A few guardians lingered near the steps going up to the plane. I recognized them as the ones who had helped capture Victor. They were probably going to do double duty and serve as witnesses and as our protection. Dimitri hovered near the outskirts, and I hurried over to him.

"I'm sorry," I gulped out. "I'm so sorry."

He turned toward me, his face schooled to that perfect picture of neutrality that he was so good at. "Sorry for what?"

"For all the horrible things I said yesterday. You did it -  you really did it. You got them to let us go."

Despite my nervousness about seeing Victor, I was filled with elation. Dimitri had come through. I'd known all along that he really cared about me - this just proved it. If there hadn't been so many people around, I would have hugged him.

Dimitri's face didn't change. "It wasn't me, Rose. I had nothing to do with it."

Alberta signaled that we could board, and he turned away to join the others. I stood frozen for a moment, watching him and trying to figure out what had happened. If he hadn't intervened, then why were we going? Lissa's diplomatic efforts had been shot down a while ago. Why the change of heart?

My friends were already on board, so I hurried to catch up. As soon as I stepped into the cabin, a voice called to me. "Little dhampir! About time you got here."

I looked and saw Adrian waving, a drink in his hand. Great. We'd had to beg and plead to go along, yet Adrian had somehow just glided on in. Lissa and Christian were sitting together, so I joined Eddie in the hopes of staying away from Adrian. Eddie gave me the window seat. Adrian moved to the seat in front of us, though, and might as well have been sitting in our row, as often as he turned around to talk to me. His chatter and outrageous flirting indicated he'd been sipping cocktails long before the rest of us had come aboard. I kind of wished I'd had a few myself once we were airborne. A wicked headache set in almost immediately after liftoff, and I entertained a fantasy of vodka numbing the pain.

"We're going to Court," Adrian said. "Aren't you excited about it?"

I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples. "About which one? The royal one or the legal one?"

"The royal one. Did you bring a dress?"

"Nobody told me to."

"So ... that's a 'no.'"


"Yes? I thought you meant no."

I opened one eye and glared. "I did mean no, and you know it. No, I did not bring a dress."

"We'll get you one," he said loftily.

"You're going to take me shopping? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess they won't consider you a reliable chaperone."

"Shopping? As if. There are tailors that live there. We'll get you something custom-made."

"We're not staying that long. And do I really need a dress for what we're doing there?"

"No, I'd just kind of like to see you in one."

I sighed and leaned my head against the window. The pain in my skull was still throbbing. It was like the air was pressing in on me. Something flashed in my peripheral vision, and I turned in surprise, but there was nothing but stars outside the window.

"Something black," he continued. "Satin, I think... maybe with lace trim. Do you like lace? Some women think it itches."

"Adrian." It was like a hammer, a hammer inside and outside my head.

"You could get a nice velvet trim too, though. That wouldn't itch."

"Adrian." Even my eye sockets seemed to hurt.

"And then a slit up the side to show off what great legs you have. It could go nearly to the hip and have this cute little bow - "

"Adrian!" Something inside of me burst. "Will you shut the hell up for five seconds?" I yelled so loud that the pilot had probably heard me. Adrian had that rare look of astonishment on his face.

Alberta, sitting across the aisle from Adrian, shot up in her seat. "Rose," she exclaimed. "What's going on?"

I gritted my teeth and rubbed my forehead. "I have the worst f**king headache in the world, and he won't shut up." I didn't even realize I'd sworn in front of an instructor until several seconds later. From the other side of my field of vision, I thought I saw something else - another shadow darting through the plane, reminding me of black wings. Like a bat or a raven. I covered my eyes. There was nothing flying through the plane. "God, why won't it go away?"

I expected Alberta to chastise me for the outburst, but instead, Christian spoke: "She hasn't eaten today. She was really hungry earlier."

I uncovered my eyes. Alberta's face was filled with concern, and Dimitri now hovered behind her. More shadowy shapes flitted across my vision. Most were indistinct, but I could have sworn I saw something that looked like a skull mixed in with the darkness. I blinked rapidly, and it all disappeared. Alberta turned to one of the flight attendants. "Can you get her something to eat? And find a painkiller?"

"Where's it at?" Dimitri asked me. "The pain?"

With all of this attention, my explosion suddenly seemed excessive. "It's a headache...I'm sure it'll go away..." Seeing his stern look, I pointed to the center of my forehead. "It's like something pushing on my skull. And there's pain kind of behind my eyes. I keep feeling like...well, it's like I've got something in my eye. I think I'm seeing a shadow or something. Then I blink and it's gone."

"Ah," said Alberta. "That's a migraine symptom - having vision problems. It's called an aura. People sometimes get it before the headache sets in."

"An aura?" I asked, startled. I glanced up at Adrian. He was looking at me over the top of his seat, his long arms hanging over the back of it.

"Not that kind," he said, a small smile turning up his lips. "Same name. Like Court and court. Migraine auras are images and light you see when a migraine's coming on. They have nothing to do with the auras around people I see. But I tell you ... the aura I can see ... the one around you ... wow."


"And then some. It's obvious even after all the drinks I've had. Never seen anything like it."

I didn't exactly know what to make of that, but then the flight attendant returned with a banana, a granola bar, and some ibuprofen. It was a far cry from French toast, but it sounded good on my empty stomach. I consumed it all and then propped a pillow up against the window. Closing my eyes, I rested my head and hoped I could sleep the headache off before we landed. Mercifully, everyone else stayed quiet.

I had drifted off a little when I felt a slight touch on my arm. "Rose?"

Tags: Richelle Mead Vampire Academy Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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