Dragon Fire Academy 1 First Term an RH academy romance - Rachel Jonas Page 0,2
Blinking away the one tear that managed to break through, I nodded. “Always.”
His hand slipped from behind his back, and it was then that I realized he’d been hiding something.
“It came?” I gasped. “When?”
Staring at the slender, black envelope, it seemed surreal. For so long, I’d been dying to know if I would be accepted, and now my dad was placing the answer right in my hands.
“Open it,” he insisted, as if what I held didn’t mean everything to me.
“I will, but … give me your word first.”
“What is it?” he asked. I peered up to find him staring with a confused half-smile.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, my mouth felt incredibly dry. “If it says they don’t want me, if it says I’m a big loser who shouldn’t have been invited in the first place, promise me I don’t have to show my face at the ceremonial departure. I know I put on all my gear and everything, but if I’m being honest … I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull myself together by then.”
When I finished rambling, he was doing his best to hold in a laugh.
I was taken by my shoulders and his calm demeanor gave me strength. “Noelle, stop planning to fail and just open the letter,” he asserted.
My heart was pounding, and my hands shook like you’d never believe, but I managed to break the envelope’s purple seal. He watched as I scanned the beautiful, handwritten penmanship. Then, when my eyes stretched wide and I gazed up, he knew.
“I’m in,” I whispered in disbelief. The short sentence was barely out before tears stung my eyes. “I did it!” I squealed. “You’re looking at an official student of Dragon Fire Academy.”
I often wondered if ‘creepy’ was exactly the look the Elders were going for when they established themselves in a basement, beneath another basement, situated below the town library.
I mean, there was really only one vibe you could accomplish in a setting like this.
Being here made it feel as though we had stepped back in time. With the eerie ambiance, I imagined this to be what walking through the catacombs must feel like. Minus the claustrophobic tunnels and human remains scattered about.
At least, I didn’t think they had that last part in common. But the Council did have their share of secrets, so who really knows, right?
I’d been down here too many times to count, and even with my mother’s security detail escorting us, I still felt uneasy. It wasn’t customary for royalty to be protected by other members of the royal family, but anyone who’d seen my uncles—living legends in their own right—would understand why their presence was more than sufficient. The five wolf-dragon hybrids had been likened to walls with legs for good reason. In short, no one who crossed them lived to tell the story.
They surrounded us and we moved as one solid unit. Since Mom had taken the throne, there had never been an uprising or a breach of any kind, but per my father’s insistence, our family was heavily guarded at all times.
PTSD from things that happened before my time, I’m told.
I had no clue how he planned to cope once I was no longer sleeping within the fortress surrounding our manor, but he promised I wouldn’t be followed to the academy. However, knowing him, he’d found a loophole.
We still hadn’t made it down the endless, winding stairwell. The only light came from torches mounted on the stone walls. When I was a kid, I used to insist my parents let me walk between them, holding both my hands as we descended. Today, as I walked on my own like I’d done for many years now, it felt symbolic for this step I prepared to take.
I still couldn’t believe I got in.
“If you don’t stop shoving me, Evan, I swear!” Lea was practically growling through her gritted teeth.
I peered over my shoulder to find my sister glaring at her twin. They bickered more than they got along, and it saddened me a little to know I wouldn’t be around to mediate anymore. As much as I got tired of playing referee to two stubborn fifteen-year-olds, I’d kind of miss them.
“Quiet,” Mom scolded with a whisper, and a stern look she passed over her shoulder. “People expect you three, in particular, to be on your best behavior. Please don’t embarrass me,” she begged, adding a weary, “ … again.”
Lea’s tongue darted out to mock Evan, who made a crude gesture