"What did they say?" Chance asked and I was suddenly reminded that he was in the room. I glared at him for a long moment, trying to resist the urge to kill him for trying to sacrifice Paige to the hunters.
"They're coming to move the students. We've got two hours to relay information my father gave the students of Capita and get everyone prepared to leave," I replied and brushed passed him to exit the dean's office. I stopped for a moment at the secretary's desk to hit the intercom button. "Attention all students. I've contacted the Mage Safety Council and they will be here within the next couple of hours to move us to a new location. However, before anyone returns to their rooms to pack their belongings, I must inform you of something that requires a decision on your part.
"As I am sure many of you have heard from your parents or others in your respective circles, there is a prophecy about the end of the supernatural race war. This prophecy says that a hybrid, born of a three race lineage with the active power of all three races will appear and lead the races in a final fight against the hunters. My father, the previous dean of Capita Academy, believes that this prophecy is currently coming true and that the hybrid we've been waiting for is none other than Paige Trenton. Whether or not this is true, you are now required to make a choice.
"The students who came from Capita Academy have made this choice once already, but will once more be given the option. It is up to each of you, individually, to decide whether you wish to follow Paige to the next location or to return to your homes. We're all well aware now that the hunters are targeting hybrids in to prevent this prophecy from coming true and many of us are willing to help fight against the hunters who have been eradicating our kind for centuries. Think it over and return to your rooms to pack your bags and meet in front of the academy in an hour and a half. At that time you will be free to voice your concerns and make your choice clear. Thank you, that is all."
"You're serious?" Chance asked behind me. I whirled around and glared at him.
"Of course, I am serious. You've seen it with your own eyes the kind of power that she weilds. Not even a pure blood mage has that kind of power," I replied darkly.
"You want me to believe that her magick is boosted by the lycan and vampire blood that runs through her veins? If the hunters want hybrids, then it's in our best interest to give them the hybrids. We gain nothing by protecting them," he said, scoffing at me. Before I had a chance to stifle my rage, my hand shot out, grasping the mage by the throat. The fear that crossed his face didn't bother me in the least. He needed to understand that playing with other people's lives wasn't a game and that no one deserved to die to the hands of the hunters.
"You sure didn't learn a damned thing this morning, Chance," I growled, my gaze steady on his blue eyes. "That girl that you think should just die for your life, protected you when she didn't have to. She didn't have to force you to the outside of that barrier. She didn't have to cover you in a personal shield when the barrier broke. You don't deserve to even breathe the same air as someone like her."
"Dmitri," he gasped, his hands coming up to try and pry mine from his throat.
"Don't even try to say that having mixed blood makes a hybrid less of a being," I hissed. "I've heard that far too many times before to listen to it again. But I will repeat the one thing I have learned in the last couple of months. That girl is most definitely better than either you or I, and I will be damned if I let some piece of shit purist like you try and sacrifice her for your own selfish purposes."
"Dmi-" he started but I squeezed my hand shut, cutting off his air supply as I suddenly thrust him backwards into the wall. For a moment, all I could see was the pain he had forced Paige to suffer through and I continued to slam him against the wall, over and over again. A sudden feeling of limpness under my hand snapped me back to reality and I released my hold on the blonde. I watched as he slumped to the floor, gasping for breath.
"Is that all, Dmitri?" Chance coughed out, moving a hand to the back of his head. "Is that all the anger you've got after everything you claim I put your girl through? Pathetic, really."
"Dmitri, leave," came a cold voice I hadn't expected to hear. I glanced up at the french blooded vampire and my eyes widened slightly at the burning anger in his eyes.
"Vincent..." I murmured.
"Leave," he repeated. "I already know that you can not in good conscience kill someone that Paige protected in such a weakened state. But I'm not the same as you. So leave now." I stared at him for another beat and then nodded, walking out of the office. I didn't look back even as I heard Chance start to beg. Vincent had been completely right, I could not in good conscience kill someone that Paige had protected, but the difference between him and I at this point wasn't something so simple. The fact of the matter was, he'd seen the images that were locked tightly inside Paige's memory, the images she'd hidden from all of us by breaking off the original blood connection until she could bury them sufficiently.
As I walked into the suite, the others came out of their rooms, worried looks on their faces. I knew that they were all worried about had happened between me and Chance, but right then, I didn't want to talk about it. I was more wondering if I would have been more capable of going against Paige's wishes if I had the same knowledge in my head that Vincent did. All I could offer them in response to their silent questions was a shrug as I headed for my own room to begin to pack up my belongings.
"Dmitri?" came a worried voice from the doorway.
"Yeah, Harm?" I asked without turning around.
"Want some help with Paige's things?" she asked, stepping a little farther into the room. I turned slightly and offered her a tired smile.
"That'd be nice, thank you," I replied, turning back to folding my own clothing. "She stuffed her bag underneath the bed I think." For awhile we worked in silence, but I kept feeling her eyes turn in my direction, as if she wanted to ask something but wasn't sure how to phrase it.
"Dmitri, why do you look so upset?" she finally asked. I sighed deeply as I paused the folding of a pair of jeans and just stared at the dark denim for a long moment.
"I was simply trying to figure out how far I'd go to actually protect Paige," I replied softly. "Perhaps I'm not what she really needs. Maybe someone like your brother or Vincent would be better."
"What the hell, Dmitri?" she asked, grabbing my elbow and jerking me around to face her. "Why would you think someone could be better for Paige? This isn't like you at all!"
"I couldn't do it," I mumbled, causing a perplexed look to cross her features. "I couldn't bring myself to make Chance pay for the things he's done to her! All I could think about was that she'd spared his pathetic life, protected him even though he'd hurt her." Harmony's face softened and she quickly wrapped me in a comforting hug.
"That's what Paige needs, Dmitri," she said softly. "Vincent and Ant are good guys and all, but they are quick to use violence to protect Paige. But you know full well, Paige doesn't like violence. She doesn't want to see the people around her hurt and definitely doesn't want to be the cause of someone's pain. You know this, Dmitri, that's why you couldn't do what you really wanted to." I smiled a bit at her words. I'd known that from the beginning, but I guess I just needed to here it from someone else before I could believe it.
"Thanks, Harm," I said, giving the lycan girl a squeeze. "Let's get this finished up so that we can go find out how many people will be moving on to the next safe haven." She nodded and turned back to packing up the few items that Paige had bothered to unpack. Paige really did have this thing against settling in anywhere. I suppose some part of her knew she wouldn't be able to stay in one place for long.
Vincent had returned some time while Harmony and I were packing, standing in silent observation of our actions for several long minutes. When I turned to face him, he gave me only a quick nod before he disappeared from the room. I sighed a bit, knowing that this meant that there was a casualty after all, but at the same time it was not one that I was going to mourn. I may not have been the one capable of pulling the trigger to end Chance Kallen's life, but that did not mean I believed for a moment that he didn't deserve everything he got.
By the time everyone in our suite was packed, we had a about a half hour before the transports were supposed to arrive. Before leaving, I went to Harmony's room to inspect the wound on Paige's back. I was startled to find that the would had already begun to heal, even though the lycan had told me that they'd only stemmed the flow of blood before cleaning and dressing the wound. She hadn't fed on any blood, so her vampire healing shouldn't have kicked in and last the last thing I remembered was that her lycan blood was slow at taking affect on cuts. Maybe her lycan side was beginning to show itself more as the rest of her powers increased. I redressed the wound before redressing her and carefully picked her up to take her out to the transports.
I stopped once we reached the front of the school, completely frozen in wide-eyed shock. From the way things looked, we were the last ones to finish up and join the crowd waiting on the transports. But what really surprised me was that the moment people caught sight of Paige, smiles broke out amongst the crowd. It was a very different reception than when we were preparing to leave Capita. I watched as an auburn haired girl stepped forward, a broad smile plastered across her face as she walked up to me.
"Dmitri, we've been talking amongst ourselves and I think I speak for everyone here," she said her voice strong and loud enough for everyone to hear. "We plan to go to the next safe haven with you guys and Paige. Those of us who weren't at Capita want to be able to prove that we were worth Paige's protection today and have a chance to pay back some of those hunter scum who've hurt our families. Plus we owe her a lot for helping us have the courage to defy Chance's segregation policies. We're really grateful for everything she and you all have done for us."
"You mean, that all one hundred, fifty plus of us are going to the next safe haven?" I gasped still in shock. She nodded as did pretty much everyone else behind her. "I don't think I can express how happy this makes me, would make Paige. But I have to warn you all, Paige is still unaware of the prophecy and the role we believe she plays in it. Please, don't let her know yet." Another round of nods passed through the throng of teenagers.
It wasn't long after that that the transport vans arrived, the drivers shocked to find out that all the students would be going to the same place. They'd figured at least some of the students would choose to return home, but even still, all were going in the same direction now. Again I found myself in the back of one of the large vans, Ant beside me and Paige laid out across both of our laps. The difference this time though was that two of the three other hybrids were sitting in the front seat, and the tension in the air was almost palpable.
"How is she?" Cinder asked, turning around to look back at me as the vans finally got moving.
"She's drained," I replied. "But the lycan blood in her has already started closing the wound in her shoulder. This happened after the last fight too. The magick she uses is powerful and affects such a wide area, that by the time it's over she's drained all of her stamina."
"Is that why you all were so worried about the fact that she blocked you out of the fight? Or was it you were just worried she would get over run and killed?" she asked. Her face was expressionless but her voice was curious and seeminngly concerned.
"It was mostly both of those things," Shane replied. "But we also have a sense of what magick she's getting ready to cast as well. So when she started drawing energy from the other mages in the cafeteria, I was worried about how long she was going to last. The shock wave spell that destroyed the canes, ended up hurting her. And that second spell, required quite a bit of power and she covered the four of you in shields to protect you from its effects."
"So essentially, Paige pushes herself too far and too hard to make things easier on everyong else," Asche said. He didn't bother to turn around as he spoke, his voice void of emotion.
"That is the basic worry of ours, yes," Alexander replied. "But she's also extremely sensitive to the people around her. She takes everyone's pain personally in situations like that, situations where she feels she could have done something to prevent it."
"Does she talk to you guys? I mean, I've heard her speak a word here and there, but I was surprised when she laid into Chance that one night," Cinder said, resting her head on the back of the seat as she watched each of us closely.
"She doesn't speak to us generally anymore than she does anyone else," Claire replied. "But we can hear her unguarded thoughts. So she talks to us that way." I watched as Cinder's eyes grew wide and even Asche turned around with a look of surprise on his face.
"How many blood links does she have open?" Asche asked slowly.
"Nine," I replied, raising an eyebrow at their surprised expressions. "I understand that it's quite a number, but she does fine most of the time."
"You realize that the largest number of blood links that any vampire or hybrid has ever been able to keep up continuously without their mental guard weakening or going insane, was six. You're telling us that she easily maintains three more blood links than the record holder," Asche said, his tone one of complete disbelief. We all nodded our heads, looking between each other, not fully understanding the meaning behind his words. "Does she have any blood links going the other way?"
"Yes, two," Vincent replied. I still hated the fact that he had that blood link, but he had a good point in that it was only fair and was the only way he did things.
"So overall, she has eleven blood links running, casts major area of effect spells that are strong enough that a pure blood can't dispel them and can barely even mimic them, no offense Shane. And you said she had lycan blood which was healing the injury she took to her back," Asche said.
"The lycan blood didn't heal this fast before," I commented remembering sealing up the cut on Paige's hand when she first entered the school.
"Really?" Cinder asked and I nodded slowly. I was the person who knew her the best at this point. Cinder and Asche exchanged glances and then turned back to us. "She's evolving, so to speak. Normally a hybrid has a dormant side and regardless of how much it adds to the their active side's power, it remains dormant. Paige's lycan side was supposed to be her dormant one, as in she believed she was merely kin?" he asked, looking to me for confirmation.
"Yeah, when she explained to me she called herself a kin," I said, my hand lightly gripping her upper arm lightly.
"Then under normal circumstances, her lycan blood would not have suddenly picked up dealing with her healing," Cinder said, picking up before her brother could. "I assume you say it's her lycan blood doing the healing because she hasn't ingested any blood?" I nodded a bit. "Whatever doubts you may have had about her being the prophecied hybrid, dismiss them. No hybrid ever weilds as much power as she has displayed, the control she has over her mind, and have their dormant side activate."
"I really wish she wasn't," I muttered, my eyes falling to the sleeping face of my girlfriend. Being the prophecied hybrid meant that a large burden would be put on her shoulders and if she happened to survive everything, the Paige I knew would forever live with the guilt over any lives that were lost. I didn't want her to have to do that, but neither did I want to lose her. Why did I have to fall for the girl destined for either death or despair? It just wasn't fair.