Chapter 36:

Chapter 36: A Disconcerting Victory: "Why?" (Blake)

The Heir of the Dragon

Sabine’s hair flailed wildly around her, shimmering crimson with scarlet flames. She sent waves of fire rolling towards Taylor, the smiling girl letting her shield deflect the magic.

“Stuck up girls like you shouldn’t let your tempers get the better of you,” Taylor warned teasingly, her eyes shining with a dangerous gleam. She ran forward and raised her mana blade, and Blake could see she was too close for him to get there in time. Shit! That fucking reckless bitch!

Sabine smirked as Taylor swung her blade, and a lock of her scarlet hair pulled in front of her, blocking the slash.

“The Bloodline Magic of the Scarlet Family, our Scarlet Mantle, uses our mana to control our hair, setting it ablaze or turning it into a weapon sharp as a blade,” Sabine crowed. Her hair whipped out and struck Taylor’s shield. Sabine leapt back, raising her hand. “Fireball!”

The fireball she conjured bounced off the barrier as well, Taylor plowing through it as she advanced. But Sabine had stalled for time long enough for Blake to catch up to her, and he blocked the other girl’s stroke with Soulfire, the mana sword scraping against his blade.

“Taylor! Mind yourself.” Tyler called out to his sister. She nodded and jumped back, landing beside her brother.

“Sorry, dear brother, I got a little caught up in matters,” Taylor laughed, winking at Blake and Sabine. “Her attacks were a little fiercer than I imagined.”

“That goes without saying,” Sabine haughtily scoffed, flipping her hair behind her shoulder. “Thinking someone of my standing would actually lose my temper over such insinuations? About Blake Harker, of all men? How insulting, looking down upon a noble such as myself like this.”

Taylor smiled innocently. “Sorry! I was so sure, judging by the way you acted around him… but I understand now.”

“Good,” Sabine said with a smile, nodding. “Then with that out of the way-“

“I must say, I’m rather astounded by your ability to act so rationally in spite of your crush,” Taylor continued. “I had been expecting you to lose your temper, but I definitely misjudged… a noble’s strength of fortitude.”

Blake was getting really tired of this charade. He was here to fight, not listen to Sabine and this other girl bicker like a couple of hens! He glared at Sabine, whose face had flustered in disbelief.

“That- You’ve completely misunderstood!” She hissed angrily. “I’m telling you there are no feelings involved, none!”

“So I’m sure you don’t mind if I take him for myself, then!” Taylor replied, her face brightening. “Excellent! Then after I defeat you two, I’ll celebrate with him tonight, sound good?”

Blake snapped. This was pointless! He released his frustration in a blast of flame swung from his sword. Tyler raised his hand and placed it against his sister’s back, blue shields springing up around them and reflecting the flames.

Enough of this farce!” Blake snarled. “This is a battle, not some petty game for bickering children! I came here to fight, not to listen to you two poke at each other!”

“Oooh, he’s so aggressive, isn’t he?” Taylor gave a throaty sigh. “I can see why you like him. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he can do with all that energy.”

“I do not! Like him!” Sabine exclaimed, sending a burst of fire from her hair. “Blake’s right! This is a battle, not a game so shut your mouth!”

Taylor laughed, and ran forward, placing her hand over her wrist and conjuring her mana blade. “Can’t it be both?”

She swung her blade at Blake, who blocked it. Their swords clashed together as he parried her blows. Blake recognized his current position as a defensive battle. As much as it irritated him to admit, he couldn’t make any offensive blows, because her barrier would deflect them, leaving him open to a counterattack.

A battle where he could only defend?! His frustration at his own powerlessness was making the flames on his sword burn brighter. Their swords locked together, and Taylor’s magically-enhanced strength surprised Blake. She pressed forward, pushing back his blade until she was nearly face to face with him.

“Those eyes of yours are fierce,” Taylor purred, licking her lips. “So serious, no levity at all. And that temper of yours, don’t you ever have fun?”

“Stop talking!” Blake growled. Taylor’s pestering words and flirty tone were only infuriating him. She spoke like Reed, but without the things about Reed that made her tolerable. Using all the strength he had, he pushed against her sword, forcing her backwards.

“Get off him!” Sabine’s angry shout chimed in, sending fireballs at Taylor as well. The combined push of the two fire mages made Taylor retreat slightly, which Blake found promising. If she was pulling back, that meant that the defensive power of her barrier wasn’t perfect. It had a vulnerability of some sort, even if he didn’t know what that was just yet.

Blake briefly wondered if it was like Elly’s; maybe a strong enough spell would smash the barrier to pieces!

“Sabine, if your fireball is strong enough, then you can-“

FIREBALL!” Sabine roared, holding both hands up and creating an orb of flame larger than she was. She released the fireball and the spell hit Taylor’s shield, the blue barrier flickering and shimmering but remaining firm.

“Quite a temper on her, as well,” Taylor laughed. “Tell me something, Blake Harker, have you ever been with anyone before? Sexually, of course.”

Enough playing around, we don’t have time for this!” Blake shouted angrily, swinging his sword at her. He released a blast of flames that rivaled the one Sabine had conjured, maybe even surpassing it. But like hers, the attack was useless against the barrier.

“Oh, but we have nothing but time, and I’m enjoying myself quite a bit,” Taylor said, shrugging her shoulders as the flames washed harmlessly around her. “Judging by the way you act, I’d have to say no… and I can’t say I’m surprised, either,” Taylor smirked, and pointed at Sabine. “Noble girls like her are far too obsessed with keeping their purity for something as meaningless as politics to have any real fun.”

“You shut your fucking! Mouth!” Sabine snarled, swinging her hair at Taylor and sending a whip of fire her way. Taylor didn’t even need to rely on her barrier, batting the attack away with just her blade.

“My, so much for a noble’s dignity,” Taylor laughed. “Did I hit a sore spot, perhaps?”

Sabine responded with a roar, flinging more flames at the blonde.

“Taylor!” Tyler chastised his sister. Taylor glanced his way and nodded, returning to her brother’s side with a slight jump, giving Sabine and Blake time to regroup.

“I’m going to burn that fucking smile right off of her fucking face,” Sabine swore, anger rolling off her like the wisps of fire burning through her hair. “Who the fuck does she think she is, talking to someone like me like that?!”

“Arrogant, rude, violent, you really do need to loosen up,” Taylor sighed, clicking her tongue and shaking her head. “What a shame. If you ask me, I think you’re putting a little too much weight on your noble title. If you got rid of that stick up your ass and had some fun, maybe you wouldn’t be such a miserable bitch.”

Blake could hear anger start to seep into her voice.

“You prudish nobles are all the same,” she growled. “Looking down on girls like me, girls who choose to find comfort and pleasure in something so wonderful. Calling us sluts and treating us like we’ve been sullied, trying to shame us for doing something that comes natural. When deep down, you feel the same urges as anyone else!”

Taylor gestured at Blake with a smirk, her anger fading. “It’s obvious you fancy him, why not just do it? It only hurts a little at first, and then it feels so good.”

That,” Sabine spat, “is out of the question.” Her face turned red as she glared at Taylor, and Blake couldn’t tell if it was due more to shame or anger.

Taylor shrugged her shoulders and glanced at her brother, her eyes shining with admiration. “Unless you two communicate honestly with each other, you’ll never defeat my dear brother and I.” Tyler patted her on the back, and Taylor turned back to the two of them, a smirk crossing her face.

“I suppose it can’t be helped, then,” she sighed, tucking her head in and running towards Blake. She swung her mana blade at him, and he blocked it. Blake was quickly learning not to get caught up in Taylor’s pace. Her blows were strong and swift, and that meant he needed to be quick on his feet. Sharp blows to counter hers were the way to go, he couldn’t overwhelm her with brute force.

But… her swings aren’t as strong as Miss Esterwind’s, Blake recognized, deflecting the tip of her blade with his sword and stepping aside. As he did, Sabine swung her hair between the gap, forming a flaming sword of her own from her crimson locks. Taylor dodged, raising her leg and kicking Sabine in the gut, sending her stumbling back.

“Bitch-!” Sabine choked out, jumping back to put some distance between herself and Taylor, but Taylor turned her attentions on Blake.

“Look at you, that anger in your eyes…” Taylor’s tone was thoughtful. “You don’t even see her, do you? No… it’s a lot deeper than that, I’m sensing some real loathing for that girl, no wonder she’s not making passes.”

“It’s none of your fucking business,” Blake snarled. He had no interest in gossiping about sex, that had no place on the battlefield! Every word she spewed was repulsive, like she was mocking him, not taking him seriously! Enraged, Blake swung at her, his sword bouncing uselessly off of her barrier.

“Anger can definitely be stimulating in the bed, though, makes for some real fun,” Taylor continued in her jovial tone, swinging her blade at him. “Just seeing the way you look at me, I just know it would be-“

WHY ARE YOU GOING ON ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THIS?!” Blake exploded. It was all too much. He couldn’t stand how inferior her casual dismissal of him was making him feel, and he fired another blast of flames.

Taylor smirked.

“Because it’s working, obviously,” she replied. “I knew the minute I laid eyes on you, how uncomfortable you were! But I didn’t expect it to be this easy to get under your skin! You’re simply foaming at the mouth!”

So that was it. She was baiting him. Trying to make him angry. He had chastised Sabine earlier for losing her cool, and now here he was doing the same thing. But he couldn’t help himself, she was just-! Argh, the annoying bitch, tossing him around so effortlessly!

“Are you… afraid of it?” Taylor wondered. “Being that intimate with another person? That would certainly explain how just talking about it would set you off like this.”

This bitch didn’t know what she was talking about. The only thing upsetting Blake right now was that she wasn’t taking him seriously! “Shut your-!”

“BLAKE!” Sabine snapped, and a curtain of fire rose up between him and Taylor, stopping his swing.

“Sabiiiinne…” Blake growled, glaring angrily at her. She had already done enough to piss him off, if she didn’t start shutting her mouth then he was seriously going to hurt her!

“Your recklessness is going to cost us the game,” Sabine snarled. “If you want to take out your anger on somebody, go after the King! At least that way when you lose your cool no one’s going to be striking back.”

“Are you fucking serious?!” Blake exclaimed, the ridiculousness of Sabine’s proposal actually making him forget about his anger for a few seconds. “You honestly think that I’ll just turn my back and let this bitch-“

“I can take care of her just fine on my own,” Sabine replied, shooting him an intense glare that almost made him believe it. “Besides… the things she’s said about me… are a hell of a lot worse than the things she’s saying about you.”

Blake couldn’t stand to hear her, Sabine Scarlet of all people, talking down to him. He roared, flames bursting out of the end of his sword as Soulfire’s wrappings flapped in the wind. He gathered his rage, and swung with all his might at Tyler.

As enraged as he might have been, he could see the reason in Sabine’s words.

Tyler himself didn’t seem fazed. He raised his left hand up to his chest, and a barrier sprang up around him, deflecting the flame.

“You think I’d let you harm my dear brother!?” Taylor growled, the playful edge in her voice gone completely now. A surge of confidence shot through Blake as he turned from her and ran towards Tyler, sword raised. Taylor might have baited them into losing their tempers, but it seemed she wasn’t immune to it, either.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Sabine growled from behind him. Blake heard her jump between himself and Taylor, followed by the familiar crackle of her flames striking the barrier. He didn’t know how long Sabine could keep Taylor occupied, but he was going to use that time to smash that shield to pieces, if he could!

“Fucking die!” Blake shouted, smashing Soulfire against Tyler’s barrier, flames burning uselessly against it.

“How colorful,” Tyler observed, raising his eyebrow. “Nothing but fury and aggression, I can’t say I much approve of my dear sister’s taste in men.”

“Is that all you siblings care about?” Blake spat out, taking a step back and clutching Soulfire with both hands. He remembered his master’s teachings well. Rage and anger were powerful weapons, they kept you alive and gave you strength. And channeling that strength through Soulfire was powerful.

But the anger he was feeling for the twins wasn’t enough. That was only a mild irritant. Furious as he was, Blake was thinking calmly enough to realize that he needed more. Something deeper, more primal. Real, raw hatred.

And while his mana may be running dry, he had more than enough hatred to spare.

He closed his eyes and tuned out the sounds of flame and sword coming from behind him, Sabine’s shouts and growls, Taylor’s mocking words, all that he focused on was his memories, the pain they spawned within him, and the hatred the sprang forth from that pain.

The Estvalians had destroyed his home. Taken everything that he ever cared about. All he had left to protect was his family’s legacy, their treasures. Treasures people would hunt for. Try to take from him. He felt his hate for Estval burn deep within his heart, and he fed it. He had no memory of them, but he still pictured their green eyes, their tan skin; he imagined them twisted in pain and agony as he struck them down.

His eyes snapped open. Tyler was no longer a student with blonde hair layered over black, now he was an Estvalian killer and Blake was going to put him down.

URRAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRH!” Blake roared, the flames of Soulfire stretching all the way down to the tips of its crimson wrappings as he summoned an inferno dwarfing any he’d conjured before. The heat was nothing to him, but he could feel the weight of it as he swung his sword, bringing the blaze to bear upon the barrier before him.

“Shit!” Tyler cursed, startled as he tried to strengthen his barrier. But the feeling of triumph Blake felt at seeing it begin to crack only fueled his flames.

“BROTHER!” Taylor’s screams rang out behind him, followed shortly by a wail of pain from Sabine. Swift footsteps echoed through the chamber and Blake quickly turned, blocking Taylor’s slash with his own sword. Her face was no longer playful and smiling, but twisted in horror, rage, and… fear. Blake was delighted by that fear.

“Dear brother, get behind me!” Taylor barked. “Fix your shield! That redheaded bitch isn’t getting up any time soon!”

Tyler, still shaken, ran behind his sister. Blake glanced past him to see Sabine sprawled on the ground, blood oozing out of a deep gash across her chest.

“I didn’t have time to strike the finishing blow thanks to you,” Taylor snarled. “But first, I’ll deal with you!”

“Deal with this,” Blake growled, swinging Soulfire at her. But Taylor’s shield was strong, and his anger was already starting to lessen after that first strike. But unlike before, he didn’t have the luxury of taking his time and working himself back up into a rage, not if he wanted to keep Taylor on edge.

“You won’t break through this barrier,” Taylor promised him, her eyes burning furiously. “My dear brother’s defenses are perfect!”

Blake had almost smashed through the barrier once. He could certainly do it again! “We’ll just have to see about that!” He shouted angrily, jumping back and raising his sword. Flames roared across Soulfire’s blade and he swung, the fire striking the barrier. It didn’t break through, but Blake wasn’t done. He ran forward in a thrust, turning his blade and aiming for the girl’s exposed stomach.

Then, the ground beneath Taylor exploded, crimson flames ripping out and striking her. The back of her shirt caught on fire and burned away.

“Wha-!” Taylor gasped in shock, stumbling forward. The barrier faded immediately, and without any resistance to stop him Blake found himself propelled forward. The tip of Soulfire pierced through Taylor’s side and she cried out in pain. Stunned, Blake pulled back from the other student. Taylor coughed, holding her stomach and crouching down.

“Taylor!” Tyler cried. He ran towards her, but Blake got there first, raising his sword and swinging it at her orica. But injured as she was, Taylor was still quick, rolling out of the way and leaving a trail of blood smeared across the ground.

“Don’t worry… dear brother…” Taylor winced. “I’m still… more than capable.” In spite of her words, her mana blade was flickering.

“Glyph Magic.”

Blake glanced past Tyler to see Sabine sitting up, still badly wounded but conscious.

“I figured it out,” she mumbled. “Several times… she could have taken one of us out. But she ran back to your side, Tyler. And when she did, you would always pat her on the back with your right hand. I thought it was just you being supportive, but then… Whenever one of us attacked you, you’d hold your chest with your left hand. That’s how…” Sabine’s cough interrupted her speech. “That’s how you could create barriers at a distance, how you can make more than one. It’s like spellcraft, you create a glyph, and place it on her body. And then she gets a barrier. One per hand, one for your sister, one for you. But… there’s only so much mana in those glyphs. You need to keep setting it. So she had to come back.”

“My dear brother… takes such good care of me…” Taylor coughed herself, nodding. She was looking a little pale. Blake felt concerned, in spite of himself. She was definitely going to need medical attention after this.

“I saw the glyph when you left me,” Sabine murmured listlessly. “So I dug my hair under the ground since it doesn’t protect there, and… burned it off. Destroy the glyph, and the barrier goes with it.”

“It’s over,” Blake snarled, glaring at the twins. “She can’t keep fighting in that condition!”

“Don’t you dare,” Taylor growled at her brother. “I’m not about… to let you give in to those two. Not… not to her.”

Tyler glanced at his sister, and Blake could see the worry in his eyes. Then, he clenched his jaw and stepped in front Taylor, holding his hand over his chest and creating another barrier.

“Stubborn fool,” Blake spat. “You don’t even have any spells to attack with.” He raised his sword, and summoned up powerful flames. He didn’t have the strength to hate these two, so he focused entirely on his hatred of Estval, remembering that rage from earlier that allowed him to crack that shield before. This time, he would destroy it. He kept his eyes focused on the boy’s necklace. He didn’t have to cut him. He just had to break that orica and it would be over.

“It’s okay, dear brother, I believe in your shield,” Taylor assured him. She dropped to a crouch, blood still running through her fingers. Blake was going to have to do this fast. Luckily, the storm of fire he summoned would be more than enough.

“Break!” He shouted, Soulfire roaring with anger as he struck the barrier. It held firm for what felt like an eternity, and with each passing second Blake willed the fire to grow hotter, to burn brighter, to take every last ounce of his rage at Estavalians and turn it into strength.

The barrier started to crack. Seconds later, it shattered completely, and Blake swung for the orica triumphantly.

But he caught a blur in the corner of his eye just before he connected, and suddenly it wasn’t Tyler who was taking the blow, but Taylor, leaping in front of her brother as Soulfire’s flames smashed through the orica and burned into her skin. She screamed in agony and Blake pulled back, moments away from cutting her throat.

“TAYLOR!” Tyler screamed, his sister collapsing into his arms with a shaky smile on her face. Seconds later, she was gone.

Blake was stunned. He stumbled back and fell to the ground, Soulfire clattering out of his hands. He was too lost in confusion to register the score changing to 32 - 22. They might have won, but Blake couldn’t understand why.

Taylor was already injured, but she’d jumped in the way and taken a second blow. It wouldn’t have even made a difference. If her brother had taken the hit, then the game would be over, certainly, because he was the King. But as the Queen, Blake finishing her off had still won them the game. So why did she do it? Why did she risk hurting herself even more if she wasn’t going to win the battle either way?

The Chess Games were over, and the Stars Cohort had emerged victorious. As the sun set, Blake and the rest of his cohort had gathered out on the quad for a feast to celebrate their victory, but Blake didn’t feel much like celebrating.

He sat on the side, eating meat that should have been delicious, but tasted more like sand as he watched the others.

Some of his classmates were gathering around Elly and Lancelus, congratulating the prince on his ability to guide his team, and Elly on how bravely she had defended him.

Sabine was still on the mend after her fight, but of course she was still boasting to anyone who would listen about her remarkable fight against Taylor, and how her deduction of the nature of Tyler’s magic had won them the game.

Even the antisocial Ark was getting some attention for coming in at the last moment and protecting the King with his Ice Elemental Magic.

But Blake, who had actually struck the winning blow, was left with only his dragon eggs as company. Normally, he would be fine with that. But there was a miserable feeling welling up inside him that he couldn’t quite understand. It wasn’t guilt or worry. Her wounds weren’t severe. The nurse said that she was going to be perfectly fine. No, there was something else that had shaken him, after seeing Taylor jump in to protect Tyler. The fact that he couldn’t figure out what it was only frustrated him more.

“Feeling lonely?” A voice called from above him.

Of fucking course.

The only ones invited to this party were the members of the cohort, but it wasn’t like they had raised a fence.

Blake raised his head to glare up at Reed, the girl still wearing that smile of hers as she greeted him with a wave.

All that was left of the tolerance for Reed’s presence that Blake had developed over the past few months were a few flickering embers. Right now, frustrated as he was, seeing her smile only filled him with rage.

“What do you want?” He growled at her. She didn’t let his obvious disdain of her presence stop her from taking the chair beside his. She wouldn’t have been the pain in the ass that she was if she did otherwise.

“You seem troubled,” Reed said, her voice light to his ears but concerned. “I would have thought, as the champion of the day, you would be feeling proud. So not even victory can bring a smile to your face?”

“What is it with you and fucking smiles?!” The frustration that had been building up in Blake finally exploded, drawing the curious gazes of the rest of his cohort. Blake tried to calm himself, lowering his voice. “I just want to be left alone.”

Reed didn’t seem fazed by his outburst.

“All that anger… is it me you’re angry at?” She asked, smiling softly at him.

“I… I don’t…” Blake was at a loss for words, confronted with that smile. He looked helplessly at her, all of his anger draining away as he sagged in exhaustion. He didn’t know what to say anymore.

“I saw your face, after you won. You seemed shocked,” Reed said, her voice a gentle whisper. She glanced at the curious students and placed her hand over Blake’s. Her skin was so warm. “Come with me.”

Blake wasn’t sure why he went with her. He was just so exhausted from the day’s struggles, so confused by the turmoil in his heart, he just didn’t have the strength to resist.

He heard a whistle from Rafe as Reed led him away, and he felt his face grow hot. “Just ignore them,” Reed whispered. “Just focus on keeping a clear head.”

Blake felt so numb that it didn’t occur to him for some time to ask Reed where she was taking him. The halls were only getting darker, and with how sore he felt the combined weight of the dragon eggs and Soulfire on his back was starting to tire him.

“I thought, if you were so unnerved by what happened today, it might help to confront it head-on, rather than keep it all bottled up,” Reed explained. Blake began to recognize where they were now that she was saying it. She was leading him to the infirmary!

When the couple got to the nurse’s office, after a quick greeting to Nurse Leilandry Reed gestured to the bed where Taylor Piska was laying, her brother sitting dutifully at her side.

“Oh… look who it is…” Taylor said, turning towards Blake as he approached. She forced a smile to her face and tried to sit up in her bed. She winced and held her side, but she still tried to make a flirty look. “You know… if you’re here to… take me up on my offer… I should warn you that the nurse said it’ll be another few days before I’m healed up.”

She wiggled her eyebrows. “Rain check?”

Blake shook his head. Her words had bothered him so much during the fight, but right now, seeing her like this, bandages covering her from throat to waist, he couldn’t bring himself to get angry. That just left him with his confusion.

“I just…” What had he come here to do, now that he thought about it? Reed had brought him here, but it wasn’t like he’d resisted. He glanced down. Taylor’s golden eyes shined earnestly, and he didn’t know what to say to them.

“My dear sister needs her rest,” Tyler said, his voice stern and protective. “If there’s nothing you need from us, please leave.”

That right there was enough for Blake to realize what had confused him so much.

“Sorry, I’ll leave,” Blake said, nodding. “I just wanted to ask you something.”

Taylor raised her arms and smiled magnanimously. “Ask away.”

He had two questions. One confused him more than the other, so he asked the easier one first. “Why didn’t you give up?” Blake asked. “It… It was just a game, wasn’t it? After getting injured like that, why didn’t you…”

“Oh. That. I hoped you were going to ask me out for dinner,” Taylor sighed. Her smirk quickly returned. “What can I say? I didn’t want to lose to that stuck-up redhead. Nobles like her… looking down on people like us… I didn’t want to lose to her, or that prince, I really wanted to give it my all.” She let out another sigh, slumping back into bed and resting her head against the headboard. A crooked smile spread across her face. “Gave a pretty good showing, though, didn’t I? For a commoner?”

“I’ve never thought stuff like that was important,” Blake replied with a shake of his head. Taylor nodded, apparently finding that an acceptable answer. Her smile then turned coy.

“Now, that wasn’t really it, was it? What you wanted to ask me?” Blake winced. It wasn’t.

“At the end there… when I was about to defeat your brother… why did you get in the way like that? Considering you were already injured, to get even more hurt over just a game… What was the point? It wasn’t like sacrificing yourself for him would have stopped you from losing, so I don’t understand why you would do something like that…”

Blake had to ask. He wasn’t sure what answer he expected to get from her, but it had been bothering him since the game had ended.

What he didn’t expect was the way Taylor and Tyler both looked at him. It was like he had just said the dumbest thing in the world.

“What?” Blake asked, their stares making him uncomfortable. “What did I say?”

“He’s my brother,” Taylor said, her tone making it sound so obvious but Blake couldn’t figure it out. “Why wouldn’t I want to keep him from getting hurt?”


Blake opened his mouth to reply, but found he had nothing to say.

“Don’t you have anyone like that?” Taylor asked, the look in her eye turning from patronizing to concerned. “Someone who you’d take the hit to protect? Or who would step in for your sake?”

Blake… Blake didn’t. He understood what she was saying, but…

It just wasn’t something that had ever occurred to him. Protecting his dragon eggs by hurting anyone who got close? That was easy to understand. Attacking someone who was trying to hurt what he was trying to protect? He definitely knew that feeling, it was part of what drove him. He just couldn’t imagine the idea of doing that for another person.

Ridiculous… if I were to fall… then what would happen to those children? I need to protect them. I could never… sacrifice myself so senselessly like that…

And the way she had smiled when she’d done it…

He couldn’t imagine someone doing something like that with a smile.

Real Aire