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.
“Would you like something to eat, Queen Azure?” Trixie asked, her wand in one hand and notepad in the other.
“Just a pitcher of ale,” Monet answered. “We are setting off on a long and hard expedition bright and early tomorrow. Can’t have your mashed peas and roast duck giving us stomach cramps while we’re hiking.”
Trixie tossed her long silver hair over her shoulder and peered down her nose at Azure. “I only tolerate him because of you.”
“Thanks, Trixie. I must have been cursed by a centaur, because I’m not at all sure why I tolerate him,” she said.
Trixie nodded and spun, headed for the bar.
“Because I’m brilliantly charming and seductively handsome.” Monet leaned his head on Azure’s shoulder.
“I can guarantee that your charm doesn’t work on me, and you’re about as handsome as a disfigured sea dinosaur born to runt parents.”
“Oh—you’re in denial. I get it. So what is your type? Because I’m willing to become that to earn my rightful place as king,” Monet said.
Azure shivered, her face grimacing like she was going to be sick. “If there was anything in my stomach, it would spill out of me right now.”
“Are you into the Light Elf? Maybe the gnome has gotten your attention with his orange hair and incessant use of titles?” Monet sank low in the booth, bowing over as he did. “Queen Azure, will you have a ladder brought so I can more easily kiss your ass?” His voice was low like Gillian’s and his eyes were soft, like he was pouting.
Trixie trotted over and slid a pitcher of ale onto the table. She deposited two cloudy mugs in front of Azure and Monet. “Enjoy, Queen Azure.”
“What about me? Don’t you want me to enjoy?” Monet asked, offense in his voice.
“No. I’ve poisoned your mug.” Trixie cast a disgusted look over her shoulder as she sped back to the bar.
Monet switched the mugs before filling them to the brim.
“You know, I actually could use something to eat. I haven’t had a single morsel of food all day,” Azure said, raising the beer mug to her mouth. The foam met her lips.
Monet waved her off. “I’m doing you a favor. You don’t want to be a fat queen.”
“At this point I’m a starving one.”
“Oh, you’re so fucking dramatic. Here.” Monet reached into his robes and dropped a fun-sized bag of Cheetos onto the table. “Consider that my coronation present.”
“Wow. I’m simply overwhelmed by your generosity.” Her voice was devoid of any emotion.
“Fine, be ungrateful, but I’m doing you a favor. You can drink at the Ghoul’s Tavern, but don’t eat here. Trust me. The last time I had the shepherd’s pie I couldn’t sit for a week.”
Azure took a long sip of her beer, enjoying the refreshment. “You ever consider that you offer a few too many details sometimes?”
“Nope.” Monet grabbed the bag of Cheetos and pulled it open. “Can you believe it? We’ve finally made it. You’ve become a lovely figurehead the people pretend to follow, knowing that I’m the one who is actually in charge. I’m sure all the witches and wizards finally sleep comfortably in their beds now. Glory be to me.”
“Yeah, we’ve made it and it’s fucking fun fretting over Virgo and trying to protect the people from Terran,” Azure said, draining the rest of the mug. A loud burp rocketed out of her mouth.
Several patrons turned and stared at the pair in the corner, their faces going slack.
Monet’s eyes widened with shock. “Merlin’s beard! You’re so fucking embarrassing.”
“It’s true,” Azure said, stealing the bag of Cheetos from Monet and popping one of them into her mouth. She mechanically chewed, not really tasting the so-called food.
Monet lifted the pitcher and refilled Azure’s mug. He regarded her with a sideways stare before settling back into the booth with a petulant expression on his face.
“What?” Azure finally asked, eying her fingertips, which were covered in orange dust.
He crossed his arms and swung his shoulders in the opposite direction. “Nothing,” he sing-songed, trying to make his voice sound affected.
“Monet Whatever-your-middle-name-is Torrance, what has your panties in a wad?”
He stared at the far wall as he shook his head adamantly. “It’s nothing.” There were mock tears in his voice.
“Come now, tell the queen what has you suddenly upset.”
Monet swung around, his face bright. “Well, since you won’t let it go… I, Monet Bailey Torrance the Second, want to know why I haven’t been offered residence in the House of Enchanted. The gnome and the Light Elf get rooms in the East Wing, but I have to tend to my own fire every night in my tiny and gross cottage like a commoner. And do you want to know who cleans my clothes?”
Azure blinked at him; the alcohol had made her head lighten. “I’m going to guess that it’s you…” Her voice was unsure.
“No, fuck that. I’m not a peasant. I pay that crazy witch Rikki to do it. However, why should I have to do that when the House of Enchanted could be taking care of all these things for me? I’m Chief-of-Staff.” Monet pressed his hand to his chest proudly.
“You want to live at the House of Enchanted?” Azure asked.
“Technically I want to rule from the House of Enchanted, but I can’t do that until I poison you,” Monet said, waving at her dismissively. “You don’t need to overwhelm your blue head with those details. But yes, for now I want all the perks that go with living in that well-oiled machine of a house.”
“Monet, there’s little privacy at the House of Enchanted. Most of the rooms are haunted. There’s a strange draft in the hallways. And Gran pretty much can charm any lock to open, meaning no one has any privacy.”
“Sounds fantastic!” Monet rubbed his hands together. “When do I move in? I want the largest room, even if that means you have to move out of your chamber.”
Azure didn’t say anything, only regarded him with a long cold stare.
“Hey, you were born into your role. I earned mine. And besides, I’m giving away the best years of my life to serve the people of Virgo.” Monet took another long sip of his beer.
“Fine, you can move in, but if you piss me off I’ll make your room the maternity ward for all the cats.” Azure leaned forward as she delivered her threat, her nose close to Monet’s.
He smiled. “It’s because you say shit like that that I know you’ll make a fine queen.”
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