The resonation of the slap bounced off the walls of the great hall. Aiden stood wide-eyed, watching as Alathea and I faced off. She towered over me by at least half a foot. Her skin was flushed with anger and her eyes gleamed with as-yet-unkept promises of retribution. My brother approached quietly trying to insert himself into our discussion. “I think we can handle this more peacefully…” he urged.
I turned and glared at him as his eyes stared helplessly at the handprint on my cheek. “I’m handling this!” I spat at him before turning back to glare at my assailant. Alathea straightened her back and quirked a brow at me. I found myself mirroring her actions while ignoring the sting on my cheek. “I’ve killed one aunt – don’t make me repeat the performance,” I warned. Everyone around us sucked in a deep breath.
“You are tampering with the laws of nature. Did you learn nothing from what happened before?” Her voice was trembling with anger.
“I learned that I command the elements, and while I may not be trained in Arcane magic, I am confident that I can harness the elemental power needed to complete the spells.” My jaw tightened and I forced it to release the tension.
“Let’s say you successfully summon Romijeer. Then what?” She threw her hands wide. “How will you defeat him?”
“I will. I’m stronger than ever before,” I argued.
“Strength isn’t enough. He has a thousand years of experience, versus your thirty-two. Not even. It’s been what? A year since you and I met and you became my unwilling pupil? Even that was short lived. I will be the first to admit that you have exceeded everything I ever expected of you, but this is insanity.” There was both bitterness and respect in her words.
“I have to believe that I can do this. Don’t you want to see your brother again?” My gaze drilled into her face.
I was rewarded when her breath caught and her mouth fell open. “Leonide? How is that possible?”
“He’s a Wraith, and the reason I was able to escape the tower. Alathea, I need your help. I’ve never faced a Mage before but you have. I need to be prepared.” Now began the game. Would she help me if it meant she could regain her precious brother? I watched quietly as she closed her eyes and bowed her head in thought. Silence, absolute silence filled the air.
Finally she started nodding, then met my eyes once more. “Alright. You’re right, if you are truly going to do this, you will need me. I can cast the summoning spell, but you’ll have to find a way to bind him.”
I paused. “You’re going to cast it?” I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly.
“Yes, Princess, I will cast the summoning spell. I’ve summoned Romijeer before with the Mage I was apprenticed too. I can do it again. It will be one less bit of magic you need to deal with, but only the Dragons will be able to give you an egg that you can bind to.”
“A Dragon’s egg?” I asked. “I was under the impression Dragons were born and not hatched.”
“They are,” she confirmed. “Dragon eggs are actually Drakes – Dragons that only have a lizard form and can’t interact like a Dragon can. They were pets and guardians for a long time.”
“OK, so let’s say I get one of these eggs, then what?” If she was offering suggestions I was willing to accept.
“Speak with your mother. She is a trained high priestess. She would know more than I.” Alathea had no clue what she was asking of me. The thought of setting foot in the nest caused my stomach to turn in knots, but I nodded anyway.
“Thank you,” I mumbled before turning to go. Nobody spoke as I left.
The nest was as unnerving as I had expected. My bead had landed me in Hudraer’s chamber. Without thinking I pulled off my clothes and slid onto the bed, burying my face in the pillows. I breathed deeply and closed my eyes. It was a cruel illusion because it felt like he was there.
What are you doing? asked Voice.
Rolling around naked in my Soul Mate’s bed. It smells like him, I explained.
There was silence but I could still sense Voice was there. It sounds erotic.
It is, I told him as memories of Hue and I flashed through my mind. I twisted, hugging the pillow to my chest. My memory was so clear I could feel his hands drift over my body, caressing me. I could feel his lips graze the tender spot below my ear, down my throat, and lower on to my chest. I gasped at the sensation of his mouth closing over my nipple and my body jerked in unspent passion. The feel of his hands and mouth moved lower still, encouraging my legs to open before closing over my sensitive flesh.
I thrashed around the bed, moaning and gasping for air, afraid to open my eyes and discover it was nothing more than an erotic wet dream. The precision of the movement on my lower regions was diving me higher and higher. I found my self gasping Hue’s name, and then in an eruption of colors I was pushed over the edge, calling out release. I slowly opened my eyes, unsure of what had just happened. “That was crazy,” I whispered.
No, that was perfect, Voice answered. I sat up, startled by the revelation.
Voice, were you able to see that? I asked, my heart still pounding in my ears.
Yes – I just imagined I was there. I can picture you, laid out among the crisp navy sheets, aching to be touched, he explained.
How did you know the color of the sheets? I asked.
Voice was silent for a long moment. I don’t know. I just did. I could feel everything through you.
Voice are you Hue? I asked doubtfully.
I don’t know. I’m sorry I took such pleasure in your memories. He sounded concerned.
I’m not upset, but what do you mean you don’t know? I was growing frustrated.
Just as I told you before. I don’t know who I am or where I am. I’m just here, he explained.
I growled and shoved my way out of the bed. We will discuss this more later. For now, I need to find my mother and see if she can tell me where to get a Drake egg. I redressed quickly and headed out. Shortly thereafter I found her in the library flipping through a book on medicinal herbs. I stood there in silence, watching.
She sensed me and raised her head. Our eyes locked and she breathed a little easier before leaping off her seat and rushing towards me. Wrapping her arms around me she whispered words of love and comfort. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she told me.
I reached up and wiped away a few stray tears that had escaped my eyes and quickly started to explain my reason for coming. She never once looked hurt that I was seeking her out for help and not comfort, but I could sense that she wanted to give me both. When I finished explaining she pursed her lips and considered me. “I can prepare the spell for you, but you still need a Drake Egg. They are in short supply since we don’t keep Drakes as pets anymore.”
The vaults, whispered Voice.
I looked at my mother and gave a half-hearted smile. “I know where I can get one,” I told her.