Dark Forest: The Revelations of Oriceran, Soul Stone Mage, Book 2
By Sarah Noffke & Martha Carr
The Kingdom of Virgo has lived in peace for thousands of years… until now.
With a sharp nod, she entered the curtained area.
“Did you find Rover?” the Duke asked, turning around. His eyes growing wide. “What are you doing here?”
Azure tensed. This wasn’t a normal human. There was something completely sinister about Phillip, who bore only a small resemblance to her father. His eyes were beadier, his nose more slender, and his demeanor was completely intimidating. “I’m here to take back something that belongs to the queen of Virgo.” Azure held out a hand to him. “I want my mother’s soul stone.”
The Duke smiled, an expression absent any joy. “Oh no. She gave that to me to ensure that I kept you a secret. I did, so the soul stone is mine.”
“You exposed me, and lost Richard his crown!” Azure realized she was yelling.
Phillip simply shrugged, his brown trench coat hiking up on his shoulders as he did. “I’ll retrieve the guards so they can take you back to prison, this time without your wand,” he said, his eyes narrowing on the wand in her hand. She tightened her fingers on it.
Phillip strode to the other side of the curtain and halted, nearly ramming into the material. “What have you done? I can’t leave!”
“And you’ll stay here for eternity if you don’t give me my mother’s soul stone,” Azure lied.
“Look, you little witch, you’re not getting the soul stone back, and you’re not going to ruin this ceremony,” Phillip hissed.
“The way I see it, you’re stuck back here with a witch who has a wand. You’re kind of screwed,” Azure said, holding her wand high and preparing a combat spell.
Over the loudspeaker someone cleared their throat. “Before the Duke starts the ceremony, we’ve got a special surprise for you. Please join me in welcoming our musical entertainment tonight, Lady Ga Goo!” the announcer said, his words followed by a deafening round of applause.
When the noise had died down, Phillip leaned forward. “You may have a wand, you filthy half-blood, but I have something more powerful,” he said, slipping his hand into his pocket of his trench coat. From it he withdrew an oval amethyst. Azure had never seen it, but she instinctively knew the soul stone belonged to her mother.
“Not only will you not get this stone, but, using its power, I’m going to take yours too,” Phillip said just as the music started to play much too loudly.
“No!” Azure yelled, knowing she was running out of time. Her soul stone rose off her chest as it had when it pulled her to her father. However, this time it was being stolen from her. She clamped a hand on it as she directed her wand at her mother’s soul stone. The only way she’d have been able to steal it was by knowing where it was, which the Duke had made too easy.
The soul stone tugged toward her in the air, taking Phillip’s hand with it at first. Then it broke free and raced across the space between them. Azure shot her arm in the air, fingers splayed wide. The stone flew straight into the palm of her hand, and she yanked her arm down to her side. Phillip lunged at her, but she stumbled back several feet, falling through the partition walls. She watched as the curtains moved in front of her, but the Duke couldn’t break out of the backstage area. Azure tipped her head in Ever’s direction. He had backed up several yards and was still enchanting the backstage area, by all appearances. But in the distance the guards were on their way back, one of them carrying the large brown dog over his shoulder.
Azure peeled herself off the stage, her mother’s soul stone clutched in her hand. “We’ve got to get out of here,” she said, racing for Ever.
He nodded, and pulled something from his pocket. Still muttering under his breath, he held out a small pink flower. Azure frowned, not understanding why he was offering this to her.
Ever directed his gaze to her and finished his muttering. He shook his head, as if coming out of a daze, and thrust the flower forward. “Touch the petals. It’s a connecting device which will teleport us back to the rendezvous point.”
His enchantment was broken when he stopped muttering. Phillip clambered out of the curtained area. The guards were nearly on them. Azure’s hand shot forward to the flower, and immediately the bright pink flower sucked her in. She disappeared and fell through a tunnel, spiraling around many twists and turns before being spit into a particularly dark part of the forest.
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