Chapter 6: Thomas The Train

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Sitting on one of those red and green striped seats, the ones that had been worn away from years of rigorous use, I leaned my head, against the window and watched as swarms of young future dragonettes shoved their way into the metal train. They chucked their carry-on's into the overhead compartments, cramming their things in with the other students. As some of the students hurried their way into the train steps, others stayed back to hug and say goodbyes to their families or loved ones. Lucky them.

I sighed heavily, knowing that the empty seats around me would be filled soon, maybe within seconds I guessed, judging by the fast rate that students crammed themselves onto the train.

My gaze shifted back to the window, my thoughts lingering on the awful turn of events that was my family.I tried to stay far from the painful memories surrounding my family's betrayal and focused on what laid ahead of me, deep in the North.

Khalier was my destination, the place where I would begin my new life as a Dragon Rider. Not much was know about Khalier since dragon riders were secretive amongst the other factions, but one thing was known for sure. The islands were said to be floating miles above the skies, hidden away by the clouds, earning the nickname Floating Islands. I guess that's why dragons and their riders chose to set up camp there, it was definitely secluded and only accessible by either dragon or by certain magical elevators known as trams.

Around me people took their respective seats, most knowing who I was and choosing every other possible seat to avoid sitting next to me. The small shred of hope arose that maybe people would leave me alone and let me have the three other seats to myself.

"Hey, Norah," Maryanne said kindly to me. Her voice was silky smooth and held a certain amount of sympathy to it, something that was most unwelcomed. I didn't need people feeling sorry for me, nor did I want to feel sorry for myself even if my heart still hurt.

Turning my head, suspicion and dread overcame the hope that had washed over me a few seconds ago. Maryanne's overly blue eyes studied mine and I wondered if she would see the remanence of an hour of sobbing into my knees. My cheeks still burned from the tear fest, eyes probably swollen and a light shade of red. I had stopped crying half an hour ago as I neared the more densely packed city, somehow I still tried to preserve my family's dignity even if mine had been demolished.

The redhead ignored the slight glare I cast at her and sat directly in front of me, crossing her lean leg over the other. Her tiger red curls twisted tightly together and bounced with her graceful movements. "How are you doing?" She asked.

I shrugged, turning my head back to the window. I wanted to respond with a cruel and snarky 'How do you think I'm doing?' but that would have been too mean for me. Besides, my anger wasn't directed at her, it was directed at my family. I hated my parents and my sister for abandoning me but at the same time, I understood it. Crimson's prided themselves on their pure heritage... until now. My parents had bragged about me, saying how exceptional I was at everything and how unbelievably proud they were. Now they could barely even look at me. They threw me out of the home I had grown up in my entire life, leaving me with barely enough clothes for two days. They didn't even give me my bow or sword, just plain trashy clothing that had been worn down from years of use, much like the seat I sat on.

If they weren't going to accept me I was going to make them regret abandoning me, becoming one of the best Dragon Riders at the school. I was prepared to stay up all night studying, learning new maneuvers, and even staying up to train with my dragon - if I even got one. Maybe then my parents would be proud of me but that was unlikely. But no matter the case I would never go back to them, not after what they did. That is unforgivable.

Maryanne pressed her lips together, her freckles crinkling in her cheeks as she gave me a pitying look. She must have understood the meaning of my silence, something that only infuriated me more. I should have been better at blocking out my emotions. If I couldn't control my emotions, then how was I suppose to control them and think clearly on a battlefield?

Hearing the cushions shift and squeeze, I snapped my head towards the sound, yielding yet another glare.

A young woman about my age gave everyone all a smile before she sat down in the seat beside me. Her smile grew brighter as we made direct eye contact. "Hi, I'm Cora."

My nose scrunched together in a fake smile. "Hi." I cleared my throat right after, hearing the hoarseness of my voice.

"And I'm Maryanne." The actual dragon rider greeted with a polite smile. Her brows knitted together as she gave the twig-like woman a once-over. "Are you Cora Anderson?"

The girl gave an awkward smile but nodded quickly. "Yep, the one and only."

I internally groaned, she was too chirpy for my taste and she definitely looked like an energetic person. She didn't even seem like she was faking or pretending to be this chirpy, it just seemed natural for her.

Maryanne smiled brightly, her eyes dancing between me and Cora. "Well, you two should get accustomed because you guys are going to be teammates."

My eye twitched as Cora squealed in excitement, clamping her hands together by her chest. "No way! Really?! What luck!"

Maryanne hesitated as she saw the death glare I had directed at the fragile girl, whose hazel eyes peered innocently into mine. "Now, Cora, I believe we've all had a long night and should get some rest. We have a long ride ahead of us." She stayed as a blonde man took the third empty seat.

The boy didn't say much, only nodding to us in greeting before being swarmed with Cora's questions about what he might think being a dragon rider would be like.

I scoffed, turning my head back towards the window. There was an actual dragon rider in front of them she could've asked about the rider's lifestyle. But at least Cora had someone else to bother that wasn't me.

"Ten hours, here we go." Cora whispered to herself as I internally screamed. I already knew how long the train ride was going to take. We were in the East, near the shorelines, whereas the dragon riders lived very far up North near the Cascades. But having her say it out loud reminded me that I would have to spend the next ten plus hours with her constantly babbling. This wasn't going to be fun. 

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