Home > Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)(4)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)(4)
Author: Richelle Mead

It was a good one - one of Kirova's best, which was saying something. She was a master at them. I swear that was the only reason she'd gone into school administration, because I had yet to see any evidence of her actually liking kids. The rant covered the usual topics: responsibility reckless behavior, self-centeredness...Bleh. I immediately found myself spacing out, alternatively pondering the logistics of escaping through the window in her office.

But when the tirade shifted to me - well, that was when I tuned back in.

"You, Miss Hathaway, broke the most sacred promise among our kind: the promise of a guardian to protect a Moroi. It is a great trust. A trust that you violated by selfishly taking the princess away from here. The Strigoi would love to finish off the Dragomirs; you nearly enabled them to do it."

"Rose didn't kidnap me." Lissa spoke before I could, her voice and face calm, despite her uneasy feelings. "I wanted to go. Don't blame her."

Ms. Kirova tsked at us both and paced the office, hands folded behind her narrow back.

"Miss Dragomir, you could have been the one who orchestrated the entire plan for all I know, but it was still her responsibility to make sure you didn't carry it out. If she'd done her duty, she would have notified someone. If she'd done her duty, she would have kept you safe."

I snapped.

"I did do my duty!" I shouted, jumping up from my chair. Dimitri and Alberta both flinched but left me alone since I wasn't trying to hit anyone. Yet. "I did keep her safe! I kept her safe when none of you" - I made a sweeping gesture around the room - "could do it. I took her away to protect her. I did what I had to do. You certainly weren't going to."

Through the bond, I felt Lissa trying to send me calming messages, again urging me not to let anger get the best of me. Too late.

Kirova stared at me, her face blank. "Miss Hathaway, forgive me if I fail to see the logic of how taking her out of a heavily guarded, magically secured environment is protecting her. Unless there's something you aren't telling us?"

I bit my lip.

"I see. Well, then. By my estimation, the only reason you left - aside from the novelty of it, no doubt - was to avoid the consequences of that horrible, destructive stunt you pulled just before your disappearance."

"No, that's not - "

"And that only makes my decision that much easier. As a Moroi, the princess must continue on here at the Academy for her own safety, but we have no such obligations to you. You will be sent away as soon as possible."

My cockiness dried up. "I...what?"

Lissa stood up beside me. "You can't do that! She's my guardian."

"She is no such thing, particularly since she isn't even a guardian at all. She's still a novice."

"But my parents - "

"I know what your parents wanted, God rest their souls, but things have changed. Miss Hathaway is expendable. She doesn't deserve to be a guardian, and she will leave."

I stared at Kirova, unable to believe what I was hearing. "Where are you going to send me? To my mom in Nepal? Did she even know I was gone? Or maybe you'll send me off to my father?"

Her eyes narrowed at the bite in that last word. When I spoke again, my voice was so cold, I barely recognized it.

"Or maybe you're going to try to send me off to be a blood whore. Try that, and we'll be gone by the end of the day."

"Miss Hathaway," she hissed, "you are out of line."

"They have a bond." Dimitri's low, accented voice broke the heavy tension, and we all turned toward him. I think Kirova had forgotten he was there, but I hadn't. His presence was way too powerful to ignore. He still stood against the wall, looking like some sort of cowboy sentry in that ridiculous long coat of his. He looked at me, not Lissa, his dark eyes staring straight through me. "Rose knows what Vasilisa is feeling. Don't you?"

I at least had the satisfaction of seeing Kirova caught off guard as she glanced between us and Dimitri. "No...that's impossible. That hasn't happened in centuries."

"It's obvious," he said. "I suspected as soon as I started watching them."

Neither Lissa nor I responded, and I averted my eyes from his.

"That is a gift," murmured Victor from his corner. "A rare and wonderful thing."

"The best guardians always had that bond," added Dimitri. "In the stories."

Kirova's outrage returned. "Stories that are centuries old," she exclaimed. "Surely you aren't suggesting we let her stay at the Academy after everything she's done?"

He shrugged. "She might be wild and disrespectful, but if she has potential - "

"Wild and disrespectful?" I interrupted. "Who the hell are you anyway? Outsourced help?"

"Guardian Belikov is the princess's guardian now," said Kirova. "Her sanctioned guardian."

"You got cheap foreign labor to protect Lissa?"

That was pretty mean of me to say - particularly since most Moroi and their guardians were of Russian or Romanian descent - but the comment seemed cleverer at the time than it really was. And it wasn't like I was one to talk. I might have been raised in the U.S., but my parents were foreign-born. My dhampir mother was Scottish - red-haired, with a ridiculous accent - and I'd been told my Moroi dad was Turkish. That genetic combination had given me skin the same color as the inside of an almond, along with what I liked to think were semi-exotic desert-princess features: big dark eyes and hair so deep brown that it usually looked black. I wouldn't have minded inheriting the red hair, but we take what we get.

Kirova threw her hands up in exasperation and turned to him. "You see? Completely undisciplined! All the psychic bonds and very raw potential in the world can't make up for that. A guardian without discipline is worse than no guardian."

"So teach her discipline. Classes just started. Put her back in and get her training again."

"Impossible. She'll still be hopelessly behind her peers."

"No, I won't," I argued. No one listened to me.

"Then give her extra training sessions," he said.

They continued on while the rest of us watched the exchange like it was a Ping-Pong game. My pride was still hurt over the ease with which Dimitri had tricked us, but it occurred to me that he might very well keep me here with Lissa. Better to stay at this hellhole than be without her. Through our bond, I could feel her trickle of hope.

"Who's going to put in the extra time?" demanded Kirova. "You?"

Dimitri's argument came to an abrupt stop. "Well, that's not what I - "

Kirova crossed her arms with satisfaction. "Yes. That's what I thought."

Clearly at a loss, he frowned. His eyes flicked toward Lissa and me, and I wondered what he saw. Two pathetic girls, looking at him with big, pleading eyes? Or two runaways who'd broken out of a high-security school and swiped half of Lissa's inheritance?

"Yes," he said finally. "I can mentor Rose. I'll give her extra sessions along with her normal ones."

"And then what?" retorted Kirova angrily. "She goes unpunished?"

"Find some other way to punish her," answered Dimitri. "Guardian numbers have gone down too much to risk losing another. A girl, in particular."

His unspoken words made me shudder, reminding me of my earlier statement about "blood whores." Few dhampir girls became guardians anymore.

Victor suddenly spoke up from his corner. "I'm inclined to agree with Guardian Belikov. Sending Rose away would be a shame, a waste of talent."

Ms. Kirova stared out her window. It was completely black outside. With the Academy's nocturnal schedule, morning and afternoon were relative terms. That, and they kept the windows tinted to block out excess light.

When she turned back around, Lissa met her eyes. "Please, Ms. Kirova. Let Rose stay."

Oh, Lissa, I thought. Be careful. Using compulsion on another Moroi was dangerous - particularly in front of witnesses. But Lissa was only using a tiny bit, and we needed all the help we could get. Fortunately, no one seemed to realize what was happening.

     Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
     Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
     Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)
     Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)
     Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)
     Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)
     The Meeting (Vampire Academy 0.9)      Homecoming (Vampire Academy #6.5)