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Starlight: Part 1 – Chapter 9

The meeting was held in the barn. I stood at the back with Blake.


All the families were there.


Charles spoke, and David made sure that all of them knew they were going to stay at the lodge. Then Blake told them about the housing that they were building at this very moment – a home for every family here. During the next four months, many things were going to happen in their lives, but it would be for the better.


In four months we were going to enter Etan with an army, kill the Saadedine, free my father and hopefully kill Goran in the process too. This world didn’t need evil like him. This world needed to heal – all of it. Not just Etan, and we were not going to be able to do that with Goran trapped somewhere. It was time for him to stop existing.


I would be nineteen, just when that time came.


Charles ended by explaining to pack light, only clothes they needed, and that was it.


The families dispersed, and Blake had to shake so many hands.


I watched him take Tom and August to one side then he wielded his shield around them.


I hated not being included in this mission of theirs, but he said I only had one thing to concentrate on, and that was to get the ninety people out.


We all went home and found the first nine of the troops who had stayed sitting in the lounge. Emanuel wasn’t with them.


Many of them greeted Blake. He started speaking to one of them, I think Emanuel had introduced him as Jerry. The guy sounded nice, and he had so much life it was contagious. They spoke about everything that had happened the past week, all the intelligence they’d gathered, and I knew Blake was trusting these men as Emanuel had.


The door to Charles’s study opened. “That is final, Taylor.”




“I said it’s final. Everyone leaves tonight. When the time comes, you can come back inside. You did what you set out to do. We need you on the other side.”


I didn’t like the tone Emanuel used with her, and the girl with the black hair, who looked like a goth, walked out. I remembered how she’d hissed when I brought her in at one of the Creepers. She wanted to stay.


She strode past Emanuel, glared up at Jerry then bumped me out of the way as she stormed out of the house.


“Taylor!” Emanuel and Blake yelled.


Jerry rubbed his face. “I’ll go speak to her.”


“You sure you want to do that?” Emanuel yelled.


“Yes, she doesn’t scare me.”


“It’s your funeral, pal.”


The others chuckled.


“What is that about?” I looked at Emanuel.


“Don’t worry, I’ll deal with her.”


“Still, she doesn’t have to be so rude.”


“She is harmless, I promise you. She just feels she’s more of use this side.


“Then let her stay.”


“No, King Helmut said everyone.” Blake looked at Emanuel again. “You found what you were looking for?”


“Yes, I did,” Emanuel said then looked back at me. “You are ready to take everyone back?”


“I don’t know. It’s going to be a long night.”


“That is why you need to get some rest.”


“I just woke up a few hours ago.”


Emanuel chuckled. “I forgot, it’s day time that side. Still. Off to bed, Missy. Try.”


Blake came with me and we both lay on the bed. I didn’t have to turn around to know he was awake. I could hear it in his breathing.


I grew quiet, but I was used to him sleeping so close to me.


We both had so many things at stake tomorrow. For him, there was me and not to get caught. I couldn’t use my abilities while he was in his human form. It would give everything away, which led to mine: my dragon, him. If Goran discovered he was here, he would put two and two together and know that it was that time. He could kill everyone.


I’d never been this scared in my entire life, and I just wanted to forget about it. Really forget about it and get some sleep.


I turned around to face Blake and lay as close as possible to him. I could feel his eyes on me again but I didn’t dare look up. He wrapped his arm around me.


“I promise I won’t disappoint you.” His lips brushed my hair softly. “I won’t get caught.”


“I know, I just…” I couldn’t say it.


“You just what?”


“What if they find me taking the others through, and you are not here?”


“Then you use my abilities.”


I lifted my head so I could look at him. “You know I can’t. It will hurt you wherever you are.”


“I can take care of myself. You need to feel safe. Just wield them.” He smiled down at me.


“How, Blake? How are you going to hide?” I took a deep breath and rolled onto my back and closed my eyes. I didn’t want to think about it.


“I’ll disappear. Blend in.”


I looked at him again. “How do you even do that?”


“It’s a Rubicon thing.”


I smiled. “Can I do it too?”


“It’s a Rubicon thing only.”


I laughed softly.


“I think whoever created this dragon rider thing knew that I was going to get a rider that would make me feel useless and had to give me some extra cool features.”


I didn’t like that, even though he was joking. “I really make you feel useless?”


“Elena, the abilities are yours. They were never mine.”


“You use them more than I do.”


“Yes, because I trust them. It feels as if you don’t really need me. These people here look up to you, they care about you, and you did that within that month you stayed with them.”


“They look up to you too.”


“Because of my name. It’s different.”


“No it isn’t. They would’ve feared you if you were still dark.”


His lip curved upward slightly.


“I never apologized to you before,” I said.


“About what?” He squinted.


“That my father is alive and that you have to keep it from your dad.”


He looked at me, not saying anything.


“What was it like, when you ascended?” It was that same question everyone asked. “Seeing him?”


I smiled. “It was scary and good all in one. He looked like a king; the wax museum has him completely wrong.”


He chuckled. “Then you don’t want to know what you look like.”


“What?” I asked.


“It was a huge thing. When you were gone, they wanted to give the people hope. I wasn’t even there that night when they revealed it, but Emanuel took me there one day, said that I needed to see it too. He was right. I had to see it, and only ended up missing your face more.”




“I did.” He sighed. “They got you way wrong. It pissed me off.”


“What did they get wrong?”




I made a mental note to go and have a look. “What does my brass plate read?”


“You really want to know?”


“Yes,” I looked up at him again.


“The rider and prodigal son.”


“What?” I said. “They put you and me together?”


“Yip, my dragon form; not my human form.”


“Which somehow they messed up too,” I added.


He chuckled again. “They should really fire that artist.”


I laughed.


“Maybe you can give it a shot. You are really good with copying and drawing.” He smiled. “I saw that sketch in Art of War. Just to make sure, that was Will and not me, right?”


“Yes, it was him.”


He sighed again.


“Can I ask you a question?”


“Shoot,” he said.


“Why did you destroy the city hall that night?”


“You really want me to answer that?”


I nodded.


“Because they tried to keep me from my duties, and you were thinking so little of me, which I probably deserved. I asked Master Longwei about the meeting, and he promised me it was just one that would find out if you were ready to pick up your duties again. He got that from Caleb and…” He sighed. “I shouldn’t have believed him, but after I woke up, well I thought that everyone was trustable. I learned the hard way with trusting Caleb’s word.”


“Why is he like that? I mean, he wouldn’t have been the ruler of Areeth if my father knew this.”


“He wasn’t always like that. Many people have lost their way after the loss of your father and mother. They were amazing humans, and if I recall, think he lost his dragon that night too.”


“He had a dragon?”


“All of them had dragons.” He sighed. “I wish the Crown-Tail in me didn’t suck. I could show you so many things of them.”


I guessed we still had a lot of growing to do together.


“One day,” he said and we fell silent again.


I didn’t care about this stupid dent thing anymore. I understood why Becky trusted it so easily. They were these amazing creatures/humans that, whether through a trick or real, made us fall hard and madly in love with them.


I just wanted to be with him, always, like this, not worrying about tomorrow.


My head was resting on his shoulder, and I gently touched my nose to his chin. For the first time in a long while, I was looking forward to kissing someone again, but still, he only kissed me a few times on the lips. Lately it was on my head, but it always came from him, never me.


I’d never done this on my own. I wasn’t supposed to feel this toward any man, ever again. I was supposed to hate them for what they had done to me.


Then my lips brushed his chin and it was as if it was a sign he’d been waiting for. He lowered his chin and his lips found mine.


His kiss was so gentle it made me forget once more where I was; the danger of tomorrow was far away. It was only the two of us.


I felt safe with him, I really did, as if I’d finally found a place where I belonged. It sounded stupid, but I’d felt so lost, even if I’d found the truth of who I was, I’d never felt like a princess. I sucked at that, but being here with him, kissing him like this. Now that was really easy.


He broke the kiss and pulled me in for a tight hug, laying his head on mine. “We should really try to get some sleep.”


“If you say that Tabitha is seriously a better kisser than me, I’m going to scorch your ass.”


He chuckled. “No, hell no. It’s just the opposite. You wake things up that shouldn’t be awake yet.”


I blushed as I got what he was saying.


“Now sleep,” he ordered.


“Okay.” I smiled again and looked at him. “Goodnight.” I turned around and it felt good when he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me closer to him. I became the pillow he slept with, and I knew I could sleep like this forever.


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