Home > Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)(5)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)(5)
Author: Richelle Mead

I don't even know if the compulsion made a difference, but finally, Kirova sighed.

"If Miss Hathaway stays, here's how it will be." She turned to me. "Your continued enrollment at St. Vladimir's is strictly probationary. Step out of line once, and you're gone. You will attend all classes and required trainings for novices your age. You will also train with Guardian Belikov in every spare moment you have - before and after classes. Other than that, you are banned from all social activities, except meals, and will stay in your dorm. Fail to comply with any of this, and you will be sent...away."

I gave a harsh laugh. "Banned from all social activities? Are you trying to keep us apart?" I nodded toward Lissa. "Afraid we'll run away again?"

"I'm taking precautions. As I'm sure you recall, you were never properly punished for destroying school property. You have a lot to make up for." Her thin lips tightened into a straight line. "You are being offered a very generous deal. I suggest you don't let your attitude endanger it."

I started to say it wasn't generous at all, but then I caught Dimitri's gaze. It was hard to read. He might have been telling me he believed in me. He might have been telling me I was an idiot to keep fighting with Kirova. I didn't know.

Looking away from him for the second time during the meeting, I stared at the floor, conscious of Lissa beside me and her own encouragement burning in our bond. At long last, I exhaled and glanced back up at the headmistress.

"Fine. I accept."

THREE

SENDING US STRAIGHT TO CLASS after our meeting seemed beyond cruel, but that's exactly what Kirova did. Lissa was led away, and I watched her go, glad the bond would allow me to keep reading her emotional temperature.

They actually sent me to one of the guidance counselors first. He was an ancient Moroi guy, one I remembered from before I'd left. I honestly couldn't believe he was still around. The guy was so freaking old, he should have retired. Or died.

The visit took all of five minutes. He said nothing about my return and asked a few questions about what classes I'd taken in Chicago and Portland. He compared those against my old file and hastily scrawled out a new schedule. I took it sullenly and headed out to my first class.

1st Period Advanced Guardian Combat Techniques

2nd Period Bodyguard Theory and Personal Protection 3

3rd Period Weight Training and Conditioning

4th Period Senior Language Arts (Novices)

-Lunch -

5th Period Animal Behavior and Physiology

6th Period Pre-calculus

7th Period Moroi Culture 4

8th Period Slavic Art

Ugh. I'd forgotten how long the Academy's school day was. Novices and Moroi took separate classes during the first half of the day, which meant I wouldn't see Lissa until after lunch - if we had any afternoon classes together. Most of them were standard senior classes, so I felt my odds were pretty good. Slavic art struck me as the kind of elective no one signed up for, so hopefully they'd stuck her in there too.

Dimitri and Alberta escorted me to the guardians' gym for first period, neither one acknowledging my existence. Walking behind them, I saw how Alberta wore her hair in a short, pixie cut that showed her promise mark and molnija marks. A lot of female guardians did this. It didn't matter so much for me now, since my neck had no tattoos yet, but I didn't want to ever cut my hair.

She and Dimitri didn't say anything and walked along almost like it was any other day. When we arrived, the reactions of my peers indicated it was anything but. They were in the middle of setting up when we entered the gym, and just like in the commons, all eyes fell on me. I couldn't decide if I felt like a rock star or a circus freak.

All right, then. If I was going to be stuck here for a while, I wasn't going to act afraid of them all anymore. Lissa and I had once held this school's respect, and it was time to remind everyone of that. Scanning the staring, openmouthed novices, I looked for a familiar face. Most of them were guys. One caught my eye, and I could barely hold back my grin.

"Hey Mason, wipe the drool off your face. If you're going to think about me naked, do it on your own time."

A few snorts and snickers broke the awed silence, and Mason Ashford snapped out of his haze, giving me a lopsided smile. With red hair that stuck up everywhere and a smattering of freckles, he was nice-looking, though not exactly hot. He was also one of the funniest guys I knew. We'd been good friends back in the day.

"This is my time, Hathaway. I'm leading today's session."

"Oh yeah?" I retorted. "Huh. Well, I guess this is a good time to think about me naked, then."

"It's always a good a time to think about you naked," added someone nearby, breaking the tension further. Eddie Castile. Another friend of mine.

Dimitri shook his head and walked off, muttering something in Russian that didn't sound complimentary. But as for me...well, just like that, I was one of the novices again. They were an easygoing bunch, less focused on pedigree and politics than the Moroi students.

The class engulfed me, and I found myself laughing and seeing those I'd nearly forgotten about. Everyone wanted to know where we'd been; apparently Lissa and I had become legends. I couldn't tell them why we'd left, of course, so I offered up a lot of taunts and wouldn't-you-like-to-knows that served just as well.

The happy reunion lasted a few more minutes before the adult guardian who oversaw the training came over and scolded Mason for neglecting his duties. Still grinning, he barked out orders to everyone, explaining what exercises to start with. Uneasily I realized I didn't know most of them.

"Come on, Hathaway," he said, taking my arm. "You can be my partner. Let's see what you've been doing all this time."

An hour later, he had his answer.

"Not practicing, huh?"

"Ow," I groaned, momentarily incapable of normal speech.

He extended a hand and helped me up from the mat he'd knocked me down on - about fifty times.

"I hate you," I told him, rubbing a spot on my thigh that was going to have a wicked bruise tomorrow.

"You'd hate me more if I held back."

"Yeah, that's true," I agreed, staggering along as the class put the equipment back.

"You actually did okay."

"What? I just had my ass handed to me."

"Well, of course you did. It's been two years. But hey, you're still walking. That's something." He grinned mockingly.

"Did I mention I hate you?"

He flashed me another smile, which quickly faded to something more serious. "Don't take this the wrong way...I mean, you really are a scrapper, but there's no way you'll be able to take your trials in the spring - "

"They're making me take extra practice sessions," I explained. Not that it mattered. I planned on getting Lissa and me out of here before these practices really became an issue. "I'll be ready."

"Extra sessions with who?"

"That tall guy. Dimitri."

Mason stopped walking and stared at me. "You're putting in extra time with Belikov?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"So the man is a god."

"Exaggerate much?" I asked.

"No, I'm serious. I mean, he's all quiet and antisocial usually, but when he fights...wow. If you think you're hurting now, you're going to be dead when he's done with you."

Great. Something else to improve my day.

I elbowed him and went on to second period. That class covered the essentials of being a bodyguard and was required for all seniors. Actually, it was the third in a series that had started junior year. That meant I was behind in this class too, but I hoped protecting Lissa in the real world had given me some insight.

Our instructor was Stan Alto, whom we referred to simply as "Stan" behind his back and "Guardian Alto" in formal settings. He was a little older than Dimitri, but not nearly as tall, and he always looked pissed off. Today, that look intensified when he walked into the classroom and saw me sitting there. His eyes widened in mock surprise as he circled the room and came to stand beside my desk.

"What's this? No one told me we had a guest speaker here today. Rose Hathaway. What a privilege! How very generous of you to take time out of your busy schedule and share your knowledge with us."

Books
     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)