Thirty Four||Painful Memories

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As more guests arrived at the Academy, the smaller the space seemed to get. It felt crowded, but then again, I was used to only the dragon riders walking around the inner parts of the building. Now, there were close to a hundred people moving in and out of the Academy's walls.

I was currently accompanying my family as we walked through the halls. My dad was fascinated with the architecture of the building. He commented on the structure often, saying he had always enjoyed building. He built the home my family grew in and many other establishments in Acrine. My brothers enjoyed hearing about the history of this place, of the famous riders that studied here and moved on to become soldiers of war. I think the environment of training to be a soldier had impacted them more than they realized. They were starting to act and think as someone who had experienced the hardships of being a soldier. My mom only wanted to hear about my story and how I became the person I was now. I told her a partial story I knew would appeal to her. I didn't need my family to know of my hardships on the dragon island quite yet. It would kill the buzzing mood that surrounded us, and I didn't want this moment of us finally being together ending with them becoming angered. I wanted us to be happy for one night then I would face my reality another day.

As I was observing this, I couldn't help but think of Alec. Over the course of a year, I had learned more about myself than I had in the twenty years of being alive. Ronan was not my true father. My true father was a Rin from another island who visited me in my dreams. He trained me in the ways of war, and he taught me how to control and harness my newfound abilities. I would need to get my mom alone sometime during the night and speak to her about this. If I didn't, I'm not sure what would come of this situation. But she needed to know that I knew.

I wanted to talk to her about so many other things as well, like our family history. To this day, I still thought of what those demons had chanted to me, and I couldn't shake the feeling I got when I thought about it. Salic. The surname of the last Valairex dragon rider. It was all connected somehow, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.

For now, I let the conversation flow as is. Keaton wouldn't stop talking about Naxan and how I was a dragon rider. "Not only are you a dragon rider, which alone is badass, but you're also bonded to a Valairex breed. And I thought Niarvat's were cool enough." Keaton turned around as he spoke. "What kind of powers do you have?"

I pursed my lips as I pondered what to say. "I have control over shadows, but I'm still learning."

"Naxan teach." My dragon spoke as he flew around the surrounding mountains.

"And what better teacher than you?" I smiled and nodded as I half-listened to Keaton's rambling about Naxan.

"Naxan likes twoleg's brother." I almost rolled my eyes at what Naxan said. Of course, he would. Keaton was filling my dragon's ego without even realizing it.

Mom spoke up and cut Keaton off before he could continue any further. "Navi, where is a mirror? I feel my hair coming loose from its knot."

"You look fine, dear," Dad said as he studied her.

Mom shook her head and waved a hand. "Men," She scoffed. I chuckled softly, leading my mom away from my family and going to a place I knew she would very much enjoy.

My mom had to put a hand over her open mouth as she stared in shock at the wall of mirrors. It was my same reaction when I first entered this room as well. "I thought you would like to see this," I smiled as I stepped in beside her.

"This is... amazing," She breathed as she watched herself in the mirror.

As I stood beside her, I thought of mentioning what I wanted to say to her. This may be the only time we could be alone tonight, and who knows how long it would take for me to see her again after this night ended. This was as good as time as any.

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