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Shadow Kiss

Check out our episode here! Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Rose is getting hot and heavy with someone. Hands running over warm bodies, lips brushing against necks, heavy breathing, the works. She loves this person so much. She loves... Christian? Wake up, Rose! Get out of Lissa's head! Yikes! Being psychically linked to your best friend really sucks sometimes. She gets out just in time, and decides to sneak out to go for a walk around campus. Aannnddddd she's caught almost immediately by Dimitri. Well, that's not so bad, except she was just wishing she was making out with him, but whatever, it's fine. They talk about her upcoming birthday and how she doesn't really want anything as a present because there's only one thing she wants... and oh... She can't have that.

Dimitri walks her back to the dorms, but then someone calls out for him, Alberta, the head guardian at the school. He shoves Rose out of view and carries on a conversation with Alberta about a trial that's going to take place next week that he has to take part in. It's Victor Dashkov's trial. Remember how he kidnapped Lissa to force her to use her very rare spirit magic to heal his vampire disease and made his daughter turn Strigoi and kill some people? Yeah. He's finally going on trial with the Queen for those offenses. Dimitri says he'll meet up with Alberta in a little bit to talk more and sends Rose off to the dorms with his keys. On her way around to the back doors, Rose sees something she definitely shouldn't see. Mason. But... He's dead... Isn't he?

Yeah, he is, he definitely died when he, Rose, Eddie, Christian and Mia were kidnapped by Strigoi in Spokane not so long ago, and whatever it is that Rose saw is pushed out of her mind the next day. She and the rest of the senior dhampirs receive their Moroi they have to guard for the next six weeks as one of the last parts of their training before graduation. She does not get Lissa, and she puts up a big, bratty stink about it. She has to guard Christian, and Eddie gets to guard Lissa. Dimitri and Alberta try to convince her that, yes, she'll probably be Lissa's guardian after graduation, but she needs to learn how to guard others, too, and see what it's like to guard someone she's not psychically linked to. It will make her an even better guardian than she already is. It's a good point, Rose.

On her way to lunch, she encounters Adrian Ivashkov, the only other spirit user that they know who now stays on campus to get magic training even though he's a little bit older than the other students. They met him at the ski resort over Christmas and it looks like he's here to stay... and flirt with Rose. He can sense Rose is in a bad mood about having to guard Christian, but it's not like Christian isn't glued to Lissa's side. And this is only six weeks, not forever, so as soon as it's over, she'll get to guard Lissa and partner with Dimitri, which he can tell she's *oh so sad about.* How is it that he can tell she's in love with Dimitri and Lissa can't? They talk a little about auras but then Adrian gets weird, a side effect from his spirit use. He deals with his issues by smoking and drinking where Lissa takes medication. Speaking of...

When Rose finally meets up with Lissa for her last few minutes of non-Christian guarding time, Lissa tells her that she's being allowed to stop taking her antidepressants so she can use her spirit magic again. Rose doesn't think this is a good idea. Is her magic worth her depression? She says she can handle it, plus she's got a lot of people around her now that can help if she needs it. Too soon, lunch is over and the Christian-guarding time begins. The senior dhampirs will attend classes with the Moroi, but as shadows in the back of the room, not as classmates. They must be on the alert at all times for Strigoi attacks. The adult guardians will be playing the Strigoi and, as much as Rose wants to be jumped by Dimitri, she can't let it happen. The first attack happens between classes, and though it does not involve Lissa or Christian, Eddie jumps in to help as Rose keeps Christian and Lissa safe. Eddie and Rose work really well together, employing the near and far guard techniques they've learned in the past. Eddie stays away and guards from afar while Rose stays with Christian and Lissa. They are praised for their assistance in the attack and then classes continue.

Rose goes with Christian to his Culinary Science class and gets to enjoy a delightful meatloaf he makes. While he's cooking, they bond a little over what happened in Spokane and over wanting to keep Lissa safe. Jesse Zeklos, an asshole Royal, makes snide comments to Rose about her preferring to guard Adrian's body than Christian, but she doesn't rise to the bait. These Moroi with their rumors... Anyway, with an adult guardian in the room monitoring those in training, it would look bad if she punched this guy in the face, so she doesn't. After class, walking with Christian and a friend back to his dorm, Fake Strigoi Guardian Stan attacks. Just as Rose is preparing to keep her charges safe, she sees Ghost Mason again and completely loses focus. He points to an area on the edge of campus but she doesn't understand, then Stan tells her her Moroi are now dead. Uh oh. She failed her first attack. Utterly. She failed it so badly that she's taken to a disciplinary hearing about it. Stan and Alberta think she sacrificed Christian and his friend because she doesn't want to guard him and this is some bizarre form of revenge. Dimitri stands up for her though, saying she would never put a Moroi life on the line, practice or not. If only she could tell someone about Ghost Mason, but if she did, everyone would think she was crazy. Luckily Dimitri's protests keep Rose in the training program. He pulls her aside, asking for the truth of what really happened, but she won't budge. She insists everything is fine and she just froze. He knows something is odd though. She leaves her hearing with a punishment of community service.

On her way to find Christian, Rose is mocked by another novice, Ryan, the novice that was attacked in the hallway earlier. She retaliates by pinning Camille, his Moroi, up against a wall, telling him attacks can come from anywhere so he shouldn't be so cocky. He says the same thing back to her, because apparently it's all her fault that Mason died, which I mean, it kind of is, but not really. She's so angry, she's about to reach her breaking point when Adrian saunters up. He uses his super-strong spirit compulsion to make Rose drop Camille. Together, they head for the library to find Lissa and hopefully Christian. Lissa has heard the rumors that Rose left Christian to die at the hands of the fake-Strigoi, but deep down, she knows that wouldn't happen. Rose thinks of telling Lissa the truth about seeing Ghost Mason, but decides to tell her about the upcoming Victor Dashkov trial instead. Christian storms off, saying he's going to do something about Rose and Lissa not getting to go to the trial, but Adrian stops him, convincing him the Royals at court wouldn't put up with it, then they break up and head to bed. Rose goes with Christian to his dorm and asks him why he didn't make fun of her for dropping the ball earlier with Stan the Fake Strigoi. He tells her he saw her in Spokane and knows she would never let him get hurt so something must be going on that no one knows about. She settles down to sleep and is immediately met in her dreams by Adrian. She's annoyed, but decides to ask him about going crazy since he and Lissa kind of do with their spirit use. He says if you're actually crazy, you don't ask questions about it. Fair point. He also says he can help Rose and Lissa get to Victor's trial.

A couple days pass and then Fake Strigoi Stan attacks Lissa as she, Rose, Christian and Eddie are walking through campus. Rose rushes to attack him, not even halfway hesitating this time, but Eddie is closer. He gets a scratch to the face as he frees Lissa and fake stakes Stan. Stan praises Eddie but chastises Rose again for not doing anything. She couldn't! Eddie took him down before she got a chance! Oh, but she could have done a better job of watching out for Christian and Lissa once Eddie started fighting. It seems she can't do anything right. Later, the group is watching a movie and Adrian joins. They talk about the fight and Adrian remarks about Eddie's scratches. Lissa notices them too, and how he got them "protecting" her. She reaches up, filled with spirit, and heals him. Her powers are back!! Rose could feel the rush of spirit too. Adrian really wants to learn how to heal, so he makes bloody scratches across his own hand and makes Lissa show him how to heal them. She doesn't know if she can teach him or not, and when they break into magic lessons, Christian gets annoyed and so he and Rose leave. He tells Rose that he's not good enough for Lissa and now that she's got Adrian around, who is an admirable Royal compared to Christian, he knows he's going to get left behind. Then Jesse and Ralf show up and try to convince Christian to join their group of Royals who are trying to learn to protect themselves. They say if Christian just made the right friends, he could have anything or anyone he wants. Ugh.

It's Sunday, Rose's only day off from her guardian duties, but instead of getting to enjoy her day, she has to do her community service from when she got in trouble. She is to help in the church after services, sorting through old supplies and moving boxes to another location on the younger students' side of campus. Surprisingly, she has help. Dimitri joins her. Before leaving for the other side of campus, Rose talks with the priest about ghosts and if they are real or not. In the orthodox church, the spirits of people who die at a young age or through violent means often stick around for three to forty days after their death. Oh crap. Does that mean Mason is still here? It hasn't been that long since he died. Dimitri asks why she's so interested in ghosts but she doesn't tell him of course, even though she's seen Ghost Mason around again, always pointing to the deep dark side of campus.

They carry boxes to a building at the middle school and while Dimitri goes off looking for the person who requested them, Rose is bombarded with hero-worship questions by a teenage Moroi named Jill. She doesn't believe any of the rumors about Rose and wants her to teach her how to fight because a lot of people keep randomly getting beat up and no one knows who is doing it. What?! Rose is taken aback by this, especially since the rumors about her are circulating around the middle school now. She and Dimitri head back and on the way, she asks him why he didn't try harder to get her and Lissa to Victor's trial. She reminds him that Victor knows about their secret love for each other and could tell anyone at any time. Dimitri knows this too and really did try to get them permission to go, but he doesn't have that much sway in the grand scheme of things. Rose gets upset and asks why he even helped her today. To spy on her? To make sure she's following the rules? It doesn't occur to her that he just wants to spend time with her in the only way he can.

The next day Rose takes Christian to the feeders and the one he gets is an older lady that they all really like because she's a little weird. She talks about nowhere ever being truly safe after asking if Rose is armed, and then mentions that wards can fade or be broken. That's odd, but Rose soon forgets when she learns that she, Lissa and Christian, plus Eddie, have been granted permission to attend Victor's trial. Rose apologizes and thanks Dimitri for helping, but he says he didn't do anything. On the airplane, Adrian is also there and begins to talk nonstop to Rose, very flirtatiously and clearly slightly drunk. As they fly higher, Rose gets a terrible headache, a migraine apparently, because she's seeing auras. Not the spirit kind, Adrian assures her. She sees dark shadows with wings and skulls and scary things, but only out of the corner of her eyes. She shouts at Adrian to stop chattering and Alberta chastises her. She explains that she has a headache and Christian chimes in that she hasn't eaten, so a flight attendant brings her a snack and some medicine. Lissa tries to heal Rose's headache but it doesn't work. Adrian assures her that her magic was there, bright and shining, but it just didn't work on Rose. She feels better after the plane lands though.

Lissa has been summoned by the Queen pretty much immediately after they arrive at Court, so Rose helps her get ready. They talk about best friend stuff, like Lissa's future with Rose, Christian and Dimitri by her side. A perfect little family. Then Lissa talks about Adrian. How he's not a womanizer like everyone says and how he seems to really like Rose, in a serious way, not in a flirting-just-to-be-flirting way. Rose doesn't know how to feel about that, and then it's time for Lissa to meet with the Queen. She asks Rose to go along inside her head, so she does. When Lissa arrives at her meeting, Rose is surprised to see Adrian there. Queen Tatiana and her advisor Priscilla are also there of course. The advisor praises Lissa for her efforts at the ski lodge and the Queen struggles with Lissa's desire for change. She doesn't like that Lissa wants Moroi to fight alongside dhampirs, but Lissa thinks that if they want to fight, they shouldn't be stopped. There's not a lot of either of them left and if they can help each other survive, then they should. The Queen dismisses Lissa after a short while and Adrian tells her that she really riled her up! Hardly anyone stands up to the Queen! Lisa and Adrian leave together, and, after Rose is sure Lissa is okay, she leaves her mind. She goes for a walk around Court and runs right into Christian and Eddie... talking to Mia Rinalde.

Mia moved to the Court to live with her father after her mother was killed in the Strigoi attacks. She's matured quite a bit, but really, they all have since the kidnapping. She's been learning how to physically fight from some of the dhampirs since she's been here, and is practicing some with her water magic as well, though that sort of training is frowned upon by the Queen. They decide to go to a coffee shop to chat for a while. Lissa and Adrian show up then and Christian gets upset that Lissa was with Adrian again, and that they'd been drinking, so Adrian takes that as his cue to leave. It's pretty awkward and things get heated between Christian and Lissa. Rose tells them both to cut it out, and they do, really quickly, and then she gets furious and has to leave. Rose follows Adrian outside and tells him why Christian is jealous, not so much that he thinks Adrian has a thing for Lissa, more so that he was able to get them permission to come to the trial. It turns out Adrian is the Queen's great-nephew, her favorite (and only) one, so of course he has pull with her. Adrian tells her that he didn't get them here for Lissa, but for her. Rose thinks about what Lissa said, about Adrian actually liking her, so she gives him a heartfelt thank you and a small hug. Then the rest of the group comes out. Mia gives Rose a note that she meant to give her when they first ran into each other. It's from Victor Dashkov, and he menacingly mentions Rose and Dimitri's relationship and how he can't wait to tell everyone about it during the trial. Sheesh.

Rose immediately goes to see Dimitri who makes a call in Russian, and they go to see Victor. Dimitri might not have enough influence with the Royals to have gotten Rose there, but he does have influence with other dhampirs who can get them into the prison to see Victor. He's despicable as always, but says he's curious about how Shadow-Kissed Rose is doing. Has she seen anything interesting? She's the only person anyone knows who has gone to the other side and come back. It seems he knows something and now Rose is curious. Is she able to see Mason, not because he's a vengeful spirit, but because she's also died? It's tempting to keep talking to Victor about that, but then he talks about Lissa and how she can bring the change they all need. She's charismatic and influential and the only remaining member of the powerful Dragomir line. When he hints that he's going to reveal Rose and Dimitri's secret love, Rose says he won't because there's no way he would do anything to her because that would upset Lissa and would end anything he might put into her head about changing the future for the Moroi and dhampirs. Then, just to put icing on the cake, Dimitri threatens him and says if anything comes out about them, he won't live to see the change Lissa will make in the world.

Rose wakes the next day to a knock at her door. A Moroi girl gives her a box containing a Guardian outfit: black slacks, a white shirt and a black jacket, with a note from Dimitri to wear her hair up. At the trial, all the guardians who went after Lissa when Victor kidnapped her testified, and Christian, then Dimitri (who had to mention the charm Victor put on them, but referred to it as an aggression charm instead of a lust charm, which Victor snickers about but doesn't say anything), then Rose, who skirts around mentioning the charm, and finally Lissa. She reveals information that none of them knows, except for Rose because she was living it with her. She uses her charisma and has even the queen enthralled with her tale. Victor is questioned then. He's very flippant about the whole thing, even about convincing his daughter to turn Strigoi. It was her decision, after all, he didn't force her. Strigoi can be made in two ways: a Moroi purposefully draining someone and a Strigoi draining someone, human, Moroi or Dhampir, and forcing them to drink their blood in return. She chose the former, what is he to do about it? He also mentions checking into statutory rape charges between Dimitri and Rose, but no one believes that, thank goodness. The Queen sentences Victor to life in prison, but again, Victor seems unperturbed. Court is dismissed and, on his way out, Victor says to Lissa that since they didn't get to chat this time, they'll have to catch up next time. Next time?!

Adrian, who knows about the Rose and Dimitri thing, quietly checks on her even though no one believed Victor, and she thanks him for his kindness. Two thank-yous in two days! How special! The Queen calls Lissa to speak privately after the trial and offers to let her live at Court and attend a university nearby after she leaves St. Vladimir's. Wow. Queen Tatiana thinks that Lissa would be a good fit at Court and needs to learn about all the Royal stuff from real, royal Royals. Lissa is flattered and agrees to move to Court, then Tatiana asks her to send Rose to speak with her. Rose has been listening in of course, so she arrives shortly thereafter. The Queen tells her to stop fraternizing with her nephew. Now. What!!? Rose is not fraternizing with Adrian!! No matter how much Rose protests, the Queen doesn't believe her. She tells her that Adrian will just use her and throw her away, like Ibrahim did with her mother. Who's Ibrahim?! No time for that, because the Queen keeps right on bashing her. The Queen believes that once they're living at the Royal Court, Lissa and Adrian will be married. Ha! What about Christian? Her actual boyfriend? Her actual Royal boyfriend? Oh him? He's nothing but a bad influence, just like Rose. If she had it her way, she'd send Rose off to a blood whore commune. Freaking yikes!

Rose leaves her chat with the Queen and decides not to tell anyone about what they talked about. They still have a few hours before they are to fly back to St. Vladimir's, so Lissa takes them to a spa. They get manicures and pedicures. Rose gets her pedicure from a hunky stud, Ambrose, who turns out to be a dhampir, and the Queen's personal blood whore. Yes, men can do that, too. He takes them to see his aunt who is a psychic. Lissa is excited, thinking she's going to meet another spirit user, but no, she's an air user. She reads tarot cards for the girls, and for Dimitri who shows up to take them to the plane. Lissa's cards tell her that her life is about to change and that change will illuminate the world. Rose's tell her she's going to destroy that which is undead. Well yeah, obviously. Dimitri's tell him he's going to lose what he values most and to cherish it while he has it. Dimitri seems to take this to heart. He believes in this sort of stuff because his family practices it back home.

The flight back to school starts out about the same as the flight to Court. Rose's head hurts really bad again. However, when they have to make an emergency landing in a town outside of the school because of wintry weather, her head basically explodes. She's surrounded by the ghosts of all the people she's seen dead or dying. Mason, the Moroi children from the attack she and Dimitri came upon, the guardians from Lissa's kidnapping, Lissa's mom, dad and brother… they're all there, pointing at a black mass of nothingness. She knows exactly what they're telling her. She should be dead too, just like them. And then she passes out. Fucking yikes. She wakes up in the school's infirmary and finally tells them she's seeing ghosts. The doctor tells Dimitri and Alberta that she has PTSD and should be taken off her training duty because the fake Strigoi attacks are just going to keep reminding her that she murdered her friend's murderers. But she shouts this down. If she doesn't complete this exercise then she can't graduate. They decide on a half regimen that will allow her to rest and study and still graduate. She also has to have counseling. Dimitri walks her to her dorm afterward and they have a touching moment where he asks why she didn't come to him, or at least Lissa. Obviously because they would think she was crazy. But he says he'll never abandon her and that they'll figure it out. She realizes when he leaves her that she left her luggage in the infirmary, so she goes back for it and sees another student who has been randomly beat up and is lying about it. Rose pretends she knows all about it and learns that some group called Mână is behind it. What the hell is that? At least it's a clue!

The next day, Rose has to explain to her friends the basics of what happened on the plane and she does and they act just as you'd expect them to act. Caring and a little sarcastic, but they believe her. They go to work on spirit magic again, Adrian and Lissa excited, Christian bored and jealous, Eddie and Rose on guard duty. They are making plants bloom today. Lissa does it easily and Adrian struggles. Then, when he asks her to show him again, Lissa gets a twinge of doubt and depression, but Rose feels it, and then it goes away. Adrian tries again and makes the plant bloom, then they go back to the dorms. On the way, Adrian walks with Rose and tells her that he thinks she's crazy. How nice!! He thinks she's crazy because she's absorbing Lissa's depression. He watched it happen. He saw it in their auras. This makes perfect sense!! Rose, and Christian because she's still guarding him, run to the church to ask the priest about St. Vladimir and Shadow-Kissed Anna and how they died. While Vladimir died peacefully, Anna committed suicide shortly afterward. Uh oh. Rose takes Christian back to his room, not telling him why what she just learned was important, and then sees Ghost Mason. She talks to him this time. Asks him if he's really there (yes) and if she's crazy (no). She asks why, but he can't answer that and then he disappears.

Rose has a counseling session and is asked about her romantic life. Rose says there's someone she likes but it can never happen, but is then asked is that the reason why she likes this person? Because she knows it will never happen because she has to put the Moroi first? Frustrating! And no! Later, she runs into Adrian. She knows she could like him, he's very attractive, but there's just no spark. She asks him to compel her to kiss him and boy, does she want to kiss him, but then he breaks the compulsion and she's satisfied. Even when compelled, she doesn't feel the connection for Adrian that she feels with Dimitri. Along with that weird experiment, she asks him if he's heard of Mână, and yes, he has. It's a secret Royal club that pops up at schools. They try to change the world, but not in the right way. They use their Royal influence to get whatever they want. Great. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Royals!

Later, Rose takes Christian to his feeder. It's the same one as before who is a little weird. This time, she talks about the Wards around the school and how if Rose is seeing ghosts, that means they're failing. That makes perfect sense. She didn't see any at Court because of course it's extremely warded. She saw them at the airport like crazy because it's not warded at all. Here at school, something must be happening to the wards. So, later, she asks Dimitri about them and tells him her theory. He dismisses it because they're checked and redone all the time. He even asks a guardian as he's taking her back to her room when they were last checked and it's only been two days. Well… shit. Time passes and Rose decides to slip into Lissa's mind to see what she's up to. She's walking with Eddie, leaving the library. She suggests that Eddie try to date Rose, but he can't because she was Mason's girlfriend. That's not… exactly true, but the sentiment stands. Then they're approached by Jesse and Ralf who ask Lissa to join Mână. Jesse and Ralf know about her compulsion and tell her she'll be able to get whatever she wants after graduation if she joins and teaches them how to use it well, too. Ralf starts to say something about how the Queen wants her to marry Adrian, but Jesse shuts him up. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Ralf must have found out about this because he's related to the Queen's advisor.

Rose, with Lissa on her day off, is talking to one of the Mână rejects when they are attacked by three fake Strigoi. The other guy completely sucks and Rose takes down all three guardians by herself. The last one is Dimitri and it gets… pretty steamy when they fight and she stays on top of him, pinning him down for just a little too long. But yay! She's not a failure after all! Lissa has a glint in her eye and seems to have plans to celebrate. Shortly after this, Rose encounters a fight. Between Christian and Adrian! Christian was tricked by Jesse and Ralf to think Adrian wants to marry Lissa so they fight. Rose convinces Adrian to compel Christian to talk to him about the whole thing before Christian sets something or someone on fire. They talk and realize Jesse and Ralf put it into Christian's head so he'd join Mână. Ugh. Where is Lissa? Shouldn't she have been in the middle of this fight? Rose checks in on her and… oh no. She's in trouble and in pain.

Rose finds Lissa being tortured by Jesse, Ralf and the other Mână idiots. It's like Victor torturing her all over again. Rose tackles Ralf and the others scatter. Jesse though is standing stock still with a look of utter terror on his face. Lissa says she's making him see spiders. She's making him live his worst nightmares. Rose feels a dark, sticky, evil magic emanating from Lissa, and tells her to stop, but she doesn't want to. Rose forces her to give all that rage and hatred to her, and after a bit, she does. All the darkness and rage is now inside Rose and she takes it out on Jesse's face. Eddie gets there shortly after and pulls her away, then Lissa begins to heal Jesse's wounds. No! More rage rushes through Rose, but then a bunch of guardians, including Dimitri, arrive. The Mână jerks are rounded up and taken away for questioning and Jesse and Ralf go to the infirmary. Alberta instructs Dimitri to take Rose away and get her cleaned up, but obviously they can't go to the infirmary because she'll murder Jesse and Ralf for torturing Lissa.

Dimitri takes Rose to the small cabin on the edge of campus that Tasha stayed in at Christmas. He struggles to get her to calm down but she finally breaks. She explains about taking in all of Lissa's sadness and depression and anger and rage and said she's afraid she's going to end up killing herself just like Anna because she can't deal with it all by herself. Dimitri says he won't let that happen, that he'll always help her, and that he loves her. He carries her to the bed and all the steam and heat from their fake Strigoi battle comes back. They start making out and then they have sex. They love each other so much and it's very tender and sweet and passionate. They lay together for a while afterward and then decide they need to go back to the main part of campus. On the way, Ghost Mason appears but Dimitri can't see him. Rose struggles to understand what he's trying to tell her when he's finally able to speak. He croaks out, "They're coming."

Rose gets a weird twinge in her stomach and then a Strigoi attacks. Dimitri stakes him and tells Rose to run to the dorm and tell them buria. That's a code word that means storm and sends all the guardians into a flurry. Alberta gives Rose a silver stake and sets her to guard a second floor window, aka, stand here out of the way. She checks in on Lissa and sees she's fine, but Christian isn't there. They were supposed to meet in the chapel, so that's probably where he is. Adrian tells Lissa that Christian and Rose will be fine. Rose leaves Lissa's head and sneaks out the window to find Christian. Even though the guardian trial stuff isn't real, she still needs to protect him. She sneaks across campus, trusting in the weird stomach twinge to alert her of nearby Strigoi. She finds Christian and instead of going to safety, they team up and kill many, many Strigoi. Christian's fire is enough to kill on its own, but if he can light the Strigoi up, Rose can stake them. They make a great team. They come across a few other guardians who tell Christian he shouldn't be involved, but he counters that all the Moroi should have been involved for a long time. Finally, Rose's twinge dies down and she sees Dimitri. Whew! He's still alive! He tells them that there have been many casualties, but what Rose and Christian did was one of the most amazing things he's ever seen. Then he tells them that even though the sun is coming up, it's not over.

Approximately fifty Strigoi killed fifteen Moroi and twelve dhampirs… and took thirteen of them away, but there were twenty-eight Strigoi killed. Rose fought one Strigoi that said he knew her and Lissa and then went off to find the last Dragomir. That was the only Moroi dorm that was breached, and Eddie was one of the taken. The guardians are planning a meeting later that Rose is invited to, but she decides they need to go after the Strigoi. On her way to tell the guardians that, she runs into her mom who has arrived to pad the numbers of guardians at the school. Janine says that they don't do that, guardians never go after Strigoi or try to rescue the taken, but Rose has a plan. She gets Dimitri to take her outside the newly-warded boundary where she summons Ghost Mason. Dimitri thinks this is weird, but after Ghost Mason's early warning the night before, he has to trust Rose. He also believes in the twinge. She asks Ghost Mason if he knows where the Strigoi are hiding and if he's seen them and if Eddie is okay. Yes to all those things. Dimitri gets a map and Ghost Mason points to an area of caves about five miles behind the campus.

With this new information, regardless of how it came about, Dimitri and Janine, mostly Janine, convince the rest of the guardians to go after the Strigoi and take senior novices AND Moroi, but adults, not students, to fight. This is unheard of, but so was the fifty-Strigoi attack. They have to wait a few hours for more guardians to arrive, so Dimitri and Rose go on a walk around campus. Rose figured out that the stupid Mână initiations were what broke the ward since they were using a lot of magic to attack people and were right on the edge of the ward. The wards are made with the four elements used in harmony, but they were using the four elements violently. Idiots. They talk about what happened before the attack and Rose is dreading that Dimitri will tell her it's over and he regrets sleeping with her, but no. He tells her that after what the psychic said about him losing what he loves most, he isn't going to let Rose go. Sure, they can't be together for real until she graduates, but that's only a couple months away. He's also going to ask to not be Lissa's guardian so they won't both be so worried about keeping each other and Lissa safe. It's a perfect plan.

The time finally comes for them to go to the caves. There is a veritable army of guardians, novices and Moroi. They split up to cover the two main entrances to the cave. On Rose's side, several of the taken Moroi come out, but then there's a cave in inside and Rose and another guardian go in to help while some other novices take the rescued Moroi back to the school. Rose and the rest on the inside take out the Strigoi that are left and then squeeze through a gap in the cave in to leave through the other side. Both Dimitri and Janine are okay, but then there's a sneak attack. More Strigoi were hiding and they're on the attack again. Daylight is fading and they have to run, but not everybody makes it out. Dimitri is bitten and they have to leave him behind.

Rose is practically a zombie after that. She goes to the chapel, falls asleep in a pew, and Lissa finds her a little bit later. Another group of guardians is going to go back to the caves when the sun rises to gather the dead and Rose begs Lissa to go, to save Dimitri, but she refuses. She says she can't go around bringing everyone back to life. Then Lissa understands. She knows that Rose and Dimitri were in love, but she still refuses to try to help. She and Adrian have been healing people all day, Adrian helping only a little. At least their spirit use is out in the open now. Lissa drags Rose to her room to sleep. The next day, they go wait by the ward as the group returns with the bodies of those that didn't make it. Dimitri is not there. Janine tells Rose that he and one of the Moroi were gone. Rose runs outside the ward and calls for Ghost Mason. She asks if Dimitri is dead. He shakes his head. Is Dimitri alive? He shakes his head… Is Dimitri Strigoi? He nods.

A week or so passes and Rose, still pretty zombieish, has a new tattoo on her neck. Not molnija marks this time, she's killed far too many Strigoi for that. This mark is a star that says she's been in battle and killed many Strigoi. She goes to Adrian to ask him for money. What? Why? She's going to leave the school. Adrian's feelings for her are so strong and she knows now that he's been serious about her the entire time he's been around. She uses that to get money from him, which is gross, but he lets her. He gives her a stack of cash and calls a bank in a nearby town to create an account for her. He tries to get her to promise to give him a chance when she gets back, and she says she will… if she comes back. She leaves Adrian and goes to the school's office with a stack of papers. She's eighteen today and legally withdraws from the academy. She leaves the office and heads toward the gates, but is stopped by Lissa. She knows what Rose is going to do. Way back when they were shopping for dresses at the mall, she heard Rose and Dimitri talking about how they'd rather die than be Strigoi. Lissa tries to guilt Rose into staying with her and tries to make her feel bad for loving Dimitri more than her. She even tries to compel her to stay. Rose finally tells her she's doing something for herself for once. All her life, it's been they come first, but not now. Rose is leaving Lissa behind to kill the man she loves.

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