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Thunderlight, p.4
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       Thunderlight, p.4

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “What is it, Mom?”

  Her eyes met mine.“That sip should have burned a hole right through her throat.”

  I swallowed hard. It hurt like hell.

  “Elena must be close to Ascending.” Master Longwei squinted while he stared at me. “How do you feel?”

  “It hurts.” My voice sounded hoarse.

  Sammy slapped me hard. “You were not supposed to drink that!” She stopped suddenly and looked at Master Longwei. “You mean her dragon is a fire-breather?”

  “Are you certain of this?” Isabel asked Master Longwei. My stomach felt like it would explode at any moment as I held it.

  “I’ve seen it once or twice when a Fire-Wielder can handle the sting of Fire-powder. Her mark is really dark Issy, so I guess Elena can handle it.”

  Sammy clapped her hands and all the horror on her face melted away into pure excitement.

  Hello, I’m seriously going to burst.

  “It might be blue fire, Sammy.”

  “Mom, she would still be immune to my fire.” An “I don’t care” tone laced Sammy’s voice and I finally realized why she sounded so excited.

  Lucille smiled, “A fire wielder.”

  I groaned and my throat felt like it was still on fire.

  “Here, let me help.” Isabel laid one of her glowing hands on my throat and the other one on my stomach. The same cooling effect rushed down my throat and cooled the boiling feeling in my stomach.

  “It must be that Fire-Blast,” Master Longwei said. “Elena could’ve Ascended easily if Blake hadn’t been in the way.”

  “Wait, you think that she would’ve walked out of this alive if Blake hadn’t protected her?” Lucille asked shocked.

  “Yes, Lucille. That’s exactly what I think.”

  “Just to prepare myself,” I asked and my voice still sounded croaky. “What will I feel before I Ascend?”

  “I’m not going to lie to you,” Master Longwei answered. “Fire-Wielders have it bad. They go through a horrible fever, one that makes you feel as if you’re about to die. King Helmut told me when he Ascended that it felt as if his entire body had caught on fire and disintegrated him. When he came back together, he couldn’t feel the fire anymore.”

  I swallowed hard. “Disintegrated?”

  “You’ll be fine. It’s not so bad,” Sammy said as if we were talking about the flu. “Just remember, Elena, the pain will pass. You won’t die.”

  “This is so exciting,” Lucille sang.

  Are these people nuts, I’m going to disintegrate! I took a deep breath to calm myself.

  Well at least I’ve changed the subject away from tonight’s events.

  “My sister will be there when you Ascend, Elena. She won’t let anything happen to you.”

  I smiled knowing that Isabel was right. It took some of the fear of the unknown away.

  Sammy’s excitement was contagious and I couldn’t help but to feel a bit myself, or maybe it was the after effects of Isabel’s ability, but whatever it was a Fire-Wielder was starting to sound less terrifying.

  I’m going to be able to resist fire. I’m a freaking Fire-Wielder!

  URNING AWAY FROM my sudden realization, Sammy remembered she’d left Dean hanging and ran over to where she’d dropped her Cammy. She tried to phone him back but his just went over to voicemail so she left him a message apologizing.

  For the next couple of minutes she babbled about us teaming up and how exciting it would be to finally share the same classes.

  “Sammy, Elena might want to look at her options first.” Her Mom gave her that look.

  “No, I would be honored to have a dragon like Sammy. She’s everything a Dragonian wants. She’s brave and fierce…”

  Sammy eyes sparkled as I said those words.

  “And she’s kind. I’d be the luckiest Dragonian ever.”

  “So can we start filling out permission forms?” She looked at Master Longwei excitedly.

  “You’ve forgotten about one small detail, Samantha.”

  We both looked at him.

  “Elena hasn’t Ascended yet.”

  Everyone burst out in laughter as her body dropped, but she joined in after a couple of seconds.

  “Soon, then your ass is mine.” She gave an evil laugh.

  We all jumped as the front door flew open and Becky stormed into the lounge with George, Blake and Sir Robert fast on her heels. Lucille didn’t think twice and pulled Becky into her arms, planting kisses wherever she could.

  “I’m fine, Mom. Seriously.”

  “You could have died, tonight. And don’t ever jump on George’s back like that again.”

  “Relax, he caught me.”

  “I’ll always catch her,” George said with a huge grin.

  Isabel went to Robert’s side. He gently placed his hand on her arm and gave her a wink.

  “Elena is a Fire-Wielder,” Sammy blurted out. It was so not the right time, but it changed the serious expressions on Becky, George and Sir Robert’s face into surprise.

  “Are you shitting me?” Becky shrieked. “You’ve Ascended?”

  “Becky!” Lucille scolded, but Becky waved it off. She was really cheeky when it came to her mom.

  My eyes caught Blake’s and he just stared at me.

  “No, but she can handle Fire-powder,” Sammy answered Becky’s question.

  “What?” Blake’s tone was harsh.

  “She took a small sip by mistake and it should’ve burned a whole straight down her throat. It didn’t,” Sammy answered her brother.

  “Master Longwei thinks she’s close to her Ascension,” Isabel spoke while she stared at me.

  “You took a sip of Fire-powder?” Blake’s jaw muscles flexed. “I just saved your life, and you try to kill yourself with Fire-powder?”

  “I didn’t try to kill myself. What’s your problem?” I glared back at him. “I might have Ascended if you hadn’t bowled me over.”

  Blake chuckled. “You would’ve been killed, Elena.”

  “Master Longwei doesn’t think so,” Sammy snapped at him.

  “Enough,” Sir Robert ordered and we all fell silent.

  “I don’t have time for this.” Blake’s hands were in the air. “Stay away from Fire-powder. You’re not a dragon.” He stomped out of the room and I heard the front door shut with a loud bang.

  Isabel wanted to go after him but Sir Robert put his hand gently on her shoulder. “Don’t. He’s had a rough night. Just let him cool off.”

  I wanted to scream. One minute he was saving my life and the next he yelled at me. What the hell did he want from me?

  “Robert,” Master Longwei kept staring at what was lodged inside Sir Robert’s fist. Everyone’s gaze turned to look at it.

  Sir Robert lifted up his hand and held a huge grey feather in the air. “We might have a problem.”

  “Is that…” Lucille’s eyes widened as her voice trailed off.

  “How? They died out a long time ago, Robert.” Isabel couldn’t pull her gaze away from the feather being held up before her.

  For the love of blueberries, now we have to deal with giant birds too?

  An image of a vulture the size of a house jumped into my mind’s eye, tearing and clawing at human flesh in a violent dance of claws and beak.

  “Apparently not, and they’ve chosen a side,” he spoke softly and turned his eyes on Master Longwei. “It’s not ours Cheng.”

  “What is that?” I looked at Sammy who just kept staring at the feather.

  “A hippogriff’s feather.”

  “A hippogriff, as in Harry Potter’s hippogriff?”

  Sammy and Becky gave me a crazy glare.

  “Harry who?” Sammy asked.

  “You guys don’t know Harry Potter?”

  “What are you talking about, Elena? Who’s Harry Potter?” Becky’s eyebrows knitted together.

  “Nothing, it’s just a story I grew up with.”

  “You’re talking about a book?” Becky said.
r />   “Whatever you know about hippogriffs, delete it completely. They have no human form and are vicious creatures. They have a stinger lodged at the end of their tails that they use to kill their victims.”

  “Stinger,” I mouthed.

  “One jab and you’re dead. There’s no cure, except for a very old Swallow Annex,” Sammy said. “My Mom or Constance wouldn’t be able to heal it.”

  “How many of them were there, Robert?” Master Longwei asked.

  “Blake said it was only one. None of us saw it. We only caught up with Blake afterward.” He looked at Isabel with a faint smile playing at the corner of his lips. “He’s gotten really fast, Issy.”

  Isabel didn’t share his enthusiasm. Her lips thinned out as her chest dropped. “You say it as if that’s a good thing. He’s only becoming more indestructible.”

  “Don’t. Please?” Sir Robert begged and she finally gave him a smile, but the worried wrinkles around her eyes didn’t fade. What must she be going through?

  “How did the hippogriff get away?”

  “Blake said he almost had him and then he just vanished.”

  “Vanished, as in IDA?” Master Longwei asked.

  “It must be. Hippogriffs don’t have that type of ability,” Sir Robert said bleakly.

  “There’s no way. Nobody can get the ingredients to produce those tablets anymore,” Lucille interrupted their conversation.

  All these foreign terms coming out of their mouths made it hard to understand what they were talking about. “What is IDA?”

  “It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Sir Robert answered Lucille.

  Master Longwei became really quiet as he stared at a blue, glass vase on the table.

  “IDA is a small capsule. If you swallow one, you vanish from the spot and end up in the first place that pops into your mind. In the wrong hands….” Sammy didn’t have to finish her sentence. I got the message loud and clear.

  “If Goran—”

  “It didn’t work sixteen years ago, Robert,” Master Longwei said.

  “How do you know?”

  “The Council experimented with it. It was a secret operation. I was one of the volunteers. The creepers blocked all of us from jumping into Etan.” Master Longwei started to tell his story. “Others would disappear but after a second they reappeared in the exact same spot. The ones that did leave, well they showed up right before the creepers and were killed.” Everyone listened as Master Longwei told them about Project T. The Council had finally gotten their answers after the 100th volunteer and they shut the project down. Even the elevators couldn’t enter Etan. It had something to do with the creepers blocking the signal. “Besides, what Lucille said is true. You can’t find the Neurodelia anymore. That plant only grew in the mountains of Etan. And the Hypocremia only in the meadows of Elm.”

  “Then how?”

  “I don’t know. Maybe we don’t know hippogriffs as well as we thought,” Master Longwei spoke softly.

  “No, they would’ve revealed that ability when we lived with them.”

  I stared at Sammy who gave me a blank look back full of questions. She clearly had no idea what her father was speaking about.

  “You lived with hippogriffs?” Sammy asked confused.

  “Only for a year, honey,” Isabel said in a tone that made it sound as if it wasn’t a big deal. “It was before you and Blake were hatched.”

  Sir Robert was still speaking to Master Longwei in hushed tones when the front door opened again and Blake came back with the Viden at his side. I glared at him, but he didn’t seem bothered at all. He made me so furious.

  “Irene,” Master Longwei walked over to her and took both her hands in his. “I’m so glad that you came.”

  “I’m happy to help in any way I can.”

  Isabel and Lucille greeted the hag next. She wasn’t really a hag, she was quite the opposite with her black as night hair reaching the middle of her back and beautiful bright blue eyes. She was more than 300 years old, but she looked like someone in her twenties. Hag was just the nickname Sammy, Becky and I had for her at Dragonia Academy. She greeted everyone with a nod and her gaze stopped at the feather still clutched in Sir Robert’s hand.

  “May I?” she asked reaching out a hand.

  Sir Robert contemplated her request for a second.

  “She’s the only one that can tell us what happened, Dad,” Blake said impatiently.

  Sir Robert handed her the feather cautiously and kept glaring at her.

  I would love to know the kind of hiccups they share.

  The Viden ignored Sir Robert’s hostile manner and followed Lucille to one of the single couches. We all waited for her eyes to glow white and her hair to start flying in every direction.

  It was dead silent as Blake just stared at her.

  Suddenly, her eyes flew open and they were pure white. I looked away as the image of the last time I’d seen them jumped into my head.

  I waited to hear her ten-people-speaking-in-unison voice, but nothing came. I looked back at her still sitting on the couch and saw the white disappear and turn back into blue.

  She coughed uncontrollably as she came out of her trance.

  Lucille jumped up and ran to the direction of the kitchen, returning with a glass of water.

  The Viden gulped it down as if she hadn’t had a drink in the past couple of days. She regained control but her eyes were huge and terror reflected back at us.

  “What is it, Irene?” Sir Robert asked.

  She didn’t answer.

  “Irene!”

  She looked at him as if she’d just heard his voice for the first time.

  “What did you see?”

  “Nothing.” She stared into space. “I lost it.”

  We all gasped.

  “What does that mean?” I asked Sammy softly.

  She shook her head. “She’s never lost a vision before.”

  “Is Goran in Paegeia?” Sir Robert asked angrily. “Irene!” he yelled when she didn’t answer his question.

  She shook her head.

  “Is he still in Etan?” Sir Robert demanded again.

  “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know,” she yelled back with tears glistening in her eyes.

  “What do you mean you don’t know?”

  “Robert,” Isabel addressed her husband softly.

  “She is the only one who can tell us what is going on.”

  “I’ve never lost sight before. I could feel it coming to me, and then… nothing. It was blocked by a force so strong. I’ve only felt a block like that once.”

  “You’re saying someone is deliberately doing this?” Master Longwei asked.

  She looked again at Sir Robert.

  “No, Irene,” Sir Robert whispered. His face changed into a sad expression.

  “What are they talking about?”

  “I don’t know,” Sammy whispered, “By the look on Dad’s face it could only mean one person.”

  “Who?”

  “My Dad’s Dragonian.”

  “King Albert? But he’s dead,” I whispered.

  “Exactly my point. The Viden struggled to see their futures too. Once he claimed my father, the same happened to my Dad. No more foretellings came that were linked to my father.”

  “I can’t explain it to you any other way, Robert. It was the exact same feeling. I would feel something and then nothing. The only foretelling I ever received that was linked to them was so vague and I walked around with a headache the entire week. I could feel something, it just didn’t happen.”

  “I thought she had no idea when she made a foretelling?” I whispered. This was really getting so confusing.

  “She doesn’t, but with the King it was different. It was more or less the same as when she touches something and sees the past. Her gift should have allowed her to see what happened leading up to the minute Blake caught the feather.”

  I just stared at Sammy.

  “Like we said, she’s remarkable
, but extremely vain,” Becky whispered this time.

  The grownups still quarreled and Irene got up, gliding out of the house without saying goodbye. I had to admit, I’d never seen her so shaken up before. Blake followed her close behind.

  E LEFT BECKY’S house around midnight. Lucille offered to have the Leaf’s stay the night, but I guessed Sir Robert was too proud to accept.

  I messaged Lucian, knowing that he would get it in the morning, but the need to tell him about tonight and my little episode with the Fire-Powder became my number one priority. I wondered what he would say when I told him that I was going to be able to resist and wield fire. It was so frawesome.

  I went to the bathroom once we got back to the house and sat down on the edge of the bath. I started to have a conversation with my Cammy as it would transform it into words and Lucian would be able to read it in the morning. “Love you, see you soon. Message end!” I said the command and then it beeped again, asking for the person’s name to send it to. “Lucian McKenzie.”

  I put my phone down on the basin carefully and looked in the mirror across from me. My hair looked like a mess and my face had a dirt spot just below my chin. Isabel had taken care of all the scrapes and I opened the tap to wash the dirt off with soap. When that was finished I took down my hair, pulled a brush through it and tied it back into a pony.

  My phone rang just as I was finishing and Lucian’s name blinked all over the screen.

  I opened it and worry lines appeared around Lucian’s eyes and mouth. His brows furrowed as he looked at me. “What do you mean hippogriffs attacked you at the Warbel games?”

  “Calm down, it wasn’t hippogriffs, it was the Warbel dragons. They were compelled.”

  “Elena, dragons can’t be compelled.”

  “I know, we think it is Goran or someone that is becoming just as powerful as him.”

  “That can be, are you sure?”

  “You think I’m lying?”

  “I didn’t say that. It’s just never happened before.”

  “Says the boy who grew up with dragons. Now there are hippogriffs too.”

  “How does the hippogriff fit into this?” He ignored my previous comment.

  “Blake chased one, he’s grown ten times bigger than the last time we saw him. He’s huge, Lucian.”

 
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