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       Frostbite, p.4

           Adrienne Woods
slower 1  faster

  He laughed again. He was so arrogant, and it was annoying the hell out of me. Without another thought, I took my talon and flicked him off the mountain.

  Good riddance.

  I closed my eyes again for a few seconds and looked at the view. The sun baked my scales but the weather was changing. There was a cold breeze in the air that made me shiver.

  Just as my eyes wanted to close they grew as the view was spoiled by a huge, ugly mother and I got up, turned around and bolted through the trees to find another escape off this mountain. I could hear its flapping above my head as I changed direction. I guessed the trees falling down didn’t really help my escape plan so much.

  I found an edge and hurled myself off the cliff.

  The wind supported my wings and lifted me higher into the sky. I still didn’t trust them because for some reason they didn’t feel like they belonged to me.

  I spotted the other dragon in the distance, it was really big and I made a dart in the direction furthest away from it.

  When I looked back to see where it was, I found nothing.

  Then, I felt something warm and wet dripping down my face. It had a tingling sensation and when I looked up, the mutt was right above me. I darted down and struggled for the next half hour to shake the dragon from my tail.

  My new body was faster and I loved every minute of this speed.

  The dragon was still on my tail though and something was telling me that it was much faster than it’d revealed so far.

  I stopped in mid-air and it darted past me like a rocket.

  It stopped too when it saw me and I knew this was it. If we had to fight to the bitter end, then so be it.

  “What do you want from me?” I yelled and the dragon cocked its head to the side, turned around and flew back toward the mountains. I knew I should go in the opposite direction but for some reason I followed. It was difficult to keep up as the beast accelerated. It turned into a fun game of follow-my-lead and I was surprised that I could do everything this mutt could.

  The rodent from the mountain jumped into my head. Could it be him, but Momma said…This Elena, was she my human form?

  I remembered it now and I forgot to flap as bits and pieces of my old life came back. I had been waiting for my human form, what happened, why was I asleep for such a long time?

  I struggled to get my balance back so Momma and what she’d said had to wait.

  I looked down as the ground came nearer and I couldn’t stop. Huge talons grabbed me and threw me higher into the air. I landed with a thud and found myself on top of the ugly mutt’s back. I didn’t want to fight anymore as I could hear his heartbeat jumping through his chest and vibrating right through my body. Something about this dragon reminded me of someone else. Someone I’d forgotten…. Papa.

  HEARD A THOUGHT, a voice, and felt an emotion of missing someone as much as I missed Lucian. Papa.

  I thought immediately of my dad and when I opened my eyes I found myself on a dragon’s back, but I was still in my dragon form.

  Oh crap, what had happened now?

  I closed my eyes again as the horizon started to see-saw. My head twirled.

  I knew I was on Blake’s back and I knew who he was. It was a first as it usually took a couple of minutes before that part came back. He was right, the more I brought her out, the faster I would get used to her.

  I was dying for the memories to come back, and I hoped she’d breathed some fire on his ass, made him work a bit to get her attention. That thought made me smile, and I was sure a dragon could grin as I felt the corners of my lips curving upwards.

  The word “Papa” jumped into my head again. The feeling was a familiar one. Did my dad fly with me like this when I was little? Was that what my dragon form remembered?

  Blake landed back on the mountain with a heavy thump. I slid, fell off his body and landed with a thud on the ground.

  He changed back in a couple of seconds and I closed my eyes again waiting for him to put on his robe.

  “Why did you fall?”

  “Just give me a couple of minutes and I’ll remember,” I said sarcastically.

  He smiled. “You’re back.”

  “What happened?”

  “I’ll give you a couple of minutes.”

  “Haha, you are so hilarious.”

  “You can change back now, Elena. I still don’t know why you don’t want to embrace her.”

  I sighed.

  “Please don’t tell me you actually liked her?”

  He chuckled as he took a cigarette out of his backpack.

  “You still smoke?”

  “Yes,” he said in an ‘it’s got nothing to do with you’ tone.

  I grabbed the robe that lay on the floor gently with my teeth and went into the woods again. I noticed that one side of the mountain’s trees were completely destroyed and lay broken on the ground.

  I so didn’t want to know what had happened between them.

  I took a deep breath, followed by another and started to think about my human form the way Sammy and Constance had taught me. A tingling feeling told me that the change was close and I could feel a very stuffed feeling as my dragon body tried to push itself back into my human form.

  When I opened my eyes I looked at my hands and saw fingers covered with human skin. I sighed. Finally I’d managed to do that without any help whatsoever.

  I pulled the robe over me and went to Blake. He stared at me for a couple of seconds.

  “What now?” I said, hoping that my boobs weren’t hanging out.

  “Your hair.”

  I grabbed my ponytail, it was still fine. My hand went automatically to my head, hoping that I wouldn’t find it bald. It was still covered with hair.

  He got up and pulled out my pony.

  “What are you doing?”

  “Look, Elena.” He pulled a big strand over my face and I saw what he meant. The strands weren’t blond anymore but a soft color of the rainbow.

  Please don’t tell me I’m going to turn into that rainbow dragon next. I sighed.

  I grabbed the rest of my hair, it was still blond. “Is it only my fringe?”

  He nodded. “Humph.”

  “That’s all you can say?”

  “It looks kind of cool.”

  “Urgh! Whatever.” I grabbed my elastic band out of his hand and pulled my hair back into a pony.

  I took a deep breath as images appeared in my head. I saw some sort of a conversation between a dragon and a human. It was her and Blake and the amusement on his face when he asked her questions made me furious. It was as if he didn’t believe a single word that came out of her mouth and he’d mocked her. I burst out laughing as she flicked him off the mountain.

  “She flicked you off the mountain!”

  He pulled his mouth into a sarcastic grin.

  “You are right, she’s sort of awesome…Cara?”

  “Yeah.” He raised his eyes once and shook his head softly.

  “Is that normal?”

  “I don’t know, you tell me.” He looked at me. “But then again, nothing about you is normal.”

  “Ha, ha.” I bit back, and I rolled my eyes and threw myself down opposite him.

  He just smiled and heated up his cigarette with his breath.

  “How do you do that?”

  “Do what?”

  “Use your abilities while in your human form.”

  “They haven’t taught you that yet?”

  “No, they have. I just don’t seem to be able to do it.”

  “You’ll learn in time,” he assured me.

  “I beg to differ.”

  “Rome wasn’t built in a day, Elena. Or so I’ve heard.” He’d said the same thing Cheng had the first day I’d met him. I missed Cheng, he’d been right about Paul and that Lucian would never claim Blake. I didn’t know how to face him again, how to apologize and admit he’d been right.

  I took a deep breath. “Yeah, well my patience isn’t what it used to be.”

  “It’s all up here.” He tapped his temple with his finger. “Yours are stuffed with a lot of crazy things right now, things you need to accept first, before you will be able to use it to conquer your abilities. So the faster you get rid of the ‘world owes me something’ mentality, the sooner you’ll be ready to start learning.”

  I scowled at him. What did he know anyway? The only thing he had to keep away from was his dark side. He’d never fled, never questioned who his father really was and always knew that he was a dragon. I sighed. He had a point though, not that I would give him the satisfaction of admitting it, but I had plenty of crap stuck inside my head to deal with first before I could take on the bigger stuff.

  Blake looked at his watch and got up. “I still have a warbel practice to coach so, let’s call it a day.” He winked at me.

  I just stared at him and shook my head softly. “Fine, when do you want to do this again?”

  “Tomorrow, same time, same place. Like I said, you have a lot to learn.”

  “Yeah, that I already know. Maybe if you tell me something I don’t know, like why you’re helping me, then this could get a bit easier.”

  He chuckled. “If I tell you that, I might as well kill you, Elena,” he said as he changed into the Rubicon.

  E TOOK ME back to the academy when our session was over. The flight back wasn’t as horrible as the one coming to the mountain and I couldn’t stop thinking about Cara. Who was she? And why did I get the feeling that this wasn’t even a little bit normal. Constance said it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but Blake didn’t have another name for the Rubicon inside of him.

  “Don’t make me wait tomorrow like you did today.” Blake walked past me.

  I wanted to throw something back but when I saw he was butt naked I shut my mouth and looked away.

  Great, now his naked ass is imprinted on my mind.

  I had no idea how to get used to the naked part of all this. He was right though, dragon was what I was and I had to get used to this one way or another.

  Everyone stared at me as I walked back into the academy.

  Stare as much as you want, idiots.

  I sighed as a part of me missed the old Elena. She wasn’t so depressed and her thoughts were kinder, but then again she hadn’t lost her love of her life.

  I ran two steps at a time and entered our room with a crash. Becky was sitting on her bed doing her homework and Sammy was watching some sort of reality show on the T.V.

  Becky looked up as I entered. She sucked in her breath. “Elena?”

  Sammy turned around too. “So how was….”

  “What happened to your hair?” they cried in unison.

  My hair… that was why everyone had stared. I’d forgotten. “Nothing. It changed when I shifted back today.”

  Becky made her way in front of me and she pulled the elastic out of my ponytail the way Blake had earlier. My hair fell over my shoulders and down my back. The strands of rainbow hair were clutched in her hand. “It’s so beautiful.”

  Sammy was at her side and they inspected it like I was some sort of an experiment gone wrong. I pulled my hair out of her palm.

  “Elena, you really need to snap out of this anger phase,” Becky yelled. “It’s getting old now.”

  “Becky,” Sammy warned as I entered the bathroom.

  “We all lost Lucian, Sammy. She needs to deal with it.”

  I flung around and charged back to her. “Deal with it?” I yelled. “How can I deal when shit like this,” I pulled the strands of rainbow hair, “keeps making an appearance? You were born in this world, Becky. Ever since I got here I’ve been clinging to the edges just trying to stay above water.”

  Sammy looked at the carpet.

  “Don’t tell me you know what it is I’m going through. You still have George, I’ve got nobody.”

  “That’s not true. You have us.”

  I gave a sadistic laugh. One I didn’t even know I was capable of. “No offence, but you are no way close to what Lucian was.”

  Hurt filled her eyes. It didn’t even bother me that I was the cause of it, and I turned around to go to the bathroom.

  I took a shower and thought about what I’d said to her. Still no regret came. She’d asked for it and it was time that someone put her in her place. She should really learn when to back off.

  What is happening to you, Elena? the old Elena’s voice yelled inside my head. I pushed her back and closed the taps.

  After I pulled on new clothes I went back into the room. Becky was gone but Sammy still sat on the couch. She looked at me.


  “That was really harsh, Elena.”

  “Sammy, just spare me please.”

  She jumped up from the couch. “What the hell is happening to you?”

  “Let me think. Uhm, I’m a dragon, one predestined to turn evil. I lost the only person that really cared about me, and oh yeah, I really don’t want to be here anymore. You want to know more, or can I stop?”

  “Don’t speak like that. Lucian died saving your life. To give up now would be a waste of his death, Elena.”

  I closed my eyes and tried to push my anger aside. I didn’t want to lash out at Sammy too, but the feelings inside of me were so strong. It was as if I was still in my dragon form. All my feelings felt ten times worse and nothing my friends said made any difference.

  I crawled into bed and flung my duvet over my head.

  HE NEXT DAY classes were hard. I was called lazy because none of the incantations that left my mouth wanted to work.

  Professor Swarch, who was teaching Enchantments for Dragons, got his ass scorched with lightning after accusing me of not trying hard enough. The class thought it was hilarious; Constance didn’t, and neither did Master Longwei.

  It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. I couldn’t control it, and for some reason I could wield lightning when I felt frustrated, or irritated, or really mad. It would be awesome though if it could have happened in Professor Pheizer’s class instead of Professor Swarch’s.

  Sir Edward was glad that I’d transformed in his class, but the minute Cara made her appearance again they had to use magic to contain her and get Blake to calm her down. For some reason he turned out to be the only dragon that knew how to do it, and I didn’t know if I should hate that or love it.

  Blake was wrong in saying that I would gain control over her the more she got out. And when the day was over and there was nothing left to keep my mind occupied, I ached for Lucian. I tried so hard to remember the sound of his voice, or the way his eyes used to light up whenever he thought something was wicked.

  I hardly remembered the smell of his cologne and didn’t have anything left of him to remind me of what it was like to have him near.

  Queen Margerite came the day after his funeral and took everything he owned. His parents hadn’t spoken a word to me since the day he’d died. I knew why. They were blaming me for their son’s death, and they should. It was me that had ended up leading him to it.

  If I had just end my relationship with him that day at the museum he would still be alive. He wouldn’t have come back and searched for me that afternoon, and that hippogriff wouldn’t have killed him.

  HE NEXT DAY I cut class, all of them, and stayed in bed. Training with Blake was a waste of my time anyway.

  The past two days had gotten us nowhere, just a lot of backbiting and him calling me names and decreeing how much I thought the world owed me.

  He was wrong. What he didn’t understand was that I wanted nothing from this world.

  Around three my duvet got pulled off me.

  “Get up!” A really pissed off Blake held my blanket in one hand.

  “Blake, can you just let it go for today? She had a pretty…”

  “No Samantha.” He turned his head back to me. “Get ready, Elena.”

  I jumped out of bed, grabbed my robe and charged past him. “You are a real pain in the ass.”

  “Yeah, that makes two of us.”
  I could hear him behind me walking down the stairs, and opening the main door was no effort anymore.

  I didn’t wait for him to pass through and I could hear his hand smacking against the door.

  Why did he want to help me find my inner dragon so badly?

  I could feel my anger rising again and it started to tear and pull my skin in all directions. I walked a bit faster and flung the second door open that exited to the Parthenon dome. My clothes started to tear as my limbs grew and I fell off the steps. A popping sound told me that Blake had transformed too.

  My weight broke half the stairs and I fell head-first to the ground.

  When I looked up Blake was in his dragon form right beside me, trying to help me up with his snout.

  A growl escaped my mouth and I breathed fire on him. He yelled something and looked past me. I turned my head and found a gazillion students watching the two of us at the top of the stairs. The pink flame in my stomach coiled again and released another bolt of fire in their direction but Blake got in the way and blocked it with his body.

  I turned around and my wings automatically started to flap at my sides. The wind slipped beneath them and my body elevated above the ground. I didn’t dare to go higher as I knew my head would start to spin again.

  I could hear the flapping sound of a second pair of wings behind me and he said something I didn’t understand.

  I really didn’t want to participate in his stupid session anymore; I didn’t want or need his help and I wished everybody would just leave me alone.

  FOUND MYSELF IN the air and the mutt was right above me when I awoke. I felt agitated and could sense something was very wrong with my human form, or the way they called her, Elena. She felt angry, something I didn’t like very much. Frustrated was another feeling I picked up on, and she missed someone named Lucian the same way I missed Dad. It was the same ache.

  The mutt went higher and for some reason I didn’t want to follow him. Was it him that had caused all of these emotions running through my human form?

  I wished I knew what was behind all of this, and at that exact moment flashes of another life paged through my mind. I was right, it wasn’t Dad that she missed. She didn’t even think about him. It was somebody else: This Lucian, he was another human.

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