Lnacothy, Soul Stone Mage Book Six
Sarah Noffke & Martha Carr
“Would you like a date?” Ever asked, sitting on the long sofa next to Azure.
She looked up, distracted. In his fingers, Ever was holding a shriveled date that he’d picked up from the bowl on the side table. Azure grimaced with disgust at the fruit. “Hell no. Those things are disgusting. They should be outlawed.”
Ever smiled and popped it in his mouth, chewing. “They’re definitely no chocolate cake, but they suffice when hunger strikes.”
“When are we going to dinner?” Monet asked, lying on an opposite couch. He had a red foam ball and was throwing it overhead.
“Soon,” Azure said, stirring the contents of the scrying bowl. “We need to get back before it’s dark.”
“So the evil blood thirsty zombies plaguing the streets of New Egypt don’t eat us,” Monet said.
“They aren’t zombies. They are vampires,” Azure said. “And it’s so they don’t bite one of you. I’m fine.”
Monet caught the ball just before it careened with his face and threw it again in the air. He paused for a moment to eye the ruby she now wore to protect her from vampires. “Yeah, I’m glad soul stones aren’t red. It would totally clash with my hair.”
“You’d look very Christmasy,” Ever said, pointing to the lavender amethyst Monet wore on a leather band around his wrist.
Monet’s face scrunched up with curiosity. “What’s Christmas?”
Ever laughed. “It’s a thing on Earth. A celebration where you exchange presents. I’ll take you sometime. You’ll like eggnog.
“Presents!” Monet exclaimed. “I’m game. Let’s bring this holiday over to Orcieran. What’s it’s all about.”
“There was this man named Jesus—”
Azure waved Ever off. “Earth lessons later. I’ve finally got the bowl to work. Gran should be coming through soon.”
Everyone inside the large carriage fell silent, except for Laurel who lay cuddled into a ball in a neighboring armchair. She hadn’t been sleeping well and had been taking catnaps lately. The werecat didn’t really appreciate the expression, but had merely frowned when it was mentioned.
Monet picked up his wand from the side of the couch and pointed it at the werecat who was snoring and purring slightly. A gust of short wind knocked into Laurel, making her startle awake. She looked around confused, wondering what had woke her. Monet resumed throwing the ball, appearing innocent.
“Gran, are you there?” Azure asked.
Gran’s face, smooth and lined with wrinkles, swam into view on the surface of the scrying liquid. “Child, excuse my French but what in Merlin’s beard are you thinking? For shriveling pig’s liver, get the troll’s head out of New Egypt.”
“What’s French?” Monet asked, holding the red ball just above his head. “And Sari, that’s what you’re calling cursing?”
“Shut the hell up, Monet,” Gran fired.
Azure smiled, nostalgia blossoming in her chest for Virgo and her family. “I miss you too, Gran.”
The old woman shook her head of lavender hair and her scowl deepened. “This is not about missing you. Gillian tells me there’s vampires in New Egypt. You’re not safe!”
“Didn’t Gillian also tell you that Mage Lenore gave me a necklace that protects me from vampires?” Azure asked.
Gran narrowed her eyes, focusing on the ruby hanging around Azure’s neck. “Yes, that’s very curious. That old bat is sneaky as hell. Do you know if it really works?”
Monet laughed. “Sari calling anyone old and sneaky is ironic.”
“She’s right though,” Ever said, nodding.
“Yeah, those two women are made from the same yarn,” Monet said, continuing to throw the red ball overhead. Laurel was instantly entranced, watching the ball fly up and then drop back down.
Azure shook her head, trying to focus with the many distractions. “The necklace does work. These founder vampires tried to turn me, but couldn’t because of the protection. And they couldn’t get it off of me either.”
“Child!” Gran screamed. “Muddy frog’s feet! I can’t believe you’ve been playing with vampires. Do you have no sense at all?”
“I wasn’t playing with them,” Azure explained. “They abducted me.”
Gran threw both her hands to her cheeks. She took in a few ragged breaths. “Are you trying to kill an old witch?”
“No, not at all, Gran,” Azure said, feeling sudden guilt for causing her grandmother any stress. It was rare for the old witch to show concern like this, which just proved how dangerous the vampire epidemic was. “You don’t have to worry. I’m safe.”
“What about Monet and Ever?” she asked.
“Thanks for the concern,” Finswick said, hopping onto the table and peering down into the scrying bowl. His black tail with its white tip waved with violent jerks.
Her expression softened at the sight of the cat. “Oh, I bet you’re loving this, Fin. Vampires on your first big adventure. Good for you.” Her gaze returned to Azure. “But seriously, what about those other guys?”
Laurel tore her gaze from the ball and looked down at Manx who was chewing happily on a bone in his black dog form. “Are you getting tired of being dismissed?”
The dog looked up and blinked his bright eyes. “Not really. We’re not in any real danger. I mean the vampires could bite us and kill us, but we’re not going to turn into the beasts.”
“Mmm,” Laurel mused, returning her attention to the ball Monet was tossing in the air. Manx also seemed to be distracted by the movement now that he noticed it.
“Gran cares about me,” Monet sang.
“I do not,” Gran spat. “I promised your mother on her deathbed that I’d look after you. I know how spiteful that evil witch is and she’ll probably haunt me if I don’t deliver on my promise.”
Monet at a young age became an orphan when his mother died from a breast enhancement charm that went wrong. She fell sick immediately afterwards and called the queen mother to her deathbed immediately. There was nothing to be done for the witch, although since then Monet had created a potion that would have saved his mother. It was sad irony. Since his father had disappeared long ago and his mother died, Gran had also been his pseudo grandmother, pretending she didn’t care for the guy, but harboring a deep affection for him.
“Gran, we’re safe while in the carriage,” said Azure, gesturing to the large carriage which had been serving as their residence since the hotel room was destroyed. Oak had even enlarged the inside of the carriage to include a private bedroom for Azure and Laurel, saying that females needed space away from boys. He apparently didn’t like the idea of the girls sleeping in the same room with Monet and Ever.
“The carriage is badass, by the way,” Monet said.
“I know that,” Gran spat. “You all would have figured that out earlier on if you would have taken the carriage instead of those flea-ridden horses.”
“Well, you’re always right. We should have listened to you, old woman,” Monet said, tossing the ball down the long stretch of space between the sitting area and the door. Manx took off after it immediately, sprinting for the ball.
Gran craned her neck around, like trying to see someone. “Where is Ever? Is he there with you?”
“I’m here,” Ever said, moving in close to Azure and staring down into the bowl. “How are you Sari?”
She smiled, her eyes lighting up. “Can you convince my granddaughter, the Queen, to return to Virgo so that you don’t lose your magic and become a vampire? You’re useless to me without your magic.”
Ever blinked with surprise, looking speechless.
“Now you know that Sari’s love is conditional,” Monet said. Manx had returned with the slobbery ball and had his head resting on the sofa next to Monet, begging for him to toss it again.
“I don’t think I can make Azure do anything and you know that,” Ever said, looking down into the bowl.
“Gran, I have a page from the Book of the Dead.” Azure shooed Finswick off of the ancient piece of paper that was covered with hieroglyphs. She held it up, careful to keep it away from the scrying liquid.
“Sizzling goat’s brains! You’re not serious,” Gran said.
“You watch your mouth, Gran.” Monet giggled.
“Where did you get that?” she asked, her lavender eyes large with shock.
“I found it on Earth in the Sphinx,” Azure said in a bored voice like this wasn’t at all bizarre.
“We spoke with Gillian,” Ever chimed in. “He said that he might be able to decipher it. Can we send it to you via Manx?”
“You might be nice to look at, but Ever, you’re an idiot,” Gran said.
“Thank you, I think…” Ever said, his tone light.