Kai didn't stop until we were in the foyer of the castle, his talons scratching the polished floors. He was panting, and the guards were furious with us as they created a tight circle, weapons pointed at the blue dragon. I nearly fainted in fear as I saw weapons aimed at me, but I was more focused on the fact that Kai had shrugged me from his back and placed me beside him, his wing curled around my front as protection.
"What's going on?" A male voice called. It was higher than the one in my head, but calming. Kai and I craned our necks to look at the top of the grand staircase in the center of the room. Standing on the first step was a man, blond with bright blue eyes, dressed in luxurious clothes. There was an amused smile on his face, directed at the dragon towering above me.
"What did you do, Kai?" The man, or boy really, since he looked so young, asked, arching an eyebrow as he took his time going down the steps. Guards sheathed their weapons before kneeling, bowing their heads. I watched them in awe, which increased when Kai bowed his head as well. After an awkward pause, I dropped down to one knee as well.
The man waited until he was in front of the hazardous dragon before chuckling. "Rise, silly people."
Exhaling sharply in annoyance, I stood up and squared my shoulders, eyeing the man. He was certainly noble, but possibly of higher stature. His relationship with the dragon made him seem like the owner, and therefore, he was one of the richest Lightbloods in Mythira.
Kai, despite being a dragon, looked amused as he glanced down at me. You're so funny, little one, the deep voice echoed, running through my mind.
Nope. I thought. Not happening. I'm powerless, I don't have telepathy.
The dragon huffed, looking away. The nobleman noticed the shift in moods and waved away the guards before looking at me.
"Who are you?"
I narrowed my eyes. "Cloud Rose, farm girl."
The man's eyes widened, and he glanced at Kai, then back down to me. "Cloud Rose? Storm-Cloud?"
Shocked, I crossed my arms and stared him down. "How do you know that name?" J demanded, backing up so that I was closer to Kai, who I felt safer with.
The man sighed through gritted teeth.
"I'm Elijah, Prince of Mythira."
My eyes widened, and my breath caught. Memories flooded my mind, hazy and blurry. Through it all, I could feel the cold of the outdoors on a chilly night, hear my own wails, and felt the pain of being crushed under a larger weight, as well as the pain of my bones being put back together. I didn't realize my knees had buckled until I felt Kai tugging the back of my shirt so that I'd stand. He kept the leather between his teeth as I swayed, and remained close by even after letting go. My vision swam, and my arm, where the bite mark once was, burned.
"I remember you and your mother," I choked, focusing through the pain. Elijah approached me, offering me a hand to steady myself. I declined, keeping to myself despite cuddling up to the blue dragon at my side.
He won't hurt you, Storm-Cloud.
I ignored the voice, knowing it was Kai.
"She'll want to see you, Miss Rose. My mother can help you," he added, glancing at my arm as if he could sense the burning sensation. And it was possible that he could. I had no idea what kind of Lightblood the Prince was. The Queen never let the news get out in case it could be used against them.
But, he was a Prince after all, and Kai ushered me to follow behind Elijah. It seemed as if the castle was made to fit dragons, because Kai was able to squeeze through most of it, joining me as the Prince led us to the throne room. It was a large, open room with vaulted ceilings and chandeliers, with the kingdom's banners hung along the walls. Gems laid in the walls, pillars lined with gold supported the ceiling, and large windows allowed the sunlight to pour in. At the end of the room was a raised platform with two thrones of equal size. The one on the right was made of jade with swirls made of sparkling dust. However, I couldn't compare it to the texture of the one on the left, because the throne was currently occupied.
Queen Amara was certainly beautiful. Even in old age, her hair was dark with silver streaks. There were barely any wrinkles in her perfect skin, and her eyes were a clear, intelligent green. She must've used her magic to help herself to stay that good looking.
I curtsied, my dragon companion following suit. "Your Grace."
Elijah smiled as he took the spot of the throne next to his mother, settling in like he'd probably done a thousand times. Amara looked at me with a gentle smile, her eyes soft.
"I hear you are Storm-Cloud," the Queen inquired, glancing at the dragon to my side. I nodded, inching toward Kai for support.
Do not fear her, Gray One.
I swallowed. "Yes, Your Grace. My name is Storm-Cloud Katlyn Rose, and I go by Cloud."
"Well, Cloud," the Queen smiled, "I hear there was a disturbance at your home."
A pit opened up in my stomach, and I looked away. My arm began to throb, and Elijah winced. That drew the attention of his mother, who narrowed her eyes at me. Suddenly, the air was thick with tension, and Kai shifted toward me protectively.
"We were attacked by Darkbloods, and my brother was taken," I answered confidently, though I didn't feel it. Elijah frowned, and he and his mother shared a look that I didn't understand.
"What is it?" I hissed, looking between the two of them. I didn't give a rat's ass if they were royal. I wanted my brother and my farm back, without my family suddenly going from bright sunshine people to spitting cats ready to take my eyes out.
I wanted normalcy back. Instead I had ridden a one-winged dragon to the castle, barged in, and met a Queen that saved my life when I was a baby.
I balled my fists at my side.
Terrance, you so owe me one.