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.
Azure’s body felt like it had been turned inside out. She hit the forest floor with a thud, her teeth slamming together as she landed. Unable to keep her balance, she fell to the ground, her palms encountering a patch of thorns.
“Fuck!” she yelled as a vine slipped around her ankle. Azure rolled onto her back, pointing her wand at the noxious vine, which was seeking to strangle her. “Nestati!” she screamed, and a second later the vine disappeared. Azure hurriedly stood, brushing herself off of leaves and dirt. Ever stood a safe distance from the patch of vines and thorns. He was smirking at her with the large pink flower crushed in the palm of his hand. An identical pink flower grew in the patch of thorns where she stood.
“Transporting oneself using fairy flowers is always a bit tricky, since they have poisonous thorns and deadly vines,” Ever said, tossing the broken flower over his shoulder, to the ground.
“Poisonous?” Azure shrilled, turning her palm over and pulling a thorn from it.
“Yeah. You’ll be okay. Hella nauseous, but you’ll survive. They’re meant to incapacitate the person who transports into them so the vines can do their job,” Ever explained.
At Azure’s feet, the pink flower Ever had thrown to the ground and the one in the patch of thorns and vines turned brown and shriveled in on themselves.
“So let me guess—fairy flowers grow in pairs. You pick one, and it will transport you to the other when you need it,” Azure said.
“Good guess. And yes, but finding them is nearly impossibly unless you’re a fairy.”
“But not for a rebel Light Elf who hangs out in the Dark Forest, huh?” Azure asked.
Ever’s ears had returned to being pointy. She directed her wand at her face and changed her hair and eyes back to their normal shade of blue.
“The princess returns,” a voice said at Azure’s back.
She turned to find Gillian sitting on the branch of a nearby tree, which was about where she’d seen him when they’d first met. He was still wearing the same brown suit, and his bowler hat still had a red flower on it.
“And thanks to your help, Ever and Monet were able to find me in the Land of Terran.” Azure smiled at the gnome.
He grimaced, shaking his head. “You must never share that with anyone. Honestly, I was just tired of waiting around for you to return.”
“Then why didn’t you simply leave?” she asked, amused.
“I would have, but I feared that Monet would break rules on this quest if I left him without supervision.”
“Right! I forgot that you’re simply along to keep us from doing anything illegal,” Azure said.
“You have in fact not forgotten that,” Gillian said, disappearing and then reappearing a few feet from her. “Were you successful on your mission?”
“Well, I was apprehended and thrown in jail, but yes, I was successful,” she said, and pulled her mother’s soul stone from her pocket. It twinkled at her, glowing slightly.
“It has been used recently,” Gillian remarked, staring at the gem.
“Yes, the Duke of Terran had it and used it for his own purposes. You can tell because of the glow, can’t you?”
Gillian didn’t answer, but instead gazed at something behind her. A rustle of leaves drew Azure’s attention to whoever was approaching.
“What is the emperor of Terran doing here?” Gillian asked.
Monet and Richard walked through some tall plants several yards away. Monet’s hair had returned to its natural mint-green color, and he looked to be greatly winded. Glancing over his shoulder, he pulled the back of his arm over his forehead to wipe off the sweat. Relief flooded his eyes when he turned back and saw the group just ahead.
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