Home > Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)(8)

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)(8)
Author: Richelle Mead

"Punch Alberta? Hardly." I started to turn around, but Ralf kept talking.

"We heard you threw a big hissy fit in the gym when you found out who you were with."

"'Hissy fit'? What are you, sixty? All I did was - " I paused and carefully chose my words. " - register my opinion."

"Well," said Jesse. "I suppose if anyone's going to keep an eye on that Strigoi wannabe, it might as well be you. You're the biggest badass around here."

The grudging tone in his voice made it sound like he was complimenting me. I didn't see it that way at all. Before he could utter another word, I was standing right in front of him, with barely any space between us. In what I considered a true sign of discipline, I didn't put my hand around his throat. His eyes widened in surprise.

"Christian has nothing to do with any Strigoi," I said in a low voice.

"His parents - "

"Are his parents. And he's Christian. Don't confuse them." Jesse had been on the wrong side of my anger before. He was clearly remembering that, and his fear warred with his desire to trash-talk Christian in front of me. Surprisingly, the latter won out.

"Earlier you acted like being with him was the end of the world, and now you're defending him? You know how he is - he breaks rules all the time. Are you saying you seriously don't believe there's any chance at all he might turn Strigoi like his parents?"

"None," I said. "Absolutely none. Christian's more willing to take a stand against Strigoi than probably any other Moroi here." Jesse's eyes flicked curiously toward Ralf before returning to me. "He even helped me fight against those ones in Spokane. There is no chance of him ever, ever turning Strigoi." I racked my brain, trying to recall who had been assigned to Jesse for the field experience. "And if I hear you spreading that crap around, Dean isn't going to be able to save you from me."

"Or me," added Eddie, who had come to stand right beside me.

Jesse swallowed and took a step back. "You're such a liar. You can't lay a hand on me. If you get suspended now, you'll never graduate."

He was right, of course, but I smiled anyway. "Might be worth it. We'll have to see, huh?"

It was at that point that Jesse and Ralf decided they didn't want anything from the lunch line after all. They stalked off, and I heard something that sounded suspiciously like "crazy bitch."

"Jerks," I muttered. Then I brightened. "Oh, hey. Doughnuts."

I got a chocolate-glazed, and then Eddie and I hurried off to find our Moroi and get to class. He grinned at me. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you just defended Christian's honor. Isn't he a pain in the ass?"

"Yes," I said, licking icing off my fingers. "He is. But for the next six weeks, he's my pain in the ass."

FOUR

IT BEGAN.

At first, things weren't too different from any other day. Dhampirs and Moroi attended separate classes in the first half of the school day, then joined up after lunch. Christian had most of the same afternoon classes I'd had last semester, so it was almost like following my own schedule again. The difference was that I was no longer a student in these classes. I didn't sit at a desk or have to do any of the work. I was also a lot more uncomfortable since I had to stand at the back of the room the entire time, along with other novices who were guarding Moroi. Outside the school, this was what it was usually like. Moroi came first. Guardians were shadows.

There was a strong temptation to talk to our fellow novices, particularly during times when the Moroi were working on their own and talking amongst themselves. None of us cracked, though. The pressure and adrenaline of the first day had us all on good behavior.

After biology, Eddie and I started using a bodyguard technique called pair guarding. I was near guard and walked with Lissa and Christian for immediate defense. Eddie, being far guard, walked farther away and scanned the larger area for any potential threats.

We followed this pattern for the rest of the day, up until the last class came around. Lissa gave Christian a quick kiss on the cheek, and I realized they were parting.

"You guys don't have the same schedule this time?" I asked with dismay, stepping over to the side of the hall to stay out of student traffic. Eddie had already deduced that we were parting and had stopped far guard duties to come talk to us. I hadn't known how Lissa and Christian's schedules lined up for this new semester.

Lissa took in my disappointed look and gave me a sympathetic smile. "Sorry. We're going to study together after school, but right now, I've got to go to creative writing."

"And I," declared Christian loftily, "have to go to culinary science."

"Culinary science?" I cried. "You elected culinary science? That's like the most brainless class ever."

"It is not," he countered. "And even if it was ... well, hey, it's my last semester, right?" I groaned.

"Come on, Rose," laughed Lissa. "It's just one class period. It won't be that - "

She was cut off when a commotion broke out farther down the hall. We and everyone near us stopped and stared. One of my guardian instructors, Emil, had practically appeared out of nowhere and - playing Strigoi - reached for a Moroi girl. He swung her away, pressing her to his chest and exposing her neck as though he would bite her. I couldn't see who she was, just a tangle of brown hair, but her assigned protector was Shane Reyes. The attack had caught him by surprise - it was the first one of the day - but he fumbled only a little as he kicked Emil in the side and wrested the girl away. The two guys squared off, and everyone watched eagerly. A few even whistled and shouted, cheering Shane on.

One of the catcallers was Ryan Aylesworth. He was so fixated on watching the fight - which Shane, wielding his practice stake, had just about won - that he didn't notice two other adult guardians sneaking up on him and Camille. Eddie and I realized it at the same time and stiffened, instinct readying both of us to spring forward.

"Stay with them," Eddie told me. He headed toward Ryan and Camille, who had just discovered they were being set upon. Ryan didn't react as well as Shane had, particularly since he faced two attackers. One of the guardians distracted Ryan while the other - Dimitri, I now saw - grabbed Camille. She screamed, not faking her fear. She apparently didn't find being in Dimitri's arms as thrilling as I did.

Eddie headed toward them, approaching from behind, and landed a blow on the side of Dimitri's head. It hardly fazed Dimitri, but I was still amazed. I'd barely ever been able to land a hit on him in all our trainings. Eddie's attack forced Dimitri to release Camille and face this new threat. He spun around, graceful as a dancer, and advanced on Eddie.

Meanwhile, Shane had "staked" his Strigoi and jumped in to help Eddie, moving around to Dimitri's other side. I watched, fists clenched in excitement, intrigued with the fighting in general and with watching Dimitri in particular. It amazed me that someone so deadly could be so beautiful. I wished I was part of the fray but knew I had to watch the area around me in case any "Strigoi" attacked here.

But they didn't. Shane and Eddie successfully "finished off" Dimitri. Part of me was a little sad at this. I wanted Dimitri to be good at everything. However, Ryan had tried to help and failed. Dimitri had technically "killed" him, so I felt a twisted comfort in thinking that Dimitri had still been a badass Strigoi. He and Emil praised Shane for being fast on his feet and Eddie for realizing we had to treat this as a group endeavor rather than one-on-one trials. I got a nod for watching Eddie's back, and Ryan was chastised for not paying attention to his Moroi.

Eddie and I grinned at each other, happy over getting high marks on this first test. I wouldn't have minded a slightly bigger role, but this wasn't a bad start to the field experience. We high-fived, and I saw Dimitri shake his head at us as he left.

With the drama over, our foursome split up. Lissa gave me one last smile over her shoulder and spoke to me through the bond, Have fun in culinary science! I rolled my eyes, but she and Eddie had already rounded a corner.

"Culinary science" sounded pretty impressive, but really, it was just a fancy term for what was essentially a cooking class. Despite my teasing Christian about it being brainless, I had some respect for it. I could barely boil water, after all. Still, it was a lot different from an elective like creative writing or debate, and I had no doubts Christian was taking it as a blow-off class and not because he wanted to be a chef someday. At least I might get some satisfaction out of watching him mix a cake or something. Maybe he'd even wear an apron.

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)