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Starlight: Part 2 – Chapter 16

Sunday was a lazy day and we all went to the lake to wait for Blake to come back.


I was reading my mother’s journal again. I’d missed her journals while I was in Etan. It was the last one and I really didn’t want it to end.


She was such a remarkable woman.


“What are you doing?”


I nearly jumped out of my skin and my heart beat like crazy. I clutched my chest, and Blake laughed.


“It’s not funny. Don’t sneak up on me like that.”


“I wasn’t sneaking up.”


“Yeah, whatever, you don’t make a sound when you walk and I can’t even hear your heartbeat. To me that is sneaking up.”


He came to sit next to me on my blanket while the others were splashing in the water and having fun on this beautiful day.


“What are you reading?” He grabbed my book, and I stared at him.


“‘Please’ is not a forbidden word.”


“Your mom wrote this?”


I nodded once as he turned the pages.


His eyebrows rose slightly. “This is about the time they fought the second dragon war.”


“Actually still the first, because the first war wasn’t really a war. They just signed a treaty when my grandfather took over with all the Metallic dragons. My grandfather fought the first war against the Chromatic dragons and the outlaws. My mom fought for his army because she thought a Chromatic, your dad actually, killed the crown prince and when she was captured by the enemy, she realized that my father was still alive and switched sides. So technically she fought on both sides. So one war, different sides.”


“My dad is in here?”


“Of course your dad is in there. He reminds me a lot of a hard-headed dragon I know,” I joked.


“Ha-ha.” He put the book down and crawled almost on top of me. “I guess that old saying ‘Like father like son’ is accurate.” He smiled down at me. “Is my dad’s claiming in there too?”


I shook my head and remembered the letter that had been left for him in the bag. “Did you get her letter?” I asked, and by the look on his face he knew exactly what letter I was speaking of.


“I did, but what is written in there is only meant for me.”


“Seriously?” I was disappointed, and he rolled from on top of me and lay on his back with his arms tucked underneath his head.


“My name was on there, not Elena and Blake, just Blake.”


“Fine, be that way,” I mumbled, and he laughed.


“It’s nothing special, she just asked me in her own way to look after you. It’s quite a sweet letter.”


“Then why can’t I read it?”


“I’ll see how you behave then one day I will let you read it, if you treat me better.”


“Treat you better?” I squinted. “I’m nobody’s slave. I’m the Princess of Paegeia. And I’m not a Snow dragon either, so I am not going to do your homework for you. You are smart enough.”


He roared with laughter. “I don’t even want to know how you know about all those things.”


“I’m a good observer.”


“Ah-huh,” he said, pushing himself up to sit. He took off his shirt. “I’m going to swim, you coming?”


“Go, I’ll be there in a minute,” I said and watched him leave.


I looked back at my mom’s journal and finished the page.


I sighed. This was seriously a beautiful fairy tale, a love made in heaven, about how King Albert had met his fierce and brave queen. I really didn’t want to part with them, but the museum had asked me so nicely if they could have the journals when I was done.


I put my mother’s journal in my bag and pulled off my summer dress to reveal a gorgeous, two-piece swimsuit.


I went to the lake and watched all my friends taking turns on the swinging rope.


“C’mon, the water is just perfect!” Becky cried as George held the rope for her. She ran, jumped onto the rope and swung over the water. Just as the rope began to swing back, she let go and fell into the water. “C’mon, Elena, it’s fun!” she yelled as she came up and George nodded for me to be next.


“Make sure you are around the middle of the lake before you let go, princess,” George said, and I smacked him hard in his gut.


“I told you not to call me that.”


He grunted and laughed. “Sorry,” he said to me. “Your damsel isn’t a damsel like I thought!” He yelled this to whom I assumed was Blake.


I just heard his laughter.


I jumped onto the rope, and George pushed hard.


The wind rushed through my hair, and I let go toward the middle.


I was like a cat in water and gasped as I came up. “This water isn’t perfect. It’s f-f-freezing,” I stuttered as it started to become warmer. I knew Blake was near, for it could only be him creating the heat. He grabbed me first and I hugged him tight.


“This is freezing cold.”


“It’s perfect.”


I shook my head.


“Swim around, it will get warmer.”


“I don’t want to swim around, it’s freezing.”


He laughed. “Is this your way of not wanting to let go?” he whispered.


“I can climb out and get my towel.”


“Nope, this is fine.” He hugged me tighter and I laughed.


We swam a little while longer and eventually climbed out. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the blanket.


I told him about my mother’s journals, and he wanted to read them. He told me everything he could about her, that she had always been so kind but had become sad and alone in the last year of her life. He knew it was because she’d had to give me up.


We went back to the Academy around four and found Master Longwei in the lobby rushing down from the girls’ dormitories.


“Elena, Blake, can I please see you in my office, ASAP?”


We said goodbye to the others and followed Master Longwei into his office.


“Everything okay?” Blake asked.


Master Longwei didn’t answer him, and Blake gave me raised eyebrows, as if we were in trouble again.


Blake closed the door behind him, and I went to sit in one of the seats in front of Master Longwei’s desk.


“So, what is with the urgency?” I asked as Blake sat in the chair next to me.


“You will both be leaving soon for Areeth,” he said without looking up. “You need to consult with King Helmut and his men. Elena, you need to take in more troops. Something about a feast that is happening earlier than expected.”


Blake sighed. I could see the fear in his eyes, but it vanished just as fast as it appeared. “When do we leave?”


“Tomorrow. Ten o’clock. He wants you in Areeth in the afternoon.”


“Fine, I’ll leave tomorrow, early,” he said and looked at Master Longwei. “Will that be all?”


“That will be all.”


We both got up and left.


“Why did they move up the feast? You think they know something?”


“I don’t know. I’ll phone Emanuel to find out.”


I really didn’t like that part; he wasn’t ready to go back into Etan. We weren’t nearly ready for a war.

My Cammy rang an hour later. It was Blake.




“Emanuel said that the ninety we got out all confirmed they moved the fest up this month. It’s in a couple of days.”


“Can’t we wait for next month’s then?”


“No, we have to do this.”


“Blake.” I sighed. “You hardly…”


“I’ll be fine. I’ll have a chick who is tough as nails with me.”


The corner of my lips curved slightly.


“That was meant to make you smile.”


“I don’t like this.”


“We have no choice. Sleep tight.”


The connection broke.


Sammy and Becky’s eyes were on me.


“You guys really going in so soon?” Sammy shared my look, my worries, and my confidence about this trip.


“We have no choice.”


“Can we come with?” Becky asked.


“No, under no circumstance…”


“Elena, we want to help.”


“And when the right time comes you will. Please just stay put, okay?”


She nodded. I went into the bathroom and took a long shower, hoping the water would calm my negative thoughts about everything that could go wrong with us attending the feast.


I crawled into bed around ten, and struggled to sleep. My Cammy buzzed and a text appeared on my phone.


It will be okay, promise, his text read.


I know. It’s not that. I just hate Etan at the moment.


Don’t, it’s your home. Both our homes.


I know.


I’m going to leave tomorrow early. So won’t be seeing you.




Sleep tight, princess.


You too.


I put my Cammy on the nightstand. I really hated this trip, but at least if he was going to disappear, I’d be there.


Around ten, Master Longwei took me to the Port of Elm. No reporters were waiting but some travelers wanted to pose with me for pictures.


I finally got into a private elevator after listening to so many people talk about my eyes being the same as my father’s, and how much I reminded them of my mother. When the elevator stopped, I found King Helmut waiting for me.


The trip to the lodge was fast. To be honest, I wasn’t happy about being back there. It held a number of bad memories now. Especially after the last time.


When I reached the lodge, I wasn’t surprised to find Blake wasn’t there yet.


But I found something better: Emanuel teaching Annie to shift into her form. It was strange to see her wearing a robe, but dragon was what she was, and I was dying to know what sort of progress she was making.


Bystanders watched this process. Constance was one of them, along with Charles, Gertrude and Marcus.


Annie shook her head. She was breathing hard, and I could see she was struggling.


“This is hopeless,” she said to Emanuel.


“You are pushing yourself too hard. Just relax, clear your mind and try to imagine your dragon form!” I yelled.


Her head turned my way and the furrows between her eyebrows softened. “Elle,” she said and smiled.


Emanuel looked in my direction as well. His lips curved into a huge grin. Why was I the one who put that smile on his face every time I was near? It made me feel guilty, and the worst part was that nothing had happened between us. He was such a gentleman, but I was scared he would never find anyone.


“Hey.” I hugged Annie then pulled away to look at her.


“I can’t do this. I can’t seem to get her to wake up.”


“She is you, Annie, not some entity,” I said.


“I know.” She gave me an awkward smile. “So where is Plucky?”


I laughed. “Please tell me how the hell you came up with that name?”


She laughed too and hooked her arm into mine. “A small recess.” Annie looked at Emanuel.


He nodded.


“Thanks. See you later.”


“Later Annie,” he said as he went over to Constance.


“He’s not too hard on you, is he?”


“Nope, he is actually very patient, which doesn’t suit Sun-Blasts.”


“You are a Sun-Blast.”


“A suppressed Sun-Blast, huge difference.”


“You try too hard. It will come.”


She nodded but didn’t share my confidence.


“So Plucky?”


“Oh.” She smiled. “Yes, he got that name ’cause he always had this pout that reminded me of a duck when he used to sulk as a baby dragon.” She laughed. “We used to watch this kiddies’ program about a duck and dragon, and you can just guess the duck’s name.”




She laughed and nodded. “So where is he? I refuse to believe that he’s going to let you go alone into Etan.”


“He doesn’t like the elevators.”


“I can relate. Mom and I took them here when all the others flew back on the private jet. I felt weird afterward, slightly out of proportion.”


“Yes, my first time was like that too.”


“I still struggle to grasp how that even works.”


“It’s magic.”




I laughed. She sounded much like I had that first time Master Longwei told me that magic was responsible for many things.


I entered the lodge with her, to be greeted by Connie and David.


“Elena,” Connie said. “Blake flying here again?” She looked around.


“Yes, always looking for ways to improve something.”


“Nothing wrong with that,” Emanuel said, grabbing a piece of fruit from one of the bowls on the reception counter.


Annie stared at me.


“Any progress?” Connie asked Emanuel.


“He’s pushing her way too hard.” Constance had just arrived in the reception area with Charles and the others.


“No, I’m not,” he said to Constance and looked at Connie as he started walking backward to the staircase.


“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Connie said.


Constance smiled at Annie. “Just be patient, it will come.”


Connie took me up to a room. “I really hope that you guys will at least get some kind of break. I feel like this is not the right thing to say, but welcome back, princess. Dinner will be served at six. Please make yourself comfortable.


“Thanks, Connie, I will.”


Annie spent the rest of the day with me until dinner was announced. Blake hadn’t arrived yet


I saw the same old crew that consisted of Emanuel, Dicky, Raymond, all the women, Jerry and even Simeon. That guy gave me the creeps. I didn’t know if it was the way he looked with all the scars or because of his silent nature. He didn’t make a peep.


“Princess,” Jerry said, and his eyes twinkled. I was glad Blake wasn’t here to see it.


Emanuel laughed. “Better get rid of that twinkle, Jerry. The Rubicon is a very jealous dragon.”


Everyone laughed then Dicky teased him more. I liked Dicky, he reminded me of a mouse with his pure white hair and his delicate build. He wasn’t very tall, more toward the smaller size when it came to men, but if he was one of Emanuel’s squad then I could only imagine what the guy could do with weapons.


Taylor gave me the eye. I knew she had a thing for Jerry even though she refused to let him in on that.


She obviously looked away when her gaze met mine, but I saw it.


We all sat at a long, oblong table. It’s what I loved about Connie and David’s. They made everyone feel like a part of their lives.


The food was delicious, and afterward, I asked Connie to keep a plate for Blake.


“I’ll make that three,” she said with a smile.


“Please let me help clear up,” I asked.


“Elena, no. Go sit in the library,” she said as she shooed me out of the kitchen.


Sometimes I really disliked being a princess, but like Blake said, I had to get used to it.


Still, the library was always a good place to be sent to. I picked up where Blake and I’d left off, searching for the missing ingredient.


I hadn’t had time to help with repacking the library, and to be honest, now that I knew the answer could be in there, I looked forward to that task.


Annie helped quietly once she was finished with Connie and the other women in the kitchen. She was the only other person here besides me and Blake who knew about the missing ingredient.


David even spoke to me about it. Since he and Connie had been there the day Blake said those words, they helped us figure out what the missing ingredient wasn’t.


He’d done some research himself. It was mostly about plants and their extracts, but none of it felt as if it had the properties to kill the Saadedine, but still I kept it. I told him I would speak to Blake about it. Maybe there was something in there that could at least tranquilize the Saadedine long enough for us to kill it. We had to try everything we could.


I even tried to search on the Internet. I mean, Elementals must have gone dark at least once, otherwise how had they gotten the information that Master Longwei had given me the day they’d been stolen from us?


The only thing I did find was how many times it had happened – twice – and the only thing that was penned down on how to kill it was not very reassuring. Brave humans that died in the process, was one error we didn’t want to repeat.


The fact that I hadn’t, or we hadn’t found it yet, threatened to bring tears to my eyes again. I really didn’t want to die anymore, and I definitely didn’t want Blake to die either. With that in my mind I recalled those five days he’d been missing. I’d thought I was going to lose my mind.


Breaking an oath was something I didn’t wish on any dragon, especially my own. He really needed to stop making those.


I took a long bath then went to bed around eleven. Blake was still not here, and I was starting to worry. He is the Rubicon. He can take care of himself.


I drifted off and dreamed about the Saadedine again. He was huge, and had a green flame just like Paul, and Blake’s dragon form was dodging every bolt the Saadedine breathed his way. I could see Blake clearly now. He was wearing the same black armor.


The Saadedine grabbed Blake and tore him apart.


I screamed in the dream and jolted up in bed, realizing I’d screamed in reality as well. My heart was bouncing inside my chest, the sounds Blake’s dragon form had made still ringing inside my ears. He couldn’t die.


A light went on, and I jumped slightly as my door closed. Blake stood against the closed door.


“Sorry.” He smiled softly. “Didn’t mean to scare you. Another bad dream?” He came over to my bed and lay down.


I nodded and buried my face in my palm, resting my arm on my knee. Blake just stared at me.


“We need to find that ingredient.”


“We will.” He stroked my back.


“That dream, I –”


“Shhh. I saw it when I came rushing up the stairs.”


I looked at him. “David gave me a list of plants.”


“It’s not a plant.”


“You don’t know that. Besides, some of them have really good tranquilizing ingredients.”


“So what, try to tranquilize it and then kill it?”


“It’s not a bad idea.”


“Something tells me it’s not going to work, but it won’t hurt to take some with us.”


“Thank you.” I sighed.


He smiled. “Why the thanks?”


“Because we need a safety net.”


He wrapped his arm around my neck and pulled me to his chest.


“I am your safety net, but if it will make you feel better, I will look at David’s list. We will find it. I know we will.”


I nodded. “I hate my dreams.”


“I told you before, I don’t. It gives me plenty of intel on what I’m going to be up against.”


“We, Blake. We. You are not going to face it alone.”


He just smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes this time.


“We should try to sleep,” Blake said. “Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”


“Do we really have to go in?”


“We need to get word to your father’s men. They need to know that help is coming soon. And the best place is at the feast. This parade, I really need to see it for myself.”


“Just promise me we are not going to the feast.”


“I promise. No feast.”


“Have you at least eaten?”


“I’m stuffed. I ate on the way and those three plates.” He looked at me and gave me his super smile. “Thank you.”


“You are welcome. Wait, what you mean you ate on the way?” I frowned.


“I’m a dragon, Elena. We have our delicacies.”


“I so don’t want to know what you devoured. Probably some helpless deer.”


He laughed. “I don’t play with my food. It died really fast.”


I laughed as I lay back down.


It was great having him here again. We’d grown really close the past few weeks and I didn’t want to think about not having him around. The dreams of the Saadedine always showed him as the one dying, being ripped apart. Never me.


We had to find that missing ingredient.


I woke around eight and found the room empty. I dressed in a pair of jeans, a shirt and my flip-flops.


I didn’t want to go back to Etan, or that feast, as my experience last time had been dreadful. What if he saw one of them again?


I pushed that to the back of my mind and went downstairs.


Breakfast was served and everyone was making jokes again.


Raymond was going to come in with us, with Emanuel and some of his op-guys who were going to set up a base. Where that was going to be, I had no idea.


“Good morning, princess,” Jerry said, and we all laughed as Blake glared at him. Grinning, Jerry just ate his food, not looking at Blake.


“He just said good morning,” I said, looking at Blake.


“It’s not the good morning I’m worried about. It’s the way his eyes lit up.” Everyone laughed again.


“Do I have to go in today?” Jerry joked as he glanced past Blake at Emanuel. Blake stared at him with a broken smile.


“Don’t worry, I will protect you,” I said, and I could feel Blake’s gaze on me.


“Just say the word. Do I need to take Jerry out?”


I smiled again.


“Everyone knows not to mess around in your territory, Blake,” Connie said as she put a plate of bacon and eggs in front of me. “This is a no killing or fighting zone.”


“I promise to behave, Connie.” Blake put a heap of eggs onto his fork and into his mouth, smiling at Jerry.


“Not mingling in your affairs, dude.”


“You’d better not.”


I just shook my head.


Is he really that jealous?


After breakfast we started to get ready to take troops in again.


It was only six soldiers this time. King Helmut had had a long, private briefing with them this morning.


Five huge SUVs waited for us.


“Where do I meet you?” Blake asked, and I knew they were going to take the elevator again to wherever they had to be.


“We go back to Tith, close to one of the wyvern cities,” King Helmut said. “That is the entry point to Sovereign.”


“Seriously,” I looked at him. “Why don’t you like the elevators?”


“Cause I don’t like the way they make me feel afterward.”




“Please. Don’t ask me to use them.” He was serious, and his words upset me.


“I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Fine, whatever.” I couldn’t believe he would think I would order him to use the elevators.


“Someone’s in the dog house,” Jerry joked, but this time nobody laughed.


I climbed into the SUV as Blake transformed and lifted off at a crazy speed.


“For all we know, he is going to wait for us,” Emanuel said from the front seat.


“Tith is on the other side of Areeth.”


“It’s closer than Elm.”


I kicked Emanuel’s chair and he only grinned. He knew how I felt about him calling me that. He was one of my closest friends, one of the few men I really trusted with my life.


King Helmut was driving, which was so not kingly at all, but I guessed with his men, it was a completely different scenario. I wondered again what my father was like with all his men. They’d refused to betray him, even though they were being tortured.


I feared I would never get a chance to find out. Is he even still alive?


The drive to the port they’d set up close to the lodge was quick.


The elevator was even faster, and when we got out, there were plenty of reporters again.


“How did they know we were going to be here?”


“News spreads fast,” Emanuel said and handed me his jacket to hide beneath.


Questions were being asked. King Helmut answered all of them as Emanuel and the others led me outside to where more SUVs waited for us.


The drive to the Creepers took a few hours. I had the privilege of sitting next to Jerry, and his jokes were a good distraction.


He was easy to talk to, and I wondered if he knew how Taylor felt about him.


We spoke about that too, and everyone in the SUV teased him.


“C’mon, she is like my sister.”


“Have you known Taylor long?”


“Well, we grew up together, but that was about it. We weren’t really friends. Her dad and mine are sort of close.” He started to babble. “Besides, she is a dragon.”


“She’s a dragon? Which breed?”


“Night Villain. I so don’t like to be on her bad side.”


Everyone laughed. I hadn’t known she was a Night Villain.


“You seriously didn’t know?”


“Know what?”


“C’mon, Jerry. The looks she gave me.”


“I’ll speak to her.”


“I can handle it. I just don’t think she likes me very much because of that twinkle in your eyes when you look at me.”


“I am a healthy guy. I have that twinkle with everyone. Maybe she has a thing for Blake. Ever wonder about that?”


“Could be. Blake is known for his looks.”


“Yes, pretty boy seems to have it all.”


The SUV grew silent, and after half an hour we stopped a few yards from the Creepers.


The ops guys took out their bags and some old-looking robes as a disguise. They all transformed using natural ingredients and no magic to make them appear dirty and to fit in with Etan.


Blake was still nowhere to be seen.


King Helmut addressed them. They all knew what they had to do. They were not going to come out until the day Etan was free, but they were going to scout everything for the next few months. Getting intel and readying the base for us.


It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Still, they all looked and acted as if they lived for missions like this.


I took in the first guy. I didn’t want to know his name, in case he wasn’t going to make it. He gasped as we reached the core of the Creepers. It took everyone’s breath away.


After we made it to the other side, it was dark again.


I went back, took the second one in and it carried on like that, until all six of them were together.


When I took Emanuel through, there was no sign of them anywhere.


“They were just here…”


“They have a mission. Go.”


“Blake isn’t here yet.”


“He will be here soon.”


I went back, took in Jerry, Dicky and Raymond.


There was still no sign of Blake.


“Just go. He will be here soon,” Emanuel said.


When I got back I already felt disorientated. Transitioning between dark and then day was taking its toll on my sight.


Finally I spotted a huge figure flying on the horizon. He landed gracefully and transformed as I turned around.


When I looked over my shoulder he already had on his jeans.


“See?” He was breathing fast. “I’m here.”


“You need to take a breath. How fast were you flying anyway?”


He just grinned. “Let’s just say you wouldn’t have stayed on my back, and I’m fine. Let’s go.”


I took him in and Emanuel’s eyes grew wide. “How fast?”


“Not fast enough.”


“Blake, you need to take it easy.”


“Whatever, old man.”


He shook his head. “Still a lot to learn.”


“I can still kick your ass.”


“Want to bet? I have three hundred more years of experience, cub.”


Blake laughed.


“So, where are we going?” I asked.


“We are going to camp out in the forest,” Emanuel said and we walked the direction of the nearby forest.


I grabbed Blake’s hand. I knew I wasn’t close to the forest of Eikenborough, but I didn’t like the forests in Etan. What if someone finds us?


We slept in the trees, not tents, and I shared a branch with Blake.


None of us said a word. We couldn’t even stargaze, as there were no stars, just an abnormal big moon that shone really brightly.


I wished I could hear Blake’s thoughts. We could’ve spoken to one another, and this silence wouldn’t have tortured me so much.


“Calm down,” Blake whispered. “You are safe. I won’t let anything happen to you.”


I smiled. “How did you know?”


“Your heart is beating like crazy.”


“I just hate forests here.”


“I know, but I’m here now.”


I smiled and leaned backward into his chest. He wrapped his huge arms around me tighter and I started to calm down. He was my shield. He could make us vanish if anything happened. I was with the safest creature on this earth. Nothing was going to harm me. Nothing.


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