Home > Revenant in Training (Blood and Snow #2)

Revenant in Training (Blood and Snow #2)
Author: RaShelle Workman

Chapter 1

"You are a revenant," I said to my reflection. Even she wasn't buying it. I didn't appear any different. It'd been two hours, seventeen minutes, and-I checked my watch-eight seconds since the guy with glowing red eyes sunk his extra pointy canines into my throat. One hour, forty-five minutes, and twelve seconds since Professor Pops, and Kenmei told me what being bitten meant. Was I worried I'd grow fangs, and start shunning the light? A little bit.

According to Kenmei, that wasn't going to happen. At least not in this phase. Over the next several weeks, I'd gain strength, agility, and a penchant for blood.

Yay, I thought sarcastically, gagging.

Professor Pops and I were still at Kenmei's. Little, obnoxious Hiro had gone to bed. I didn't feel tired, not really. From my expression, clearly I was in shock. No one could blame me. It wasn't every night I was bitten and changed into a make-believe being. Only apparently they-we weren't make believe. Evidently revenants existed, as did vampires, fairies, unicorns, and... other creatures I'd rather not think about.

I turned on the faucet in the bathroom, patted some water on my face. The cool temperature soothed.

"Snow, are you alright?" Professor Pops asked, after knocking on the door lightly.

I jumped.

My first thought was, No! I'm freaked beyond my wildest imagination, and I want to go home, and hide under the covers. Out loud, I said, "Yes, I'll be out in a minute."

I washed my hands, and turned out the light. He waited for me on the other side. I knew because I heard the slightly accelerated beating of his heart. A twisting need rose in my throat. But I pushed the wanting down, the craving, tolerable. Resting my hand on the knob, I turned slowly.

The first thing Kenmei gave me, after the revenant revelation, had been an herbal tea, which consisted of Chapparral, Red Clover, Bloodroot, Mistletoe, Eye of Newt, Unicorn horn, and Fairy dust. It didn't taste the best, but it was bearable.

Professor Pops had explained I needed to drink the tea twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening, to control my bloodlust.

I still had a hundred questions. The biggest: "Why me?" I asked as I opened the door.

Pops stepped back. Then cleared his throat. "Come and sit. Let's talk." A sea of guilt washed over his distinguished features, but before I said anything, he turned away.

I followed him into the tiny office. A bowl of steaming rice and vegetables sat in front of my chair, on the edge of the desk. "Is this for me?" I hoped so. My stomach growled with hunger.

"Yes, Shiryo-san. I had my wife cook these up for you. I hope you're hungry." His fathomless eyes shone bright.

"Thank you." I scooped up the bowl, and ate with the fork provided. Its aroma had my mouth watering, but the flavors fell flat. After I'd finished, I placed the empty bowl on the table, satiated, but not satisfied. I also realized I'd eaten in silence, and that Professor Pops, and Kenmei watched me, expectantly. My cheeks flushed.

"Sorry, were the two of you going to eat?" They didn't have food in front of them.

"No, we are curious as to how you're feeling?" Professor Pops asked.

My face grew hotter. Did they want to know if I intended to jump them? Attack them for their blood? At the thought of blood, my mouth watered. I ignored it. "I'm fine," I said to Professor Pops. Facing Kenmei, I added, "The food was wonderful. Please tell your wife I said, 'thank you.'" I'd lied. The rice and vegetables had tasted like ash, but I had the distinct impression it wasn't because of his wife's cooking skills, and more that my body had already begun to change.

He nodded. "I will."

"Now, let me answer your question," Professor Pops said, crossing one of his long legs over the other.

I peered at him, slightly confused.

"You asked why? Why she chose you?"

"Oh, right. Yes." I leaned back in the chair, and clamped my twitchy hands in my lap.

"First a little history."

"Okay," I said, noting it'd become my word of the day.

"The Vampire Queen has been alive for thousands of years. By our best guess," he eyed Kenmei, "we'd say more than seven thousand. Every thousand years she must change bodies. Regardless, or because of her immortal properties, like a snake that sheds its skin every year, she too must escape the old body in lieu of a new, more healthy one."

I shuddered at the thought of skin peeling away.

Professor Pops continued, "When the Queen is within twenty years of her need to shed, she sends out drone vampires."

I must have had a confused expression because he said, "Think about bees in a hive. There is one Queen, over fifty thousand bees, and one out of every hundred is a worker. They are also female. Then there are the drones, which are the males. Their job," he shifted uncomfortably, "is to mate with the Queen."

My jaw dropped.

"Within the hierarchy of the Vampire Queen's hive, we know within her army are many, many more females. We also know the male drone vampire's job is..." he trailed off, and cleared his throat before continuing, "slightly different."

"Correct," Kenmei said, taking over. "The drones are sent into the world searching for the most exquisite female humans. Once they find one, they mark her." Professor Pops leaned close; his hands hovered near my right arm.

Without him lifting my shirtsleeve I knew what he hoped to find. I had a dark birthmark, near my shoulder, in the shape of a star. It'd appeared around my fifth birthday. I'd been getting dressed one morning, and believed the mark to be a bug, at first. Worried, I'd shown my mother. She'd said it was nothing to worry about. "A kiss from magical fairies," had been her answer. At the thought of my mother, tears gathered on my lashes.

"May I?" Pops asked.

I pulled up the sleeve. "So a drone vampire marked me?" I heard the raw pain in my voice, but pretended it didn't matter, and moved my shoulder so he and Kenmei saw it.

"Yes," Kenmei said, his face growing soft.

"Why don't I remember?" I let go of my sleeve, and tucked my hands under my legs. Keeping my eyes down, I stared at my white tube socks-boy socks.

"You were young, and the mark was most likely placed on you in your sleep," Professor Pops said.

At his words, something clicked. "How do you know about all of this?" My stomach clenched. Was Professor Pops' friendship only pretend? Was he somehow involved?

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