The second the last thought reached my own head, the girl vanished into thin air, leaving me with a cold feeling in my gut. She added to the horrible experience that was my morning, and I couldn't say I was happy about that. Swatting at the air where she once was, I began to growl in frustration.
"Not going to become a werewolf as well, are you?"
I jumped, whirling around. Behind me was another tall warrior, a scabbard across his back with a broadsword sheathed inside. His body was layered in leather, and his hair was dark like Gene's and reached his collar. Light taupe eyes stared back at me as I gawked at yet another attractive man in the castle.
Shit, I thought, scolding myself as I blushed and looked away. I shouldn't be finding anyone attractive.
I glanced back, raising an eyebrow. "Just Cloud please."
He shrugged. "Alright. Well, Cloud? Are you a werewolf too?" He prodded, the ghost of a smile on his lips as he waited for a response.
I scowled, crossing my arms in front of my chest. "Only Darkbloods are werewolves," I snapped, wishing I could disappear.
The man shrugged again, but this time the grin was visible on his face. "And you've been rumoured to be a strong halfblood with a scary Darkblood form. So? Are you a werewolf?"
Looking away, I clenched my fists and focused on keeping my blood pumping, refraining from letting it go cold, as if there was a switch somewhere inside me I was pinching in place to keep myself Lightblood.
"No," I answered through gritted teeth, "I'm only a halfblood--"
"And therefore I don't have any usual Darkblood forms. For them, it isn't even a form," I pointed out with a childish huff, staring at the floor. The man shifted, coming closer. I tensed, prepared to lash out at him until he grabbed my arm, making me look at him. His grip was firm, but gentle at the same time.
His eyes glittered with mischief as he examined my face. "Why don't you enjoy being both? It seems like an easy way to become powerful," he said, watching my expression darken.
"It's also an easy way to make enemies. People who want to hurt you. And you begin to lose things, which makes you into a person who is always going to have to fight and search for what's theirs. And above everything else," I said, my voice deadly quiet, "there's the risk of losing control. Of letting out the side you don't know anything about."
The man paused for a second, processing my words and the pain laced through them, before taking my hand and dragging me down the unfamiliar hall.
"If you're most afraid of losing control, then we should do our best to give you control," he concluded, pulling me into a room with high ceilings and thick plated walls. "My name is Dmitri, and I'm the Darkblood specialist for the Queen."
I narrowed my eyes. "Are you going to experiment on me?"
Dmitri shook his head, laughing. "That may be interesting, but no. The Queen planned for me to start training you when she finally got you under control, but I figured we could start now."
Under control? I wondered, watching as he pressed a certain spot on the walls and something slid away to reveal weapons inside. Dmitri frowned, closed the secret compartment, and opened another to find wooden versions. As he pulled them out, testing each one, I called out to him. "What do you mean by under control?"
The man sighed, taking off his scabbard before answering. "Everyone has noticed that you and the crippled dragon spend most of your time together. It prevents you from having the time to learn."
Chewing on my lip, embarrassment flooded me as I realized he was right. Sheepishly, I smiled. "I should alologize to her," I thought aloud, frowning at the floor.
"Don't sweat it. Plus, she's going to be teaching you etiquette, a guard will teach you to fight normally, someone will be testing your Lightblood abilities more, and I'm here to work on your Darkblood half," he said, listing them off on his fingers. "It would've been a lot for your first few days."
I nodded, glancing at the pile of weapons. It was a mound of various daggers and swords with bows here and there. Raising an eyebrow, I watched as Dmitri selected one of the longbows, a weapon that was excessive even in a room this big.
"What are you doing?" I questioned, holding up my hands so that they were beside my ears. The man grinned, testing out the resistance of the weapon as he pulled his arm back. He looked it over before stretching it back, the wooden arrowhead aimed at my chest. Naturally, I knew even the wooden arrow could and would kill me.
Dmitri refused to answer my question, and I was at arrow point while in a room alone with him. Lightblood power -- at least not mine -- wouldn't save me in this situation. My mind drifted to the thick, protective surface of the wings that had sprouted from my back. Tainted. Black angel's wings.
I glared at Dmitri as my blood ran cold, as if ice cubes traveled from organ to organ instead of blood cells. Gradually, I felt the tingling that signaled the awakening of the power in my veins, and I heard a split of clothing as wings sprouted from my back, a tail poked out from underneath my skirts, the weight of horns was suddenly on my forehead, and fangs pierced my lips. The temperature around me dropped, and I could feel my loose control of my own power as my tail swung wildly and my wings twitched. My lack of use of these talents and powers had led to me being extremely out of control.
Dmitri's lips twitched into a smile. "Ready, Darkblood?"
I gasped, fangs making the noise similar to a hiss as the arrow flew toward me, Dmitri's aim on point. Panicking, I pulled my arms over my head and felt something warm layer on top. Seconds passed before I lifted my head, dropping my arms.
I heard Dmitri's murmur of approval as I stared up at the feathery black wings surrounding me. As if they had a mind of their own, the wings had wrapped me in a protective caccoon that the arrow couldn't pierce. They gradually moved away, folding in behind me as I straightened, feeling my grip on the reins of my power tighten.
It was all a test.
All I have to do is pass.