Mountain of Truth: The Revelations of Oriceran, Soul Stone Mage, Book 3
By Sarah Noffke & Martha Carr
The Kingdom of Virgo has lived in peace for thousands of years… until now.
A stony well sat on the Eastern hills of the Kingdom of Virgo. It had never gone dry and was responsible for providing the water for the neighboring crops.
The sun dried the morning dew from the grass as a bright bulb buzzed over the well. It shot several feet up and then halted in the air. The fairy’s brow crinkled as it spun around to face the water source. Luna wore a tight dress made from blue flower petals. Her silver hair hung over her bare shoulders and her sharp eyes narrowed at the well. She flew down low, landing on the stone walls that bordered the water, only three feet down. Luna sniffed, her pointy nose inhaling the moist air. She gasped, her eyes doubling with shock.
Kneeling down on her knees, the fairy ducked her head into the well. She immediately yanked her head back up, stumbling. The hills and sky over Virgo spun, the greens and blues ran together. Luna made to push up to a standing position but instead faltered back. Overwhelmed by the chemicals she’d inhaled, she swayed and then passed out.
“Where is Luna?” Finnegan asked, tossing his long turquoise beard over his shoulder, so it didn’t brush the plants as he inspected them.
“She’s probably sleeping. Tonight is a full moon,” Navi remarked, speeding through the air. Tied to her waist was a small satchel full of plant food. She pinched a bit from the sack and sprinkled it as she flew over the mint jelly herbs.
The old wizard shook his head. “I suppose you think I should let her off on those days?”
“Each fairy is different. It would be nice if you acknowledged that a bit more,” Navi said.
“Oh, sure. So you get the spring off. Snow gets to sit on her ass during the winter. And meanwhile I work every damn day.” Finnegan waved his wand in the air over the young seedlings, a scowl on his long face. “Why I have to work with damn fairies, I’ll never know.”
Navi sped up, circling the wizard’s face. “Oh, you old grump. You know you love us. And who would do all this work if it wasn’t for us?”
Finnegan eyed the greenhouse where rows upon rows of plants sat, small bright bulbs buzzing over them. “I’m thinking of replacing the lot of you with a fleet of bewitched dragonflies.”
Navi laughed, diving back low to continue feeding the plants.
The herb garden had lost the last mint jelly crop and hook-skirt. However, the milk thistle and caralluma fimbriata were ready for harvest. Finnegan’s gaze darkened, a shadow dancing across his turquoise eyes. Half of the potions those herbs were used for couldn’t be made since Virgo had lost Charmsgood, the Potion Master. Where was he even supposed to take the crop of herbs with the potion shop closed? The Queen would need to appoint a new Potion Master soon, however Azure had much demanding her attention.
“Navi, have the harvest fairies deliver the milk thistle and caralluma fibriata to a stand at the front of the farm.” Finnegan’s dirt stained hands clasped his soul stone pinned on the side of his robes. To say he missed Charmsgood was an understatement. As his twin brother, there was no one he’d known better in the last six centuries. The wizards were born on the second hour of the the second day, of the second month in the year. Great things had been expected of two wizards born under such circumstances. And they’d fulfilled those expectations, but now Charmsgood was gone, leaving Finnegan with a constant feeling of lack.
Navi halted in the air, her brow furrowing. “Who will sell the herbs though?”
“I guess you will or Granite or one of the other fairies. Whoever you elect. I don’t care.” Finnegan waved his wand at the pipe that ran overhead, along the length of the greenhouse.
“You can’t sell the herbs?” Navi asked.
Usually Charmsgood bought the harvest from the greenhouse. Without him there was a kink missing in the system. No the herbs wouldn’t be ground into different usable forms or turned into ready to use potions, but at least the people of Virgo would have the herbs.
“I realize that you fairies have an extra hour in your day, but I don’t,” Finnegan said bitterly. “My job is to grow the herbs, not to sell them.”
The pipe sputtered, but nothing came from the spigots. Finnegan grunted, again waving his wand in the air. Nothing happened.
“Wait!” a tiny voice rang from his back. Finnegan wheeled around just in time to be assaulted by a fairy to the face.
“Get off!” Finnegan yelled, swiping at his cheeks.
Luna rose in the air, just in front of Finnegan’s face, her eyes large and silver hair askew. “Sorry! But you can’t water the herbs today!”
Finnegan shook his head of long turquoise hair. Fucking fairies were always saying outrageous bullshit like that. “Don’t plant when Mars is retrograde.” “No working when the sun sleeps.” Or “Only fertilize when spring wings blow.”
“I do believe if I don’t water herbs then they’ll die, Luna. Is that what you want?” Finnegan said, leaning forward and growling at the fairy. “And where have you been?”
“The well! There’s something wrong with the water supply!” Luna yelled, her little voice so high pitched it hurt the wizard’s ears.
“You’ve been smoking too much caterpillar shit.” Finnegan again waved his wand at the sprinkler system. The old pipes needed to be replaced. He’d been complaining to the House of Enchanted about it for a decade, but so much in Virgo needed to be repaired. In time…
“Hey, Listen!” Luna zipped through the air and landed on the wizard’s shoulder. “I’m serious. I smelled something in the well. You have to believe me. It knocked me out for…well, I don’t know how long.”
Finnegan lifted his hand up and pressed it under a spigot until a drop landed on his fingertip He sniffed the water and shook his head. “Smells fine, you fucking wanna-be insect.”
“It’s more concentrated in the well!” Luna stomped her feet on the wizard’s shoulder.
“Stop that!” Finnegan swatted at the fairy. She nearly hit his hand but darted back down, tugging on his long earlobe.
“Hey, listen! This is serious! We’ve got to warn Virgo. None of the crops can be watered,” the fairy of the moon’s cycles screamed, her pale face flushing red.
Finnegan reached over with his opposite hand and pinched the fairy off his shoulder. He held the squirming little figure in front of his nose and blew out a huge breath just as he let her go. She spiraled through the air before her wings broke free of the wind.
“Maybe you need to listen to Luna,” Navi said, flying up and hovering beside Finnegan’s face.
“Oh, nonsense. Your lot are paranoid.” Finnegan reached up and cranked the sprinkler faucet, manually turning it on. Water first dripped from the spigots overhead and then it burst, dusting all the herbs below with a gentle mist.
Turning for the exit, Finnegan strode off, looking forward to enjoying his lunch. He had a date with a meatball sandwich and bottle of honeysuckle mead.
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