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Starlight: Part 4 – Chapter 37

We waited for three hours after the scientist came to draw my blood. The man who did it was short, wore glasses, and to my surprise wasn’t a rider or a dragon. He was as human as they came, just very smart and in his mid-fifties.


He left on a dragon’s back with my blood clenched safely in his hand.


I hated waiting. I’d never been this nervous in my entire life or this anxious.


It just had to work. It needed to work. It must work. I wasn’t going to leave Blake to face that creature alone.


It wasn’t a creature it was…I’d seen how each of them hatched.


Elena, it isn’t them anymore. You need to kill it or it will kill you.


I needed to find a way to separate this monster from those Elemental babies.


“Hey.” Blake got up and stopped me as I paced in his father’s office for the thousandth time.


We were all waiting. Sir Robert was doing some last-minute paperwork. Becky and George were looking over his shoulder as he spoke to them.


King Helmut and King Caleb were playing a game of chess. Nobody said a word.


Blake rubbed my arms. “It will work. Besides, you might not need to kill the Saadedine.”


“You are not going after it alone. We had a deal.”


He smiled. “That’s not what I meant, but okay. Got that,” He joked, and I smiled. “King Helmut thinks that if or when they kill Goran, his hold might vanish over the Saadedine, and it might turn back to being good again.”


I narrowed my eyes. “Really?”


“There haven’t been that many Saadedines, so it has never been proven before, but it sounds plausible, don’t you think?”


I pulled a face. it did sort of sound possible.


“You’re just saying this to make me feel better, aren’t you?”


“I hate it when you are so nervous. Just relax, okay. I’m not planning on dying yet. Not when life has turned out to be so sweet.”


I grabbed him around his torso and laid my head on his chest. It still felt weird, not being able to hear his heartbeat.


But I knew it was there, inside his chest.


“We will find a way to kill it. We both will be fine. That is a promise.”


“What no more oaths?”


He chuckled. “My promises are not so weak anymore. Almost just as strong as my oaths.”


“Okay.” I sighed.


I hated that he wasn’t so sure about this outcome.


He could not be the one who died. He just couldn’t. I wouldn’t let it happen.


I opened my mouth to ask him what King Helmut was hiding from me, but just then the door opened and the dragon who had left with the scientist entered, wearing a robe, with the scientist behind him.


Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at him.


“Spit it out!” Sir Robert said.


He smiled. “It worked.”


Everyone cheered. I didn’t have to leave Blake to face the Saadedine alone.


My blood had worked.


“Princess, if you will follow me, please.”


“I’ll come with,” Blake said quietly and we entered the next room.


He gestured to the chair and I sat down.


I didn’t like the IV much, but it was more about seeing my blood travel through the IV than the needle itself.


I looked at Blake, who stationed himself on a small stool and moved it so close to my chair he was almost sitting on top of me.


I flinched as the needle was stuck in my arm, and I closed my eyes for a few seconds.


“It will take about a couple of minutes. We don’t need that much. Just enough.”


I nodded, gave him a small smile, and rested my head on the back of the chair.


Blake rested his chin on his hand. His face was inches from mine.


“To think, we finally have something in common.”


“We do?”


“Yes,” he smiled. “Well sort of. They don’t want yours for deadly potions or ones that can fake a death, but yours is a life saver.”


I laughed and sighed. “That is not nearly enough things we have in common.”


“Opposites attract. Just think how boring it would’ve been if we were alike.”


I couldn’t help but to smile. “Is this your way of trying to keep me distracted?”


“Is it working?”


“A little.” I scrunched up my nose.


“Then good.”


I smiled.


“So I was thinking.”


“About what now?”


He chuckled. “About maybe we should try to get away, just for two days, preferably those two days before all this rescuing and war craft crap.”


“Sounds like a brilliant idea.”


“I would love to spend some time with you, and our friends. Just us.”


I had to admit, the friends part was a bit of a disappointment, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted them there too. It could be the last time we would ever be together. “Yes, it sounds like the best plan you’ve had all week.”


He laughed.


“Do you have any place in mind?”


“I do. There is a beautiful lake cottage not far from here. I can finally take you on a very long-overdue bike ride.”


“Me on a bike?”


“You will be safe. I will never let anything happen to you.”


“Fine,” I said. “A long-overdue bike ride it is. Are the shifters going to be there too?”


“Oh, a getaway isn’t a getaway without the shifters, but I promise they will be on their best behavior.”


The door opened again and the scientist walked back in.


“That will be enough, thank you, princess.”


He gently pulled out the needle and dabbed the wound with a piece of cotton wool.


“Give it here,” Blake said and took my arm. He healed my puncture wound while the scientist stared at us.


“Handy to have someone like that,” he said. “Us normal folks can only rely on them when we are extremely sick.”


We both laughed.


“Yes, he is extremely handy,” I joked back.


“Thank you again, princess.”


“You are welcome.”


“Blake,” he said then turned around and walked to the door.


“Oh, don’t go too far, the packages will be ready to be placed real soon. We are going to need your help again.”


“You know where to find me.”


He disappeared, and I sighed.


“Sometimes I doubt if we are ever going to be able to just get away.”


“Oh, I am going to demand that,” Blake reassured me. “That is a promise.”


“You’re started to sound like George now with his oaths.”


“Ha-ha,” he said and grabbed my shirt, pulling me closer to his chest.


He kissed me softly. It was a beautiful kiss. I didn’t wanted to end, but like always there was another matter that needed our attention, and our special moment was cut short.


The door opened after a knock and Blake’s grunt, which made me laugh again.


Another face I hadn’t seen in a while entered.


“Ralph.” Blake got up. “What are you doing here?”


They shook hands, and Ralph looked at me. “Orders from the princess,” he said, and I saw the packages he held.


“It’s ready.”


“Yes.” He smiled. “I hope you will be happy with them.”


“Thank you, Ralph,” I said.


“Just go with it. I know you liked the black, but she didn’t.” He shook his head at Blake then said goodbye.


I put the box on the chair. “Okay, let’s see it,” Blake said.


I opened the lid.


The suit was pure white. “Don’t say it. To me it matters.”


“If it’s white you want, and white that will make you feel more confident, then I will wear whatever the hell you want me to.”


“Thank you,” I said, and he grabbed his suit.


It was a real special operation kind of look and the material felt like a wet kind of leather. It was cold and white. Blake wouldn’t be the dark crow he was in my visions anymore. This could be the different outcome Emanuel had been referring too. Changing things in the vision to make it different. Throw destiny off, cheating death just once more.


I felt his lips kissing my temple.


“We will make it. I can feel it. I don’t want to die, and you won’t either.”


“That sounds better than that stupid promise.”


He laughed. “My promises aren’t stupid. I mean every single one of them.” He wrapped his arms around my waist and hugged me tightly.


I never wanted him to let go.


The next few days we were on bomb-planting duty. The packages arrived the next day after the scientist came to draw my blood. At first it didn’t look anything like a bomb. The red formula was carried in small round orbs, and there was a very small square block attached to it. It sort of reminded me of a futuristic Christmas ornament.


“This is the bomb. It will be operated from the lab. At oh-one hundred hours it will start counting down, leaving you with one hour to get as far away from the Creepers as possible. At oh-one hundred and fifteen hours the red light will beep twice, and one by one they will explode, releasing the formula with Elena’s blood, and the shifters and others will be able to get through, bringing an end to everything.”


It sounded so easy.


“So you are sure that it’s safe?”




“How do we attach these to the roots?”


“With this.” He opened a box with a million clamps inside. He took out one and the orb automatically connected, like a magnet, to the clasp. The entire thing looked like a spider with many legs. “They will feel something, Blake. They have nerve sensors that will feel the prick which will release a numbing drug and then they will go back to sleep.”


He showed us that we should just press lightly into a root and the clasp mechanism would do the rest, worming itself deeper into the root.


They were definitely going to feel it.


Once they detonated the bombs, which would be controlled from the lab, the bombs would explode and release the formula on the Creepers’ roots. They would die.


The rest of the army, with the shifters, would then be able to get into Etan, and there was no way Goran and his wyverns would stand a chance. Not against all of these men and brave creatures.


“Just do me a favor please,” the scientist asked.




“I’ve heard rumors that in the core that pink and purple flowers grow there. You think you can get me as much as you can?”


Blake nodded without asking any questions.


“Thank you.”


“No, thank you.” Blake held out his hand and the scientist shook it.


Today was the day. Blake entered with me with the bag of small bombs we had to attach.


“There is something we need to talk about,” he said as we walked deeper into the core of the Creepers.


I had no idea where we were, if we were close to Tith or to Areeth.


“What is it?” I asked as we attached the next bomb in the tree-like substrate of the root. They would shake at the pinch, as if it was irritating their skin, but that was about it.


I felt sorry for them, I really did.


Blake plucked a small pink flower. He had been doing it every day as the scientists wanted to experiment on them to see what they could be used for.


Maybe they were the missing ingredient?


“If I am not going to make it…”


My head turned to his. “You can’t think like that.” I shook my head. I didn’t want to think about it.


“Elena, death is the most natural –”


“No, you are too young, and you are not going to die, you hear me?” I strode past him. We had recently discovered that once we were inside, the Creepers couldn’t do anything to us. It was only the ends that went raving mad at whatever passed them and would snap and claw skin off if they got the chance.


I couldn’t live, or even imagine carrying on with life, knowing that he’d sacrificed himself in my place.


“Fine, you are not ready to hear this. Maybe another time.”


He passed me and plucked another string of purple flowers and moved on.


“I’ll never be ready to hear it, because you are not going to die!” I yelled after him.


He stopped. “Think, realistically. We don’t know what the missing ingredient is yet.”


“So I have been right?” I yelled. “You don’t believe that it is Louie, not at all.”


“No,” he said. “It’s not. I know that venom is powerful, but every single thing I’ve read on conjuring things…” He took a huge breath. “When someone conjures something, they use precautions. Goran would use everything he knew that could kill the Saadedine and make him immune to it.”


“What do you mean, make him immune to it?”


“It’s just another spell. Poison, if he used that one word, it won’t harm him. It’s like baking a cake with ingredients. Each ingredient does something. He just added the list of ingredients that would not be able to kill him. Louie’s berries, I can promise you were the first on his list. My father said that he was an alchemist. He used to make all of King Albert’s potions, whatever they needed. He was the one putting it together, and Louie’s berries were almost always in all of them.”


“Killing potions?” I asked. “You’re trying to tell me that my father brewed killing potions?”


“No, they’re not just for killing. If you mix the berries with something else, it can actually become something not poisonous, something that can heal things, feed things, it can become something beautiful.”


I let that sink in. It was no use. We were never going to find the missing ingredient. One of us was going to die.


Tears welled up in my eyes as that piece of information sank in.


Blake walked over to me and wrapped his arms around me. I felt his lips brushing my head.


“I know it’s not easy to imagine that life can be good again after I’m gone.”


“You are not –”


“Elena, you have to listen to what I am going to tell you. You need to try and listen, please.”


I shook my head. “Listening to what you have to say, it’s like saying goodbye. And I’m not going to give you that chance. You are not going to die!”


“Okay.” He hugged me tighter. He didn’t say anything. I didn’t want him to either. He was already giving up, and we hadn’t even faced the Saadedine yet.


We planted the last of the bombs and walked the long way home.


When we finally got out, Blake went to the scientists, and I went back to my room at the Dragon League.


In less than four days we were going into Etan. One of us was going to die.


I closed my door because I couldn’t deal with all of this anymore. I couldn’t imagine my life without Blake, even if he’d only changed for me during the past few months. He was my everything now, the only constant thing in a world spinning out of control.


I was addicted to him. He made me feel whole. My father was right when I’d told him I had nobody the day of my ascension and he’d told me it wasn’t true. I’d had him, Blake, but now that might be taken away from me too. My father knew that something great was going to tear us apart, that it would hurt me so much, and that was why he’d asked me not to come and free him. That and the fact that he didn’t want me to get hurt, didn’t want me to end up being the one dying. It wasn’t for his people, it was because of me that he made me swear, made me promise not to free the people of Etan because I would lose everything. Everything I loved.


Heaviness pressed hard on my chest. It felt as if I couldn’t breathe and the tears started to roll down my cheek. I couldn’t live without Blake.


I fell asleep after my breakdown and had the weirdest dream, that I was walking inside the castle’s walls, a castle I’d only seen once, inside another dream that I’d had with Lucian after I claimed Blake. He’d taken me through these walls, but this time I was alone.


Suddenly I was pulled fast by an invisible force. I could hardly make out what was what. I passed so many steps, and flashed through the lobby with its many intersections of staircases and up another staircase hidden behind a wall.


It felt as if I was a ghost, but the turmoil in my head and gut were the only real feelings that told me I wasn’t one.


I came to a sudden stop and took a few breaths so that I didn’t barf.


It was behind a pillar. Cold wind streamed in from somewhere, and it helped with the nausea.


Men started speaking and I stood up straight, keeping myself hidden behind the pillar.


They were further down another path. I could tell by the position of the moon, as well as the birds flying by, that we were high up in a tower, and it was my enhanced hearing that helped me hear every word they spoke.


“It’s what she said?” a man spoke. It sounded like my father.


“You sure she said Goran?” King Helmut.


“She told me that they could see into our future. That they saw it.”


“Goran?” King Helmut said again.


My father must have nodded as he didn’t reply.


What is this? Someone warned my father? Why didn’t he listen?


“He would never…” Helmut said.


“I know he would never. I don’t doubt it for a minute, Helmut.”


“Do you really believe them?”


Who are they referring to?


“I don’t know. We can’t ignore what Cooper is. And Marica, she seems really certain of herself and about this.”


Who the hell are Cooper and Marica?


“We need to make a decision,” Sir Robert said, and none of this made any sense. He’d always told me that he had felt as if my father thought it would be him.


“There is no decision to be made. He would never do that,” Helmut said again. Oh they are so wrong.


Someone touch me softly, and I turned around. Everything went blank, and the shaking didn’t stop.


I opened my eyes and found Blake.


“What time is it?” I ask as the wacky dream disappeared.


“It’s almost six AM.”


“You woke me up at six in the morning?” I asked.


He smiled.


“Why didn’t you wake me up last night?”


“You look so peaceful, and I didn’t want to wake you. You need your rest.”


“I had the weirdest dream about my father, yours and King Helmut.”


“Yeah, what happened in this dream?”


I told him the story, or what I could remember, which was almost everything. That was the weird part. Dreams didn’t feel that real, and you hardly remembered anything afterward. It was like that time I’d dreamed about my mother trying to tell me who I was.


He just looked at me. “My father would’ve said something if someone like Marica and Cooper had warned them, but I’ll investigate once all of this is over and see if they are somewhere in the records.”


“Investigate?” I smiled.


“Yeah, it’s what people do to find something.”


I grabbed him around his neck and just held him tightly. “I don’t care about the investigation. You said, after all this is over. You are not planning on dying then?”


“No.” He chuckled. “I will fight. I’m not planning on dying.”


I let go of him and stared at him. “I really thought that when you wanted to talk about if you were going to die, that you’d already given up.”


He touched my chin and redirected my face so we could gaze at each other. “I’m the Rubicon. What sort of a dragon would I be if I went in thinking something like that?”


I smiled and kissed him softly on the lips. “A good question,” I said as our kiss broke. “So why did you wake me up so early?”


“The van is packed, and the road is long.”


I frowned. What the hell was he talking about?


“Our getaway.”


I closed my eyes. I’d forgotten about the getaway. Our break before everything changed forever.


I nodded and got up. He waited for me outside as I quickly took a shower and put on fresh clothes.


When I walked through the main doors I found Lucian’s black SUV and another Jeep that was filled with Isaac, Ty and all the other guys.


The roar of a bike filled the early morning and found Blake on his Ducati, waiting with a helmet just for me.


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