No one could have foreseen such. It would have been impossible for them to. At least, that’s what Dawn thought as she peered back to the waves of flame that engulfed Castle Trinity. Her heart beat rampantly in her chest, and she held back the raging waterfall of tears that threatened to overcome her.
Glancing towards her twin sister, Dusk could only burrow her fangs deeper inside of her bottom lip. Blood rose, but she continued to bravely hold her sister close while the man driving the carriage lashed against the horses to charge faster.
“They killed them!” Dawn screamed into her sister’s leather jacket. “They killed them!” Dawn’s claws sunk deeply into her sister’s shoulder until they dug into her skin. Her eyes were crazed and turning from their usual vivid emerald orbs to a wicked black-green. Only the moonlight hitting her eyes could reveal the streaks of green that remained in her eyes.
With a gulp to hold back the tears, Dusk ran her fingers through her sister’s hair. “I know, Dawn. I know.” Her eyes moved to where the driver of the carriage kept glancing back at the twin princesses of Trinity. The man quickly averted his gaze once Dusk’s black eyes made contact with his. “Turn around again, servant, and I’ll behead you with your own claws,” she threatened with a flash of her wickedly sharp fangs.
The man never turned back around throughout the remainder of the night. That night… the one spent comforting the strangled cries of her sister bawling into her jacket and searched for whatever safe haven might be revealed to keep them safe for the coming day was forever engraved into her mind. Never again would her sister scream into her jacket about the deaths of their parents. Never again would Dusk be so unable to fight off her enemies. Those beasts had just screwed with the wrong country and the wrong princess. She would seek out her vengeance.
Two emerald flames glared towards the gated mass of land called Bloodmist Academy. A school, she thought. A stupid school is what is going to keep us safe from whatever group of creatures had laid fire upon the kingdom. Dusk heaved her suitcase out from the black Escalade that one of the servants had managed to rescue from the fire and slammed the door shut before whipping around to face back to the ginormous gate keeping them out of the estate.
“It’s very pretty,” Dawn muttered in an attempt to soothe the fire that was her sister’s rage. “At least, we won’t be underground anymore.” Dusk’s innocent sister glanced at her from behind strands of hair that had fallen into her face.
Huffing, Dusk pulled out the handle to her suitcase before grumbling, “Whatever. I’d be happier under a rock than at some overrated, fancy pants school. Do you know how many freaking preppies are going to be in there? I bet not a single one of those manicured females could fight without some oversized dude helping ’em out. I bet our dorm overseer is going to be some Mani Pedi preppy too.” She glowered at the woman walking towards them.
Just as Dusk had guessed, the woman was a preppy—at least by Dusk’s standards. High heels, a carmine colored dress, and long hair that hit right at the middle of her back. The woman’s walk was a mix of sensual sway and authority embellished marching. Her hair swayed back and forth like some kind of taunting pendulum. Her eyes were feline and daunting to look directly into. One second she looked like a helpless damsel in distress then the next she looked like a tyrant ready to rip out somebody’s throat.
“Dusk, you’re a preppy too. You know? We are the princesses of Trinity. We’re supposed to act that way,” Dawn reminded her too knightly sister. When the woman opened up the gates and gave the girl’s a threatening grin, Dawn put her shoulders back, head high, and eyes straight ahead. “Good gloaming, ma’ am.”
“Good gloaming indeed, Princess Dawn. I am headmaster Regina Fall, but please just call me Regina. Titles are too formal for us girls who are going to be spending most of their time together.” The woman named Regina nodded politely towards Dusk who just rolled her big, green eyes.
Dusk examined the lady then replied, “Whatever, Gina. Just tell me where I’m supposed to go. Alright?” She snickered at the headmaster’s appalled expression before stopping to lean on the handle of her suitcase. When the woman said nothing, Dusk tossed her index finger to the rising crescent moon. “Tick tock, Madame Miss. I don’t have all night to get unpacked.”
Adjusting her jacket with an irritated jerk, Regina hissed, “Follow me to the Dean’s office. He will arrange your classes. I also would like to add that politeness is a virtue.”
Dawn shook her head at her twin. Attempting to ease the wrath of the two women, she asked, “When will we get our uniforms, Regina? I used to hear all the time from our old servants that went to school here that they were very cute.” She glanced back to Dusk who was gazing up in secluded awe at the vast amounts of stars in the sky.
Obviously, that changed the lady’s mood for the better because she clasped her hands together and chimed, “Really? That’s so splendid to hear since I designed each uniform for each grade. They’re already in your room. Since you are freshman, you will get the cutest outfits in my opinion. I got the designs from some of my old uniforms I used to wear when I was an accountant for your father at the castle.”
Breaking in, Dusk snapped, “You used to work for my dad? There’s no way he would have hired such a hussy to do his accounting work for him.” Dusk made a gesture to the length of Regina’s dress and height of her heels.
Back in a huff, Regina grated, “You will learn to hold your tongue, young lady. There are punishments for loud mouths like you.”
“Come on, everybody. Calm down,” Dawn eased. “There’s no reason for your outbursts, Dusk. I know that you’re stressed out. I am too, but you really shouldn’t take it out on our headmaster.” She grabbed a hold of her sister’s wrist only to have it wrenched free from her grasp. Shocked, Dawn only stared as Dusk grabbed her suitcase so tightly that her strength broke the handle. She watched as her sister stormed off in a flurry of shadows just like their father did whenever he was irritated. “Dusk…” Dawn muttered whenever the wind that had come off her sister’s escape stopped blowing.
Leaning her chin on top of her scrunched up legs, Dusk gazed up towards the sky. It was heavy. Stars decorated it like holes punched into a backlit canopy. The moon hung high as if it were held up by an invisible string. She hadn’t seen skies like this since… the fire.
A glossy tear dripped down the side of her face. They weren’t coming back—not now, not ever. It was just her and Dawn now. Queen Ilaria and King Daxton, mom and dad, were gone. She didn’t want them to be gone. She wanted them back. There wasn’t anything she wanted more in the world.
If only she knew who had killed them… If only the guards would come back with evidence… She buried her head against her knees. What was she going to do? She already knew what her parents would want her to do, but that was just so difficult right now. They’d want her to stand up tall and get over it, continue life as if they’d just been sent away on a very long trip.
She didn’t know if she could do it. That was her mom and dad. Dad had always called her strong, but she felt that, looking at her now, he’d be so terribly disappointed in her. More tears streamed down from her green eyes as she sat on top of the roof of a gazebo.
Her heart felt about ready to burst. The heavy burden of mourning weighed itself down upon her shoulders like the talons of a siren into her prey. If anyone saw her like this, she would be so embarrassed. No one had ever seen her cry, not her father, not her mother, not the servants, not the guards, and not even her sister whom she shared everything with.
Dusk angrily wiped the tear trails away from her face and curled up impossibly tighter. What was Dawn doing right now? She knew better than to look for Dusk when she was upset like this. She was probably gathering up her stuff along with Dusk’s and getting it unpacked into one of the dorms. Where were the dorms anyway?
Dusk had no clue. She wasn’t exactly too caring about it right now anyways. Right now, she felt best on her own. She’d find her way back to the dorms sometime before the sun rose.
With her arms wrapped around her blue jean sheathed legs, she peered down at the groups of people walking throughout the campus. Girls wore their breed’s color in different style outfits. Boys wore a black suit with hints of whatever color their specialty was inside of it. On each person’s upper right arm were their grade and the name of their portion of one of the three houses that made up Bloodmist Academy.
Trinity was the flag of Trinity, a triangular flag divided into thirds of different colors. Red stood for the colony of Chiropteran vampires in the north. Blue stood for the colony of Dracos to the south. Yellow was for the Saurian vampires to the west. Being a princess of Trinity meant that Dusk would proudly wear the flag on her right arm, but being a Draco meant that she—in formal dress—would wear blue to distinguish her breed.
Faelian was a depiction of a wolf howling up at a full moon. They only had two colors for each different type of wolf and didn’t rule a kingdom. They ruled a territory. Their colors were white and black. White stood for a Turned wolf whereas black stood for a born wolf, lycanthrope.
Nyx was a grouping of witches. There were so many different kinds of witches here that, it seemed, they all had to share the same symbol. That symbol was of the elements divided by their color. If any of the witches were wearing a certain color, it was cerulean for water, baby blue for air, green for earth, crimson for fire, white for light, or black for darkness.
A bell rang, and Dusk watched as even more students poured from the different buildings that built up the Bloodmist Academy. A few of them noticed her sitting alone on the roof of the gazebo, but most made little note of her. They continued about their business, chatting happily amongst the masses of their friends.
It was odd. Dusk wasn’t used to seeing different species interact with one another. Only Draco vampires stayed at the castle, and they had very few visitors from the north and west. The Chiropteran vampires looked highly similar to the Draco and Saurian vampires that walked around. The only reason that Dusk knew what they were was because of the trademark shoulder blades that they all had.
Chiropterans had shoulder blades that stuck out further by just the slightest margin as opposed to that of other versions of vampires. The Saurian vampires tended to be just the least bit friendlier than the more reclusive Chiropterans and Dracos. They were more commonly found in politics and business giving them a much more social life despite their ruthless feeding habits.
Most of King Daxton’s secretaries and political adversaries had been Saurian bred whereas his soldiers were of the Chiropteran breed. Everyone else had been Draco. That was why Dusk and Dawn socialized with them more so than the others.
It made Dusk even more nervous to go to a school. She had had very little interaction with creatures from her own species and absolutely none with the children of those creatures. Not to mention that there would be wolves and witches here. She had never been around such beings. It made her heart race in her chest.
Sighing, Dusk bowed her forehead back to her knees. What would her father think of her now that she was nervous at the sight of her own kind? He would be disappointed. The last thing she wanted was to disappoint the memory of her father.
At least, Dawn was still with her. Did Dusk regret her hostility towards the headmaster earlier? No. Of course she didn’t. That hussy of a female had brought up her parents only a few days after they’d died. The wound was still open, and Regina had dared to pry into it.
With a scowl Dusk stood up and rolled her shoulders. That woman. How dare she even mention the names of her parents! She doubted that the female even really knew them. Not many people that did had the audacity to speak of them now especially not to the twins. Her lip curled, and Dusk spat out her frustration against the golden tiles of the gazebo.
A boy beneath her gave a snort at Dusk’s show of irritation, and Dusk shot the male a fang bearing sneer. “Going to stand up there all night and spit on rooftops or are you going to come down here so I can take you to the dean’s office?” he asked and flipped long, caramel streaked hair out of his face to reveal high cheek bones, a well carved face, and wicked ice colored eyes that could convince a lycan to change forms.
Feeling aggravation all over again, Dusk hopped off the roof to land with a frighteningly fluid grace that her father had taught her to do. She flipped her long, ebony locks away from her shoulder and crossed her arms as she studied the male’s intent. She snapped, “What if I don’t want to go to the dean’s office?”
His lips upturned into a wild snicker. Moving with the invisible grace of a predator, he appeared in front of her to mutter, “I’d have to insist.” Before she could make any sort of defensive motion his arm looped between her own and her side, the new male greeted, “The name is Amaury Bane, leader of the red blood around here. I am to be your personal escort and trainer since you are so far behind.”
Wrenching her arm free only to have it tangled back into Amaury’s hold, Dusk hissed, her pointed ears flattening against her skull. “Release me, vampiric nuisance!” she exclaimed and spun around to lay her fist against the cradle of Amaury’s open palm. Great Daxton, his hold was strong as she writhed to get her hand out of the grasp of the Chiropteran. When he only held her hand in a looser grasp, she reinstated her command. “I said, release me, you vampiric nuisance!”
Amaury flipped a wriggling Dusk over his shoulder and explained, “To be frank, my dear, you did not put the word you in your first command.” His lithe steps from the base of the gazebo had them on a surprisingly smooth stroll throughout the groups of creatures that whispered, pointed, and snickered.
Dusk’s fangs flashed out to everyone as she wriggled against this strange creature’s hold on her waist. Her claws sunk into his hide, and blood oozed like a stream down the fabric of his suit. Her thighs repeatedly moved against his neck, causing her knee to sock him in the chin with every movement.
Everyone stared as she cursed and bit out commands for him to release her. A few of his buddies called out for him to conquer the kingdom and other classless phrases, but Dusk simply raised her regal finger to the moon for all to acknowledge. “Shut up or else I’ll garrote you with your friend’s spinal cord,” she hissed to a male that dared to get close to her.
Her face flushed, and eventually she gave up her wrestling with Amaury’s impossible strength. She gripped the belt around his pants to hold her body up then glared out at the massive grouping that had begun to congregate around them.
“Is that a princess of Trinity?” a girl murmured with her hand covering her face.
“I believe it is, but she sure isn’t acting like one. I could be a much better princess.”
“Are you sure that’s the princess? She’s acting more like a new born Changed.”
“What would you know, mutt? Maybe that’s how vampires train their leeches to be.”
Pausing in the group, Amaury moved to hold Dusk by her now flailing legs. “Alright!” he commanded with those piercing blue eyes glaring everyone down. “All of you scram! You pests have classes to get to. Go! Get out!” His steady eyes analyzed each being standing. When no one scrambled, he flashed fangs so wildly sharp that the entire crowd jumped.
Once they all faded out of sight, some even leaping over bushes to get out of Amaury’s sight, he asked, “If I put you down, will you run off? It looks to be that you’ve had enough embarrassment for one night.”
Sinking her claws into his sides, Dusk growled, “I never wanted to be up here in the first freaking place, leech.”
With a wince Amaury released Dusk only to have his face left with the burning sensation of her palm swiping across his face. Streaks of crimson dripped down his face, and he licked the blood off of his lips. “Guess I deserved that one.” His arm outstretched for her to loop it with his. When she glowered, he added, “Want me to carry you again?”
Her hands balled into fists, and she obliged. “Keeping tabs on me,” she noted at his need for their touching bodies. “Don’t want me to bolt again. Did Regina send you?”
“No, Ms. Cross, I do not answer to the headmaster of the females. Headmaster Kaine sent me as soon as he traced me to the front entrance to meet you.” His eyes looked up to a large tower that they had paused at in the center of what seemed to be the school’s commons area. “I’m sure that your sister has already met Bara Lynd. She is your sister’s tutor and roommate. She’s also the leader of her Sorority, Aderfi Ema. They’re the sisterhood to my brotherhood, Aderfos Ema.” His pale eyes measured Dusk. He added, “Hold onto me.” At her baffled expression, Amaury scooped her up over his shoulder once more.
Claws sinking into his back, Amaury snagged a hold onto one of the ledges of the massive tower then flung himself up with his powerful legs. “Ah, this is so much better than taking the stairs,” he mentioned as an awestruck Dusk clung to him. His feet finally landed on an open window, and Amaury gently flipped Dusk from his shoulder to the cradle of his arms where she wrestled with all of her might to get away. With a nonchalant shrug he dropped her flat on her back then knocked on the door of a room entitled Dean’s Office.
Hissing, Dusk rubbed her backside before glancing up at a beige hallway trimmed in white and red. A red painting of a rose hung right beside the door that Amaury was waiting beside. Golden brown chair railing lined the expansive hallway, and a grey stone tile decorated the floor. A red chair sat in the corner across from the brown, wood door. Its thick cushioning was like a beacon to the already gone pain that had been at Dusk’s backside. White lined beneath the crown molding against the ceiling.
Despite having the tears and bloodstains on his clothing Amaury stood like a patient soldier in front of the door. His brown hair was cut short and stayed away from his piercing blue eyes that looked more fiery than icy. It was slightly spiked, naturally though. No gel held up those caramel spikes. His broad shoulders were plated with muscle that could be shown from underneath the fabric of his informal suit. Dusk blushed at the memory of being flipped over those shoulders.
His large hand reached out and revealed callouses from some sort of training or workout Dusk was sure. “Come on and get up. I don’t want it to look like I’ve been bullying you,” he stated. From the looks of things, Dusk had been the one doing all of the bullying. Amaury’s clothing had shreds and tears all over it. Blood dotted his belt and sides. The simple black fabric of his button up was bloodied and torn from Dusk’s black painted claws.
Huffing, she rose up on her own and dusted her blue skinny jeans then crossed her arms beneath her chest. “Really? Like I’ve been bullied?” she retorted then glanced to where the door was being opened by a six foot five Saurian male with dull human fangs, hiding the retractable fangs that were sure to be alerted at the sight or smell of blood.
The man opened the door even wider and leaned up against the doorway to snicker at Amaury’s beat up suit. “I thought I sent you out to retrieve a princess not a lion,” he wondered then made a head motion to greet Dusk. “Get that thing off, and I’ll give you another.”
Amaury opened up his shirt then peeled it off to reveal a plain red V-neck undershirt. His strong arms bulged beneath their skin, and Dusk attempted not to notice them as he moved to sling his ruined garment over his shoulder.
“So, you are the notorious Dusk Cross of Trinity. Pleasure to meet you, little lioness. I am Kaine Lance of the Western Saurian Vampires,” he greeted then moved out of the way for Regina, some tiny Saurian girl, an old man, and Dawn to see them.
Familiarity clicked at the sound of Kaine Lance, and Dusk murmured, “You were my father’s… second in command.” Her big, emerald eyes looked innocently up at the only Saurian that she’d ever come in contact with before this school. “You sent the guards after my parent’s killers after they were caught in the flames.” Bowing her head, Dusk added, “Thank you.”
A friendly palm covered up Dusk’s head, and Kaine mussed her hair. “It’s the only way that I can repay an old friend and his beautiful family, little lioness.” His familiar smile lit up his face, and Dusk noticed a winding scar down the side of his face. That scar was the mark of silver, one of the few materials that could leave a permanent mark on the flesh of an immortal such as Kaine. That scar came from the blade of one of the rebels that Kaine had fought off during an attempt at overthrowing her father’s control.
Smiling, Dusk looked up at her elder then towards a man grinning kindly from behind his desk. The man had a mane of silver hair that wound down his head, signaling that he was from the snowy Kingdom of Eternity. His eyes were full of ancient wisdom and commanded respect no matter the distance she had from him. They were of the palest purple while still being wickedly vibrant. His lips were averagely shaped with a grin that seemed to lighten up the entire room. His long hands were interwoven between each long finger, one of which bore the ring of the kingdom of Trinity and another of Eternity. Those two rings in combination signaled of his hailing of two different nationalities, neither of which he would refuse to lose.
“Welcome to Bloodmist Academy,” he chimed. “It seems that you have already met up with your tutor Amaury Bane.” His eyes looked up and down the tattered clothing of the tall boy. “It also seems that you gave him a run for his money. I am Vincent Bane, Amaury’s father and Dean of this academy. Before you were even set to come here, your parents planned for your entrance to this academy; therefore, I have already chosen your classes for the semester. You may choose which ones you want to take next year.” His long hand stretched out, and Dusk grabbed a folder.
Opening it, she noted the subjects. At eight in the morning would be Calculus on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Second was Homo Wampyrus History, the history of vampires, on Tuesday and Thursday. Third was Defensive Structure, Tuesday and Thursday as well. Fourth was Tutoring every day of the school week. Dusk glowered at Amaury’s shadow glancing over her schedule then to his glancing at his father with a raised, caramel eyebrow.
“Yes?” she asked with a sarcastic hiss to her tone that got her a mix of reactions from the small crowd. The girl that she assumed was Bara blushed and shyly glanced around as if she was worried for Dusk’s safety. Dawn shook her head with a grin. Regina glowered. The dean snickered. Kaine grinned as he watched Amaury.
“Nothing much. We just have the same classes.” He glanced back towards his father who was looking particularly mischievous this evening. “You planned this?”
The dean nodded his head. “Of course, I gave Bara and Dawn the exact schedule as well. I would hope that the two of you get over whatever troubles you may have had in the short past and work well together seeing that you’ll both be trapped together.”
© Copyright 2017 Bridget Shayde. All rights reserved.
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