5.Power and Blood.5
It was extremely frustrating when it was royals who had the answers, because they were the only people I absolutely could not lay a finger on. Instead, I had to stand there fuming while the Crown Prince and Queen stared at each other with grim expressions, trying to decide what to tell me and what not to.
Which meant that by the end of it, I'd still have questions no matter what.
It also didn't help that my eldest brother was taken by Darkbloods, my entire family had been attacked, said family now despised me, and I was currently befriending a one-winged dragon that sat by my side. To distract myself, I scratched at Kai's scales. The deep voice in my head, the one that belonged to the dragon without a doubt, expressed its joy with little unexpected giggles.
Eventually the two royals stopped staring at each other and glanced back at me, the leather-wearing peasant girl standing before them with a dragon looming over her. It must've been a sight to see. I raised my chin, my gaze determined, and met the eyes of the Queen.
"What is there that you are withholding, Your Grace?"
Elijah narrowed his eyes at me. "What is your gift, Cloud? Is it typical of a Lightblood?"
Sighing, I waved him off. "I don't have a gift," I answered, glancing sideways at the Queen. She still hadn't responded to my question. However, Elijah reacted to my reply -- his eyes had widened, and he was leaning forward in his throne.
"Nothing?" He parroted, staring at me through squinted eyes.
"I've never shown signs of magic, or a gift."
At that, he looked back at his mother and glared. She sighed, and lifted herself from her throne.
"Cloud," she began, approaching where I stood, "you know about the first encounter you had with Darkbloods, right?"
"Yes, Your Grace," I said, eyes narrowing. "I was stolen as a child by Darkbloods. Your guards rescued me."
The woman looked sad for a moment, but the emotion passed before she took on a blank expression. Elijah began to look as if he was a kicked puppy.
"You weren't the only one taken. Elijah was attacked as well. The Darkbloods were going to use the both of you in experiments, along with three other children."
My breath caught. "Who are the others?"
The Queen's eyes were cold as she answered. "Dead."
My mood plummeted, and I grew sad. Unfortunately, the Queen's story was far from over.
"The experiment was that the Darkbloods were giving babies their own blood. Their blood killed the first three children, and my son was rescued in time before they could inject him. But you," she told me, cutting off abruptly. Out of fear, I glanced up at the dragon towering above me.
"Me?" I squeaked, eyes falling back to the Queen's instinctually.
"You survived their experiment. You see, your gift was originally something small. You are immune to curses and poisons, as well as disease. A rock can cut you, but the most poisonous substance in the world would never hurt you," she explained, clearing her throat. Before I could interject, she continued.
"Their blood, mixed with your Lightblood, made you into something more. Legend calls your kind Cursedbloods or Gray Ones. It's extremely rare, because the blood of the two types would normally battle until the host is dead. But you, Cloud, have a Lightblood ability that allows you to be a Gray One."
"I have the ability to detect other's power, and use it against them. However, that's considered a curse, and I can only detect your level of power," Elijah cut in, watching my expression change. My mind was blown, and Kai was the only thing keeping me on my feet. "And if I'm honest, your power is overwhelming and bordering on excruciatingly painful."
Shamefully, I bowed my head. Things were beginning to make sense, except for one lingering question.
"Why did the Darkbloods attack my home?"
Elijah grimaced. "We think that they found out you were able to survive and were coming back for you."
My fear increased, and I began to sway. The Queen called my name, but I couldn't hear her. My vision blurred, and eventually all I could feel was the cool texture of scales.
To be honest, I was happy to faint.
To my surprise, or rather, my new expectation, I woke up in a cell, but saw that the sun had barely moved. I had maybe been unconscious just long enough for guards to move my body. I blamed it on the Darkblood in my veins, which had increased since the second attack with the bitemark on my forearm. Even if it was meant to lead to my death, it was only adding to my strange strength.
Before long, I realized I was shaking. I was lost, imprisoned, alone.
"Kai!" I yelled without thinking, throwing myself at the bars of my cell. Ever other cell around me was empty, and the door at the end of the hall was marked with a sign I couldn't read. "Kai!" I repeated, and heard a thud above me.
Cloud, Kai's deep voice resonated in my head, you're awake already.
Grasping the bars in front of me, I panted and tried to focus my thoughts. I envisioned the blue dragon with cold, magnificent purple eyes.
A wave of satisfaction that wasn't mine flooded my thoughts. You are Darkblood.
Scoffing, I backed away from the bars and sat on the bench pushed against the wall. What does that mean? I replied, though it took more effort that time.
You've always ignored me, so I thought you simply weren't receptive enough -- that you didn't actually have enough Darkblood to be considered a Darkblood. Dragons are Darkblood creatures, and therefore can communicate with other Darkbloods. Despite being Lightblood born, you have been affected enough to have the natural abilities of a Darkblood as well, Kai explained. I expected to be bored as he droned on in my head, but his strong voice was surprisingly attention-grabbing, and I stayed focused.
So I really am both? I replied, telepathy gradually getting easier for me. The taste of magic and mystery sent my head spinning -- but the answers were lifting a burden off my shoulders.
Yes, came Kai's firm response. Unquestionable. Certain.
A grin was fixed onto my face as I neared the bars of my cell.
Then it's time for me to go hunt down the Darkbloods who took my brother.