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Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Rose Hathaway is awoken in the middle of the night by a nightmare, but not her nightmare. She was dreaming of hot guys on the beach. It's her best friend Lissa's. She could feel her fear coming through the psychic bond that they share. They don't know why they share it, but they do, and since Rose is going to be Lissa's guardian, it has come in handy. They've been on the run for two years and have managed to stay somewhat safe and hidden from the guardians of St. Vladimir's Academy, until now, minus that one time with the psi-hounds. This is not a good time for them to be found. Rose just fed Lissa her blood, because oh yeah, Lissa is a Moroi, a vampire, and Rose is a dhampir, half human half Moroi. Rose, in a I-just-got-bit-by-a-vampire-and-I-liked-it-but-we-need-to-run fog, convinces Lissa to use compulsion on their human roommate to borrow his car so they can get away from the dozen or so guardians that want to take them back to school. They don't make it. A super tall super hot guardian named Dimitri Belikov easily dispatches Rose when she tries to protect Lissa from him, greets Lissa, or Princess Vasilisa Dragomir, and takes them away from Portland and back to school in Montana.

The plane ride is mostly uneventful, though Rose is drawn into Lissa's mind, experiencing part of the flight as if she were in her body, sitting next to Dimitri. She sees his molnija marks, the tattoos on the back of his neck marking him as a sworn guardian and showing how many Strigoi, evil undead vampires, he's killed. Inside her own head again, Dimitri comes to sit next to her to tell her that she's brave for trying to fight off all the guardians to keep Lissa safe. Brave, but stupid. They arrive on campus and head past even more guardians and through the magical wards protecting the school, and are escorted to Headmistress Kirova's office. On the way, they pass by several students, including Lissa's ex-boyfriend Aaron, who still seems to be smitten with her, and a tiny evil-looking girl who must be his new girlfriend. They also see many other novice guardians, more dhampirs like Rose, and Lissa's dorky near-cousin Natalie.

Inside the headmistress's office is Lissa's near-uncle, Victor Dashkov, Natalie's dad. They're not really related to Lissa, but they are all of royal families, so they act as if they are family. Victor has an illness that has aged and weakened him, so he'll never be made king, and Rose thinks that's sad because he's a pretty nice guy. The headmistress threatens to send Rose away, but both Victor and Dimitri stand up for her and insist that she remain at school and begin her guardian training again. Dimitri reminds Headmistress Kirova that there aren't many female guardians and reveals that Rose and Lissa share a psychic bond, something that the guardians and Moroi from the old stories used to share. It's a rare and remarkable thing and to send Rose away would be a waste. Kirova allows her to remain but insists that she train extra with Dimitri before and after class, in all her spare time, both as a punishment and to get her back on track with the rest of the novices.

Her classes proved just how far behind Rose was in training. Missing two years of classes was a bad idea. She got the crap beat out of her during the physical lessons and was shamed and embarrassed during the educational courses. While she did keep Lissa alive while they were away, one of her teachers made it clear that that was only because they were lucky that no Strigoi found them. Strigoi are immortal undead vampires who drink the blood of Moroi to keep them strong. They also drink dhampirs and humans, but Moroi are their main targets. They are extremely powerful and extremely dangerous.

Victor finds Rose on her way to lunch and asks her about the bond and the things she and Lissa encountered while away from the school. She talks a little about when the bond started, shortly after the car accident that killed Lissa's entire family. Rose probably shouldn't have survived either, but she did, and now she and Lissa are closer than ever. Rose also mentions how even though they didn't come across any Strigoi, they were tracked by psi-hounds, psychic wolf creatures, sent by the school, and they managed to safely get away from them, which is no small feat. Victor seems really interested in this and their bond and vows to learn more. Dimitri also talks to Rose about their time away, suggests that he's proud of her for keeping Lissa safe, but tells her unless she's serious about her training, she'll never be chosen to be Lissa's guardian after graduation, bond or no bond.

Rose and Lissa meet up for lunch and go to the feeders before sitting down to eat in the cafeteria. Rose is jealous of Lissa's human feeder, but that's so wrong. Sure, Moroi need blood to survive, but being a feeder is pretty pathetic. Feeders become addicted to being bitten and Rose should definitely not want to be a feeder. Dhampir women who did not become guardians often became blood whores and, well, you don't want to become a blood whore. In the cafeteria, the girls sit with Natalie who asks a million questions about what happened while they were away, including the one question they've been dreading. What did you do for blood, Lissa? Rose immediately jumps in with a lie about finding willing humans because they definitely don't want anyone to know that she was feeding Lissa. It's too inappropriate.

Rose and Lissa talk about their morning classes and Rose learns that Lissa is behind too, and has been put into a sophomore elemental training class. Moroi have slight control over the elements --earth, air, fire and water-- but will develop a stronger and more powerful connection to one of them as they age. Lissa has yet to specialize though, which is kind of like not going through vampire puberty. The elemental basics teacher isn't worried though, Lissa will specialize eventually. There's a brief moment here where the girls start to talk about mentioning something to the teacher, but then, no, they're definitely not going to talk about whatever that is.

They share most of their afternoon classes, then Rose decides they're going to break out again and run away. Lissa suggests they stay instead, and Rose is kind of excited, plus she really needs to train properly to keep Lissa safe. They go their separate ways, Rose off to extra training with Dimitri and Lissa to a secret hiding space in the attic of the chapel. Rose slips inside of Lissa's mind and sees her interact with Christian Ozera, an outcast Moroi whose parents willingly became Strigoi. Strigoi are not born, they are made. If a Strigoi bites a human, dhampir or Moroi, they will become Strigoi. If a Moroi purposefully drains whomever they're drinking from, they will become a Strigoi, but becoming a Strigoi has its downsides. Sure, you're immortal, but if you were Moroi, you lose your elemental connection. Rose chastises Lissa about hanging out with Christian the next day, especially because she let it slip to him that Rose was her feeder while they were away. If anyone found out about that, they'd be ruined socially.

Rose talks to Jesse, a Moroi royal who is super hot, and some others about a crazy teacher they used to have, Ms. Karp, who used to wander the campus at night. This reminds her of a time before she and Lissa left and she got caught sneaking out of her dorm. She fell from her second floor room and Ms. Karp wandered by at the same time. She grabbed Rose's hands, scratched up from the fall, and healed them, then told her to go back inside because you never know who might be watching you. Weird. Both the healing and the paranoia. In church a few days later, Rose half-hears something interesting the priest says. He is talking about St. Vladimir and his heart being filled with so much holy spirit that he's able to use it to heal people and he's so lucky to have his shadow-kissed guardian Anna who protects him and keeps him balanced. She's never heard the term shadow-kissed before so she asks the priest about it after services. He gives her a book about St. Vladimir that might help.

When she leaves the chapel, she meets back up with Lissa who is talking to Aaron about a scandalous thing he's learned about. Two guardians left their Moroi to marry each other. That's not a thing that ever happens. Guardians are supposed to put their Moroi first, plus it's not like they can have children or anything. They're abandoning their duties. Then, Mia, Aaron's tiny angry girlfriend, uses her water specialization to dump snow on Lissa which almost causes Rose to punch her in the face, but she decides against it and goes back to her dorm where she's met by her friend Mason. Mason is also a dhampir novice guardian and he definitely has a huge crush on Rose, but, as we just learned, dhampirs shouldn't get into relationships with each other. He helps her look through the book she has to find out anything about shadow-kissed Anna, and she realizes after reading that Anna and Vladimir had a bond like the one she shares with Lissa. That's practically unheard of. She still doesn't know what shadow-kissed means, but at least she's learned something important.

A few weeks pass and things are pretty much back to normal for Rose and Lissa. Well, things are less exciting than they used to be, but they're relatively normal. Lissa has been avoiding the popularity of the royals and hanging out with her nerdy cousin Natalie and Rose is still spending all her extra time training with Dimitri, though it feels less like punishment now. He goes for a run with her one day. She's upset that that's been her only training to deal with Strigoi, to run away, but Dimitri maintains it's the best thing for her to do. As they're wrapping up before classes start for the day, Rose is immediately pulled into Lissa's head. She's freaking out, running, looking for Rose. Rose takes off to find her, Dimitri not far behind. Someone has put a dying fox on Lissa's bed. That's awful! The girls quietly talk about something that happened before they left, something about a hurt raven, but no one knows about that and that's definitely not what's happening now. It's just a sick joke. Dimitri takes Rose back to her dorm and asks her what she knows. He can tell there's something the girls aren't sharing, but Rose deflects, complaining that she needs to learn how to fight instead of just run if people are going to play terrible jokes like this.

Classes are awful that day. Everyone is whispering about the dead fox. One kid, Ralf, comes up to Lissa, asking her if she killed the fox herself to convince the Headmistress that she's crazy and needs to be sent away from school. When Rose comes to her defense, Ralf changes tactics and decides that Rose did it for Lissa as some sort of lesbian thing. Then he erupts in flames. What?! Christian, a fire user, also happens to be there and he's laughing his head off as he's sent to the headmistress's office. Ralf is completely unhurt, no marks on him at all, but magic is never used offensively like that, and never ever on another person. Later, Rose chastises Lissa because she's apparently still spending time with Christian. Lissa says he's not so bad and later on sneaks away from her dorm to meet up with him. Rose feels Lissa's sneakiness and focuses on trying to get into her head. She's never been able to do it on purpose before, but she's determined to now, so she meditates and slips inside her mind.

Lissa and Christian have a pretty flirtatious conversation about him setting Ralf on fire for her even though she's adamant that using magic on people is wrong. He scoffs at that because he can tell she uses compulsion on everyone. Sure all Moroi can use it on humans but it's practically unheard of to be able to use it on other Moroi and dhampirs. And she does it a lot. They also talk about the fox and who could have done that, but they really don't know. Christian has an idea that Lissa knows why it’s being done. She deflects with more flirting and then Rose gets angry and leaves Lissa's head. She has no idea why she got upset, but she did and now she needs to do something or someone distracting. She finds Jesse and suggests they meet up in an unused lounge in the dhampir dorm. They start making out pretty intensely and when his fangs graze her neck, she reacts. He asks her if she's done that before, blood drinking during a make out session, and she denies it, but he realizes that she was the one feeding Lissa while they were away. They start making out more and then Dimitri bursts into the room, throws Jesse out and has a meaningful conversation with Rose about her perception and reputation and how what she does reflects badly on Lissa and on him as her mentor. When she complains that she just wants to do what other girls do, he tells her she can't. The Moroi can have fun and do whatever they want but she has to be a guardian and put them first. She doesn't want to disappoint Dimitri, so she vows to do better. Then he offers to teach her how to fight.

In class the next day, Lissa and Rose are caught passing notes. The teacher reads the note aloud and it's all about what Rose and Jesse got up to the night before and getting caught by Dimitri. She's not really embarrassed by it though. After class, as she's walking across campus, she overhears people talking about a rumor she started about Mia's parents being janitors, which is excellent because that means they're not talking about her or Lissa or the fox. But then, the next group she passes is talking about the fox, which makes her think of the time briefly mentioned earlier with the raven. She and Lissa had snuck into the woods with a bottle of schnapps but were found by Ms. Karp. As she's escorting them back to school, they come across a raven and it's dying. Lissa crouches in front of the dead bird and Rose feels warmth and love inside her head. The bird flips over, looks carefully at Lissa, and flies away, perfectly healed. Ms. Karp freaks out and tells them never to speak of what just happened to anyone. She tells Rose to never let Lissa do that again. If they find out she can do that, they'll come for her. Rose snaps out of her memory when she runs into Mason who has been trying to get her attention. He tried to find out about Shadow-kissed Anna but couldn't find anything that they didn't already know and suggests they need primary sources.

The next day, Dimitri begins training Rose in hand-to-hand combat. She tries and horribly fails to attack him over and over. On their way out of the gym, she tries for a last sneak attack but lets out an obvious battle cry and he flips her over and pins her to the ground. And then he stays there for just a little too long. Long enough for Rose to realize she has a huge crush on him. Later, the Queen comes for a visit. At the banquet, Queen Tatiana greets Lissa and says she's happy she made it back to St. Vladimir's, but then completely trashes her in front of the entire school, saying that she has a very powerful name, but clearly she's not living up to it. Rose wants to kill the Queen but you know, that's treason, so she goes to talk to Lissa about it and finds her talking to Natalie. Natalie is clearly trying to cheer Lissa up, and is doing a good job, but she is also trying to find out why they ran away in the first place. Nope, can't tell anyone about that. So Rose interrupts and Natalie leaves. Then Mia comes up and tries to start a fight and realizes that Rose started the rumor about her parents and vows revenge. Dimitri comes up to them then to take Rose back to her dorm. Good timing because she was about to punch Mia. On their way to the dorm, Christian passes by, and Rose decides she needs to stop him. She tells him that Lissa thinks he's a creepy stalker but is too nice to say anything so he needs to get a clue and leave her alone. Wow, Rose.

Later that night, Rose gets a bad feeling that something is wrong with Lissa, so she gets Dimitri and they go to her dorm. Lissa's in the bathroom and is covered in blood. Rose is very worried when she finds cuts on Lissa's arms. She used to cut herself a lot but hasn't done it lately, but there's been a lot of rumors about her and the pressure has just built up and she has no other way to release it. There's an awful lot of blood though. Then Lissa reveals that there was a dead rabbit in her room and she tried to clean everything up before Natalie found out and told everyone about it. She brought it to the bathroom, tried to heal it but couldn't, then cut herself. It's not been a good night. She doesn't want anyone to know about the cutting, or about the rabbit, but Dimitri comes in and takes her to the medical center. Headmistress Kirova comes later, but Rose manages to get them to leave talking about the rabbit until the next day.

School is terrible the next day, but not because of the rabbit. Mia has started a rumor that Rose slept with Jesse and Ralf and let them drink her blood, so everyone at school thinks she's a blood whore now. Rose thought it was Christian who told Mia about her feeding Lissa while they were away, so she confronted him about it, but no, even though she yelled at him about him needing to leave Lissa alone, it wasn't him. Things between Lissa and Christian are still confused, but Rose is so overwhelmed with rage for the two boys and then Mia later that she breaks down in her room and cries about it, which is not normally how Rose deals with things. Dimitri comes to her room and takes her to see Lissa after hours and she says she's going to start dealing with her problems herself instead of making Rose do everything. She's going to start using compulsion on everyone to make them leave them alone. Flashes of memory from Ms. Karp come to Rose then. She told Rose to stop Lissa from using her power because the more she uses it, the worse it will be for her and that they would find out and they would come for her. Looks like she's about to use a whole lot of her power.

Lissa wasn't lying, but it took Rose a little while to figure out what was going on. Lissa never uses her compulsion when Rose is around to see it, so Rose slips inside her mind and watches it happen. She gets really upset at seeing Lissa doing this and takes out her frustrations in her training with Dimitri. He notices that her hands are all banged up and grabs a first aid kit to clean them. He spends a lot of time rubbing them and then talks about Rose and how she will be a good guardian and how he doesn't believe all the rumors going around about her because he knows her character. Then he tells a story from his childhood about living in a commune and that his mother is a blood whore and his father was abusive, so when he was thirteen, he beat him up. Rose struggles with her ugly hands, thinking this is just the start of her beauty withering away and how she's going to have to cut her hair when she gets her promise mark tattoo. Dimitri tells her not to cut it, but to wear it up. This is a very intimate moment between the two of them, but it's not really a big deal, right? She's just got a crush on Dimitri. Nothing untoward is happening. NOTHING.

Lissa's compulsion has propelled her back into the spotlight. When Rose slips into her head again, she notices Natalie asking a lot of questions about her sudden rise in popularity and how it's odd that everyone suddenly wants to know what she's doing all the time and how they've mostly stopped gossiping about Rose and are defending her instead. Lissa distracts her and goes on about her business. In church, two guys start making fun of Rose and Lissa uses compulsion on both of them at the same time to make them apologize. She's getting really powerful. The sermon makes Rose remember that she wanted to know about shadow-kissed Anna and then she realizes that Ms. Karp and Lissa weren't the only ones that could heal people with magic. St. Vladimir could, too, and now she needs to get back to reading about him. She asks Mason in a fake-flirty sort of way to ask Christian to get the books about St. Vladimir that are in the chapel attic so she can read them. She also asks Mason to tell Christian that what she said about Lissa thinking he's a creep was a lie and that she's sorry.

Mason successfully retrieves the books from Christian and gives them to Rose. While reading about St. Vladimir clearly suffering from depression but how he had his shadow-kissed Anna to help relieve some of his pressures of healing people all the time, she remembers a time when Ms. Karp told her she was shadow-kissed and to stop Lissa before it was too late. She's just about put everything together about Lissa, Ms. Karp and St. Vladimir, when Mason comes to her room and sneaks her out to a party in Lissa's room. While there, she watches Lissa surrounded by her sycophants. One of the partiers asks Rose about being bitten and Lissa immediately starts compelling him to stop. Rose then remembers the party from two years ago where a royal brought a feeder and was taking advantage of her. Rose was too drunk to stop the guy so Lissa followed him to his room and made him trash everything in there with a baseball bat. Rose manages to stop Lissa before she makes the guy bash his own head in. School officials showed up then and Lissa broke the compulsion. Rose, thinking about Ms. Karp again and her warnings that things are going to get worse, takes the blame for everything, gets suspended, then breaks out of the school with Lissa a couple days later. The party this time doesn't get quite that far, especially because that night two years ago, Rose vowed never to drink around Lissa again.

The compulsion is really getting out of control and is totally unnecessary. Aaron broke up with Mia and is now back with Lissa. Everybody loves her and, looking at her, you'd think she was revelling in all the attention, but Rose can see past that. She knows that Lissa is practically dead inside. She talks to Lissa's elemental basics teacher about the possibility of specializing in more than one element, which no way, it would burn you out, and she asks if the teacher knows what element St. Vladimir specialized in, or Ms. Karp. She says she doesn't know about St. Vladimir because everyone was so focused on his saintliness and holy spirit that they never wrote down what his element was and that Ms. Karp never specialized. Hmm… Rose tells Lissa all about all of this and how she should stop hanging out with the royals and go back to hanging out with Natalie and Christian, but she can't. Not yet. Rose talks to Christian later and eats her pride to apologize to him. She tells him he's good for Lissa and that she needs help. Christian would love to spend time with Lissa again, but with all the royals around, that's not going to happen, even though he's a royal too. He suggests asking Kirova or Dimitri for help, but she can't do that!

The next day, Lissa is so excited! There's a school dance coming up and Victor, sick as he is, has told Natalie he will take her shopping at the mall for a new dress and has invited Lissa along. Dimitri convinced the Headmistress that he could use this opportunity to train Rose and since he's Lissa's guardian and would have to go, Rose gets to go too. There are some other guardians there too. They spend the long ride talking about guardian stuff and about what Rose would do if she encountered a Strigoi that she used to know. Would she be able to kill them? What if she were made Strigoi? Wouldn't she want someone to kill her? Yes. Definitely. And Dimitri feels the same way. She realizes why they are connecting so much, they're both so serious about their jobs as guardians.

Victor mentions a guardian named Mikhail and his Moroi, Sonya. They were lovers, but she turned Strigoi on purpose and now he has to kill her. Oh, this Sonya? She's Ms. Karp. Could Rose do that? Kill someone she loves? Rose actually knew about Ms. Karp turning Strigoi already. She found out the day they broke out of school. She overheard some guardians talking about it, but vowed to not tell Lissa because she was afraid that Lissa would eventually do the same thing. So they ran away before Lissa could use her compulsion anymore and go crazy and turn Strigoi, too.

The shopping trip is not so fun since Rose is on guard duty. Lissa buys her some clothes and a very sexy dress just in case she gets to go to the dance, too. They also look at jewelry, a pretty necklace in particular, but it's too expensive for Lissa to buy for Rose, so they leave the store without it. On the way back to school, Rose talks to Dimitri about never getting to try on clothes again. He says she'll get to wherever she has time off, but she never wants a break from guarding Lissa. She asks him if the dress she got will endanger her reputation. He says it will endanger the school. Then she falls asleep on his shoulder.

Walking across campus after the shopping trip, Rose hops on benches, feeling on top of the world after her little catnap on Dimitri's shoulder. Then, all of a sudden, the solid wood bench gives way under her, trapping her foot. She falls, her ankle snaps, and she blacks out. She wakes up in the medical center, groggy from drugs but completely fine. Her ankle isn't injured at all. Dimitri is at her bedside, which makes things better. And then he gives her presents! Even better! Dimitri bought her some lip gloss (awwwww) and Victor bought the expensive necklace they looked at in the store (ooohhhh). Dimitri said Victor bought it to celebrate her first outing as a guardian, but there's a note with it talking about it being a miracle that she didn't get hurt and that she lives a charmed life and that Lissa is lucky to have her. It clicks for Rose right then that the car accident that killed Lissa's parents and her brother should have killed her too, but Lissa brought her back to life with her powers and that's why they have their bond. Speaking of Lissa… where is she?

Using their bond, Rose finds Lissa in the attic of the chapel, and she's not well. She's pretty manic, crying about Rose and having healed her, afraid that Rose will be mad that she used her powers, dreading going to class the next day and faking liking everyone, dreading going to the dance with Aaron when she doesn't like him. Christian arrives then and tells her she doesn't have to do all that anymore. They got back at Mia and were pretty shitty about it. It turns out that Mia was spreading rumors and being hateful to Lissa because her brother Andre fooled around with her in secret, then dumped her because she wasn't royal. Yikes. But Andre isn't even alive anymore and Lissa had nothing to do with any of that. Doesn't matter. Christian kisses her, tells her he likes her the way you should like someone, not the way she fake-likes Aaron. She gets mad at him and tells him to leave, then starts cutting again. Rose snaps out of Lissa and tells Dimitri everything. He rushes out to find her.

Lissa is passed out when Dimitri carries her into the medical center. Rose is ushered away but comes back later to visit. Lissa is angry with Rose for telling about her cutting, but Rose had to do it. She also plans on telling about her healing powers too, but hasn't yet. Rose tells Lissa she realized that Lissa healed her after the car accident and that's when their bond developed and when Lissa's depression started. Lissa is upset because she thinks they're going to treat her like they treated Ms. Karp and sends Rose away. Things aren't so good for Rose after that. Everyone's talking about her again or completely ignoring her. She decides she doesn't even want to go to the dance but Mason comes to drag her anyway. They'll sneak out soon to go to an after party and everything will be fine. Plus, he's got a surprise for her.

She puts on the sexy black dress and the necklace and they rush across campus toward the dance. They run into Dimitri and another guardian along the way and he can't take his eyes off Rose in that dress. At the dance, Mason takes Rose to see Jesse and Ralf who apologize to Rose for the rumors and tell her that Mia made them start them by sleeping with both of them. Sheesh! The truth spreads across the dance and soon Mia is yelling at Lissa. Rose arrives just in time to hear Mia shout about Lissa being crazy and having to be put on medication and about her cutting herself, so Rose punches her in the face. Lissa runs out and Rose shouts for Christian to go find her. She's escorted away from the dance and back to her room. Rose gets inside Lissa's head and sees that she and Christian are in the attic but then Christian is hurt and strange guardians are dragging Lissa away. Something tells Rose she has to get to Dimitri immediately, but she suddenly forgets why.

She runs up to his room, says she's there for Lissa, but as soon as she sees him, she's overcome with lust. She can't remember why she needed to be there other than to be with him. There's a voice in her head telling her to touch him, to kiss him, to not think about anything other than him. She comes on to him, hard, and he tells her she needs to go back to her room, that this is inappropriate, but as he grabs her to push her hands away from his bare chest, something comes over him and he starts kissing her and pulls her dress off. They make out a lot and also talk about killing Strigoi and how Rose seems to know about Dimitri's feelings when no one else does. They make out some more and Rose decides she's finally about to have sex for the first time and Dimitri senses it too. He takes off her necklace and the charm breaks. He throws it out the window and she remembers Lissa being kidnapped. They rush into action.

They find Kirova and tell her Rose was under a compulsion spell to attack Dimitri, and that Lissa was kidnapped by guardians and that one of the guardians belongs to Victor Dashkov and they need to go find her. Christian is found and corroborates the story so, after entirely too long, they finally set out to find Lissa. Rose stays partially inside her head, telling Dimitri where to go and when they get close, she falls into Lissa's head completely. Victor tells her that no one is going to come for her because Rose should be thoroughly distracted and there's been rumors spread already that Lissa has run away. Why has he kidnapped her though? Because he needs her to heal him. He tells her that she has specialized in another element that has been long forgotten, Spirit. He's known for a long time, ever since Natalie saw her heal that raven. He realized that she could heal and that she brought Rose back to life after the accident. He knows that if she can bring someone back to life, she'll be able to heal his disease, but that she'll always have to do it, so he's got to keep her. When she says no, she won't give up her life for his, he brings out another Moroi and then she screams.

The Moroi brought in is an air user and he begins torturing Lissa until she relents and heals Victor. Then she passes out. Rose and the guardians aren't too far away from where Lissa is being kept, a cabin in the woods, so they stop and make a plan of attack. They head for the cabin, but Dimitri stops Rose, telling her to stay behind because both he and Lissa need her to be safe. He calls her Roza, a pet name that slipped out during the compulsion love, and even though she doesn't seem to have noticed that he said he needs her, Roza, to be safe, she stays behind. We all noticed it though and swoon a little. She slips back inside Lissa's mind and watches as she compels a guard to stay quiet while she sneaks out the window. Rose curses and a voice asks what she saw. The voice belongs to Christian who stowed away in the back of the SUV. She tells him she saw Lissa sneaking out the window and that they're going to save her.

And they do! She's surrounded by psi-hounds, meaning Victor sent the ones that found them back when they were on the run, not the school, and she's very weak. Rose gets there first and takes down two hounds. All the training with Dimitri has certainly paid off. Christian arrives and lights a branch on fire and joins the fight, but he's soon mauled from behind by another hound. A guardian arrives then and shoots the remaining hounds. Lissa, exhausted as she is, tries to heal Christian but she can't. It doesn't look like he's going to make it, but then Rose offers her neck to Lissa, who drinks enough blood to be able to heal Christian. Rose passes out and wakes up back in the school's medical center.

A few days pass. Headmistress Kirova and a few others now know about Lissa's specialization with the element spirit and her ability to heal, but they keep it quiet from the rest of the school. Rose goes to see Dimitri who tells her that she needs to turn him in for what he did to her. She says no, it was the compulsion, but still, he says what happened was wrong. Later their age difference won't matter, but now, she's in school and needs to be with boys her own age and go to dances and try on dresses. Rose doesn't want any of that of course, and we've seen that change come over her throughout the book. Then Dimitri says he doesn't like her like that and, rather than fight it, Rose walks away. She goes to visit Victor who is in a cell on campus to get him to break the compulsion between them. He says it's over already, but that it wouldn't have worked if they both didn't already have feelings for each other. His spell just removed inhibitions and made them want to stay together; it didn't make them want each other any more than they already did. Well then…

Before she has time to dwell on that too much, Natalie comes in. Rose has mixed feelings about Natalie, mostly pity though since she's so awkward and now her dad's going to some scary Moroi royal prison. Pity soon turns to fear when she realizes that Natalie has turned Strigoi to get her father out of his cell. She lets him out and slams Rose into a wall a bunch of times. Rose can't believe she turned Strigoi for him, but she did it for the greater good. He can't become King and help the Moroi if he's in jail. Yeah, that's not going to happen anyway because of all he's done, but whatever. And if she can't keep herself from killing a bunch of people now that she's a monster? Well then, someone will just have to kill her. *Shrug* Hey, that happens right now! In comes Dimitri, looking like a God of Death, who quickly dispatches Natalie. He carries Rose back to the medical center. On the way, woozy with being wall-bashed, she asks him about what Victor said about the charm. He says, yes it's true, that he wanted her then and still wants her now, but even more than the age difference, they can't both be guardians and protect Lissa if they love and want to protect each other instead. And she understands.

Things go relatively back to normal on campus, except that Lissa and Christian are now dating. Mia starts bad-mouthing them, the disgraced royals that they are, and spreading rumors, but everyone should be used to that by now. Rose continues training with Dimitri and they act as mentor and mentee should. Lissa has started taking medication to treat her depression which dulls her ability to use her spirit magic, but maybe that's better than going crazy and wanting to hurt herself, or worse, or turning Strigoi to cut herself off from magic all together. She longs to use it though. Rose goes to the priest and asks about how St. Vladimir died, thinking that he probably finally went crazy or turned Strigoi, but no, he died peacefully in his sleep, with shadow-kissed Anna by his side. She realizes then that she'll always be able to help Lissa control her magic and will keep her safe. She walks back across campus and sees the raven that Lissa healed and realizes that he's shadow-kissed, too. She holds out her arm so the two shadow-kissed beings can be together to save Lissa, but the bird literally scoffs at her and flies away.

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