Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Academy or any of its characters.
AN: Hello readers! A special thank you to all the reviewers who shared your opinions with me. Sorry it took so long to update. I'm one of those people who really just cannot write unless I have active interest in the series I'm writing for. So if I write a story about a certain book series it usually means I'm rereading the books so I get more inspiration. Anyway, thanks to everyone for being so patient for me to update, I really appreciate it. Also, I finished Last Sacrifice and I must say that is was amazing, though the ending was bittersweet, it was still a very good read. Warning: Some upcoming chapters may contain spoilers, proceed with caution. Enjoy! ~ ARD
Rose's Point of View
The flight to Montana was uneventful. Christian and I were in the first class section, I sat in the seat closest to the window while he took the one by the aisle. Christian and I talked occasionally about nothing in particular, while avoiding any topics related to our returning to the Academy or my new guardian, who I knew nothing about, other than he was a friend of Tasha's. Both of us ignored the idiotic complementary video that was being shown. Christian people watched the entire flight-a habit he tended to execute no matter what environment he was in-examining the other passengers like one might secretly be a Strigoi or something. Not likely, though I guess it wasn't impossible either. I just stared out the window as New York disappeared and new sceneries played through my view.
Aunt Tasha had offered to go with us, like she had when we first started attending at the Academy, but we had declined. There was really no point in her flying all the way to the school just to immediately travel back to New York, especially since we were older now. So we had said our goodbyes at the airport. Along with the farewells I had also apologized to Tasha, not wanting us to part on a bad note. She was one of few people who I actually trusted and despite me not agreeing with her decision, I knew she only had my best interests at heart. Though I was still far from happy about her going behind my back and assigning a guardian to me, friend of hers or not.
About three and a half tedious hours later we finally landed. I had to sigh in relief, even though that meant we were that much closer to being back at the Academy. I might not hate flying, but it was too monotonous for someone like me, who always felt the need to be doing something productive.
As soon as we exited the airplane I noticed them immediately. Two guardians, I vaguely recognized them from school, standing eerily still and scanning the area for us and any possible threats. They were obviously there to escort us safely back to the Academy. Whether to protect us from Strigoi or ensure we didn't make a run for it, I wasn't sure. If I were to wager though, I would bet on the latter, I was known to do some crazy stunts. Like running away from any form of authority, even at the cost of my own safety. Which was probably why Tasha got a guardian assigned to me in the first place.
I looked for possible escape routes, just to see if making a run for it was still an option, but there weren't many. The guardians were blocking the main doors and the only other door that led outside was the fire exit, which would inevitably set off an alarm if opened. It didn't really matter anyway, the guardians had already spotted us and were heading over. There was no point in trying to evade them, even with my training I wouldn't be able to outrun a dhampir.
In a blur of activity that I couldn't fully process, the guardians had retrieved our luggage and were flanking us on either side, as we exited the airport's lobby. I sighed in defeat, it was too late to do anything about it now. Even I couldn't put up much of a struggle against a fully trained guardian. We followed them until I caught the familiar sight of the Academy issued transportation, a van. I know, lame, right? However what I was not expecting were the people waiting beside the vehicle.
It wasn't unusual for the Academy to send guardians to pick up Moroi, especially royals that didn't have any appointed guardians. In the past there were usually a few who would usher us back to school grounds when we came with Tasha. The difference lied in the fact that before there were one or maybe two of them, at the most. Now there were almost a dozen guardians here just to escort two disgraced royals from an airport to St. Vladimir's. Even the queen herself didn't travel with that many at any given time.
Some of the guardians I recognized from the Academy, others I had never seen before, which only furthered the oddity of them being there. One man in particular stood out the most. He was one of the unfamiliar guardians, probably in his mid-twenties. He was very tall, at least a foot over my five-foot-seven, with dark eyes, and brown hair that was tied back from his face. Under different circumstances, I would say he was hot, but I had a feeling this guy was going to be the appointed bad news bringer.
The tall man stepped forward and swept a bow that was surprisingly graceful considering his height. "Lord Ozera, Lady Rosemarie. We are here to ensure your safe return back to the Academy." He had a slight Russian accent, but it was his words that bothered me. Gah. If there was anything I hated more than the thought of having a guardian it was being called by my full name or royal titles. I wondered if he knew that and was using them purposely just to annoy me. Royal Moroi didn't usually get addressed by their royal title until they were considered a legal adult at eighteen.
"My name is Rose," I said curtly, not bothering with politeness. I narrowed my eyes at him, sizing him up and calculating my odds against him. Admittedly, they weren't looking very good. "And who exactly are you?"
He didn't seem fazed by my rudeness, someone must have warned him about my attitude. His dark eyes focused on me, as he answered. "My name is Dimitri Belikov. I will be your personal guardian from now on."
No freaking way. Damn it! What was I supposed to do now? It was too late to run and he looked like the kind of guy who could stop me anyway, even if I had a head start. Why did I have to get stuck with one of the super serious guardians? It was going to be a pain to get anything done with him shadowing my every move.
"You have got to be kidding me," I chuckled, bitterly. I wasn't about to play nice just because he was good-looking or Tasha's friend. If he was going to be my permanent guardian he was going to have to get acquainted with my inner bitchiness eventually. I suppose if he couldn't deal with me, it would end up working in my favor, anyway. "My aunt hired foreign labor to protect me?"
"Rose," Christian said, reprovingly. It wouldn't surprise me if he already knew what I was up to. He usually did. He came and clenched my shoulder, just short of it being painful, an obvious warning. "Enough."
Than he turned to address Dimitri himself. "Sorry about my sister, she's just in a bit a bad mood. And I would prefer you call me Christian."
"Very well," Dimitri said. "We should get moving, then. Don't want to be late." His face had been completely relaxed throughout the entire conversation, even when I had insulted him. I recognized it, though. A lot of dhampir had what I had come to refer as a "guardian mask" that they wore while on duty, they never showed their reactions and as a very outspoken person it had always annoyed me.
I opened my mouth to comment on how he could bite me and I wasn't going to move of my own free will when one of the other guardians stepped forward. This one I actually knew. Alberta Petrov. She was an older dhampir, maybe in her fifties, but she was one of few people that had actually earned my respect throughout my years at the Academy.
"Rose," she addressed me, and I automatically felt like straightening my back or something in reflex at the authority in her tone. "We need to leave. Would you please get inside the vehicle so we can get to the Academy before nightfall?" As soon as she was finished all eyes locked on me, expectantly, including my brother's. My mouth thinned to a straight, hard line as I glared acidly at everyone before entering the soccer-mom van.
Once everyone was loaded into the van we set off. Somehow we were arranged so Christian and I sat across from each other with a guardian on either side of us. I recognized one of guardians flanking Christian as Stan Alto. He was in his late twenties and was notorious for being a jerk to the dhampir novices. I was stuck between Alberta and Dimitri. Go figure. Maybe they thought I would try to jump out of the car even when they started moving. The option was looking better and better admittedly. Road burn had to be better than this. But since it wasn't a real choice I opted for stared blankly out the back window, watching the different landscapes flash by and trying to ignore the presence of multiple guardians surrounding me.
I could tell we were getting closer as the houses and buildings thinned, then disappeared altogether, until only layers of trees and other vegetation could be seen through any of the windows. This only made the Academy seem more out of place because of the lack of any other type of civilization to be found for miles out.
When St. Vladimir's Academy finally came into view it was dusk, which meant that the vampiric day was only just beginning. The Academy looked exactly the same as it always did. The buildings that were spread out on campus gave it an almost college feel, but students were given way less freedom than people who attended regular universities. The architecture had always reminded me of Gothic-styled cathedrals, with its high peaks and stone carvings. All of the Academies were modeled after the original schools back in Europe. Moroi were big on tradition; which was just another reason Tasha, Christian, and I, who believed Moroi should help fight back against Strigoi, weren't accepted by other royals.
Now, as we as we approached the Academy's wrought iron gates, my stomach seized with anxiety, the same claustrophobic feeling I always got when I first entered Academy grounds. The gates always seemed to cage you inside after you entered.
The guardians who were assigned to protect the gates took extra care to examine us thoroughly. Never mind the SWAT team of guardians that surrounded us and the fact that the undead wouldn't be able to pass the wards. They needed to use the extra time to be positive we weren't Strigoi. It kind of made me want to punch them in the face, though I restrained myself, barely. But afterward, I couldn't resisted smiling at them widely enough to flash my fangs and had the enjoyment of watching one of them shudder slightly before a hand clamped on my arm and dragged me through the gates. I looked up and met the identical eyes of my brother, his eyes clearly saying "behave yourself, if you can." I sighed agitated again at me reprimanded by someone not even a year older than me and jerked my arm out of his grip, moving forward without his arm guiding me like I was toddler or something. Then proceeded to take in the familiar surroundings that I had not seen in months.
It felt strange being here after living the past weeks with Tasha in New York. New York was always bustling with people and traffic, and you inhaled more exhaust fumes than you did air. In Montana each breath you took was cool, pure, and unpolluted. Though that was to be expected. We were after all miles away from anything even resembling civilization. Which made chances of escaping without some kind of transportation very slim. Even if by some miracle we did manage it they would search for us and drag us back to the Academy eventually.
I was taken out of my musing by the familiar faces of my friends shouting at me, waving, and practically dancing in impatience for me to join them from where they were across the grounds. I laughed slightly and felt lighter that I had all day seeing their friendly faces that were genuinely happy to see me. I started walking towards them, hand raised to wave back. I could sense at least two people following me, but since I was positive I knew who they were, decided to ignore them. My happiness however was interrupted quickly by a loud piercing screech.
I winced as the banshee shriek grated against my eardrum, then sighed. Welcome back to hell.
AN: Finally got this chapter done, thank God! Thanks to everyone that stuck around for my rather slow update and I hope it was worth the wait. I think next chapter is gonna be in Christian's perspective. Anyway... I have answered some readers' questions below. There may be possible spoilers so if want it to be a surprise skip this part. Please continue to ask questions if anything confuses you and I will try and answer them in the next update.
1. How much older is Christian than Rose?
Christian is about 7 or so months older than Rose. Their mother had back to back pregnancies. Rose was born prematurely, but with no severe health problems. Christian was born toward the end of August so he's already 18. Rose was born on March 27, so she's still 17.
2. Is Rose supposed to be the Ozera family princess?
Rose can't be the princess of the Ozera family. According to the book the prince/princess of each of the royal families is its oldest member. That would definitely not be Rose. There is a lot of older members of the Ozera family, including Tasha, it's just that a lot of them want nothing to do with her or Christian after their parents turned Strigoi. I don't think any of her relatives would voluntarily choose her to be eligible for the throne. The title of the story will make more sense as the story progresses.
3. Is Rose specializing in spirit?
Yes, Rose will be a Spirit user. In the series her being shadow-kissed and taking Lissa's darkness is a big part of the story, so I wanted to give her the element that causes the crazy in the first place.
~ Aurora Rose Dragomir