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Chapter 9

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    Maria Catalina Higuera

“We need to talk about your actitud with Asher”, Dravens voice said, reaching me through the wall of my room as I stirred awake.

“There's nothing to talk about”, Calder said flatly.

I forced myself to be more alert, trying to make sense of their conversation. I found it surprising that both Draven and Calder were up, especially the latter. The last I had seen of the blue dragon was his unconscious shape under the water as the coach rowed away from the little island.

We had been given the afternoon off, coach had told me usually we would have gotten an hour to rest and then more training but everybody had been left way to the drain to do anything more yesterday.

I hadn’t dared to turn my healing off until I was safely in bed and even then the exhaustion hit me so fast the word blinked out of existence, at some point Draven and Calder must have also made it out of the arena and gone to sleep as well since now they were up and talking about me right outside my door.

What made them think I couldn't hear them? Or maybe they thought I was asleep?

“Yes there is”, Draven countered, “Why are you being a yerk?”.

Calder scoffed, “New flash idiot, I'm a yerk to everybody”.

Something in his tone made me pay even more attention to the words, making me suddenly realize why they were speaking so openly. They weren’t using english, again there it was, that weird guttural language I somehow knew how to understand and speak.

Draven sighed exasperated, “You only pretend to be a yerk, deep down you care for all of us despite how much you try denying but...but in Asher case you genuinely don't like him”.

“How would you even know that?” Calder asked, still no emotion in his voice.

“Because you went into overdrive”, Draven said, souding like he was losing patience, “You knock yourself out just to win a game that you always say, and I quote, stupid and meaningles we wont be usign this in the real word”.

There was a pause after Draven’s words, enough to let me know he had hit home, “Watever”, Calder finally said, “Maybe I just wanted to teach the roky a lesson nothing more”.

Draven snorted, “You want me to buy that from you? you are level headed as hell, never let anything make you act irrationally and yet you did just that yesterday”, his voice became softer again, more like his usual tone, “Is it because Asher reminds you of him?”.

I could hear Calder's heartbeat accelerate, “They are nothing alike!”, he snapped and for the first time, anger seeped into his otherwise flat tone.

“Okay okay...calm down”, Draven said, “You are right...they are nothing alike...but it still feels like he is replacing him right? that's how you see it at least”.

“What are you? a handler to be getting into people's heads?”Calder said, attempting to get his voice back to his usual tone but not having much success, “It's nothing like that”, it was clear Draven had hit the nail on the head.

“Calder…”, Draven began “Nobody can force you to like Asher...but he needs to bond with us...and he won't do that if you keep being a jerk to him”.

“Yeah whatever…i'll try”, the other boy said, the apathy back in his voice, “Now can you please get out of my hair I'm trying to read”.

Draven sounded like he wanted to say more but it was clear that if Calder was pushed even a little bit more the conversation would end in a fight, a physical one, “Please...do work on it”.

With that they both felt silent, leaving me to mull over their conversation with a sinking feeling in my gut, who was him? Why would Calder think I was trying to replace somebody? and it also sounded like it had been somebody close to them, somebody they care a lot about.

My mind went back to my conversation in the council room, how there were seven soul orbs but only six dragons currently alive. I remembered Petra commented on me being the last dragon child like they weren expecting a seventh to pop up and suddenly it made sense as to why there was a fourth door in the males dorm while only three of us...it all drew me to an obvious conclusion I didn’t particularly like.

There had been another dragon child, a healer... and he was probably dead.

“So...how would you answer that?”.

In a bright display of my intelec I answered with a very confused sounding “Hu?”, I hadn’t even paid attention to the question.

The young masked man sighed but still repeated the question, I had to admit he was a very good teacher, putting up with me, who hadn’t even been paying attention to what he had been saying for the past ten minutes, I couldn't even remember his names and I was pretty sure he had introduced himself at some point.

“A dragon, what makes a dragon?, what makes you different from your father for example?”.

I frowned, not sure of how to answer, for once my brain felt fussy, still feeling not quite right from yesterday's training and from the fact my mind was trying to pull me in a hundred different directions at once, full of questions and worries.

“I...I don't know”, I admitted, “Maybe having more soul energy?”.

“Hm…”, he said, “Your are close...but now quite there”, it was clear he was running out of faith in me being able to figure out something by myself because he went on to explain, “Full markings...if you looked at any of your limbs you will see that your dragon marks go from the back of you neck and end in your hands and feet”.

“Oh…”, I said, suddenly realizing just how obvious it had been, my father's markings didn’t end in his hand like mine did but faded at his elbow.

He must have seen the light of realization shine in my eyes because he went on, “Now what makes your father different, and able to use soul energy, from mere carries of the gene, most of the people you have seen around here, they have marking but not abilities”.

Again a tricky question, but this time I had more of a solid theory, mostly born from observing all the other energy users and my own ability to perceive it, “Our necks…”, I began, “Our marking begging at the back of our necks while the others...the gen carries ones are not connected”.

“Exactly”, he said, clapping his black gloved hands together, “You see, soul energy travels through a dragon’s body via a second circulatory system of sorts that follow the path of your makings but just like any other bodily function the brain commands it, if there is no connection via your central nervous system the energy is useless”.

Despite what he was explaining being very interesting I still found myself wondering just how long this was going to take.

Breakfast today had been an awkward business as I avoided eye contact with Enya and at the same time having to pretend nothing was wrong and that I hadn’t overheard the conversation outside my room , sufficient to say I was very glad when we were done and I was split from the main group, they took other classes during the morning that from what I gather was mostly history of the dragon kingdom and its internal working politics, I was several years behind in my school so I ended up in private classes with a rather young handler.

“So the more marking a dragon has, the more powerful they are”, he was saying, bringing back my mind from the clouds, “Having a leg with marking is more than an arm because the energy has more room to flow”.

Well that explained why I had gotten more than a few looks yesterday when the other saw me in the gym uniform for the first time allowing them to see I had markings in both my arms and legs...but me being the most powerful just because of that? I highly doubted that, maybe I had more soul energy but I was still the weakest among us.

He went on talking, something about domain and element stock-piling but I just couldn't focus on what he was telling me, it all sounded too technical for me at the moment, especially when there were so many other things on my mind.

The conversation I had overheard this morning was still fresh in my mind as well as my realization that there had probably been another dragon child that was a healer like me and he was dead just didn’t sit right with me, what had happened? Why hasn't anybody told me about this?.

This wasn’t help by the fact I was sure I was going crazy, having strange dreams in which I wasn’t in my own body, the light entity that keep giving me ominous warnings, the young woman who I had hallucinated thow times now, and the disembodied voices that were rather good at giving me advice...it was all so insane I was too scared to tell anybody about it and probably end up in a padded room.

To topped all of these is off was the constant worry about my father, it had been three days since I had gotten here and so far I had heard now news about him, I had expected a more aggressive response, teams going out to search for him, updates coming in by the hour but so far the Den looked normal, calm which just made me more jumpy, more desperate to be out there turning the world upside down if it was necessary to find him.

“Do you have any questions?”, he said after a while, passing a hand through his ginger hair, probably wearing an expression of disappointment behind his mask when I looked at him blankly, I really couldn't ask anything if I hadn’t even paid attention.

“I don't have to be from this lesson”, he added, trying to actually make the speak up, “Maybe just something you have been wondering about out”.

I felt like telling him to wait for me to bring out a list of all the thing I had been “Wondering about”, but a lot of them I hadn't ask a while ago in the first place was because I either didn’t want people to know I knew about it, didn’t rust people or just plain new nobody was going to give me a straight answer.

“Why do you guys wear masks?”, I finally said, I wasn’t exactly what I wanted to ask but I was still very curious about the handlers, I was being given a lot of information on the dragons but next to none on the species that cohabit so closely with us.

He chuckled, “Well that is actually not that hard to explain”, he said, reaching for the back of his head where a black band tied his mask to his face, “Want to see?”.

I looked at him surprised, I hadn’t actually expected him to take his mask off, “Yeah...sure”, I said, hoping I didn’t sound too eather to actually see what they all hid behind the shiny black things.

The mask came off with a click allowing me to see his face for the first time, leaving me at a loss for words for an embarrassingly long time.

His was normal, covered in freckles that matched his red hair, but the thing that drew all of my attention was his eyes...it almost looked like he had shoved a pair of eye-shaped blue marbles in his eyes sockets and not very gently weather, there was scar tissue around both his eyes, long since heal but that told the story of gruesome injuries.

“Not what you had expected hu?”, he said, with a grin, thankfully not seeming to mind my staring, “If you were wondering...not they aren’t my real eyes, and yes I can still see...quite perfectly”.

“What happened?”, was the only thing I could think to ask, had he lost his eye in an accident? no that didn’t make sense because all the handlers used masks, not just him.

“This?”, he said, signaling to his eyes, “It was intentional, I gouged my eyes out to replace them with this”.

Several replies to that went through my mind but mostly something along the lines of, what in the bloody hell? and why would you do that?.

He laughed, seemingly enjoying my horror, “You should see your race right now...you are probably thinking I'm crazy right now…but you see it does have an explanation”.

He pointed at himself, “We handlers...we aren’t born with abilities...you have probably walked passed a lot of our children and never noticed what they were...because our powers can only be channeled through our eyes...but not our normal ones, the ones we are born with, but with artificial ones”.

“So you...just pull your eyes out?”, I asked, still horrified at the entire thing.

He nodded, “Pretty much...well only the ones who actually choose too...a lot of our kind prefer to live normal lives among the humans...without removing their eyes they are the same either way”.

“So...you wear the masks to cover your eyes?”, I venture to ask, thinking it had something to do with preventing people from staring.

He shook his head, “Not at all...we aren’t ashamed of it...what's more, our younglings dream of they day they get their new eyes...it's a symbol of pride...of coming of age”, he picked up his mask, “We wear this for comfort...you see with this eyes we can see everything...the word if full of energies you can't see...but we do, and its overwhelming...the masks help with that, assist in focusing our vision”.

He put the mask back on, “Curiously enough our mind abilities only work on dragons...not on humans or other species...that is why we have always serve you species, in exchange you protect the mines from were we get Lusious, the material our eyes are made off”.

“I see…”, I muttered, not sure of what elses to say, especially his mention of us protecting their mines in exchange from their service, great another future responsibility.

“Well...that out of the way, let's continue with today's lesson”.

I resisted the urge to groan as I made an effort to actually appear interested as he went on talking, “It is vastly believed that the primordial dragons the most powerful beings to ever exist, created the earth as we know it today and later on spit they power to birth your species, each of you bearing a piece of their soul inside of you, allowing you to use their power”.

He grabbed a thick leather bound tome he had resting on the desk beside him, “That is only the beginning of a very long but interesting story that is still being written today, now, what do you say we begin our trip down this wonderful path of learning that is the history of the dragons?”.

With some effort I think I actually managed to put some fake enthusiasm into my expression as I nodded, “Sure”.

I could feel his energy flowing under my fingers practically begging me to take it all, it would be so simple to simply reach out and grab it, absorb it for myself...to feel that rush of power again.

I jerked my hand back, shaking my head violently, “I'm sorry”, I told the coach, who was standing beside me, monitoring my progress, “I…I just can't do it”.

The young man, the one I had been trying to pull energy out of jumping in trying to assure me, “It's okay”, he said, “I may only be a carrier but I'm still tough...even if you go a little overboard I'll be fine”.

That was the problem, I was sure I just would’ get a little overboard...I would go a lot and kill him.

Coach sighed almost like he had read my mind, “Asher I'm right here...I won't let you hurt anybody”.

That was true enough, but I was still scared that he wouldn't be able to stop me. As ridiculous as that sounded, Coach looked like he could beat me up with his hands tied behind his back.

We were in a smaller gimnasium, a bunch of people sitting around, waiting for me to try and pull their energy. There was a surprising amount of volunteers considering that if I succeeded with any of them they could end up dead.

“All right everybody”, he said, now addressing the small crowd, “Come back tomorrow same the same place...we will be cutting training short today”.

I could hear a few mutters and groans and a few sighs of relief as people began to get up, murmuring amongst each as they exited the large room until only me and Coach were left.

“Lets try some other training”, he said, walking towards a nearby weapon rack.

I sighed, feeling a mixture of disappointment and relief at him cutting short my attempts to absorb energy. Part of me wanted to do it, to feel the rush of power again, but the other half, the overwhelming part of my mind was scared of it, of what I could do, to the point it had formed a mental block, I had trapped myself.

“Um...what are we going to do?”, I asked, suddenly worried as he grabbed several belts full of throwing knives.

He twirled one of the knifes casually as he looked at me like he would look at a target range, “Tell me, just how much do you know about your abilities as a golden dragon?, apart from healing and absosion?”.

I was very much not aware there was more and I let him know as much, “There's?...I have more abilities?”Part of me was thrilled by this, and the other was greatly dreading what this could possibly be, hopefully not as uncontrollable as energy absorcion.

“Danguer senses' ', he said, “I bet you have experience it before, especially during the last fight, you feel harm coming your way more than you saw it”.

His hand made a quick motion and I felt something coming towards me, instinctively I ducked and a knife shattered against the wall behind me, it had been so fast I hadn’t even seen it yet somehow my body acted on its own accord.

“That could have hit me”, I observed, looking at the broken metal.

Coach srughtlike it wasn’t a big deal, “Even if it had this are made of normal metal, it can't pierce your skin”.

That still didn’t mean I wanted to get knives thrown at me but I kept that to myself, “Anything else I should know about?”, I asked, “That I can do I mean”.

He looked up from triling another knife, “Hm?...There's one last thing, it has to do with the danger sense, you see those are for yourself, they protect you, but golden dragons have and extra built in ability, one that is designed to protect others, the ones who are closest to them, it's called divination”.

I frowned, avoiding another knife he threw at me at seemingly supersonic speed with just a flicker of his wrist, “Divination...like seeing the future?”.

He made a so, so, motiong with his hand, “In the most extreme cases when a golden dragon had develop this ability to its fullest they can see year and years into the future, but only that of the ones you love so to speak,you see, the more time we spend around other dragons they more their energy become familiar and eventually we do what is call bonding in which we can feel and see when that person is hurt, or, when the ability is more developed, when they will be in hurt somewhere along the line...we detect energy fluctuations in them...even from a distance”.

I barely dodged the next knife he trew, “What does...what does divination feel like?”, I asked, suddenly very eather to know.

This time there was no knife, and for a second I saw a flicker of pain crossed his feature, “I only experience it one”, he admitted, “It will feel like a splitting headache at first...like the pain of the person you bonded with transferring to you...then your vision will blurred and...it's hard to describe... but you will see a turrent of images...more like flashes if it's one of your first time using the ability...but normally it will be enough to let you know who is hurt...and needs you help”.

For a few seconds we stood perfectly still, both loosed in our own memories and this time there was no doubting it, I could see pain and sorrow in his face like the conversation was reopening an old wound and my mind went back to my discovery this morning, that of the existence of another misterios dragon child, a healer and I wondered if he had know him...or most likely...had been his father.

It wasn’t that far-fetched, he looked to be in his early twenties but then again so did my dad, and he also had markings...sure they didn’t spread as much as my dad’s did but he could use soul energy. What if the only time he had used divination was when his own child died?...and he couldn't do anything about it...

I shook my head, trying to get rid of those very dark thoughts, “I...I think I have used divination before”, I said, trying to get rid of the heavy silence. “When my dad got hurt...and then a few moments before we were attacked by a desolation on our way here”.

“Really?”, he said, throwing another knife and suddenly the sorrowful expression was gone, the maske was back on, “That's good...very good, your soul energy abilities are truly remarkable...we can get on working on your divinations skills later one but for now”, he brought out a black blindfold from one of his pockets, “Let's see just how good your danguer sense are”.

“Blindfolded? you are going to throw a knife at me blindfolded?”, I asked with a lot less concern in my voice than the situation called for.

He nodded giving me a grin like he was very much looking forward to this, “How else will you improve”. I sighed, “Sure...why not”.

I knew something was up the moment I walked into the dark wood panel dining room and saw the expression on the others faces and they sat around the table, not eating with as much gusto as usual.

Draven was nervously chewing on his nails, Petra was even more talkative than usual, even when nobody paid her attention and Enjoys occasionally shut her up only for her to start seconds later, even Calder didn’t showcase his usual cool facade as efficiently as usual.

“Did...something happen?”, I dare to ask Hela who was muttering to someone invisible besides her, I still haven't gotten quite used to her “conversations' ', with her dead friends.

“Our parents are visiting”, Petra blurted out, apparently having overheard my question.

I frowned, suddenly realizing I had never questioned where any of their parents were, at least their dragon one since I didn’t really expect the human ones to be around.

“That is a bad thing?”, I asked, really wishing I could say my dad was visiting.

Draven scratched his head awkwardly, “Not...really...it just…”, he seemed to try and come up with a reasonable explanation but seemed to not be able to quite find the words, “Complicated”.

Enya hit the table so hard all the plates and cutlery jumped, the glasses falling over and spilling their content creating quite the mess, “No it's not”, she growled, “They hate us….simple as that”.

Everybody was quiet for a few seconds, more out of shock of her outburst than of her words. Finally Calder sighed, his marking glowing for a brief moment as he toache one of the spill drinks and it took on a soft bluish glow that spread to the rest of the sticky liquid mess and like a camera in reverse motiong all of the drinks went back to their rightful glasses, ice and all.

I wondered if that was hygienic but nobody batted an eye at Calder's little display of power so guess this was normal, “Was that really necessary Enya?”, he asked, “How many times have I told you to try and get your damn temper under control”.

If there is one thing I was quickly learning about Enya is that she took everything as a challenge, and she had to win it no matter what, “Oh yea?”she asked, her chair baguign against the wall as she got up with such ferocity, “Then who the hell got so angry they flooded the arena yesterday? hu? why don't you work on your temper Calder?”.

I could feel a fight brewing, the atmosphere of the room seeming to alternate between extreme cold and unbearable heat in a matter of seconds as the two dragon wielders of opposite elements faced each other. I am not ashamed to admit I was very prepared to get out of there the moment the fight broke out, I had seen what they were both capable of and little old me was not abou to get in between two fighting titans.

“Alright let's all calm down”, Draven said, thought I saw his was tense, probably ready to try and stop them both at a moment notice, “Calder, Enya...please, we aren’t mad at each other, you are both just stress over our parents visit and taking it out on each other...so...just let it go”. I thought that there was no way in hell they were actually going to pay him any mind, one of them was...well as volatile and a raging fire and the other as cool as an ice statue but they were both too headstrong to back down.

To my surprise Calder sighted, “Watever”, he muttered, going back to eating and Enya, after a few seconds did the same. It was then that I realized that despite how it may have looked from the outside, how different they all were and how much they bikered, they were a family.

Draven cared enough for Enya and Calder to try and stop them from fighting, and they both cared enough for him to actually do so which made me wonder where I fitted in the entire arrangement. I was like a new piece that they were quite sure of where to place me yet.

“Is it true then?”, I asked, trying to dissipate the lingering tension in the air, “Your parents... hate you?” . The entire thing just seemed...so bizarre, sure I knew there was some very bad parent out there, I mean my own mother probably hated me but it to be a common thing among all of them was just too weird to be a coincidence.

“Hate is a strong word”, Draven admitted, “But you can’t really say they…like us”.

Calder snorted so hard I was sure it hurt, “I do think hate is the appropriate word...do you know what my mother told five-yearlold me when she dumped me and my two older brothers ,who hated my guts because they were halflings while I was a full dragon?”.

Nobody jumped to answer, even Petra remained quiet as everybody refused to catch his eye. Calder only shook his head and behind his cool facade I could see the pain of old wounds, of abandonment, “My life can finally begin”.

I think I physically cringe at hearing his words, feeling the pain behind them, the hate that they had been spoken with. To say that to a five year old who still was almost fully dependent on their parents to take care of them...it seemed evil.

“My dad didn’t even say goodbye”, Hela said, looking at something far away, “I was seven...I fell asleep on our trip here and when I awoke again I was in strange room with strange people...I've never seen him once since then...not that I miss him too much...I don't think we spoke more than a hundred words to each other in the years we were together... I learn to talk from tv”.

She had said it in such a flat voice, so devoid of emotions it just made it feel even more melancholic, like sure, my dad avadon me here without a word but it's fine since we didn’t even speak to each other!. There was no way that hadn’t left any lasting trauma.

“My dad...he wasn’t as bad as Hela’s but he did keep me at a distance”, Petra said, speaking so fast it was hard to keep up, “He always felt more like a caregiver than an actual parent...I don't think I ever got a hug or a simple I love you from him…”.

What the hell was going on here? I wondered as they each spoke, this was swiftly turning into, “who had the worst childhood” competition.

“My mom was similar”, Draven said after Petra had gone oddly quiet, like her own words had brought out some unpleasant memories, “Except she told me she wished I had been a girl...guess she had always wanted a daughter...and she never failed to remind me of this like it was my fault”.

He seemed to feel awkward at the my expression which must have been a mixture of pity and shook because he wave it away like it was no big deal, “But it's fine...at least it wasn’t as bad as Calder over here...she waited until I was ten to bring me so she must have appreciated me at least a little bit...despite me being a boy”.

I didn’t tell him but that just made the entire thing even more messed up.

Subconsciously my eyes turned towards Enya, the only one who hadn't commented on their childhood trauma. Her red blood eyes met mine immediately, almost like she had been expecting it and I felt my heart skip a beat, both at the intensity of her gaze and at the sudden realization of how beautiful her eyes were.

“My mother, ever since I can remember, constantly reminded me of just how much of a disappointment I as”, she said, still gazing at me like I was personally to blame for this mistreatment, “She said it hadn't even been worth birthing me, all because I didn’t come out the So-”, she stopped herself, like realizing she was about to say something she wasn’t supposed to, “I didn’t come out powerful enough for her taste I guess…”.

Well...this was awkward, like really, really awkward, it almost made me feel guilty for having gotten a parent that actually loved me.

“You should be glad”, Petra said, “At least you won't have to see your dad”.

For a few seconds I actually genuinely came close to jumping at her, so angry I couldn't see straight for several seconds, the thought that I would probably end up a bloody pulp if I started a fight was the only thing that kept me in place.

“My dad loves me”, I said in a barely controlled voice, looking down at my plate of only partially eaten food.

Petra seemed to catch my very drastic shift in tone because she quickly apologized, “Oh really? I'm no...I'm so sorry then...that was very rude of me”.

I felt my anger slowly slipping away, it did make sense for her to think I didn’t want to see him, considering her own experience and that of the others. After all I wasn’t the one that had told them he had been capture, it had probably been one of the handlers, at least for that I was thankful since I probably would have choked up recollecting the entire experience in front of them, it did ,however, leave room for doubt on my father’s character, and that I would not allow.

“Do you...want to talk about him?”Petra offered, though I could see she asking more out of curiosity on how growing up with a good parent was than to make me feel better, regardless, I did find that I wanted to talk about him, even if it made me miss him more.

“Well...there's a lot to say”, I began, “My father...he is a great man, he is more on the quiet side but I never feel lonely when I'm with him…”, I pause suddenly realizing just how cheesy that all sounded only to find that everybody was looking fixedly at me like what I was telling them was the most fascinated thing in the world, “He would tuck me into bed each night and read me bedtime stories when I wasn’t sleepy…”.

There was just so much to say, how we would go for ice cream when I was sad about moving, how he would entertain me on our long drives by playing a game of counting cars of different colors, I always picked white and won, he didn’t mind.

It would take me hours just to tell them how wonderful my father was, how much I loved him, how he keep and album full of pictures of me, how he had taught me to ride a bike and later on to drive...it didn’t seem possible to put into words, that bond, that connection we had...but they had looked so hurt when they spoke of their parent, it was obvious that as much as they tried to down plate it they all had serious abandonment issues, they all just had learned to cope differently. I wasn’t sure how much good it would make them to hear about my father but if it meant at least alleviating their pain somewhat it was worth the shot.

“So”, Coach began as we stood in a semicircle around him “As you may all already been informed, your parent will be coming over to visit so from today up untill they arrive, in a week's time, we will be extrictly practicing individual company and group combat, so not war games, we need to be ready to give all your parent a good demonstration of your progress understood?”.

There was a few groans wich he ignored as he continued, “As usual, lets begin with individual compat”, he brought out a marker and began writing something on the whiteboard he had dragged out here to the middle of the arena just for the occasion, “First let's do Enya against Petra, Calder again Hela and finally Draven against Asher”.

He turned to look back at us, “The winners of each match will then go against each other to determine the winner. You guys know the drill, Enya, Petra, you are up, the rest of you watch the fight closely and learn from it”.

I swallowed nervously as a big blue circle appeared on the floor and both Enya and Petra took stances on opposite sides of it, the rest of us sitting on the floor at a prudent distance to watch.

The coach didn’t even bother to ask if they were ready, or to prepare, “Start!”he shouted, sending the two girls into motion.

The ground began to crack with green energy under Petras bare feet while it melted on the other side thanks to Enya.

Like two forces of nature they collided, a tornado of red fire enveloping Petra and I thought there was no way she was coming out there alive. I was swiftly proven wrong as the earth itself seemed to shake and Petra appeared from the ground behind Enya, her entire body coated in emerald armor as vines of the same formed from the ground and began wrapping themselves around the red eyed girl.

She grunted pulling herself free at the last moment before the vines could fully trap her and again it bega, both of them crashing and falling back and I could see why Coach had put them against each other.

Enya's attack weren’t solid, they were fast volatile and dangerous but they couldn't very well trap her enemy so her only chance to winning waas by knocking Petra out, who, on the other hand, was the complete opposite, all of her attacks were slow but solid and next to unbreakable it was like watching a raging forest fire meet a thick rock wall, given time, who would win?.

The read energy around Enya began to condense into orbs that shone like brith red suns which emanate so much heat I could feel it from where I was, and clearly it was beginning to be too much for Petra who, despite her armor, began to back away and try and attack Enya from a distance.

Like this was a very extreme version of lazer tag, all of the orbs exploded into white red beams of light that focused on Petra. The smaller girl put her hands up to defend herself, the red energy being stopped by her green armour but it was still swoly pushing her back and I could hear her grunting with effort.

The intensity of the beams only intensified as Enya's marking glowed brighter, and Petra lost more and more ground.

A mere few feet away from the edge of the circle she finally gave in, not longer able to resist the sheer power of the red beams that hit her full forced and send her flying several meters back landing on a heap with an awful clanking sound thanks to her armored that had protected her from the worst of the heat.

I began to get up to go check up on her and see if she needed healing but Coach stopped me with a hand motion, “I'll deal with this today”, he said. I wasn’t sure why had decided to cut me some slack since a few hours ago he had been throwing knives at me but I was just thankful I could save my strength for my fight with Draven which I was sure would be far from pleasant.

Helas and Calder fight lasted longer than the last one, and for most of it Calder had the advantage, between him having more soul energy, since he had marking on one leg and arms while Hela had only her left arm, he's abilities were more dynamic, he could alternate from using high pressure water attacks that look strong enough to cut through stone, to protecting himself with impenetrable ice walls.

As for herpart, Hela kept on summoning progressively bigger and meaner looking bone monsters. I seriously wondered what exactly was going on in her head to make such nithmarish creations.

Despite her grotesque minions Calder was still gaining on her, destroying everything she threw at him with not much of a true efort, it almost didn’t seem fair. Despite this her face showed no emotion, focused on only one thing, Calder.

She pumber her fist together and a spiky bone armor formed around her, in time to deflect a torrent of ice shards Calder threw at her. In her hand two bone swords appeared and she charged, like a soldier on some ancient battlefield throwing themselves at the enemy.

Her boldness seemed to throw Calder off balance because he threw a water wave at her with the obvious intention of pushing her back but when it had passed not only was she still standing in the same spot but there were five more of her.

“Hu?”, I said, now thoroughly confused, I wasn’t aware cloning was one of the white dragons abilities.

“There's only one of her”, Draven whispered from beside me, “She just created several bone armores to confuse Calder but they are all empty shells no more powerful than her other creations”.

If he hadn't told me I wouldn't have believed it, all six of them moved with such lifelike precision I couldn’t really tell the difference just from looking, I guess the heartbeat could give it away...if anybody could concentrate through the massive amount of noise the fight was producing.

With a swift motion Calder created a water blade and cut two of the bone clones clean in half and both began reforming immediately while a third attacked him from behind, this one managing to partially cut his neck open, blood gushing out of the wound which just seemed to irritate Calder even more.

In a true horror fashion movie his blood came to life and like a whip chopped the clone that had cut him into so many pieces it looked like it wasn’t regenerating any time soon. That left two armor-clad figures, and one of them had to be Hela.

Both figures snapped their fingers at the same time and all the bones, the remains of all of Helas creations, exploded into a fine mist of white dust that hung over the fighting area so heavily it was hard to even see what was going on.

I could hear Calder coughing violently from somewhere in the white cloud, I could barely imagine just how unpleasant the feeling of powder bones on your throat when you tried to breath was.

“There she goes”, Draven whispered, pointing to an area behind Calder's barely visible silhouette, as two smaller figures approached, swords ready.

He turned around wildly, shattering both figures with two ice shards but what he failed to see was the third figure that jumped from the white hase, Hela, the real one, using the screen the dust created she had made another clone of herself and tricked her adversary.

All it took was one light touch on his shoulder and his arms and legs exploded, his bones now in her control, were forcibly pulled from his flesh in one of the most gruesome ways imaginable, a display of blood and gore far beyond what any horror film could manage.

Calder scream, a raw agonizing sound which shook me to my very core. I was up and running towards him before I realized it.

“You sure you want to do that?”, Coach asked from his perch on a camping chair from where he was supervising the matches, clearly unfazed by the entire bloody show.

“I dont care”, I snapped, I was probably going to lose my fight with Draven aniway and it almost made me physically ill to leave Calder like this, sure Coach could help him somewhat but not like I could.

Was this bonding? I wondered as I knelt by Calders screaming figure, was I doing all of this just because of some wire in reflex I had as a healer? Calder had been anithign but friendly towards me so maybe that wasn’t it….maybe I was just a nicer of a person that I thought I was...or maybe...just mabye, I whanted Calder to be my friend to acept me like he did the others, it was stupid, I knew, but I still whanted to belong, to be one of them.

“Is okay”, I mutered reassuringly as graped his hand as gently as I could, activating my ability and allowing my energy to flow into his. “You are going to be okay”.

The amount of damage he had was astronomical, every bone in his arms and legs were missing and they had ripped everything apart on their way out. I wasn’t sure whether I had enough energy to re-grow it all but I was sure as hell going to try.

I could feel myself getting more and more low on energy as his bones reformed and his flesh mended itself but I kept going, only stopping when his wounds were nothing more but superficial and would take less than an hour to heal by themselves.

He sat up, looking fixedly at me, “Why did you do that?”, he asked, like it was genuinely puzzling.

I shrugged it off like it was no big deal, “You were screaming your head off...seem cruel to leave you like that”.

His eyes narrowed as he observed me, almost like he expected to find some deception there, I stared back, confident he wouldn't find anything, I had genuinely wanted to help him, there was nothing more to it.

He said something discernable at me as he got to his feet, his clothes still bloodied and soaked through.

“Hu?”, I asked, trying to figure out if he was trying to tell me something.

“I said thank you”, he snapped, extending his hand towards me to help me to my feet.

Despite his tone I could see sincerity on his face his usual cold distaste for me beginning to dissipate.

I took his hand, thankful for the help because in all honesty I felt shaky, “Your welcome”, I said as we faced each other a new level of trust in between us.

“Please try not to kill me”, I , very politely, asked Draven as we stood on opposite sides of the ring.

“No promises”, he said, “But I'll try to not kill too painfully”.

Well...that was good enough for me.

Like a jugues final verdict the dreaded words came, “Start!”, Coach shouted and the fight I was very much not looking forward to began.

Draven markings immediately began to glow black and shadows formed around him, I wasn’t about to wait for him to further extend them and charge him immediately, activating my ability to give me an extra push of speed.

His shadows moved in to block me and I could see why Coach had repeatedly thrown knives at me this morning as blades of shadows appeared from the darkness and treateene to turn me into grated cheese.

Each time I felt them coming before I saw them, each time I doge them as best as I could but sometimes there were just too many and I had to decide which would do less damage. It was good I could heal myself as I did when otherwise all the cuts would have begun to slow me down.

Next came the poisonous feathers, those were harder to doge, and forze me to slow down as several encrusted themselves on me.

The pain wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, but the effect was still immediate. I felt terribly sick, seconds away from puking my guts out, my head pounded, my vision blurry and I found it rather difficult to breathe.

With a grunt of effort I focused my healing to pushing the poison out, shakily pulling the feather of our flesh as I cursed Draven under my breath.

Drunkenly I dodged another poisoning attack, but my reflexes were far from being at their fullest and I just ended up with more of the damn poison feathers on me.

If I wanted to win this I had to do it now otherwise Draven would just comfortably keep on attacking me from the safety of his shadows until I succumbed to the poison or he got a lucky shot with one of his shadow blades.

Gritting my teeth I ignore the feathers, ignore the cuts and simply focus my healing on keeping me awake as I ran like a madman into the spot I knew Draven was in, I could feel his energy, see it even among the shadows.

The surroundings turned chilly as I entered his miniature dark world and even before I touched him I felt myself lacht on to his energy. I was too fast, he hadn't had time to react, his energy would be mine before he could even think of attacking me, against all odds I was going to win this fight...except I didn’t.

Much like all the other time I had tried with the volunteers this morning I could perfectly find somebody’s energy, could connect with it but the moment it came to absorb it something stop me, a mind block I still could dissipate and so I was helpless as Draven shadow cut me apart, I had willingly entered his territory and there was no escape.

“You could have won that, you know?”, Coach asked, approaching me as I finished throwing up on the floor the effects on the position finally having caught on to me.

“But I didn’t”, I said bitterly, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. Dravens blades were razor sharp and made clean cuts that would make a surgeon proud, which was rather unfortunate for me . I had to almost completely heal all of them if I didn’t want to go into the next part of training with my intestines hanging out.

“If you don't work out that block you have by yourself something else will do it for you”, Coach warned, helping me to my feet.

I sighed, “I know…”.

He gave me a sympathetic look, “Well you have some time to rest while the second round is going on, try to get some of your strength back, you will need it for group training”.

He, more than anybody else, should have known I couldn't simply willed strength back into myself but I still nodded along, “Yes Coach”.

Group training had been utterly miserable at least for me. Apparently the arena had more technology that I could have possibly imagined as it used a hologram system that created solid illusions, like really solid as I found out the moment Coach activated the simulation and I suddenly found myself facing hundreds of celestials and desolations.

Coach had tried to explain the tactic that we had to deploy when fighting together, Petra and Calder were shields and would go in front while Draven and Enya server as artillery behind them and Heal and me came last, she was the most useful when creating her monsters while I had to heal antibody that got hurt, and in emergencies, work and an amplificator.

Of Course they were all used to fighting together, they probably worked like a well oil machine, the problem was that I was a new piece and that threw everybody off balance, even in my presence did provide an advantage. The fighting was a level of caos I had never thought possible, even when the enemies weren’t real, and disappear the moment we “kill”, they were still threatening and very strong, I'm not sure how many times I got trumped, torn and thrown around but it was an uncomfortable lot but the point we were done I felt like there wasn’t a part of me that didn’t hurt and, promptly refuse to heal anybody, not that any of them were seriously hurt.

That was probably a jerk move on my part but then again I was running on fumes, unlike them, who could defend themselves, not even my energy aboscio ability could help me against illusions, not that I could even use the ability.

“So…you guys do this everyday?”, I asked Draven, walking tiredly after him as we made our way to the dining room. By this point I was too exhausted to care about all the staring we got.

“Pretty much”, he said, “There's some variants here and there...but that is our life, we study in the morning, train in the afternoons...have game night once in a while”.

I had to be honest, it sounded depressing, the thought that this was my life now seemed almost unbearable but I had to endure it all because it meant finding my father, and I would do anything to accomplish that.

My life fell into a routine during the next few days. Wake up early, study with Alex, as I had finally learned was the name of the young handler that gave me private lessons, then do some training with coach, I still didn't manage to work through my mental block but my danger sense were improving significantly from all the knife throwing, after that have lunch and then more training, this time along the others.

Over the last week I had the misfortune of getting almost drowned by Calder, buried alive by Petra, poisoned by draven, toasted by Enya and goten my bones taken out by Hela, by far the worst of all of my fighting experiences, she had been kind enough to only do it on one leg but I had to say, that was enough to discourage me from even wanting to go again her ever again.

I hadn't had any other weird dreams as well, or any hallucinations or disembodied voices talking in my ears. Watching I took it as a positive thing, maybe I wasn’t going crazy after all.

Tomorrow was the day the others parent would be arriving and we had gotten the day off to just do whatever we wanted and prepared yourself for tomorrow and the “Big ceremony”, there was going to be, nobody had explain much about it to me except we had to wear the traditional clothing and stand in front of every single person that lived in the Den, which just sounded right about hellish, I just hoped I didn’t have to say anything.

There others were nervous, despite having free time some of them had gone to train to burn off the giftery energy while others took the opportunity to get some extra sleep. As for me, I found myself walking on a part of the Den I had never been before, following Draven’s instructions on how to find the library.

It had been seven days since I had gotten here and had received no words on how the search for my father was going, I had tracked down Lionel three times so far and each time he had told me there was no news but that they were searching.

I knew there wasn’t much I could do but I still felt useless just waiting around for somebody else to find my father, apart from training as hard as I could the only thing I could think of doing to help was studying...well not studying so to speak but learning everything I could about the Celestials, who they were, and were they could be hiding, it would probably yield nothing, as I had told myself many times, but if anything it serve to calm my nerves.

The entrance door to the library was almost as imposing as the one to the Council room, made of the same black metal material and carved with runes with meanings I was beginning to learn thanks to Alex’s hard work.

I wasn’t sure if I had to push, pull, or chant an ancient hymn for the doors to open but it turned out all I had to do was stand close enough and like some sort of magic they parted for me.

I was beginning to suspect my collar had something to do with it, some doors would open for me others didn’t, apparently I did have permission to be here.

The library was huge, as huge as everything in the Den with bookcases that reached the ceiling and spiraling stars that went around them. In any other circumstance my book loving self would have been tried...but at the moment I was looking for very specific information and if there was one nemesis of mine was library classification codes, I could never find anything.

In any other circumstance I would have looked for a library computer to help me find the books I need but here, in the Den, they choose to live in the stone age and have nothing of the sort wicht just left me lost as to what to do.

After several minutes of walking around with no true direction I chose to just try my luck, going to different sections and grabbing books at random till I could not carry any more of them, found the closest table, and dumped all of them there.

I quickly realize there were several flaws to my plan, one, most book weren’t written in language I knew and I just didn’t feel like learning russian just to read and book that looked to only talk about botanics.

Others I could read but were of no use, there was a book in spanish on aerodynamics, and portuguese one on organic chemistry and a bunch of french poetry. I quickly weeded out these ones, the ones I either couldn't understand and didn’t seem useful and the ones that I could but also provided no relevant information.

That process left me with three times that looked way older than the other one, bound in worn down leather and with crinkly yellowish pages, this one we're writing by hand in a weird elaborated kind of writing that more resemble runes that actually letters but that I found I could read which probably meant I was on the right track.

I opened the thickest of the three volumes, finding it cited no author or date of publication, it simply went into the topic at hand immediately and with no prelude.

“The thousand year war”, it read.

Despite it not being what I had been searching for, the title still caught my attention and I began reading.

“Since the beging to time the dragon clan had lived apart and in constant fighting, however this minot struggles never evolve into something serious since both side other tried to avoid as many casualties as possible, this all change when a particular dragon appear, when the first Sovereign was born he came into the word with a divine purpose and it was that of uniting the dragon clans”.

There was a drawing in the middle of the page, that of a human silhouette and over its heart the runes that represent each of the clans.

Alex had taught me to recognize each of them, and that tin drawings and illustrations when the artist wanted to differentiate between the different types of dragon they would draw their clan runes over their heart, this one however had all of them.

“The Sovereign'', the book went on, “The most powerful of all dragons, began his noble mission by uniting the Ruby, Silver, Opal and Golden clans together against the ones who refused to yield, the Onyx, Turquoise and Emeralds. Through the course of the thousand year wars the Sovereign lived many lives but in the end his mission was completed once the blood war came to at end the all powerful dragon kidmo was born, and the crude reality of its origin, this is the story of the most gruesome war the world has ever witness, of the many who fought and died in it and what they created”.

Eagerly I turned the page only to find every single letter had been erased, there was nothing but a blank page to meet me, surprise I turned to the next page only to find that it was talking about a completely different topic, something to do with medicine plants good for black poison.

“What the hell?”,I muttered, rereading the first page to see if I had missed anything, staring at the blank page when that came after it as if maginacaly words would appear.

Carefully I passed a finger over the inner spine of the book and sure enough, it had been very carefully done but I could still feel the rough edges of missing pages, somebody had ripped out an entire chapter from this book.

I lifted through the rest of the book, trying to see if there were more missing pages and in several parts I found them, especially the one that talked about the darkest parts of Dragon history.

With a sinking feeling I opened the next book, the other old looking tome only to be met with the same result, missing chapter, black pages where there shouldn’t be ones...this book, the one that talks about the story of my species had been altered.

Who could have done this? I wondered now feeling irritated, frustrated at the entire thing, what were they trying to hide?.

I pushed my chair back a little more hard than necessary as I got up with the intent to find somebody to explain this, the librarian, the closest Handler, anybody would do.

It wasn’t hard to notice the sound and scent of somebody close by, somebody who’s clothes and skin were impregnated with the smell of old papers, whoever they were, they probably work in the library, good that was just what I needed.

I rounded the corner with anger fueled strength in my steps and prepared to confront the person about the altered books, about what they were trying to hide.

So concentrated was I in practicing my little speech I almost bumped into a boy that was probably two or three years older than me and that made a very loud squeaking sound in surprise at finding me suddenly there.

Some of the confidence deflated out of me as I tried to apologize, which was hardly the way to start a strong demand for the truth.

“Uh...sorry about that”, I said, looking him over to make sure he was okay, not that I had actually touched him, he just looked like he would have a heart attack, his heart beat through the roof.

Despite probably being older than me he was shorter, with reddish brown hair and tan skin, dark brown eyes opened so wide I was sure they would go out of orbit.

“Are you...okay?”, I asked as he swallowed nervously, still looking at me like I was a ghost.

“I'm fine!”, he said in a tone that would be frowned at by any librarian, and he seemed to realize this, cringuin at his own voice, “I'm fine...I really have no problem with me, I'm perfectly okay”.

He gave me an exaggerated thumbs up while my frown only depended, “Aniway”, he said in a shaky voice sounding short of his teeth chattering, “I got to go”.

Before I could get the chance to do anything he very quickly started walking in the opposite direction of me and which finally snapped me into action.

“Hey wait!”, I called, walking after him. For a few seconds he accelerated his pace short of running but finally stopped and turned back to face me looking pale and I could hear as he clenched his teeth.

“Yes?”, he asked almost in a whisper and it was then that I realised what was going on, he was shy, more so than me, which sucked because it meant I had to be the less socially awkward of the two of us for this to work.

“Do you work here?”, I asked, and quickly, and quite unsesarly added, “In the library I mean?”.

I could almost see the wheels turning in his brain as if wondering whether liying would get him out of this. I really couldn't blame him, I would have done the same thing, but at the moment I really need his help, or at least for him to direct me to somebody who could help.

“Yeah...I do work”, he said, “Here in the library...I work here”. He clasped his mouth shut to stop the flow of words, looking like he would rather get swallowed alive at the moment than be there.

“Thats good”, I said, ignoring his litle rant, “Theres...soeting I need help with, I found a couple of books that are altered...chapters missing, pages blank were they shouldn’t be…”, I suddenly felt stupid askign another teenager to help me with this, he coulnd’t be more than an asitatn here, there was not way he knew why the book were like that but by this point it woudl be too embarassing to tell him, actually never mind bye!.

“I just… I was wondering if you knew anything about that?”.

He frowned, “Chapter missing?”, he asked, as I could tell he found this quite perturbing, a book lover I presume.

I nodded, glass that at least he hadn't told me he had no idea outright, “Yeah...probably ripped out”.

He paused for a few seconds as if practicing what he was going to say “Can...I see the books?”. He asked.

I sighed in relief, that was just what I was hoping he would say, “Sure...they are right this way”.

Nothing, my little trip to the library had yielded nothing of use, if anything I was more confused than before.

David, as the young librarian assistance had later introduced himself, was as lost as me on why the books were missing pages and whole chapters.

He had even been kind enough to help me search for books that covered similar topics only for us to find a rather disconcerting pattern, some books did narrate the story of the thousand year war, but they were much newer looking that their altered counterparts and some of the information didn’t match with the older ones.

In all of them there was the contant mention of a dragon referred to as The Sovereign, a dragon who was supposedly the most powerful of them all but they never indicated how, or why and the information was incredibly conflict, some sited The Sovereign as female, while other said they were male, sometimes it said they were from one clan and the next page they would be from the another, it was all too confusing.

David, who had progressively becoming less nervous around me, had promised he would kept on investigating about it, he seemed just and intrigue as me by the entire thing, I wasn’t sure when we could met up again to continue our little search but I hoped it would be soon, as fruitless as the entire thing had been at least it had occupied my mind for a few hours, keep me from going sick with worry and pen up nervousness.

“Hey earth to Asher you there?”, Draven asked, waving a hand in front of my face, snapping me out of the train of thought.

“Hu?”, I asked, realizing I had been frozen still, my fork loaded with food half way on its trip to my mouth, it also looked like I had been staring at Enya who was sitting in front of me on the table, something she didn’t seem to appreciate and I quickly averted my eyes, hopign I wasn’t blushing.

“I said where were you all morning?”,Draven repeated the question he had probably already voiced several times without succeeding on getting through to me, “You just disappear”.

“Just...I was in the library” I said awkwardly, hadn't realized just how much time I had spent in there until my stomach began protesting the entire situation and I realized it was lunch time.

“All morning?”Petra asked, like that was quite unbelievable.

“He was probably just trying to find a damn book in there”, Calder muttered like he had been personally victimized by the Den’s library organization, something I could sympathize with.

As the hours tick down for the moment of their parent arrival I could see them getting progressively more nervous, Petra launching into a full on story on one time she had spent two hour searching for a book and even Calder chuckle slightly at some of her comedic remarks on the entire incident, witch just sounded scary to me, if Calder was even making more noise than strictly necessary it meant he was around two stages away from pulling his hair out with stress.

I tried to get into Petra’s story, witch was surprisingly interesting, or maybe she was just good at narrating and making people laugh but my mind keep on turning back to what I had read today, and the one thought that wouldn't leave me alone no matter how much I tried to push it away and as Petra finished her story I finally couldn't bare it any longer.

“Hey”, I began, addressing everybody, “Do...do any of you know what The Sovereign is?”.

The silence that followed was so profound I was sure a normal human could have heard a mosquito's heartbeat, it was like they all had even forgotten to breathe as they all turned their head slowly to look at me.

I stared back at all of them with wide eyes, wondering what exactly I had said wrong and very much wishing I had never asked.

Finally Draven cleared his throat a little too forcefully, “Where... Did you hear that?”, he hissed like somebody was listening in to our conversation.

“I...read it in a book”, I whispered back, noticing the tension that was building up in the room and something else, an energy I couldn't quite identify but was heavy enough to make me shudder.

“Damet”, Draven cursed under his breath, “Out of everything you could have read…”, and now he looked at everybody but at me.

“Should we tell him?”.

Just by looking at them I could tell there was an entire silent conversation going on, all of them knowing each other enough to read subtle gestures and expressions.

“I say we do it”, Enya said after several tense minutes, breaking the oppressive silence, “Why not? they were going to tell him eventually anyway”.

I wasn’t sure why Enya out of all people was on my side on this one, we certainly weren’t friends, sure she had grown to partially tolerate me over the last week but we were still a long way from being all budy-budy and unlike Calder I had yet to find a way for her to accept, me maybe this was a step in the right direction.

“You sure?”. Petra asked, she, to my surprise, looked to be against the entire thing.

“For once I have to agree with Enya here”, Calder said, another surprise, “Is best for him to see the big picture”.

That left only Hela and Draven to give their opinion. The latter looked indecisive making a point of looking at Hela like shoving the bulk of the responsibility on her shoulders.

She was quiet for a long time, enough that I was beginning to think she wasn’t going to answer.

“Everybody says we should”, she whispered after a long time, “I called on the ancient spirits and they agreed”.

Well I hadn't wanted to know that she had been having a little conversation with the dead beside me, it may not have been as shocking as the first time I found out she could do that but it was still creepy...at least they were on my side I would send them a thank you letter if I could but that would be rather difficult.

“Okay then…”, Draven said, taking a shaky breath, it was clear the responsibility of explaining had fallen on him.

“The Sovereign is a dragon born each generation...or well one is born as soon as the last one dies...so there can only be one Soverith alive at a time and what makes them especial, and the most powerful out of all the dragons is their ability to use every type of soul energy”.

I could feel my heartbeat accelerate as he talked, but I made an effort to remain still, appearing uninterested.

“The Sovereign could be either male or female and they could be born into any clan and there was no particular order in this, sometimes they would be born three time in a row to the same clan and skip others for millenia”.

“So…”, I venture, “If with us the dragons have been reborn...then one of us is The Sovereign?”. It made sense in my head at least, if one was born every generation and we were technically a generation of dragons then The Sovereign had been reborn along with us.

Instead of agreeing with me, like I had expected they all flinched even Calder grimaced at my comment.

“Well…” Draven began but go interrupted by Enya abruptly getting up and leaning over the table and getting right into my face, a mask of hot boiling anger on her face

“No”, she growled, “None of us is The Sovereign”.

“But-”, I protested, only stopping when I noticed Draven and Petra frantically shaking their heads at me.

“But what?”Enya asked fierzly, the atmosphere suddenly uncomfortably hot, “What? Did you think you were The Sovereign? you sure think you are special don't you?”.

“I never said-”, I began, trying to defend myself but got interrupted yet again but this time it was Calder who had gotten up and placed a hand on Enya’s shoulder holdin her back.

The expression on his face was what made me go cold, suddenly forgetting all about defending myself. I had never seen Calder display such a raw emotion, such pain and grief behind his cold blue eyes.

“Asher”, he spoke calmly like usual, but his voice lacked its signature arrogance, “None of us is The Sovereign because one was already born in our generation and he died three years ago”.