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Thunderlight, p.31
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       Thunderlight, p.31

           Adrienne Woods

  Sammy always had a piece of chocolate for Herby and after he finished his meal she would give him a small dose. Paul did warn her numerous times that too many sweets would upset his stomach, just like with a normal baby.

  We went back to the Academy at lunch time and the four of us were starving.

  Becky and George took over the first shift with feeding Kirby and they slept that night with Paul inside the cave.

  Sammy stayed because I didn’t want to go. I had to keep my distance from Paul now that I knew that the possibility of falling for him in Lucian’s absence was there.

  Sammy and I took the breakfast shift early Sunday morning and stayed there until lunch.

  The two Elementals played with one another when Kirby wasn’t in the pond. Becky still swam with her just to make sure that she got the pace down.

  I saw Paul around six as he snuck off to feed the two Elementals again. We didn’t speak about what we’d almost done and I didn’t know whether I should just leave it or not.

  I felt crappy though for almost kissing him, but I had to admit, there was a part of me that really wanted to.

  I fell on my bed as I entered the room. Confusion rushed over me as I didn’t know what to do with this feeling I had for both Lucian and Paul.

  Lucian’s was stronger, but the more I learned about Paul, the more the feelings grew.

  I went to bed as Becky and George left for their eight o’clock feeding time and drifted off about five minutes after she came back. How we’d managed to sneak to the cave and not get caught was a miracle.

  On Monday in Enchantments, Paul treated me as if nothing had happened. My skin tingled just thinking about him and I knew this time it wasn’t him doing it. It was me.

  I wished I could get rid of this feeling I was starting to develop for him, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to break Lucian’s heart. I loved him so much, but at the same time I didn’t want to break Paul’s either.

  I kept thinking about what Lucian had said that day about dents and how opposite sex couples would do anything to be together, even if the other one didn’t want to. I didn’t know what he meant but something told me it was going out of their way in making the other one fall badly in love with them.

  It sucked to be part of a dent because a part of me really wanted to get to know Paul better.

  When the bell rang, Paul shoved a paper inside my hand.

  I looked at the square folded piece lodged inside my palm and I didn’t want to know what was written on it.

  When I opened it the most beautiful handwriting read the words.

  We need to talk.

  AMMY AND I had the four o’clock shift to feed Herby and Kirby. I froze when Paul asked to take her place and she nodded.

  “Just give him his chocolate,” she said as she shoved a small block of chocolate with nuts and raisins inside my hand and waved at us as she walked back to the main entrance.

  It was quiet for a long time as we made our way to the cave.

  “We both know what almost happened, Elena,” Paul spoke suddenly, breaking the silence.

  “Can we just forget about that, please?”

  “I can’t. Every time I see you it’s all I can think about.”

  “Paul, I’m with Lucian. I love him, a lot.”

  “I know, but I also know you have feelings for me too. Otherwise that wouldn’t have happened.”

  “That was a …mistake.” I looked at my feet, hiding the expression on my face.

  He sighed. “Elena, you can’t say that was a mistake. It’s our destiny and I’ve never seen a dent that could not be with one another.”

  “Well then you are going to see one now, Paul.” I sounded stern. “I love Lucian, and I’m with Lucian. There is nothing you or anyone can do to change that. Lucian will come back soon and then things will go back to normal. I missed Lucian that day, that’s all.”

  “You missed Lucian,” he smiled. “That is what you are gonna go with?”

  “Wipe off that grin please,” I snapped back at him. “I don’t care if you buy it or not, that is the truth. I was weak for a second but I’m not anymore.”

  I turned around and walked a bit faster to the cave.

  I wished that he would turn around and walk back to the Academy but he didn’t. He appeared right next to me in a couple of minutes and I thanked Heaven he didn’t speak further about the almost kiss we’d shared.

  When we entered we went deeper into the cave where the pond was. Paul and George had brought tools one evening and they’d mounted man-made torches against the walls. They lit up the entire cave now. With the light I noticed the area was slightly bigger than what I had first thought and there were plenty of boulders strewn about.

  The sparkling walls disappeared in the torchlight and the glow from the pond wasn’t as blue anymore.

  Not long after we arrived, Paul took off his shirt and I sighed. It was as if he was doing this on purpose. He went into the pond as Kirby wasn’t with Herby.

  I mashed up a banana with yogurt in Herby’s bowl and put it in front of him. He took a couple of sniffs and his snake-like tongue touched the surface gently. He carefully put it back into his mouth to taste.

  Sammy and I had laughed the first time he’d done it. We’d found out quickly what Herby liked and what he didn’t and had started to give him the foods that we knew were his favorite.

  When he finally approved of the meal I’d brought him he lapped up the food greedily.

  Not long after, Paul came back with Kirby. She was still on her mixture and had almost finished the entire syringe.

  I hated the silence between us and wanted to kick myself for being so stupid that day. I wished that I could go back and just change it. “So this is going to be the way between us from now on?”

  “It doesn’t have to be,” Paul said.

  “Paul, I can’t…”

  “I’m not forcing you to do anything, Elena. I’m just asking you to be honest with yourself. If what you say is how you really feel…”

  “It is.”

  He grinned. “Can you let me finish.”

  I nodded.

  “If it is how you feel, then I will respect that. If, however, it changes, please let me know.”

  “Deal,” I said quickly. “But it won’t.”

  He smiled as he went back to feeding Kirby.

  I didn’t have to read his mind to know what he was thinking.

  That smirk on his face said it all. It was as if he knew what was going to happen.

  Suddenly, a foul stench filled the cave and I pinched my nose with my index finger and thumb as I looked at Paul.

  He moved fast over to the eggs that lay on one of the boulders and smiled. “We need to get a hold of Becky and them. Both eggs are ready.”

  I pulled my Cammy from my jeans back pocket and spoke Becky’s name quickly. Her face appeared in two seconds. “Get your asses over here, the other two are ready.”

  N HALF AN hour all of them entered the cave. They all breathed heavily, but the minute the stench filled their nostrils they all covered their noses.

  “What is that disgusting smell?” Becky asked.

  “It’s the eggs,” I explained. “That’s how Paul knew they were ready.”

  They jumped to action immediately and followed Paul’s orders.

  George knew a spell that could conjure a strong wind so he was in charge of that egg.

  While we waited, Sammy and I went to collect as much lose ground outside the cave with leaves and soil for the earth Elemental to hatch in.

  The stench disappeared the minute we put them in their elements and the cave grew cold from George’s wind spell.

  George gave his jacket to Becky and she slipped her arms eagerly into it.

  I rubbed my arms as goose bumps spread everywhere on my flesh. Paul chucked his jacket at me and gave me a lopsided smile as we waited for the last two eggs to hatch.

  His jacket was a thick, warm brown wind breaker and I almost drown
in it. I zipped it up quickly and his scent lingered on his jacket. I lowered my nose as I secretly inhaled his sweet and earthy scent.

  Stop it, Elena.

  Around eleven, I laid my head against Becky’s knees whose head was on George’s lap.

  Both the Elemental dragons snuggled themselves closer to Sammy’s warmth and Paul waited patiently.

  A whistling sound, like a tea pot, woke me and I found George and Becky hovering over the egg that was in the middle of the wind’s path.

  It was an easy hatch as the wind carried pieces of the egg away from the Elemental. What emerged from the vortex was a pure white dragon with a long round snout. Its nostrils were huge and two small pieces of fluff hung from its chin. It had a pair of wings that it struggled to unfold, and I noticed it was the only one that had wings.

  Rising from the remains of the shell he stumbled around as his legs wobbled and I caught his head as he stepped on his left wing and almost crashed to the floor.

  We all cooed again as he started making the clicking sounds of his brother and sister.

  “Easy tiger, it’s coming,” Paul mumbled to the impatient dragon.

  I giggled. “Is he hungry?”

  “Starving.” Paul mashed everything together as quick as he could for the baby Elemental.

  We watched the small air dragon until pieces of soil and ground started to move. I knew it was time for the earth Elemental to hatch as well.

  It hatched very different from the others as it crawled out of the ground without any sign of an egg. Sammy went immediately through the earth pile and searched for its meal.

  We all helped Paul to prepare their first meals and once they both were fed, I started to clean the face of the earth dragon as it was still covered with bits of ground.

  “Any suggestions with names?” Paul said.

  “I named the first two, so it’s up to you guys to name the others.”

  “Dusty,” I said as I wiped the white fluff clean on the female earth Elemental’s face.

  They all chuckled.

  “Dusty suits her,” Sammy said.

  “That one is definitely Tornado,” George said and we all agreed with Tornado.

  “If he’s going to need to fly, Paul, we might have a problem,” I said studying its wings.

  “He’ll only try in his second week. After that, we have to tell Master Longwei and the others. You guys do know that they will take them away once they find out about them?”

  None of us had thought about that and all our faces fell once the thought of losing the four of them entered our minds.

  “They’ll take good care of them, won’t they?”

  “They’re Elemental’s Sammy. They are seen as holy dragons.” George reassured her.

  Dusty’s one whisker touched my cheek and I giggled as both started to move over my face.

  “Awe, she’s saying hi,” Becky cooed.

  I stroked her softly as her body expanded and deflated every two seconds. She was breathing so fast but Paul said it was normal for baby dragons, so I didn’t worry about it that much.

  We stayed until early in the morning and the four of us had to say goodbye to Paul who was adamant about staying with them for the morning until they were all used to their surroundings.

  At two all four of us snuck back with Herby’s meal and the other nine syringes for the next couple of feedings.

  Kirby was in and out of the water most of the time. She knew more or less when her feeding time was and would come out the pond when we arrived. The other two just slept as they were still only a few hours old.

  All of us left after six o’clock.

  Sammy and I went back around eight for our turn with the dragons. We were used to the dark by now and the last cave was always lit up with the torches. “Do you think they will take good care of them?” Sammy asked me as we fed Herby and Kirby.

  “I don’t know. We’ll just have to pray that they won’t expel us for keeping them a secret.”

  “I don’t think they would do that.”

  “They might, Sammy. If they are as holy as George said, then maybe we should’ve told Master Longwei about them sooner.”

  She sighed as she gave Herby his piece of chocolate.

  We stayed with the Elementals until Paul came at ten. Sammy and I ran back to the academy as quickly as we could and found the main entrance to our dorm locked.

  “What now?” I said in horror.

  “You forgot I’m a dragon?” She said. “Let’s go.”

  My heart slightly pounded as I remembered Sammy’s dragon form. We walked to the back and tried to find a pipe or something to crawl up but the castle didn’t have any that were visible and Sammy started to take off her clothes.

  I watched as her skin started to change and she grew bigger in a matter of seconds. Everything popped into place and she held out her front leg for me to hold on to. I grabbed it and buried my face against the warm scales that smelled slightly roasted.

  She tapped on the window and I could hear Becky’s laughter as she opened up.

  “What took you so long?”

  I climbed in first. “We couldn’t leave them there all by themselves.”

  She spoke in Latin to Sammy who laughed into a deep husky voice. It didn’t even sound anything like her.

  She grabbed the ledge gently with her talons and shifted back to her human form. Becky and I helped a naked Sammy back into the room quickly.

  “Paul there?” Becky asked in her motherly tone.

  “Yep, we left when he arrived.”

  Once I finished with my shower I crawled into bed. When the lights went off I was left with only my thoughts.

  I knew I loved Lucian but I had strong feelings for Paul. Every time I saw him, my heart would rise slightly and goose bumps made my skin crawl. My stomach flipped whenever he spoke and I couldn’t believe that I had fallen for him.

  What was I going to feel when Lucian returned? He would see right through me, he would notice that something had changed. I wondered where he was and how he was doing but I couldn’t shake a feeling of never seeing him again.

  I said a small prayer to God to keep him safe, turned onto my left side and closed my eyes.

  Lucian just had to come back.

  WOKE UP SCARED out of my mind. Images of Lucian being killed by unknown men and a horrible feeling made me want to hurl. I closed my eyes tight and prayed for it not to be real, to be just a dream.

  Sammy woke up too when she heard me and came over to my bed immediately when she saw me hugging my knees. “Are you okay?”

  I shook my head.

  “Bad dream?”

  “It was Lucian.” I said.

  She wrapped her arms around me tighter. “It’s just a dream, he will come back.”

  “He’d better.”

  She asked me about the dream and I explained to her what had happened. How real it felt as I watched them chasing him through the forest. How they finally caught him and started beating him with objects. There had been so much blood.

  She looked concerned too, but knew that I had pretty messed up dreams to begin with.

  “Go back to sleep. I’m going to take a shower. I’ll be fine.”

  “You sure? I can stay awake with you.”

  I shook my head.

  When I came out of the shower the digital clock said it was 3:30. I wished that the main door hadn’t been locked. If there was one thing Paul Sutton knew what to do it was taking my mind away from Lucian and in the danger he was in.

  I drifted away around four again and found the Queen once more standing right in front of those tall creepy trees.

  I woke up when I felt something tugging at my bed and I found Lucian at my side.

  I sighed out of relief and gave him a sweet smile but it disappeared the minute I saw the agonizing expression on his face. He opened his mouth but no sound come out.

  I shook my head at his fractured image.

  He repeated it again and was a bit out of
focus for a couple of seconds before he came back strong.

  He spoke again, and the only sound that came through was the word “danger”.

  “I can’t hear you, what about danger? Are you in danger?” I said and could hear both Becky and Sammy’s gasp as they found Lucian at my bed.

  “What are you saying?”

  “Lucian…” Both sound happy to see him but their postures changed the minute they couldn’t hear sound coming out of his mouth.

  “What is this?” Becky asked as I yelled again that I couldn’t hear him. I freaked out as he appeared and disappeared for the next four minutes.

  “Elena, what is this?” Becky yelled.

  “It’s a spell, Becky. It’s how Lucian and I have been communicating for the past couple of weeks. It’s never looked like this. What’s going on?” My hands were up in my hair as I waited for Lucian to appear again. He didn’t come.

  “Something is wrong. My dream…”

  “Calm down,” Sammy said.

  “What dream?” Becky wanted to know.

  “I had a dream about Lucian being killed.” I looked at her with panic in my eyes.

  “It’s just a dream,” Sammy reassured me.

  “Why couldn’t I hear him then? He’s in danger, I know it.”

  “Just calm down.” Sammy hugged me tight as I cried and I could hear Becky saying Lucian’s name again. We both looked but there were no sign of him anywhere.

  My head snapped back to Becky and I found her Cammy in her hands. There was nothing coming from it. That wasn’t new to me. His phone had been dead for the past month.

  For the next three days I worried twenty-four seven about Lucian. I had a terrible feeling that he wasn’t going to come back.

  I told Paul about my concerns and the dream but I left out the part about Lucian magically appearing as Sammy had told me to. Instead I said that he had phoned me and what we saw was his holograph.

  Becky, Sammy and I didn’t know if that was an illegal spell Lucian conjured so he could speak to me and didn’t want him to get into trouble for using it.

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