Elemental Heir : Book 1 Of The Elemental Heir Series

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Chapter 42



All eyes were on me as I gently set my Book of Shadows down onto the smooth, wooden table of the council room. Andromeda sat in her usual place, beside Torryn, while Warrick sat opposite of them.

“Andi... Torryn... Warrick. Wonderful to see you all, as always.” I said, shifting my eyes between them. They each sent me a warm smile, aside from Torryn who gave me his usual, stiff nod, as they returned my greeting.

Marrok was also in attendance, seated beside Warrick. Seeing as he was now pack leader, he was our newest council member. I smiled at him as our eyes met.

“Welcome, Marrok. I’m happy to see you here.” I said honestly.

“Glad to be here.” He said with a respectful nod of his head.

Beside Marrok, Ronan sat silently. I had not locked eyes with him yet, and I was feeling rather nervous about doing so. I hadn’t spoken to him in so long, and had no idea of his current feelings toward me.

Was he still angry that I’d gotten our of our deal through Dristan and I’s mate bond? Was he jealous, or possibly hurt? I didn’t want to know. I’d had enough guilt to deal with lately.

My eyes slid to Dristan’s, who was seated at the head of the table. He watched me with cool, clear eyes as he lounged lazily in his chair, the perfect image of calm.

“Dristan.” I said, a smile teasing my lips.

He grinned briefly, raising his chin, as he greeted me. “Mate.”

I held his hypnotizing gaze longer than I’d meant to. His sapphire depths pierced into me, and I struggled to stay focused as my mind flashed back to what we’d been doing only mere minutes ago. My cheeks grew hot as a knowing smile spread across his lips.

I broke our eye contact, lowering my eyes to the book. Brushing my fingers across the bumpy, jeweled cover, I tried to control my wandering thoughts. We were not alone here, and allowing myself to become aroused, even the slightest bit, would prove quite embarrassing considering the number of keen noses in the room.

Being that I was on the other side of the table, Dristan and I both appointed at each end, I was quite close to Ronan. It made me uneasy. Perhaps if I looked at him it would break the ice. Hesitantly, I flicked my eyes to him and found him staring at me.

My throat bobbed as his deep blue eyes twinkled in the dim lighting. When I did not immediately look away, the corner of his lip turned upward, causing the dimple in his cheek to emerge.

“Hello, Ronan.” I said, studying his features.

“Princess.” He said smoothly, his subtle smile still in place. “It’s good to see you.”

He seemed as though he truly meant it, and the vulnerable look in his eyes caught me off guard. I immediately felt guilty for what had happened.

The way he had gone about trying to be with me had been less than charming, but he’d never truly harmed me. He only wanted what he thought what was best for the people, which I understood, in a way. He was upset that he would never be king, now

But as I studied the vulnerability in his eyes, I could see that there was more. Perhaps he’d truly grown feelings for me. And now we would never come to be. I was glad of it... Yet, I couldn’t talk myself out of the guilt I felt. I’d never wanted to hurt him.

“You as well.” I said, swallowing my frown. I kept a pleasant smile on my lips, despite my growing discomfort.

His eyes fell to the rune necklace around my neck. I was very grateful to be wearing it. I never took it off. If he’d sensed my feelings, I wasn’t sure how he’d react. Perhaps he was wishing he’d never given it to me at all.

I inhaled subtly through my nose, trying to scent his own emotions. I hadn’t tested this skill yet, and I had no idea what each emotion smelled like. Since Dristan and I had a direct link to each other’s emotions, I hadn’t even thought to ask.

As I casually breathed the air between us, I was met with nothing. A brick wall of emptiness. Perhaps he had a rune charm of his own for the same reason? Though, I couldn’t see one anywhere. He wore no visible jewelry. A tattoo, perhaps?

“Congratulations on your matehood. I am very glad that you’ve found such happiness.” He said, his eyes lifting back to mine.

My chest tightened. “Thank you...”

“And I’d like to formally apologize for the way I initially reacted.” He added, shocking me into stillness. I blinked at him, unsure if I’d heard him correctly.

I struggled to come up with a response. “Well, I’m sure that it was quite a surprise. I understand why you reacted the way that you did.”

He lifted a brow, his smile growing a fraction. “So, I am forgiven then?”

“Of course.” I said with a small nod.

“Thank you. I can breathe easier now, knowing that you hold no grudge against me.”

I blinked at him, unsure of what to say. The easy grin on his face remained in place as he leaned back in his chair and tilted his head to the side. “Now, would you mind telling us what this meeting is about?”

Something about his features made my scalp prickle. I cleared my throat, tearing my eyes away from his strange expression.

“Right... Well, as you all know, I’ve recently acquired my family’s Book of Shadows. Dristan and I were looking through it and-”

“You looked through her Book of Shadows?” Ronan interrupted me, turning toward Dristan angrily.

Dristan’s eyes left my face and slid slowly toward Ronan. His face held a sour expression, as if he’d just bitten into something rotten. For a few, long moments, they stared each other down, while the rest of us watched in tense silence. I didn’t think any of us were even breathing.

“I’m going to let this one go.” Dristan said smoothly, his body relaxed. “But if you interrupt my mate again, do not expect the same mercy.”

“You cannot look inside a Book of Shadows unless you belong to the bloodline!” Ronan snapped, ignoring the threat.

My eyes shifted between them.

“I am her mate.” Dristan said simply, lifting his shoulders briefly before dropping them.

“Even mates cannot share information from the books. You know this.” Ronan retorted, fisting his hands on the table in front of him.

“Those rules do not apply to Dristan.” Torryn interjected, his serious eyes trained on Ronan. “Dristan is not Fae. He cannot use your kind of magic.”

Ronan looked from Torryn, to Dristan, and back again. His nostrils flared as he struggled to defend his claim. “The books are sacred. This is unacceptable.”

“Ronan, you’ve always had such a flair for drama.” Dristan said, rolling his eyes.

“We are going to have to break that rule, anyway.” I said, drawing everyone’s eyes back to me.

“What are you talking about?” Ronan said, his eyes narrowed.

“Well... I need all of your help.” I lowered my eyes to the book. “When Dristan and I inspected the book, we found that the last spell includes runes.”

Ronan’s eyes widened as he moved forward in his seat. “What?”

“But there are missing pages. Someone left the first page, including a drawing of one of the runes needed for the spell, but the others are gone. There is a riddle, which we think will lead to the rune depicted in the book.”

Andi murmured something into Torryn’s ear, her eyes wide. Warrick turned toward Dristan with a concerned expression. Marrok remained still as his eyes shifted between everyone.

“Does it say what kind of spell it is?” Ronan asked, his eyes shifting between me and the book.

I pursed my lips, lifting my gaze to meet Dristan’s. His face was hard, like frozen granite, as he stared back at me. Ronan turned to my mate, his expression eager.

“It is a portal spell.” Dristan said softly, as if someone outside of the room might overhear.

Everyone began to murmur, shifting in their chairs, as his words sank into their minds. I glanced around as they uttered their words of disbelief. When my eyes met with Marrok, he was staring at me in muted surprise.

“It can’t be.” Marrok said, silencing the others. “Portal spells are just... A myth. They don’t exist.”

“That was my initial reaction as well.” Dristan said, leaning his forearms onto the table. “Until I started to think about it.”

“You’re not suggesting that Atreyu actually existed, are you?” Ronan scoffed, crossing his arms.

My brows knitted together. “Atreyu?”

“Atreyu is a person of legend, who was said to travel to other worlds through portals. No one knew how he did it, as no portal spells had ever been known before that. He was said to be highly powerful. One day, he disappeared. He is said to have been missing for centuries.” Dristan explained calmly.

“That’s odd. Why would someone make up a myth about portal spells?” I asked, perplexed.

“Perhaps it was to scare people away from attempting such dangerous magic.” Warrick proposed, stroking his bearded chin. “I imagine that magic that strong could go quite wrong and have serious consequences...”

“But according to Brenya’s Book of Shadows, it wasn’t made up. Portal spells do exist. Maybe that means Atreyu existed, too?” Andromeda said, glancing around nervously.

“Do you know what bloodline Atreyu belonged to?” I asked curiously.

“Not much is known about him.” Dristan said, shaking his head.

“What use would a portal spell be to us, anyway?” Ronan asked, staring at the table with furrowed brows. “Obviously, you were meant to find the spell, Princess... I just don’t understand why. Your hybrid bloodline has been predicted to be very powerful. Since your disappearance, there has always been hope that you would have enough power to overcome the King, once you were found... But how does a portal spell work as a weapon?”

Everyone was silent as we pondered the question. I had been wondering the same thing, myself, and had yet to come up with an answer. A portal to another world was not exactly a weapon. But it was obviously meant to help me defeat him.

What kind of weapon could defeat the king and his expansive army? What kind of weapon.... The word clanged through my skull.

Weapon, weapon, weapon....

An idea popped into my head. I inhaled sharply as the epiphany sent spikes of adrenaline through my body.

“What if... What if I didn’t need a weapon to defeat the king?” I asked, turning the idea over in my mind.

It was crazy. It was impossible, and risky, and absolutely crazy...

But it could work.

“What if we didn’t need to fight him at all?”

I lifted my head and found six pairs of eyes staring at me in confusion.

“What the rutting hell do you mean?” Ronan asked, looking at me as if I’d grown a second head.

I straightened in my chair, leaning forward in excitement.

“The spell says that in order to preform the spell, each of the four runes must be placed at four corners, making a large square or rectangle. It says that a portal can either be quite small, or extremely large... What if it were large enough to encircle the king, and his entire army, at the same time?”

They blinked at me.

“What if we set up the portal spell somewhere big, like in a large field, somewhere fit for a battle... We could declare war, with no intention of actually fighting, and lead the king and his armies right into the center of the portal’s perimeter!”

Silence...

Ronan stared at me, his eyes as big as saucers. Dristan’s lips slowly curled up into a wicked grin. Andromeda looked as if the floor had summoned her jaw. Torryn stared at me with stern, calculating blue eyes. Marrok stared at the table, his furry ears alert as I spoke.

I couldn’t contain my growing smile as I continued. “When the portal is opened, they’ll all fall through, and be banished to another world. All we would have to do is close the portal before they’ve realize what’s happened... They would fall straight into our trap! And the best part is that no one would have to fight. We wouldn’t have to risk losing any more of our people to this war. No one would have to die...”

The reality of everything I’d just said sank fully into my mind and I fell into silence. I leaned back against my chair, feeling as if I might faint from sheer joy. This was too good to be true... Could it really work? Could we pull this off?

Could I win this war for my people, and ensure that no one else had to die in order to do so?

I shook my head silently as the pieces fell into place.

“Gods above...” Warrick said, gaping at me in awe. “It’s rutting brilliant.”

I locked eyes with Dristan and I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear as he gazed at me in wonder.

’Well done, my queen.' His voice purred inside of my mind, delighting me to no end. ‘I knew you were the answer to all of our prayers. I knew you would find a way.’

I blushed and lowered my eyes, humbled by his silent praise.

“It could work... It could actually work!” Andromeda said in amazement, beaming as she clasped her hands in front of her.

“And no one has to die.” Torryn added, his face lighting up into a rare smile as he lifted his gaze to mine.

“It’s a good plan, Princess.” Ronan said, turning toward me. “But it will only work if we can find all of the runes needed for the spell.”

I nodded, and flipped the book open. “You’re right... Which leads us to the next topic of discussion. We need to figure out this riddle. And Ronan, I need you to identify what rune this is.”

When the pages fell to the last page, I pushed the book toward him. He leaned away, his eyes widening, as he stared at me with hesitant eyes.

“I-I can’t... I can’t look at your Book of Shadows.” He stuttered in horror.

I gave him a disapproving glare. “Ronan... This is important. This spell is the answer to winning this war. We must work together.”

“It’s against the rules... Never before has a Fae outside of the bloodline looked upon another’s Book of Shadows-”

“Ronan.” I cut him off, my voice sharp, like the edge of a blade.

He stared at me, his mouth agape.

“Never before has there been a Fae, born of both rune and elemental blood. Never before has there been a mate bond between a Dragon and a Fae. Never before have wolves, dragons, and Fae lived together in harmony.” I said harshly.

He closed his mouth, blinking slowly.

I continued, my voice softening. “Things change, and you must learn to evolve, too. I am the future queen... I make the rules, now.” I said, pushing the book further toward him. “Now, identify the rune, please.”

He hesitated, swallowing the lump in his throat. And after another moment of hesitation, he nodded and lowered his eyes to the page.

I felt a brush of approval and admiration against my subconscious. I threw a sideways glance to my mate. He watched me, his chin resting atop one fist. His head was lowered, causing his eyes to hide within the shadow of his brow.

I smiled briefly before turning back to Ronan.

He cocked his head as he studied the page. “It’s another word rune.”

“Do you have your book with you?” I asked, an edge of hope in my tone.

He maneuvered in his seat, and pulled a worn, leather book from his back pocket. “I never go anywhere without it.” He said, his mouth pulling up into a lopsided grin.

I grinned back. “Excellent.”

We waited in tense silence as Ronan studied the rune. His eyes shifted from his book, to the rune, and back again, for several minutes as he tried to decipher the word.

“Flame.” He finally said, flipping his Book closed. “It says flame.”

“Flame...” I sighed heavily. “So, perhaps the runes are of different elements?”

“That would make sense, seeing as you have both rune and elemental power .” He said, stroking his chin. “But we won’t know for sure until we find all of them.”

“What does the riddle say, Brenya?” Torryn asked, his shocking blue eyes gleaming in the light.

Everyone waited as I pulled the book toward me. I read the words to myself silently, pondering them for the thousandth time, before I read them aloud. I prayed that one of them might know what it meant, because I hadn’t had any luck at all.

I read the words, enunciating each one clearly. “With enemies is where I dwell. An interesting parallel. For those who seek to break my spell must first endure the pits of hell.”

The words echoed through the room, and silence settled upon us as a chill ran up my spine.

After an eternity of silence, Warrick spoke. “Well... That’s not unsettling at all.”

I huffed a laugh.

“Any idea what it means?” I asked, my eyes alternating around the room.

Dristan leaned forward in his chair, stroking his bottom lip with his index finger. I tried not to watch too long, as his motion drew me in.

How was he able to look so delicious without even trying? I growled inwardly as I jerked my eyes away from him. Now was not the time to fall prey to his maddening attractiveness.

“Well, the first part is obvious.” Ronan said, distracting me.

I turned to him, grateful for his sudden derailment of my attention of Dristan.

“Is it?” I asked, furrowing my brows.

He grinned. “Of course. This riddle was written by Fae, no doubt. The enemy of the Fae have always been the Dragons.”

I pursed my lips, confused. “You’re saying the rune is here, somewhere?”

“Probably.” He said, resting his chin on his fist. “Though, I don’t know where, exactly...”

I glanced around the room, waiting for someone else to propose an idea. The dragons looked like statues, as they stared into space, lost in thought.

I turned to Marrok and found that he hadn’t moved an inch since I’d spoken about the portal spell. He sat in his chair, ridged, with his spine straight as a pin. His hands rested in his lap as he stared at the empty table top before him with furrowed brows.

“The pits of hell...” Andromeda mused softly. I turned my attention toward her, desperate for answers.

“It could mean the core of the volcano.” She said, lifting her head. Her eyes settled on Dristan as the idea left her lips. “A metaphor for the pits of lava in the sub-levels, perhaps?”

Dristan’s finger stopped it’s maddening stroking of his lip as he lifted his head. “It could be. But how would they have hidden it there? How could they have gotten past us?”

“They might’ve teleported inside.” Warrick offered, shrugging his shoulders.

Dristan scoffed. “No one can teleport that far.”

“That’s not true.” Ronan countered, drumming his fingers on the table.

Everyone turned to him with raised brows, including Dristan.

“There is a rune that can increase the distance of teleportation. Whoever hid the rune was likely of the rune bloodline, and had the ability to teleport long distance.”

My heart stopped. “D-do you think it was my... My mother?”

Ronan’s eyes slid to mine, their blue grey depths filled with sympathy. “It’s likely... I have a feeling that she and your father hid this spell together.”

“You think they ripped the pages out? But why would they go through such great lengths to hide the runes? Why did they have to make this so complicated?” I complained, burying my face in my hands.

“Because, Princess... If this spell, or those runes, fell into the wrong hands... It could mean disaster. They were likely just being careful.” He explained, his tone gentle.

I sighed, rubbing my face. “I know... It’s quite frustrating, how smart they were.”

He chuckled. “Indeed.”

“Alright.” Dristan said, leaning back in his chair. “The sub-levels... It’s worth a look. But getting in and out is going to be difficult.”

“Why?” I asked.

“The sub-levels are sealed off from the rest of the structure to prevent the heat of the lava from getting inside.” He explained, watching me intently. “The doors to the sub-levels are sealed with powerful magic, which can only be unsealed by me.”

I rose a brow. “Why only by you?”

“Because I created the spell to begin with.” He explained. “The door takes quite a bit of magic to seal, and unseal, due to the amount of power needed to keep the lava contained. I won’t be able to open it, close it, re-open it, and re-close it again, without draining myself substantially. I will have to open the doors, and hold them open, until you’re finished searching for the rune. That way, I will only have to re-seal the doors once, and I won’t drain my power as much.”

“So I’ll be going in alone?” I asked, confused.

His eyes flashed. “Gods above, Brenya, don’t be absurd. Of course you won’t be alone. Warrick, Andi, and Torryn will accompany you.”

“What about me?” Ronan asked, his tone offended.

“We won’t require your help.” Dristan nearly growled.

“Like hell you won’t. I can help find the rune. I can sense them.” Ronan snapped.

“So can Brenya. She can do it without you.”

“She doesn’t know how to do that, yet!”

I looked toward the ceiling, resisting the urge to roll my eyes at them. “Ronan will join. If he can sense the runes, then it’ll mean getting in and out of the sub-levels more quickly. I’d rather not sweat to death down there.”

Dristan growled his discontent, but did not argue. Ronan leaned back in his chair and tucked his hands behind his head in a smug display.

“It’s settled then.” I said, closing the book. “Let’s get started. I just need to change my clothes, and we can go.”

“Ready when you are, Princess.” Warrick said with a wink.

The other dragons murmured their agreement.

“Let’s go.” I said, standing to my feet.

As the others stood, their chairs scraped noisily against the floors behind them. This had been the most cheerful council meeting we’d had so far. I beamed at each of my comrades as they filed out of the room.

As Andi walked by, I leaned out to grab her hand, and planted a kiss on her on her cheek. She looked at me with brief surprise before a pink blush touched her face.

“Thank you for speaking at the funeral, Andi. It meant the world to me.” I said, squeezing her hand.

“You’re welcome, Brenya.” She whispered, squeezing mine back.

I watched as the others left. As I was about to slip out the door behind Dristan, I turned and saw that Marrok was still seated at the table.

He still hadn’t moved. Nor had he spoken. I turned toward him curiously, and crossed the room to stand beside his chair.

“Marrok?”

He lifted his chin, settling his green orbs on mine.

“You’ve been very quiet through all of this... Are you alright?” I asked gently.

He inhaled deeply, closing his eyes a moment. When he re-opened his large, emerald eyes, I saw worry inside of their depths.

“There is something that none of you are considering.” He said in a low voice.

My throat bobbed as I leaned closer to him. “What is it, Marrok?”

He studied me, his piercing gaze holding me to the spot.

“If Atreyu disappeared while using his portal spells... What will happen to you when you use yours against the king?”



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