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Thunderlight, p.34
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       Thunderlight, p.34

           Adrienne Woods

  The wind blew hard from the front and I tried to stabilize myself the way Sammy always did. She made it look so easy but, then again, she had been a dragon since birth.

  Lucian. I didn’t know how on earth I could be a dragon but a part of me didn’t really care about that right now. I knew where I needed to be and if I had to do it in a dragon form, then so be it.

  I tumbled a bit and my wings found their beat again. I could see Dragonia Academy in the distance but it moved from side to side like a seesaw.

  I couldn’t get this flying thing under control and was twirling in the air.

  My vision zoomed in onto the gate and I could make out a lot of people. Master Longwei’s gaze found me. Then I saw Blake again, he was wearing one of those robes.

  He pulled it off and transformed the minute he saw me.

  My heart beat faster as his humongous body came nearer.

  He flew in perfect line, he was the picture of control and I tried so hard to do what he did, but my wings flapped all over the place.

  I hoped that he’d heard me saying that it was me. He ducked below me and gently started to support my body from underneath.

  I collapsed on his back as he took full control and closed my eyes.

  I knew I was going to wake up soon and find out this had been one hell of a nasty dream.

  A thud made my eyes open again and Blake lifted me gently off his back.

  He transformed back into his human form but his eyes stayed on me.

  Becky just stared at me in horror. While Dean was holding Sammy tightly as she shook with sobs. George frowned and Master Longwei just gave me a puzzled look. Professor Pheizer and Mia were there too. A couple of other students were frozen in their spots as they stared at me. They all had one thing in common though, red rimmed eyes and running noses. Tears still ran over some of their cheeks and then I looked back to Blake.

  He had tears glistening in his but he controlled them and they disappeared. “You need to change back.”

  “Blake, where the fuck is Elena?” Becky yelled at him.

  He flung his head back at her. “You are looking at her.”

  Everyone’s gaze snapped back to me. Gasps left everyone, and jaws almost reached the ground.

  “How can this be?”

  “I don’t know Master Longwei. She was already in her dragon form when I reached the cave.

  I looked past Blake and saw a body covered with a blanket.

  My feet gave away. “No!” the demon voice left my mouth again. I pushed Blake out and he flew a couple of feet in the air before he landed with a thud on the ground. A second scream came out.

  The earth shook as my feet touched the ground. When I reached the body I yelled a couple of times. “No!” It was followed with a cry. The sound was pitched high but a strong sad sound lingered through it. It didn’t stop. All sorts of wails came out of me as I fell down beside Lucian’s corpse.

  More sobs and cries followed from the crowds. Arianna was in there somewhere too, yelling and it pierced through my ears.

  He couldn’t be dead.

  I felt a huge wing on my back and when I looked up a Swallow Annex’s head brushed against mine. She spoke, but I still didn’t understand a single word.

  Blake said something to the Swallow Annex and she just stared at me for a couple of minutes. She said something back to Blake and he nodded his head.

  “Constance says you need to calm your mind, Elena.”

  “Calm down!” The voice growled. “Where the fuck were you?” I screamed again.

  “Calm down.” He grabbed a horn that came out of my chin and pushed my head down to meet his gaze.

  I just stared into his blue peacock eyes that glistened with tears. So many questions lingered in them. Today’s events were washed from my mind, as well as Lucian. Everything vanished and it was just me and those beautiful blue eyes. “Now imagine your human body.”

  I saw my body. A picture I’d seen a million times in the mirror jumped into my head.

  His body changed and became bigger, but he didn’t morph back into his dragon form.

  “That’s it, Elena,” I heard his voice. He was almost normal size and when he became bigger than me, all the energy I’d felt a minute ago left at once.

  I collapsed into his arms. I didn’t faint or lose consciousness, but our gaze broke. Everything came back to me at once. The cave, what Paul had done, the Elemental’s cries and Lucian. His corpse lay on the floor. I screamed again and kept staring at his body but for some reason I couldn’t get to it. I was trapped, held in place.

  When the screams turned into sobs I realized that it was Blake who was still holding me. He whispered in my ear but I didn’t hear one single word he spoke.

  He kept holding me tight and I felt a soft blanket touching the skin of my back and shoulders.

  “Bring her inside,” Constance said and I could feel the rhythm of Blake as he moved me away. My eyes stayed on Lucian’s body underneath the white blanket until I couldn’t see him anymore. Blake put me on the bed and our gaze met for a short second. He mouthed fast, I’m sorry, turned around and left.

  Constance hands swept over my body fast. I could smell her fragrance as if she was right on top of me. Sweet lilies mixed with vanilla overpowered my senses. When her face came into my sight tears streamed down her face too. “I’m so sorry, Elena. I’ve tried everything.” Her voice broke. “I wasn’t strong enough to take it out of him.”

  My entire body shook again with the last bit of energy I had and her arms pulled around me. Her body shook with mine. She held me like that until everything went silent.

  FOUND MYSELF ON one of the beds in the Infirmary that night. Master Longwei and Constance spoke with a couple of other people I hadn’t seen before. The Viden was one of them.

  “How are they doing?” Master Longwei asked Irene, and she shook her head. Her eyes were red rimmed and she sniffed.

  Master Longwei nodded as if he knew something. What did he know?

  My gaze caught on Julia and Constance standing in the far corner. Professor Pheizer was in there too with a hanky in her hand. All of them had blood-red eyes and it all came back to me.

  Lucian was dead.

  Pain ached in my chest and it felt as if it was going to break me in a million pieces. I left out another scream.

  Footsteps rushed over to me fast and a pair of arms, Constance’s by the sweet smell of her, wrapped around me. “It’s going to be okay, Elena.” She kept whispering those words into my ears. She was wrong. It wasn’t going to be okay. Lucian was gone. He was gone and he would never come back. I would never hear his laughter, see his smile or taste his lips whenever he kissed me, he was gone.

  I couldn’t stop this time, and like before they turned into sobs that shook my entire frame. Another scream left my body and I wished it would take the agonizing pain inside my chest away, but it didn’t. It made it worse.

  I started to lose it, scratching myself and I could feel my hands in my hair tugging hard. It felt as if the skin around my scalp was going to tear off. I just wanted the pain to stop, but nothing worked.

  “Stop that,” Constance said and she grabbed me tight against her chest again. “Shhh, everything will be okay.”

  “No, it won’t,” I screamed again through the sobs.

  She didn’t say anything, just squeezed tighter.

  I fell asleep again as fatigue lingered around me like gravity.

  When I woke up I found Constance at the side of my bed, covered with a blanket.

  Lucian is dead! The voice inside my head said again, but this time no tears came. It was replaced with nothing. I felt nothing. I felt dead inside and it was better than the pain.

  Constance opened her eyes and started to speak. I heard her apology but I didn’t pay any attention to it. It was a feeling that I couldn’t explain. A feeling I didn’t want to let go of.

  HE DAY OF Lucian’s funeral had arrived and I didn’t want to go. For the past week, I’d lain
on my bed. I didn’t want to eat, although I was starving, and I didn’t want to speak or see anybody.

  The door opened and I could hear both my roommates’ sigh.

  “Get up! Elena.” Sammy was crouching next to my bed with tears glistening in her eyes but, just like with Constance, it didn’t affect me one bit. “Do you hear what I’m saying? Get up.”

  “Sammy? Just leave her.”

  “No, Becky. We all lost Lucian. She will never forgive herself for not being there today.” She looked past me at Becky. When her gaze fell back to me her eyes turned soft. “Please, just get up.”

  I blinked my eyes.

  “Help me, Becky,” she said and I could feel both of them lifting me into the sitting position.

  “You need to snap out of this girl,” Becky said.

  “Nobody will want me there.” I spoke for the first time the entire week. “It’s my fault he’s dead.”

  They gasped, looked at one another and I could feel both sitting on either side of me.

  “It’s not your fault. Professor Georgiou killed him,” Becky said and wrapped her one arm around me.

  “I trusted him.” I was referring to that son of a bitch that somehow convinced me that I was his rider.

  “We all did, Elena.”

  “Even me,” Sammy said with shame in her eyes.

  “Please, come with us,” Becky pleaded.

  I nodded and I somehow got into decent pair of clothes. My friends had taken care of me the past week, making sure I took a shower. Although they tried their best to get something into my stomach, they didn’t succeed.

  It was really hard to explain this feeling. It was as if I was there, but at the same time wasn’t.

  The carriage I took with Constance, Becky, Sammy and Julia stopped in front of a beautiful Cathedral church. People gathered on the streets blocks from the cathedral where Lucian’s funeral was being held. They carried candles in their hands, some carried their abilities. They had big blown up pictures of him smiling and my heart ached as I saw his face everywhere. Why did he have to come back? Constance’s arm wrapped around me as I stared out of the car’s tinted window. My lower lip quivered again, but the tears still didn’t want to come.

  Constance said something, but I couldn’t hear. It sounded so far off, and the sound was hollow, too soft to hear.

  The carriage stopped in front of this beautiful white building with a huge cross on the roof. The crowds in front of the cathedral were double the ones we’d seen on the way to the church.

  Flowers were everywhere and bouquets littered on the ground.

  Inside the pews were full. I’d never seen so many people at a funeral before. His close family and friends, along with the entire Academy were the only ones that could go inside the church.

  I could feel everyone’s eyes, some soft and others glaring, blaming me as Becky and Sammy led me into the church. We sat in the back row as I couldn’t move forward. I didn’t want to sit in the front with his Mom and Dad. They’d lost both of their children to people they’d trusted.

  His father’s instinct had been right about me the first time he’d found out about the relationship I shared with his son. I was the one that would lead his son to his grave. I should’ve let him go that night at the museum and then maybe he would still be here.

  I kept looking at my hands folded in my lap waiting for the priest to start with the ceremony. Plenty of sobs filled the cathedral.

  Everyone was crying for the Prince of Tith, the prince of everyone’s heart the way Becky had introduced him to me on my first day at the Academy. I couldn’t cry. This empty numb feeling inside of me made it impossible to shed another tear for the man I loved with my entire heart. He was a man, he proved it every time he’d tried to claim Blake, every time he was brave, like going into the Acker woods. He proved it by dying for me. He didn’t have to prove it anymore.

  I looked to the front and saw a part of his coffin. It didn’t look like the coffins in the movies. It looked like some sort of altar; something that seemed extremely breakable.

  I looked down at my lap again. Both my friends held my hands as they sniffed and cried softly.

  My mind went blank thinking only about flames, about Paul and the cave. Images of Lucian stabbing him, and the sounds of the Elementals crying ran like a morbid song inside my head. That entire day kept replaying inside my mind. How didn’t I see this? All the signs were there.

  The next time I paid attention was when I saw Lucian’s coffin being loaded into a wooden raft. We were outside. How we’d gotten outside I didn’t know. Huge crowds gathered around the edge of the lake. I didn’t know if you could call it a lake, though. You couldn’t see the other side, it was just water everywhere.

  I looked around me and found more pictures of Lucian and flowers with crosses. Everyone cried, some harder than others, but they shed their tears.

  A couple of guys with instruments started to play. One wore a long black coat and had a beard. He started to sing and I was startled by the beauty of his voice. It was a song about goodbyes and death, dying young.

  Both Becky and Sammy shook with silent sobs next to me. I wished that I could follow their lead, but nothing came.

  The Queen stood by her son’s coffin and she kissed her fingertips and touched the surface softly. King Helmut stood right next to her and the sobs that filled both of them were hard to watch. Still no tears came.

  My gaze found Blake standing a couple of paces away from them. He was wearing a black long robe. He stood next to his father and mother and they just stared at the coffin floating on the lake. The wind blew softly and it formed ripples on the water.

  Queen Margerite cried out when Lucian’s coffin was a couple of yards away from the edge and I saw King Helmut holding her tight as more screams left her mouth. Sammy shook next to me.

  Constance and Julia stood behind me. Becky had left my side and was now in George’s arms who cried with her softly.

  The crowds moved away from Blake as he took off his robe.

  When he had the space, he transformed into his dragon form and flew toward Lucian’s coffin. A soft pink and red flame set the entire altar on fire and all I could do was gape and stare at it. I watched as it consumed Lucian’s coffin until the only thing that was left was a pulsing heap of fire. Flowers followed and a cannon in the distance blow 20 shots.

  As the days passed, those cannon shots stayed with me every night I closed my eyes. I would hear twenty of them and I would see Lucian’s body right before me, being set on fire. I woke up every night screaming that they’d burned him alive.

  Becky and Sammy both woke up every time, until it was just Sammy.

  I didn’t speak any other words.

  The hollow feeling stayed with me and I could see my friend’s faces every time they looked at me. They were worried and pitied me. I didn’t care. I felt numb.

  “I can’t do this anymore, Becky,” Sammy yelled as a tear rolled over her cheek. How many days past, I didn’t know. “Look at her.”

  “We have tried everything. It’s like she wants to die too. I don’t blame her.” Becky’s voice came out as a whisper.

  “You don’t mean that.”

  “I do, if it was George, I would be just like that.”

  “She needs us, you can’t give up now,” Sammy pleaded.

  “I don’t know how to get through to her, Sammy.”

  I couldn’t see Becky’s face as she was standing behind me while I lay on my bed. “Come, let’s just go.”

  Sammy looked back at me. “Fight this, please,” she whispered as she kissed me on the cheek. She got up from my bed and I could hear the door closing behind them.

  For the next couple of days they gave me what I wanted, solitude.

  That stupid foretelling; I didn’t give a crap about it anymore. Every time I thought I found what it means, someone dies. This time it took away somebody I knew I couldn’t live without. I know those words in the Book of Shadows will turn blue so
on; the sign of an unfulfilled prophesy.

  When I opened my eyes again it was day. That much I could tell as the light that tried to come through the closed curtains turned my room a dark orange. The door opened with a loud bang. I didn’t hear footsteps or any voices so I assumed that George and Becky probably had a fight and she was having one of her bitch fits again.

  I could see a body wearing faded jeans standing right next to my bed. “Elena, enough!” Blake’s voice yelled at me and my gaze looked up at him. “I thought my sister was overreacting when she said you didn’t want to do anything, but I was wrong. What are you doing to yourself?”

  I pushed myself up. Where the hell were you? I wanted to scream it, but those weren’t the words that came out of my mouth.

  “Leave me alone!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.

  “NO,” he grabbed my arms and pulled me from the bed and I stood on the point of my toes as he held me in front of him. His hands gripped around my arm hard, it hurt but it was a feeling I welcomed. It was better than numb. “Lucian died for you. This is how you repay him?” He shook me hard. “It’s not how I’m going to live. I’m going to fight till the very end, Elena. Because that guy believed something out there would claim me. He went on that mission for me! I’m going to fight.”

  Lucian died and you make it about you. “Good for you.”

  “You are a selfish little bitch. You didn’t deserve to be his girlfriend,” he spat softly as he threw me back onto the bed and left.

  My lower lip shook slightly and I took a huge breath as the pain of losing Lucian crept inside my stomach again. I found my arms tucked around my body. I tried holding myself together as my heart was all over the place, torn to shreds.

  I didn’t know how long I lay there replaying Blake’s voice over in my head, but he was right. I was selfish. He’d died for me. I didn’t deserve it.

  I got up and took a shower. Not that it helped much, but it was a start.

  After the shower I went to the cafeteria. Everyone looked at me as I entered. Becky and Sammy ran over to me and led me to our table.

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