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       Frostbite, p.5

           Adrienne Woods
 

  I watched how he’d died, stung by a hippogriff. A vague memory of what Momma had told me long ago about the hippogriffs emerged. They were supposed to be extinct.

  Then a flash of that rodent I’d flicked off the mountain made his appearance. So it was him that had made her so angry.

  My human’s reflection in the mirror came next. She had the most beautiful green eyes and was gorgeous. The one she longed for made her feel like that on a daily basis and the feeling of her missing him again jolted through my chest.

  A scene of a Wyvern tying her down to a boulder with shackles came next. It made me angry and I realized it was the day I had woken up. Her anger and helplessness had awoken me.

  “Don’t worry baby, Cara is here now,” I said softly and charged at the mutt in front of me.

  I blew fire on his ass, something he hadn’t expected. When a second bolt of lightning blew off him, I realized nothing seemed to penetrate the shield he protected himself with.

  I could feel some of Elena’s anger disappearing but for some reason mine still stayed.

  He flew and blocked all the way back to the mountains and landed.

  I descended and landed a couple of minutes after him. I found the rodent from yesterday in the mutt’s place. His arms were enflamed with pink light. He had a dark gaze in his eyes as he stared at me.

  “Enough!” he roared.

  “I’ll say when it’s enough. You think you can bully her as much as you want and get away with it. I’m in control now.”

  “So you’ve finally met Elena. She’s not the innocent victim you think she is, Cara. I’m trying to help her deal with you. So if you want to come out more, you’ll back off.”

  His words took me by surprise and I had to admit, I hadn’t expected him to say something like that.

  “Why?”

  “Why what?”

  “Why are you helping her? From what she’s shown me you don’t seem like the type that would help her at all.”

  “We had our differences in the past, but now that I’m a hundred percent sure what she is…”

  “You benefit from this, don’t you?”

  “Not in the way you think. Is it safe to subdue my fire?”

  “Fine.” I gave in thinking if the mutt was telling the truth then I might be getting more time to be free.

  His flames grew less and faded into nothing. He pulled on a robe to cover his body and went to sit by a tree.

  I lay down in front of him. “Why do you do that?”

  “Do what?”

  “Cover your body with a garment.”

  A grin spread over his face. “Elena isn’t used to naked bodies and I don’t know when she will emerge again.”

  “She’s what?”

  “Exactly my point,” he said and he lit up something that smelled disgusting.

  “What is that?” I tried to get the stench out of my nose with a couple of snorts and sneezes.

  “I’m putting it out. Just don’t throw another hissy fit, okay.” He squashed the white twig hard against the ground and I watched as it broke into tiny pieces. “Tell me about yourself, what’s the last thing you remember about your dragon life?”

  “Why do you want to know?”

  “Cara, I’m not the enemy. I’m only trying to help.”

  “Fine,” I said. “Not much, Momma and Papa seem to be the only thing I recall.”

  “Who were they?”

  “I can’t remember what they called themselves.”

  “Did they live on this side?”

  “I can’t remember.”

  “Did you see other dragons when you grew up?”

  “You want me to light up your ass again?”

  “Your fire doesn’t harm me Cara. I told you before, I’m exactly like you.”

  “I doubt it. I’m sure I’m prettier than you.”

  He chuckled.

  I fell down on my paws. His questions stirred up so many things in my head that it felt as if they now swam around making me feel like I was going to drown. I closed my eyes and thought about Papa again. I couldn’t remember what his human form looked like. Momma and he were mostly in their dragon forms around me and I couldn’t recall any other dragons either.

  COULD FEEL CARA taking over as I took off from the ground. This time was different though. I didn’t black out and was left with my thoughts. Memories of Lucian and of Blake forcing me into this afternoon’s training twirled inside my mind.

  Then something else happened: it felt more or less like Cara could feel my emotion and I could feel hers. She was pining over Dad the way I pined for Lucian.

  How much she must have missed him and what a shock it must have been to her, waking up and finding him no longer there. Our memories entwined with one another, as mine become hers and vice versa. It was a silent conversation between two strangers that would never be able to be together in the same room.

  I started to see through her eyes but it was more or less the same as the pond inside the Sacred Cavern. I wasn’t looking directly through her eyes but saw what she did through a memory. She was setting Blake’s dragon ass on fire, heck she gave him some of everything, but I had to admit, Blake was really good. He protected himself with an invisible shield and blocked every single one of her blows.

  Even when he charged for the mountain, the bolts he didn’t dive away from he blocked instead.

  He landed and she followed his lead.

  I looked away when she landed too as Blake was back in his human form with both his arms in flames without a shred of clothes.

  There was anger in his voice as he spoke to her, and it faded away leaving me with my thoughts again.

  I closed my eyes thinking about all the things in my head. When I felt a soft, cool breeze against my skin, I opened them again.

  I found Blake leaning against the tree with his eyes closed. He wore his robe again.

  “I’m sorry,” I said.

  “Elena?”

  I nodded and got the urge to stretch. I stood on all fours and my hind legs felt stiffer than the front ones. Before I realized what I’d done, my back arched and my butt moved towards the heavens.

  That felt so good.

  I found Blake’s eyes on me and he grinned as he looked away. “So that’s what it looks like when dragons stretch.”

  I flopped on the floor again and gave him a sarcastic gurgle.

  “Elena, you should deal with your anger.”

  “How do you think I should do that, Freud?”

  “See the Viden.”

  “Oh please, she treats me just as badly…” I wanted to say “as you do”, but realized that Blake had actually gone out of his way to try and help me this time. He could’ve left me in that bed, but he hadn’t.

  “I know she’s not an easy creature, but I also know she really wants to help you, Elena.”

  “Why, now that I’m somebody special in her little black book?”

  He squinted. “You have a prophecy?”

  I looked away. “No. It’s just a saying,” I lied. I could tell by the look on his face he knew that I was keeping something from him. It wouldn’t help anyway as he wouldn’t know what any of it meant.

  “Then talk to me.”

  “You’re not very far from the Viden, Blake. I still don’t know why it is you are so eager to help me.”

  “Because I benefit from it, Elena.”

  “In what way?” Irritation started to rise up again. I knew he wouldn’t do this out of the kindness of his own heart. There must always be something in it for Blake, before Blake does anything for somebody else.

  “When the time comes I’ll tell you. For now, just do as I say.”

  “Urgh, you are so arrogant.” I got up and wanted to leave but the minute I came close to the edge my head started to spin again.

  Blake chuckled behind me. “That height thing must really suck, huh?”

  “Shut up,” I said and turned my back on the view and lay down again.

  He got
up. “Just because you are so rude, I think I’m going to go.” He pulled his robe off and shifted back into his dragon form again.

  “You’re going to leave me here?”

  He didn’t answer as he hauled himself off the mountain, and I realized that I’d just gotten my answer.

  I shook my big head. Un-freakin-believable

  .

  HE SUN HAD started to set, leaving only orange and pink-purple clouds in the rapidly darkening sky. I huffed, and realized Blake wasn’t going to come back. Anger and a feeling of helplessness filled my core at the same time. I would do anything for Cara to take over again, but she wasn’t here.

  I’m here, it’s nice to finally meet you, baby.

  “Cara,” I said out loud.

  The mutt left you, didn’t he?

  “Yes,” I chuckled.

  You can do this! You’re not a little helpless damsel in distress. Follow my instructions and I’ll get us back safely.

  “There is one problem I don’t think you’re aware of.”

  And what is that, Sugar?

  “I’m afraid of heights.”

  I could feel her suppressing her laughter. It was a weird feeling, one I couldn’t explain. It was as if I shared my body with someone else.

  Afraid of heights, huh? Then I guess we’ll have to work on that one first. Tell me, why do heights make you scared?

  “I don’t know, the falling part I guess.”

  Honey, you’re a dragon. You won’t fall and if you do, you get back up and try again.

  “Cara, it’s not that easy, what if I break something?”

  Something I think you’re not aware of, this mutt has plenty of abilities, baby. And one of them is healing. Something I figured out the last time I crashed into a bed of trees. I hurt my wing and the next time I came out, it was fixed.

  I thought about what she said. “I can do this?”

  No, we can do this.

  I got up and took a deep breath as I walked over to the edge. The trees and the land at the bottom made my head swirl again. I closed my eyes.

  Just do it, now, without opening your eyes and listen to my voice, Cara said.

  I pushed my enormous body forward and hurled myself off the mountain. The wind from below blew against my face and Cara let out a huge pleasure howl.

  Now spread your wings and trust the wind, she yelled and I could feel my wings opening. With a jolt I flew up into the air and felt how the wind supported and stabilized my body.

  On my command flap both your wings together. One flap, two flaps, three, four. She counted and I flapped both of them on each count.

  Now open your eyes, Sugar, this view is amazing.

  I opened one and gasped. The other flew automatically open as I hovered over a bed of rainbow clouds. The first couple of stars began to appear. It was simply beautiful.

  Turn your head to the right, Cara ordered and I could see the top of three towers in the distance. It was Dragonia.

  “How do I turn?” I asked her.

  Just angle your body in that direction without flapping.

  I leaned towards the right and tried to turn in the direction I wanted. It was really easy with her voice giving the instructions.

  For the next part I want you to give a giant flap and keep your wings tight against your body.

  “Okay, I’ll try,” I said and flapped once, folding my wings right next to my body. I darted forward at a crazy speed and Cara let out another howl. I closed my eyes again as the surface zoomed in and back again. She really loved this and I had to admit the cool breeze against my scales felt amazing.

  The towers came near and Cara told me to open my eyes again. The wind pushed me slightly back but as she counted again I started to flap them both together.

  Tilt your body slightly forward so that you can descend.

  I tried to do what she said but I must have leaned too far forward and I struggled to hear her orders while trying to regain my balance as my heart beat noisily in my chest.

  The ground came closer and I came crashing down to meet it. Turf flew over my body as I skidded, and my scales burned as I came to a halt.

  I lay there for a couple of minutes. The good part, I was still alive. The second good part, I didn’t think I’d broken anything, and the third, it was super awesome for my first landing.

  I found a soft warm hand on my face and when I opened my eyes Constance stood right beside me.

  “Are you okay, Elena?” Her eyes were huge orbs and when Cara started to laugh uncontrollably I joined her.

  Constance stared at me as if I was losing it, but joined in too when she saw that I was having fun.

  I turned my big head around and my laughter disappeared instantly. The main entrance had a long deep hole from my pathetic landing tactics. I’d missed King Albert’s statue by an inch. A tree hadn’t been so lucky and lay broken on its side.

  “Sorry about the mess.”

  “You’re fine, this mess is easy to fix,” Constance said and she handed me the robe Julia had just given her.

  “You’re an amazing dragon, Elena. Ever thought about wanting to kill Blake?” Julia asked.

  Constance gave her the eye and I laughed again.

  “All the time, but not the way you think.” I closed my eyes and started to concentrate on my human form. It was easy as I’d seen her many times in the mirror. Her blond hair, green eyes and oval face came first. My frame with arms, hands and fingers, was next. I could feel my limbs growing smaller. It still ached but it wasn’t as painful as the first time had been. The lower part of my human form with legs, feet and toes was last and when I opened my eyes again I was back in my human form and quickly pulling the robe over my head. I looked at the scrapes on my arms and my eyes grew as they started to close up, leaving only blood on my skin.

  “Your healing ability is working faster than I thought it would. Blake really struggles with that one.” Constance had admiration in her tone.

  “I guess watching you taught me something,” I joked.

  She put her arm around me and we walked to the infirmary. Inside I quickly jumped into the shower and when I got out, you wouldn’t have guessed that I had been in a collision with the earth a couple of minutes before.

  The main entrance was back to normal and the tree that had been on its side was back in its spot and birds chirped form its branches once again.

  Constance touched my skin and did a full inspection to make sure that there was no harm done and when she was happy she gave me a smile and a cup of tea.

  “So where is Blake?” We sat down on the three chairs inside her office.

  “The idiot left me.”

  “He chucked you into the deep end.” Julia’s didn’t sound pleased.

  I nodded.

  She sighed. “You’ve got to admit, Elena, it is the only way you’ll learn.”

  “Yeah, besides, I wasn’t really alone. Cara was with me.”

  “Cara?” Constance looked at Julia and back at me. “Who is Cara, Elena?”

  “My dragon.”

  Julia laughed. “You gave your dragon a name?”

  I frowned at her statement and laughed too.

  “Yes,” I understood now why Blake didn’t believe Cara’s response. It wasn’t normal to have a second entity living inside of you. “She’s easier to deal with that way,” I lied.

  “You sure are one special little lady,” Constance said.

  I swallowed a big sip and the heat from the tea burned my throat slightly, but not as much as the Fire Powder had that day I’d taken a sip from Sammy’s hot chocolate. I sighed as the ache of missing those words coming from Lucian’s lips jolted through my heart.

  “Sorry, I didn’t think.” Constance wrapped her arms around my shoulders and gave me a hug.

  “You sure you can’t read minds?” I asked and she giggled. “It’s okay, at least I found a way to laugh again.”

  “I’m happy to hear that.”

  I left a few minutes later and
found Blake at the bottom of the stairs in his normal clothes kissing Tabitha. Now I knew how Sammy felt that day and without thinking I pushed him away from her.

  “You are such an asshole,” I spat. “How could you just leave me there?”

  He laughed as Tabitha lunged at me but something invisible emerged from my body as my eyes fell on her and she smacked hard into it and fell on her ass.

  Blake was at her side. “I know you’re pissed at me, but you don’t have to take it out on her.”

  “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

  Tabitha was resting on one elbow as Blake’s hands slipped under her body to lift her up.

  “Just stay away from me you freak,” she spat and left. Blake just gave me the scolding eyes and followed her up the stairs.

  Cara was silent and I wished I could hear her again. By the time I reached the top of the stairs anger and frustration took over once more.

  I’d had such a wonderful afternoon, why on earth did I feel like this?

  The room was empty and I saw the time on Becky’s alarm clock. It was supper and to be honest I didn’t even feel that hungry.

  I thought dragons ate like crazy.

  I pulled my PJs on and crawled into bed.

  Sleep came fast and before I knew it I found myself above the clouds again. The stars shone brightly, not to mention how big and bright the moon lit up the grounds.

  I twirled and dove and the most amazing feeling appeared inside my gut as I heard Lucian’s excitement coming from my back.

  I laughed and twirled again. He loved every second of it as much as I did.

  Another dragon found us fast, one that looked exactly like me and I knew it was Blake.

  “Elena, turn around now!” Lucian yelled and I didn’t know why his voice carried so much panic.

  Blake came closer with a frenzied speed and I could sense something evil inside of him spreading my way.

  “That’s an order, turn around.”

  Pain jolted through my body and I did what he said, it left me the minute I turned around.

  I woke up with a start, disoriented.

 
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