I'm so sorry about the huge wait for this story. After the whole alleged plagiarism accusation debacle, I kinda didn't feel like updating for a bit. And when I did, I was stuck right in the middle of GCSEs. But they're nearly over now, with only one left XD
But don't worry- I promised new stories, and there are many of those to come. Your patience has been rewarded :D I've got 3 new ones started, and 2 completed, that you should be seeing soon.
I'd like to thank all those who reviewed and message to support me. It's you guys I love writing for :)
This story is dedicated to my loyal readers, in particular-
Thanks so much to all of you amazing people. I love you all :) And anyone else I may have missed- sorry! Love you too :P Consider yourselves all recipients of a virtual doughnut and a hug from your favourite VA character.
Sooo, I'm thinking around 3 chapters for this story? Then another story about the same length, then a huuuge long one after that. Okay? Well, on with the chapter...
Disclaimer: I OWN NOTHING HERE. RICHELLE MEAD OWNS VAMPIRE ACADEMY. ANY SIMILARITIES TO OTHER AURHORS' WORK IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. (Does that cover everything? :P)
When Dimitri and I entered Guardian HQ, most people were already in their seats. Oh well, we were only 2 minutes late. And the reason for us being late had been so worth it.
Hans shot us a dirty look, and I smiled sweetly back, before dropping down in the nearest seat. Dimitri sat down beside me.
Hans had called an emergency Guardian meeting about 2 hours ago, but we'd only picked up the message 20 minutes ago, and we'd been, ah... busy at the time. So that was why we were a little late.
With one last glare in our direction, Hans began speaking.
"I have called everyone here today to inform you of something that must not leave this room. It is of utmost importance that I can rely upon your discretion on this."
He paused for a minute, before taking a steadying breath.
"There has been a tip-off, alerting us that there are a large number of Strigoi less than 50 miles from Court, hiding out and readying for an offensive."
A collective gasp of shock ran through the assembly, and I grabbed Dimitri's hand. He squeezed back. This was some serious shit.
"You understand why this must be kept under wraps. If the Moroi find out, there will be a mass panic, and the Strigoi will have easy pickings."
"What are we going to do?" Someone shouted.
Hans glared at them. "I spoke to the Queen just before this assembly, and she agreed on my plan. We will send a small group of elite Guardians on a pre-emptive strike to meet the threat before they have opportunity to attack, but will leave the majority of the Guardians at Court. This will ensure that Court is protected should the first group fail to stop the threat, and should not alert the Moroi that there is anything amiss."
There was a murmur of agreement. It was a wise move, keeping the Moroi in the dark about this. The last thing we needed was a load of good vampires running around like headless chickens, when their evil counterparts could come along and pick them off like sitting ducks.
"I have chosen 20 Guardians to accompany me on this mission, and we will be leaving at midday tomorrow. I will give you a copy of the mission plan in a moment, and we will meet again in 3 hours. The rest of you will meet back here tomorrow to discuss plans to defend Court, should you not receive word that the threat has been neutralised. I have chosen someone to lead you in my place, and the leaders of 4 squadrons.
These 25 Guardians will need to stay here, though the rest of you are dismissed until tomorrow. Thank you."
I shared a quick glance with Dimitri as Hans began calling out names alphabetically. "Abney, Archer, Alder, Barnes, Beck, Belikov, Castile, Cannon, Denma, Fields, Garnett, Hale, Hathaway Sr, Hathaway Jr, Jones, Kimberly..." The list went on as I followed Dimitri up to the front.
Hathaway Jr? Great, I sounded like something out of a bad movie. Of course my mom would be picked for the elite team or as a Court leader.
I stood next to Eddie and Dimitri, and saw Mikhail make his way towards us.
After the others whose names hadn't been called had left, Hans came up to our group that had gathered at the front of the room, holding a stack of white envelopes. He handed them out, and left us to open them.
For some reason, I was apprehensive about opening my packet. Maybe because it was a different thickness to Dimitri's, or I was just nervous about going into a massive battle and leaving Lissa alone.
By now, everyone else was already reading their assignments.
Eddie, Mikhail and Dimitri all had the same information; they were part of the elite team going on the hunt. Mom, on the other hand, was the leader of the Court resistance.
I opened up the envelope, and only read as far as the second line.
Rosemarie Hathaway- Leader of Squadron A.
Remain at Court as counter-attack if 1st offensive fails.
"Rose?" Dimitri asked cautiously. I guess I had that 'I'm-gonna-kill-someone' look in my face.
"They're keeping me here!" I exploded. "They're sending you into battle and keeping me as a babysitter!"
Everyone looked nervous at my outburst.
"Rose," Mom started in a business-like tone, "I'm sure it's because they know you're the best to guard Lissa, and you'll fight best if the original attack doesn't work."
I glared. "Yeah, sure I will! Of course I'll be ready to kick Strigoi ass if the others don't come back, because that means Dimitri and the rest of you will be dead, and I'll go into a murderous rage with no thought for self preservation!"
Dimitri was about to speak when I cut him off.
"This is ridiculous. I'm going to talk to Hans."
I stormed over to where he was deep in conversation with another Guardian and shoved the guy out of the way, ignoring his protests. I heard the others follow me.
"What the hell is this?" I asked, waving the paper in front of Hans' face.
"Your assignment, Guardian Hathaway." He replied coolly.
"No, this is someone else's assignment." It was like déjà vu, back when I was assigned to Christian at St. Vladimir's.
Hans turned away, showing his disinterest in my argument. "It is your duty, Hathaway. You should be honoured that you have been chosen to lead."
I took a deep, calming breath, and tried to change my approach.
"Guardian Croft, please reconsider. You know I would be useful attacking the Strigoi head-on."
Hans turned around at my more mature statement.
"That is true, Guardian Hathaway. But you are also needed here, and you are the Queen's Head Guardian. She needs you."
I suppressed the urge to roll my eyes.
"That's not the reason you're keeping me behind, sir, and you know it. The Queen will be under lockdown, surrounded by Guardians, whilst I am leading a group presumably away from the Palace. The safety of the Queen will be out of my hands, and she would probably stand a better chance if I were allowed to destroy the Strigoi before they even made it to Court."
Hans sighed. "Rose, we both know that is true. But just like your reason for wanting to go with the first group is not about glory-seeking, my reason for keeping you back is not about trying to oppress you or waste your skills deliberately."
I waited for him to elaborate, but when he didn't, I figured I knew the answer anyway.
"So you're saying your reason for keeping me back is the reason I want to go."
Hans nodded, and relented. "I'm worried that if you and Guardian Belikov are in battle together, then it might become a distraction, and a liability. You'll try to protect each other over taking out the threats and being prepared to sacrifice yourselves."
I could see his reasoning, but I didn't agree with it.
"Guardian Croft, Dimitri and I always knew this would be an issue. We have to make sacrifices to be together, and I know why you think keeping me behind would be beneficial. But if you look at it objectively, then I am one of the best fighters in this place. I've taken down more Strigoi single-handedly than most of these Guardians have in their lives. Please reconsider."
Hans didn't look convinced.
"Look at it this way. Fighting alone, we're good. Fighting together, we're unbeatable. Why break up a winning team?"
I flashed my man-eater smile, and Hans caved.
"Alright, you're in." I had to hold back a happy dance. "But don't make me regret this decision, Hathaway."
I grinned. "Not a chance, Hans. You'll thank us when you're saving your ass."
Hans shook his head in defeat. "Read through Belikov's information, it's generic for everyone on the mission."
I nodded and stepped back, taking my place at Dimitri's side as he nodded thanks to Hans.
As we turned to go, Hans shouted after us; "And don't be late!"
We all went our separate ways, and Dimitri and I headed to the gym for one final hour of practice before the battle. After a quick warm up, we began working on some new moves we had been developing. I hadn't been lying to Hans- we were great fighting as a team. Like now, we were practicing fighting back-to back, so we could take on several Strigoi at once without letting our guard down or leaving anything unprotected.
We had just one move left that we had to perfect. It was hard, but could potentially make a big difference in battle.
I gave Dimitri the signal, and we were almost perfect on the move. However, I tripped as I landed and ended up on the floor. However, I bounced straight up again in a defensive position, before relaxing and turning to Dimitri.
"Sorry, Comrade. I screwed that one up. You were perfect, though."
He smiled gently. "One last try?"
This time, we made no mistakes. We were badass.
So, there it is. Chapter one of the short story that's part of my ALS series. Next chapter should be up soon :)
Review and get a training session with Dimitri ;)