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

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

Of course, that was easier said than done because I didn't think our feelings for each other were ever really going to go away. We'd both had moments of weakness, moments that led to stolen kisses or saying things we really shouldn't have. After I'd escaped the Strigoi, Dimitri had told me he loved me and had pretty much admitted he could never be with anyone else because of that. Yet, it had also become clear that we still couldn't be together either, and we had both slipped back into our old roles of keeping away from each other and pretending that our relationship was strictly professional.

In a not-so-obvious attempt to change the subject, he said, "You can deny it all you want, but I know you're freezing. Let's go inside. I'll take you in through the back."

I couldn't help feeling a little surprised. Dimitri was rarely one to avoid uncomfortable subjects. In fact, he was notorious for pushing me into conversations about topics I didn't want to deal with. But talking about our dysfunctional, star-crossed relationship? That was a place he apparently didn't want to go today. Yeah. Things were definitely changing.

"I think you're the one who's cold," I teased, as we walked around the side of the dorm where novice guardians lived. "Shouldn't you be all tough and stuff, since you're from Siberia?"

"I don't think Siberia's exactly what you imagine."

"I imagine it as an arctic wasteland," I said truthfully.

"Then it's definitely not what you imagine."

"Do you miss it?" I asked, glancing back to where he walked behind me. It was something I'd never considered before. In my mind, everyone would want to live in the U.S. Or, well, they at least wouldn't want to live in Siberia.

"All the time," he said, his voice a little wistful. "Sometimes I wish - "

"Belikov!"

A voice was carried on the wind from behind us. Dimitri muttered something, and then shoved me further around the corner I'd just rounded. "Stay out of sight."

I ducked down behind a bank of holly trees that flanked the building. They didn't have any berries, but the thick clusters of sharp, pointed leaves scratched where my skin was exposed. Considering the freezing temperature and possible discovery of my late-night walk, a few scratches were the least of my problems right now.

"You're not on watch," I heard Dimitri say several moments later.

"No, but I needed to talk to you." I recognized the voice. It belonged to Alberta, captain of the Academy's guardians. "It'll just take a minute. We need to shuffle some of the watches while you're at the trial."

"I figured," he said. There was a funny, almost uncomfortable note in his voice. "It's going to put a strain on everyone else - bad timing."

"Yes, well, the queen runs on her own schedule." Alberta sounded frustrated, and I tried to figure out what was going on. "Celeste will take your watches, and she and Emil will divide up your training times."

Training times? Dimitri wouldn't be conducting any trainings next week because -  Ah. That was it, I realized. The field experience. Tomorrow kicked off six weeks of hands-on practice for us novices. We'd have no classes and would get to protect Moroi night and day while the adults tested us. The "training times" must be when Dimitri would be out participating in that. But what was this trial she'd mentioned? Did they mean like the final trials we had to undergo at the end of the school year?

"They say they don't mind the extra work," continued Alberta, "but I was wondering if you could even things out and take some of their shifts before you leave?"

"Absolutely," he said, words still short and stiff.

"Thanks. I think that'll help." She sighed. "I wish I knew how long this trial was going to be. I don't want to be away that long. You'd think it'd be a done deal with Dashkov, but now I hear the queen's getting cold feet about imprisoning a major royal."

I stiffened. The chill running through me now had nothing to do with the winter day. Dashkov?

"I'm sure they'll do the right thing," said Dimitri. I realized at that moment why he wasn't saying much. This wasn't something I was supposed to hear.

"I hope so. And I hope it'll only take a few days, like they claim. Look, it's miserable out here. Would you mind coming into the office for a second to look at the schedule?"

"Sure," he said. "Let me check on something first."

"All right. See you soon."

Silence fell, and I had to assume Alberta was walking away. Sure enough, Dimitri rounded the corner and stood in front of the holly. I shot up from my hiding spot. The look on his face told me he already knew what was coming.

"Rose - "

"Dashkov?" I exclaimed, trying to keep my voice low so Alberta wouldn't hear. "As in Victor Dashkov?"

He didn't bother denying it. "Yes. Victor Dashkov."

"And you guys were talking about...Do you mean..." I was so startled, so dumbstruck, that I could barely get my thoughts together. This was unbelievable. "I thought he was locked up! Are you saying he hasn't been on trial yet?"

Yes. This was definitely unbelievable. Victor Dashkov. The guy who'd stalked Lissa and tortured her mind and body in order to control her powers. Every Moroi could use magic in one of the four elements: earth, air, water, or fire. Lissa, however, worked an almost unheard of fifth element called spirit. She could heal anything - including the dead. It was the reason I was now psychically linked to her - "shadow-kissed," some called it. She'd brought me back from the car accident that had killed her parents and brother, binding us together in a way that allowed me to feel her thoughts and experiences.

   
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