Dragon Fire Academy 1 First Term an RH academy romance - Rachel Jonas

Chapter One


The Council assured us that all acceptance letters would be delivered shortly after nightfall. Being invited to tryout didn’t mean I was a shoo-in, which meant the only break I’d been given was being permitted to skip the application process. From there, no one had taken it easy on me.

I’d come home at night with enough bruises to prove it.

Now, after six months of rigorous testing, it boiled down to this—one life-defining moment with the power to rewrite my entire future.

Some sicko thought it wise to mandate that all academy hopefuls show their faces at the ceremonial departure. Even those who were set to receive a big fat “NO” from the Selection Panel. The event was only truly meant for those who’d been accepted, which meant it would feel like pouring salt in a fresh wound for everyone else.

It was still too soon to say whether or not I would fall into the ‘everyone else’ category.

While waiting, I got into uniform for the ceremony, hoping to dispel some nervous energy. It wasn’t the green, pleated skirt and blazer worn by the model on the academy’s brochure. Instead, we were told to arrive at the Elders’ Chamber by midnight, dressed in the logoed t-shirt and cargo pants assigned to us during training.

There was a look of dread masking my father’s face as I laced my boots. A look that nearly broke my heart, but I hid it. The thought of me leaving came as quite the devastating blow to him in particular. We were always close, so he knew my dreams would one day require me to fly the coop, but maybe not so soon.

My body slumped sideways with a laugh when he dropped down to sit on the edge of the bed, his solid mass throwing me off balance. I shifted toward him—the man most only saw as a stone-cold brute. However, to Mom, my siblings and I, he had only ever been a softy whose bark was way worse than his bite.

Leaning on his shoulder, it was sobering to glance around my bedroom, knowing this could be the last I’d see of it for a while.

“Not sure I’m ready for this,” he admitted with a sigh.

The weary smile he forced when I peered up only made me sadder. He wasn’t one to let his emotions show, but there was no missing how he fought to conceal them now.

“Nonsense. You’ve got this,” I teased. “Besides, what’s important is that I’m ready, and I definitely am.”

His gaze lowered. “I know. You’ve trained and studied hard, plus you’ve got natural instinct.”

I smirked at the compliment. “It’s not just the training, though. You and Mom did a pretty okay job too.”

His smile softened, and it was impossible not to see so much of myself in him. I’m often told we’re just alike. Not only because of how much I favor him—the dark hair and hazel eyes I inherited—but I’ve, apparently, taken on his stubbornness and blind bravery as well. Although, that last part still had yet to be proven.

His were big shoes to fill, and since I was old enough to know what a hero was, he’d been mine.

My fingers locked with his and I focused on our hands, our matching compass tattoos. When I was young, I used to sit on his lap, tracing the inked pictures, listening as he told the stories that inspired each one—many of which involved my mother. Their love had seeped into my life, and it was this powerful bond that I’d hold on to while I was away.

I peered up again, staring into the eyes of the fiercest dragon that ever lived. Doing so, it was easy to understand why I had to take a shot at getting into Dragon Fire Academy, and would eventually use that as leverage to join the Guard. There was a reason the idea of one day wearing dog tags around my neck appealed to me more than holding a regal title. I’d gotten it honestly.

After all, the blood of a warrior ran through my veins.

“I’ll be fine, you know.” My gaze lowered after speaking, and my eyes landed on the ring that never left my finger—a gift from my great-aunt, Hilda.

It had once been the only thing that kept me from losing control of my powers, but since emerging from that dark phase, the piece served as a reminder of how far I’d come.

“You can handle yourself. If I doubted that for one second, trust me, you never would’ve been