to find the perfect spot where we can pick it up.”

  “Not in the open Paul. Why don’t you make his food in our room?” Sammy suggested.

  “I agree. We can’t take a risk with him like that. Someone is bound to see one of us and might try to find out what we are hiding.” George seconded Sammy’s suggestion.

  “So, everyone’s fine with picking it up from our room?” Becky put her hand in the air as if this was a vote.

  “I would feel much more secure with that too.” I lifted up my hand, like Becky’s.

  Everyone lifted their hands and the deal was done.

  We went back to the Academy around eight and thanked our lucky stars that breakfast was still being served.

  The first day was easy. I took my turns with Paul so that I could learn the woods and path to the cave. George, Becky and Sammy went together. We all had our little landmarks of where to go, besides, I wouldn’t be alone. I was on feeding duty with Sammy.

  “So what are we going to call him, or are we going to keep calling all of them little guys and little girls?” Becky asked during dinner and we all laughed. Paul sat on the pillow next to me. There was a rift between him and Blake and I made a mental note to ask him about that.

  “What do you suggest?”

  “He reminds me of a Herby,” Becky answered and we all looked at her awkwardly.

  “Herby can work.” I seconded it. “Just as long as Herby doesn’t go bananas.”

  They all laughed.

  “Okay, Herby it is,” Paul said.

  We said goodbye to the boys as we went to our dormitories.

  Stealthily, Becky and George disappeared for the eight o’clock feeding.

  None of us could sleep that night. We worried about Paul and whether he’d made it safely to the cave to feed and stay with Herby. I tried to check in with him through my thoughts but I really struggled connecting with him.

  That night the dragon appeared in my dream again. It had a soft purple color to its scales and had the friendliest face I’d ever seen. I wasn’t scared of it and we just stared at each other for a long time.

  It mimicked my movements the entire time.

  The dream made no sense. It couldn’t have been my dragon, Paul was mine and the dragon in my dreams looked nothing like what Paul had described to me about what a Wyvern looked like. It had four legs and two huge wings, so what was it?

  The weekend went great. We slept the entire time in the cave, all of us. It was fun and felt like camping out. Sammy bonded more than the rest of us with Herby. It was as if he saw her as his mother and loved it whenever she blew a soft stream of flame in his direction. He would stretch out his little body and bathe in the hot temperature.

  On Monday morning we found Paul chatting to Blake around his table. He nodded in to our direction and I hoped it meant that all was good with little Herby. He turned his gaze back to Blake and it went serious again.

  George squinted in their direction. Becky nodded just as I was about to ask him what they were speaking about.

  “He wanted to know if Paul found something,” George whispered and at that moment Blake turned his gaze to all of us. Our heads snapped forward and we started to laugh softly as we had all been eavesdropping.

  “I’ll ask Paul later what’s going on.”

  On our first break, Sammy and I made a run for the cave. Paul had left a syringe in our fridge and when we found Herby he was already making funny clucking sounds. I hoped he wasn’t starving.

  Sammy fed him while he snuggled himself onto my lap.

  It was hard to say goodbye and to leave him there, but the stuffed toy Sammy had brought with her seem to help. He made friends with the little pink elephant quickly and we found a gap to sneak out.

  Becky and George took lunch time and I could see her wiping away a tear as they entered the cafeteria forty-five minutes later.

  So the big, fierce Dragonian does have a heart.

  She plunged herself down onto the pillow and Paul just looked at her with a soft smile and a raised eyebrow.

  “Don’t,” she warned him. “The elephant didn’t help. It was cotton balls everywhere when we got into the cave.”

  “He ripped up Sandy!” Sammy said and we all laughed.

  I gave her a hug. “You tried.”

  Paul got two o’clock and Sammy and I four again. She brought him another toy, and something inside of me knew she wasn’t going to give up until she found him one that would make him feel not so alone.

  The entire two weeks went perfectly and I hardly thought about Lucian and what it was he had to do. Herby took all my worries away and I knew Lucian would find a way to come back to me.

  On Friday morning, we found a note underneath our door.

  Becky picked it up and her eyes grew slightly as her lips turned into a bright smile.

  “It’s time for the water dragon to hatch.”

  HE ENTIRE DAY went unbearably slow. I struggled to listen to what the professor’s said as I could barely contain the excitement that was inside of me. We couldn’t wait for night to come to go and meet Paul. Lucky for us Dean left for the weekend so we didn’t have to sneak away. Sammy hated every minute of not being able to share the Elementals with him, but she didn’t break her promise.

  We found Paul in the cave around midnight. Sammy picked up Herby as Paul had a backpack and the water elemental’s egg clutched in his hand. “We have to go deeper into the cave. I found a pond just ahead. The water is ice cold and perfect for it to hatch in.”

  “Are you sure it’s ready?” Sammy asked with Herby in her arms, gnawing on her hoody’s laces. He was a tiny bit bigger than when he’d hatched but still cute as hell.

  “It’s ready Sammy,” Paul gave his million dollar smile as he switched on his torch and gave another to George and Becky.

  We followed him over a trail of rocks and slipped into another passageway. The torches were the only light we could see and my feet slipped and slid on the surface. I grabbed the back of Paul’s shirt and he started to laugh as he tried to help stabilize me.


  Water rushed softly in the distance and a blue diamond light lit the end of the passage.

  The pond seemed as if blue lights shown from its watery depths. It lit up the small cave and we found a semi dry spot to spend the night.

  George and Paul rolled the sleeping bags open as Sammy started to make a small fire from twigs and branches Paul had brought into the second cave earlier.

  I couldn’t stop staring at the walls of the cave. It was as if the stars were trapped inside them. Blue light lit up our faces as we waited for Paul to place the egg into a net and lower it gently into the water.

  He jumped up onto the boulders and found his spot next to me in no time. He was just like Lucian and Blake, very athletic, and I was sure he would do anything to participate in the Warbel games too.

  Becky was leaning back against George and they were having their own discussion. Sammy played with Herby quietly and I knew she wished that Dean was here. I wished Lucian was.

  Paul laid his head on his arm that rested on his knees. He gave me a side glance and I smiled.

  “So what is going on between you and Blake?”

  “It’s nothing. He’s getting paranoid. I think it’s his dark side that is getting stronger.”

  “Don’t say that Paul. Lucian is still out there trying his best to find a solution. What is he paranoid about?”

  “He wants me to read a student’s mind.” He gave short answers and I knew he didn’t want to really talk about it.

  “Why?”

  “To find out if he has a hidden agenda. The past couple of weeks he’s really gotten worse. Even after I told him there was nothing, it was as if he didn’t believe me.”

  I left it there, if Paul said he found nothing and that Blake was just paranoid I trusted him. I had way too many things to worry about myself.

  He started telling me about his village again. He came from a Wyvern city close to the Etan border and the other Wyvern city called Alkeem, called Mirillia. Nobody bothered them there because it was near the creepers. Their cities were carved into the caves and I could tell by the sound of his tone that he really missed home, even though there was no future for him there.

  He was an only child and a big disappointment to his Mom and Dad. It took its toll on him that he was different than all the other Wyverns, but still he always found a way to make a joke and I always laughed at them.

  I had to take my hat off for people that wanted to change. It wasn’t easy and I couldn’t imagine how scary it must have been for him to make that change and to stand in front of the Council pleading with them to give him a chance to prove himself.

  He went to check up on the egg around two and when he came back my eyes didn’t want to stay open. I lay my head on one of the backpacks.

  The rushing of water running close by had a soothing effect and I could feel myself drifting away.

  Paul lifted up my head and put it on his lap. I was too tired to protest or to open my eyes but I could feel his fingers playing with my hair.

  It felt so nice.

  “Sleep tight, my Princess.”

  HEN I WOKE up Paul was gone. I lifted up my head and found him without a shirt on inside the pond. My heart started to beat as every muscle of his body was defined and bulky.

  I knew I should keep some distance from Paul, but still, I went down to the pond to see what was happening. Half way down, my shoe slide on a slippery rock and I landed on my ass. Paul gave a sexy chuckle which made my heart bounce a bit faster.

  “That actually hurt,” I joked and he climbed out of the pond. His shoes and jeans were soaking wet and he reached down to help me up.

  I slipped again and clung onto Paul. We both started to laugh as Paul almost went down with me.

  Our gaze met and for the first time ever I felt an urge to kiss someone else besides Lucian. Invisible electricity sparked between us and the smell of his scent overpowered my thoughts.

  His lips came near and as they almost touched mine, Becky woke up. I looked away, heart thumping loud in my chest and Paul moved back into the pond. The minute he stepped into the water guilt rose up in my chest.

  How could you almost kiss him, Elena? I shouted at myself. What about Lucian? You stupid idiot.

  I forced Becky a smile as she jumped onto the rocks making her way toward me.

  “Did it hatch?” She whispered.

  “Busy,” Paul answered smoothly as if she hadn’t interrupted the two of us almost breaking the Prince of Tith’s heart with our little moment.

  She moved over to the water and stepped in too. She gasped as her arms pulled back and her hands lingered on top of the water.

  “You weren’t kidding when you said this was ice cold.”

  Paul chuckled but didn’t look up from what he was doing.

  “This is so amazing!” Becky looked into the water too.

  “We should move Herby to this side as this one is going to need a lot of water to grow.” Paul looked into the water. I could see by the movement and the way Becky looked down too that the water Elemental had started to hatch.

  George and Sammy woke up and they reached us in no time.

  “I’m going to need both of your help.” Paul looked at Becky and George.

  Sammy took a spot right next to me.

  “Anything,” Becky answered eagerly.

  “Hold the shell as I help it to get free.” He took the egg out of the water and put it on the rocks. “George, take that jug and keep pouring water over it.”

  George immediately took the blue jug and filled it with the pond’s water.

  The egg didn’t hatch the way Herby’s had. It was soggy and a bit gooey as the water Elemental tried to free itself.

  Paul helped by pulling the shell off slowly.

  We all gasped as a bright blue snout pushed its way through the top. Long tendrils flopped out and took on a life of their own. It moved in all directions as if it was trying to feel its surroundings.

  I jumped as a small leg pushed through the side of the egg.

  George kept pouring water gently over the egg as the Elemental pushed through.

  Sammy squealed softly beside me as Herby was fast asleep in her arms.

  Paul kept handing Becky pieces of the shell and I could see by the look on her face that she thought it was disgusting.

  I laughed softly knowing Becky had really stepped out of her comfort zone but she was just as excited as all of us.

  the Elemental made clucking sounds and Paul clucked back. I didn’t know what he was telling them and by the looks of it Paul had started working faster, I began to worry again.

  “Is he okay?”

  “He’ll be fine, Elena. It’s just taking a bit longer than we’d hoped.”

  Its noises were growing louder and all of us were concerned.

  George poured a fourth jug of water slowly on it and with a plop the Elemental came free. Paul immediately took it down to the water and held it gently.

  Sammy and I got up to go see.

  I took her hand as I climbed over some soggy rocks. Herby was still lodged in her other arm. His tendrils hung down her hand as his little head and part of his snake like body sprawled down her arm.

  I gave Paul a small smile as our eyes met and I saw him holding a bright blue dragon underneath the water. Its feet were kicking as if it wanted to swim. He moved slowly around with the Elemental as it captured its surroundings.

  “He reminds me of a Kirby,” Becky said.

  “Kirby and Herby,” I joked.

  “You guys sure it’s a he?” Paul asked.

  “It’s a girl?” Becky’s voice rose a bit.

  Paul nodded.

  “Well, Kirby can be a girl’s name too,” she said and went over to Paul to help Kirby as she moved under the water slowly. “Why don’t you let her swim freely?”

  “Baby water Elementals needed to be guided for the first couple of hours when they are under the water. They can breathe without water, but their skin needs the moisture, that’s
why you will always find them near lakes and sometimes in the ocean,” Paul explained. “If you just let them swim freely, they don’t stay at the pace they should swim and then they exhaust themselves. A water Elemental is just like a dolphin. The minute they stop moving, they will drown.”

  We all just stared at him.

  He looked at Becky. “You need to take over for me because I have to go get the herbs to make her meal.” She moved opposite Paul and I could see by her arms that she was taking Kirby over from him.

  “A small step every five seconds,” he said. “When her legs kick the same time as you take a step, that’s when you know she’s got the pace.”

  When he was sure that Becky got it, he climbed out of the pond. George handed him his shirt and both of them left to get the herbs for Kirby’s first meal.

  “She is gorgeous,” Becky said and looked at both of us. “Her little tendrils are moving everywhere.”

  I laughed softly as she said that.

  “I guess Kirby climbed straight into that one’s heart,” Sammy whispered.

  “Well, Herby somehow adopted you and Becky did help bring Kirby into this world.”

  We sat as we watched Becky with a huge grin on her face as she didn’t take her eyes off little Kirby. She moved slowly all around the pond with the pond’s blue light reflecting off her face.

  When Paul and George came back after half an hour, Sammy and I helped him to mush up all the herbs. Herby was now awake and shook the third toy we had brought him in his beak, just like a little puppy.

  “I’m going to hit your bum if you tear up Super Sam, too,” Sammy warned him and the Elemental looked at her with big round eyes as if he understood.

  After Kirby’s egg shell mixture was done, Paul went back into the pond to get her.

  I gasped as he brought her out. She was really beautiful, with bright blue scales covering her long body and web-like feet. She had a beautiful face with a small snout and two long tendrils hanging from her jaw line. A string of fluff hung from her chin. I scratched her head and she made the clicking sounds again.

  He gave her back to Becky and George helped her with feeding Kirby with the syringe.

  Herby was finished with his first cycle and had to move over to pureed fruits and vegetables. Paul had explained that they start off with a light diet and when they are older, you can feed them anything you want, from livestock to bread.

 
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