Home > Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)(9)

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)(9)
Author: Richelle Mead

Chapter Four

At any other time in my life, I would have loved exploring Moscow. Sydney had planned our trip so that when our train arrived there, we'd have a few hours before we had to board the next one to Siberia. This gave us some time to wander around and grab dinner, though she wanted to make sure we were safely inside the station before it grew too dark out. Despite my badass claims or my molnija marks, she didn't want to take any chances.

It made no difference to me how we spent our downtime. So long as I was getting closer to Dimitri, that was all that mattered. So Sydney and I walked aimlessly, taking in the sights and saying very little. I had never been to Moscow. It was a beautiful city, thriving and full of people and commerce. I could have spent days there just shopping and trying out the restaurants. Places I'd heard about all my life-the Kremlin, Red Square, the Bolshoi Theatre-were all at my fingertips. Despite how cool it all was, I actually tried to tune out the city's sights and sounds after a while because it reminded me of... well, Dimitri.

He used to talk to me about Russia all the time and had sworn up and down that I'd love it here.

"To you, it'd be like a fairy tale," he'd told me once. It was during a before-school practice late last autumn, just before the first snowfall. The air had been misty, and dew coated everything.

"Sorry, comrade," I'd replied, reaching back to tie my hair into a ponytail. Dimitri had always loved my hair down, but in combat practice? Long hair was a total liability. "Borg and out-of-date music aren't part of any happy ending I've ever imagined."

He'd given me one of his rare, easy grins then, the kind that just slightly crinkled up the corners of his eyes. "Borscht, not borg. And I've seen your appetite. If you were hungry enough, you'd eat it."

"So starvation's necessary for this fairy tale to work out?" There was nothing I loved more than teasing Dimitri. Well, aside from maybe kissing him.

"I'm talking about the land. The buildings. Go to one of the big cities-it's like nothing you've ever seen. Everyone in the U.S. tends to build the same-always in big, chunky blocks. They do what's fast and easy. But in Russia, there are buildings that are like pieces of art. They are art-even a lot of the ordinary, everyday buildings. And places like the WinterPalace and TroitskyChurch in Saint Petersburg? Those will take your breath away."

His face had been aglow with the memory of sites he'd seen, that joy making his already handsome features divine. I think he could have named landmarks all day. My heart had burned within me, just from watching him. And then, just like I always did when I worried I might turn sappy or sentimental, I'd made a joke to shift the attention away and hide my emotions. It had switched him back into business mode, and we'd gotten to work.

Now, walking the city streets with Sydney, I wished I could take back that joke and listen to Dimitri talk more about his homeland. I would have given anything to have Dimitri with me here, the way he used to be. He'd been right about the buildings. Sure, most were blocky copies of anything you'd find in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, but some were exquisite-painted with bright colors, adorned with their strange yet beautiful onion-shaped domes. At times, it really did seem like something from another world. And all the while, I kept thinking that it should have been Dimitri here by my side, pointing things out and explaining them to me. We should have been having a romantic getaway. Dimitri and I could have eaten at exotic restaurants and then gone dancing at night. I could have worn one of the designer dresses I'd had to leave behind in the Saint Petersburg hotel. That's how it was supposed to be. It wasn't supposed to be me with a glowering human.

"Unreal, huh? Like something from a story."

Sydney's voice startled me, and I realized we'd come to a stop in front of our train station. There were a number of them in Moscow. Her echoing of my conversation with Dimitri sent chills down my spine-largely because she was right. The station didn't have the onion domes but still looked like something straight out of a storybook, like a cross between Cinderella's castle and a gingerbread house. It had a big arched roof and towers on either end. Its white walls were interspersed with patches of brown brick and green mosaic, almost making it look striped. In the U.S., some might have called it gaudy. To me, it was beautiful.

I felt tears start to spring to my eyes as I wondered what Dimitri would have said about this building. He probably would have loved it just as he loved everything else here. Realizing that Sydney was waiting for a response, I swallowed back my grief and played flippant teenager. "Maybe something from a story about a train station."

She arched an eyebrow, surprised at my indifference, but she didn't question it. Who could say? Maybe if I kept up the sarcasm, she'd eventually get annoyed and ditch me. Somehow, I doubted I'd be that lucky. I was pretty sure her fear of her superiors trumped any other feelings she might have in regard to me.

We had first-class train accommodations, which turned out to be a lot smaller than I expected. There was a combination bed/sitting bench on each side, a window, and a TV high on the wall. I supposed that would help pass the time, but I often had trouble following Russian television-not just because of the language but also because some of the shows were downright bizarre. Still, Sydney and I would each have our own space, even if the room was cozier than we would have liked.

The colors reminded me a lot of the same fanciful patterns I'd seen throughout the cities. Even the hall outside our cabin was brightly colored, with plush carpet in red and yellow designs and a teal and yellow runner going down the middle. Inside our room, the benches were covered in cushions with rich orange velvet, and the curtains matched in shades of gold and peach, made of thick heavy fabric embossed with a silky pattern. Between all that and the ornate table in the middle of the cabin, it was almost like traveling in a mini-palace.

It was dark out by the time the train left the station. For whatever reason, the Trans-Siberian always left Moscow at night. It wasn't that late yet, but Sydney said she wanted to sleep, and I didn't want to make her more irate than she already was. So we turned off all the lights, save for a tiny reading lamp by my bed. I'd bought a magazine at the train station, and even if I couldn't understand the language, the pictures of makeup and clothes transcended all cultural barriers. I flipped through the pages as quietly as I could, admiring summer tops and dresses and wondering when -if ever-I'd be able to start worrying about that kind of thing again.

I wasn't tired when I lay down, but sleep took me nonetheless. I was dreaming about water-skiing when suddenly, the waves and sun around me dissolved into a room lined with shelves and shelves of books. Tables with state-of-the-art computers lined the rooms, and there was a calmness that permeated the place. I was in the library at St. Vladimir's Academy.

I groaned. "Oh, come on. Not today."

"Why not today? Why not every day?"

I turned and found myself looking into the handsome face of Adrian Ivashkov. Adrian was a Moroi, the queen's great-nephew, and someone I'd left behind in my old life when I took off on this suicide mission. He had beautiful emerald-green eyes that made most girls swoon, particularly since they were paired with stylishly messy brown hair. He was also kind of in love with me and the reason I had so much money on this trip. I'd sweet talked him out of it.

"True," I admitted. "I suppose I should be grateful you only show up about once a week."

He grinned and sat down backward in one of the slatted wooden chairs. He was tall, like most Moroi, with a leanly muscled build. Moroi guys never got too bulky. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder, Rose. Don't want you to take me for granted."

"We're in no danger of that; don't worry."

"I don't suppose you're going to tell me where you are?"

"Nope."

Aside from Lissa, Adrian was the only other known living spirit user, and among his talents was the ability to show up in my dreams-often uninvited-and talk to me. I took it as a blessing that his powers never actually let him know where I was.

"You kill me, Rose," he said melodramatically. "Every day is agony without you. Empty. Alone. I pine for you, wondering if you're even still alive."

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)