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Starlight: Part 3 – Chapter 26


The first two weeks flew by.

 

I had an entire team of people who organized the entire campaign.

 

Jenna was the main chick behind all of this.

 

She had a body any girl would kill for, with frizzy hair and the most beautiful dark skin that almost glowed in the sunlight. She was smart as hell too and one heck of a confidence booster.

 

She gave me so many tips on how to sit and where to place my hands if I wasn’t confident enough to speak with them.

 

It didn’t make much sense until I picked up on the way she talked. Her hands were everywhere. Confidence.

 

The first few days were nerve-wracking, but I read the words from the cards like a parrot every night and always remembered the first point on all of them. That I was the princess, I needed to never back down and keep my chin high.

 

Then we finally went to Areeth, which was a mess. I knew now that none of them were going to fight and I guessed I had one man to thank for that: King Caleb.

 

Why was he so against me? He used to love my father, and it was so hard not to blurt out that he was alive, but I couldn’t. For my father’s dragon’s sake, I couldn’t.

 

Thank heavens Emanuel was right behind me, although none of his words on the cards helped at all. These people wanted to see Blake with me. It was as if they could see what really was happening, knew the truth that we were so far beyond repair and my worst fears were coming true.

 

Once they started to shout out questions asking where Blake really was, it went downhill from there.

 

Then they started throwing rocks, and the first one hit me on my head. Emanuel got me out of there as fast as he could, and the second Areeth appearance was cancelled immediately.

 

Still it was everywhere in the papers. All of them were asking where the hell Blake was – my worst fear. And the newspapers were plastered with pictures of me when the rock had hit me. I looked like a mess. A head wound was always a messy thing.

 

Areeth was an instant confidence breaker too, but I had to push forward, no matter how scared I was of all the other appearances. We needed all the people and dragons we could get.

 

Elm was this week.

 

Becky, Dean and Sammy were a great help when Emanuel wasn’t there.

 

A part of me wanted Blake with me, especially after Areeth, but I wasn’t going to give King Caleb what he wanted. I told them the truth: My dragon was at Dragon League, and that is where he would stay. If he showed up now, they would know I was scared and couldn’t do anything without him. I knew a little about how the people were thinking, but I was still so upset with him. I was so confused whenever I thought about Blake now, and the worst part was that I would never know the truth.

 

As I was pondering this in my room, a knock sounded on the door, and Lucille entered.

 

I’d been going through the notes for tomorrow’s interview, which was the first after the incident in Areeth. I was so nervous the DJ, who would’ve been easy going before, was now going to bombard me with questions about Blake and our bond.

 

Lucille was carrying a peace offering, a cup of hot chocolate.

 

She put it on my night stand. “May I?” She gestured to the edge of my bed, and I nodded.

 

I put the paper with Emanuel’s notes next to me.

 

“You can’t do this alone.”

 

“I have no choice.”

 

“You always have a choice.”

 

“Please, I don’t want to talk about Blake.”

 

“Baby, you need to deal with this. He is your dragon. How are you going to free Etan if you can’t even be near him?”

 

Angry tears filled my eyes. She was speaking the truth, but how did I just forgive and forget? Especially when I had no idea what the truth was.

 

“Areeth scared the living crap out of me. When that rock hit you and you fell, all sorts of things were going through my mind. It would never have happened if he was by your side.”

 

“They would’ve seen that something was wrong.”

 

“You could’ve sorted your differences out. Talk about what happened that night. What you walked in on. He is your dent.”

 

“He is also the Rubicon, which means that just maybe the dent is different for him.”

 

She nodded. “I think it’s more powerful, sweetheart. Not weaker.”

 

“Then why did he run? Why didn’t he fight?”

 

“It’s not how they are built.”

 

“I don’t believe that. He fought with me when he was training me so hard to get me ready.”

 

“To protect you, yes, it’s a completely different thing.” She sighed. “I had this talk with Becky too when George frustrated her so much in the beginning. We will never know what it is they feel. All I know is that he would die for you, and anyone that is willing to die for another, deserves a chance to tell their side of the story, and for the other one to hear and listen with an open mind.”

 

She touched my face softly, winked and got up from the bed, and just like that she walked out of my room.

 

Lucille made it sound so easy, but to forgive and forget for the greater good was not as easy as that. She was right; I needed that arrogant ass at my side if I wanted to win this war.

 

How we could without Areeth’s help was a mystery.

 

I was secretly hoping for thousands of dragons from the other side to return, but there weren’t many.

 

I remembered then Blake’s book that Mr. Dalton had given me to pass on to him. I’d brought it with me and opened the drawer.

 

It lay there, secure inside the suede covering.

 

I took it out and opened it.

 

It wasn’t a book; it was a leather journal with his name burned into the leather. It had a beautiful silver dragon on top and I stroked the front.

 

I immediately opened it, only to realize it didn’t want to open.

 

No matter how hard I tried, the thing stayed shut.

 

There was no lock on it that I could tell, and there was no buckle keeping it shut. Then why the hell doesn’t it want to open?

 

Magic jumped into my head, and I smiled as I realized it belonged to Blake. Of course he would take measures.

 

I put the covering over it again and chucked it back into my drawer.

 

He didn’t want anyone to find out what was written on the pages, and I shouldn’t pry either.

 

I tried to fall asleep, which was hard because of that stupid journal. It was as if I’d found Pandora’s box, and it didn’t matter how many warning labels were written on it, I had to know what was inside.

 

I hated this so much, but it was no use.

 

The next day, I was exhausted, and I had my last radio interview.

 

Breakfast was served early since we had to leave for the morning show.

 

Lucille didn’t say a word, and around five, Jenna and her team arrived.

 

We took the SUV to the radio station and met with DJ Blackwell, who ran one of Paegeia’s biggest radio stations.

 

It started off great. He greeted me and we went through all the questions he would ask and then we were on air.

 

Everything was perfect until the first caller dialed in.

 

“I want to know where the hell is Blake? Why isn’t he doing this with you, princess? And why I would ask any of my sons to help and fight to free Etan when the Rubicon and his rider don’t even know how to lead?”

 

She sounded pissed off, and to be honest I had nothing to tell her.

 

“I’m sorry you feel that way. I am telling the truth that Blake is –”

 

“I don’t want to hear it. He is one of the fiercest dragons, and he doesn’t need Dragon League training. You have no idea who your father or mother was, and it’s a pity you will never. Now for them, I would fight myself. Give us a reason to follow you, and we will.” She put down the phone.

 

“Okay that was a bit hefty, but all good questions, princess,” DJ Blackwell said.

 

“Yes, just a pity that my dragon doesn’t have her confidence in himself.” I tried to make a joke, and he laughed.

 

“Seriously, where is the big guy?”

 

“He is really at the Dragon League.”

 

“But if you need him, he will drop the Dragon League and come flying back?”

 

Lie, Elena, just lie. “In a heartbeat,” I said.

 

He answered a few more calls, some were gentle, making up for all the nasty things that the tabloids said and speaking about who I was, whose blood flowed through my veins and that I was King Albert and Queen Catherine’s daughter and that alone should be enough reason for them to fight.

 

Some other callers were just as mad as the first one, though.

 

Finally the interview ended, and I shook DJ Blackwell’s hand and thanked him for the opportunity once he announced where to go if anybody wanted to join this fight.

 

“Brilliant, darling, brilliant,” Jenna said as I exited the radio station’s cubicle.

 

“That woman was horrible.”

 

“Of course she was, but you handled it with poise and with your chin held high.”

 

I laughed at her accent, but she was really trying her best to rebuild my confidence that had been broken in Areeth.

 

“Tonight is the event for all the dragons that have come back from the other side. The number we hoped for is not there yet, but the authorities have told us that they are still trying to locate more dragons. So we need to be a little bit more patient, okay?”

 

“Did any of the people of Areeth sign on?”

 

“Let’s not worry about Areeth. That one we will leave for Blake to deal with. I doubt they will throw a stone at him.”

 

I sucked in my lips at the way she’d said it. When we exited, Raymond and his team were waiting for us to get safely back into the SUV. He looked so different wearing a black suit with one of those earpieces he used to communicate with all his team members.

 

Jenna dropped us off at the house.

 

“Get some rest. I will come back later with all your dresses. Tonight I want you on your best behavior. Refreshed and glowing. So I suggest go get some sleep.”

 

I nodded then the SUV drove off fast.

 

“I want you refreshed and glowing,” Becky mimicked Jenna, and we all laughed.

 

“She’s not that bad. C’mon. She has been doing a brilliant job.”

 

“They pay her a lot of money to be brilliant.”

 

“Well, I like her, bad accent and all.”

 

“Let’s go and get some rest.” Becky did another impression of Jenna, and laughing, we followed her into her mom’s house.

 


True to her word, Jenna came with beautiful cocktail dresses at four.

 

An entire makeup and hair team arrived with her and bombarded me.

 

Two hours of hair pulling and tucking, eyebrow tweaking and makeup brushes in my face, turned me into a beautiful swan again wearing the whitest dress I’d ever seen.

 

I did not think it was a good idea, as I hated white. I never knew how to keep it clean, which meant I wouldn’t be eating or drinking anything tonight.

 

We left at six and arrived at one of the most beautiful event halls in Tith.

 

The place was stunning and looked as if guests should be witnessing a wedding instead of partying.

 

Arianna was there with Heico and his father.

 

I was introduced to so many dragons who had come from the other side, and even though the numbers didn’t wow Jenna, I was impressed.

 

The night went by slowly, and if it hadn’t been for Becky and Sammy’s company, I would’ve actually spoken to Arianna.

 

I had to make another speech too, on behalf of Blake. It was hard, but I tried to make it as sincere as possible. The funny part was that what Emanuel had written would’ve been something I was sure Blake would’ve said. It sounded just like him, the jokes, everything.

 

Then the party started.

 

I begged Jenna to let me leave, but she didn’t want to hear anything about it.

 

So Becky, Sammy and I hid in the corner, until Jenna found me and dragged me to another important dragon she needed me to get acquainted with.

 

I glimpsed Emanuel’s bald head and begged him with my eyes, which only made him smile as he carried on speaking to another dragon.

 

She pushed me right in front of a dragon with red hair, who reminded me so much of Brian. He wanted to know everything about Paegeia, what had changed. I tried to fill him in on everything I knew, but eventually that dried up, and once he discovered I also came from the other side, the conversation changed to where I’d lived.

 

More dragons joined, and Emanuel’s voice was close by. He was speaking to some gentlemen in the group next to me.

 

“Emanuel, you came from the Dragon League right?”

 

He what?

 

“Yes, I go there from time to time.”

 

“Is it true that the Rubicon is there? We really wanted to meet him tonight. See what kind of man he grew into.”

 

Oh, I can tell you in what kind of scumbag he grew into.

 

“Yes, he is actually doing extremely well, giving his father a run at his record.”

 

What record?

 

All of them laughed, and it was hard to keep tabs on the conversation I was part of and the one that Emanuel was having.

 

“Nobody’s ever broken Sir Robert’s record yet?”

 

“Nobody, but Blake’s team is extremely close to it.”

 

“Well, it’s not a fair fight with all those abilities of his.”

 

They laughed again as one of the men in my conversation was waiting for my answer.

 

“Excuse me.” I cleared my throat. “I must have missed what you asked, sorry.”

 

They all laughed.

 

“You look dead on your feet, princess.”

 

I laughed. “How can you blame me with these killer heels?”

 

The men laughed as I excused myself and went to the bar. I was thirsty as hell and didn’t care if I was wearing white. Maybe Jenna would freak out if I spilled on the dress and send us home. One could hope.

 

“Nice comeback, Elena.” Emanuel’s voice made me jump.

 

“I don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about.”

 

“If you want to know how he is doing, you can just ask me and I will tell you that he is seriously cut out for the Dragon League. His team is first in his class, and with the way he plans his every move, he is going to be a great dragon one day. Definitely giving me a run for the title.”

 

I laughed. “So you are Paegeia’s best dragon?”

 

“Of course I am.”

 

“So he is doing well. I’m happy for him.”

 

“Only when he is busy. He is miserable as hell at night when he thinks no one is watching.”

 

“Whatever.”

 

“When is this going to stop?”

 

“I like you, so please don’t try to change that, and I really didn’t need an update.”

 

I grabbed my drink and went back to the corner where Sammy and Becky were waiting.

 

“Just like that?”

 

“Conversation is over. Goodnight, Emanuel.”

 

He laughed and went to join the conversation of another group of dragons.

 

“What was that about?”

 

“Nothing,” I answered Becky.

 

I had to admit, I felt bad that George felt the need to prove a point, as Becky was missing him like crazy. She didn’t even want to party without him, and had declined so many who had wanted to dance with her.

 

It was sad to watch my friend not enjoy herself.

 

She’d tried to call him a few times but his phone was completely off. Her insecurities had even started again, which was seriously frustrating me because I just didn’t relate anymore.

 

Besides, George loved her; he would never ever leave her. It was different for them.

 

Finally, Jenna gave us the head nod that meant we were free to leave, after we said goodbye to a few important dragons. All of them were important in my eyes.

 

We crashed in my room when Jenna dropped us off. I was so glad this campaign was almost at its end.

 

I still had one more TV interview and Just Kev to do, and then I was free.

 

We fell asleep in our dresses and I slept like I hadn’t in a long time.


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