I greeted Cassius and Gretchen at the front gate and escorted them to the pack house. Quinn was having a shower after an early morning training session and said she would meet us downstairs when she was done.
“This is...nice” Gretchen muttered as she walked around the ground floor of the pack house, “you haven’t really changed much since your dad was Alpha. Quinn not the domestic goddess you hoped for?”
Cassius cleared his throat and shot Gretchen a look from across the room.
“We haven’t discussed redecorating yet. There has been a bit going on...”
“Of course. Clayton, missing wolves...new mate”
I knew what Gretchen was trying to do. She loved stirring me up when we were kids. She might want to put a sock in it before Quinn came down though.
“So did you make any progress last night on how Quinn will go about killing this witch?” I asked, changing the subject.
“We’re best to wait until Quinn is here. I believe Moira is on her way over too” Cassius replied.
He put a box on the dining table that contained the text about Magdalene and The Shifter Queen, Cara’s journal and a bunch of other bits and pieces that meant nothing to me.
I looked to the stairs as my Luna made her way down. My heart skipped a beat as I took in the sight of her, she looked every bit the Luna and Queen that she was.
“Jawbreaker...your chin just hit the floor” Gretchen smirked and punched me on the arm.
Quinn wore a dress that was the deepest red I’d ever seen. It was short, very short and hung from her body by one tiny piece of material that draped over her shoulder. Her hair was fastened up in a slick pony tail and her stunning blue eyes rimmed with beautiful long, dark lashes.
I knew I should be admiring how the dress clung to her body in all the right places but the only thing on my mind right now was getting everyone out of the house so I could peel it from her body with my teeth.
I walked over to Quinn as she reached the bottom of the stairs and leant down, kissing her softly on the cheek. Before I could raise my head, Quinn grabbed the back of my scalp, fisting my hair between her fingers and planted her lips firmly against my own. The gesture took me by surprise but my wolf gladly reciprocated by opening my mouth to let her tongue explore. Quinn moaned and the kiss deepened.
I didn’t care who was in this fucking pack house, if Quinn kept this up I’d be spreading her out on the stairs and taking her in front of everyone. I felt my dick getting hard and I gripped Quinn’s hips as she bit down on my lip.
“I think we should leave...”
I barely heard Cassius clear his throat, reminding us that they were still there. I didn’t really care.
Quinn pulled her lips off mine, giving me a sultry smile and used the pad of her thumb to wipe the wetness from around my mouth.
“No” she said casually and seemingly unaffected. Quinn looked over to Cassius and Gretchen, “Please stay”
I stood up straight as my Luna walked away, adjusting the very uncomfortable bulge in my shorts. When I turned around to face our audience I noticed that Kyanite stood in the doorway. His eyes were black and I knew he had seen Quinn’s little performance. My wolf was very happy with himself, cantering around in my subconscious like a spring foal. Kyanite was clearly not so happy. I wondered if Quinn’s show had been for Gretchen or for him. My wolf didn’t care either way.
Quinn sat down at the table just as Moira entered the pack house. Moira carried a box, not much different from the one Cassius had brought in, filled with all different bits and bobs.
“You look like shit” I said to Moira, noticing her red eyes and dark circles underneath.
The she-wolf flipped me off and set the box down on the table.
“I’ve been up all night, researching how our Queen here is going to kill Magdalene” she answered.
Moira looked over to Quinn and smiled, clearly quite satisfied with her progress.
“I think I‘ve figured it out”
We all took our seats. I made sure I sat to the right of Quinn this time. Gretchen sat opposite me and Kyanite was next to her. He hadn’t said a word since walking into the pack house and I’d noticed that Quinn hadn’t even looked at him.
“From what I have read in the text about the shifter Queen, it seems like the Queen’s power was derived from the gods” Cassius started and took the book out of his box, “There are a few chapters that speak of this. The Queen was able to harness the energy from all shifter gods and use this energy to vanquish the witch. Unfortunately before the Queen was able to carry out her final attack, Magdalene killed her. When the Queen died, all of the power she had harnessed erupted and, although not killing the witch, did enough damage to have her go into hiding for quite some time, while she recovered from her ailments”
Quinn nodded, taking in the information from Cassius.
“So the shifter gods gave the Queen the power she needed to kill the witch. Correct me if I’m wrong, but back then there were many more shifter species than there are now...so I’m assuming a lot more gods too”
I knew exactly where she was going with this.
“We only have three shifter species now, so that means only three gods. Do you really think that will give me enough power to kill Magdalene?”
Cassius looked to Moira and she took over explaining.
“What if we didn’t just harness the power of the three gods but of all the shifters too?”
I rubbed my chin and looked to Quinn.
“It could just work” I said, “not unlike what Cassius and Alessandra did at the Orcann pack”
“Yes, but we were just using the energy of the wolves that were nearby, this would be using the energy of all shifters...except for the ones possessed by Magdalene”
“Sorry...but didn’t your mother die doing this? You expect Quinn to do something that killed your own mother?”
I shot Kyanite a look over the table but he completely ignored me. Alessandra had sacrificed her life to save us all. She knew what she was doing and I could guarantee, given a chance, she would do it all again.
“Yes. I’m well aware of that. The same thing won’t happen to Quinn though”
“How can you be so sure?” Kyanite asked.
“I intend to fabricate an amulet that will not only protect Quinn but will also act as a vessel to hold the power from the shifters. This way Quinn’s body won’t be drained of life and energy like Alessandra’s was” Moira answered.
“How will you make the amulet?”
Gretchen sighed and tipped out the box of trinkets on to the table. There were all sorts of types that really meant nothing to me. Necklaces, orbs, clasps, broaches; they all looked to be from different eras and cultures.
“We haven’t exactly figured that part out yet” Gretchen answered, “this is a collection of amulets from my travels. They are from all around the world and served their purpose for whatever task they were created for. Unfortunately for us, we need an amulet that isn’t a particular energy specific”
She picked up what looked like a glass orb. The inside of it was black and contained small flecks of white and swirls of purple. It was almost like looking into a tiny little galaxy.
“This is the Orb of Thexmar. It was used by the river soldiers, three thousand years ago, to protect them from Hades. Unfortunately part of its design was to repel a God’s power, so it won’t work for us at all with our needs”
Cassius walked behind Gretchen and picked up a long silver chain. On the end of the chain hung a small vile containing a dried yellow flower.
“This is a Phinnius flower. It protects against sorcery but if Quinn were to wear it she wouldn’t be able to harness powers or energies at all. She wouldn’t even be able to shift”
Cassius, Gretchen and Moira, one by one, went through the different amulets laid out in front of us. Each amulet, for one reason or another, was useless to us.
“So really we are no closer to figuring this out” I said.
Moira shrugged and shook her head.
“What we need is so specific. We need something that can hold the energies from three different shifter species and the power of their gods; but something that also protects Quinn and allows her to use a level of magic. There is no such amulet, so we have to create one...but at this stage we don’t know how”
Everyone turned to Kyanite. Moira, Gretchen and Cassius raised their brows. It was hard to believe a prince could figure something out in less than an hour that a two hybrid mages and a healer couldn’t figure out between themselves in twenty four hours.
“Let’s hear it” Quinn said without looking at the panther.
Kyanite reached in front of Gretchen and picked up a silver wrist clasp from the table. Gretchen had explained earlier that the clasp had a powerful protection spell that prevented the wearer from mystical possession.
“I’ve already explained that the clasp can’t be used as a vessel. It doesn’t have the capability of being able to hold or store energies, it’s a protectant...that’s it”
Kyanite rolled his eyes at Gretchen and reached into his pocket, pulling out a blue stone that had flecks of brown and gold.
“Turquoise?” Cassius asked, looking across at the stone.
“Yes. Turquoise is a mineral and precious gem that has been used by panthers for thousands of years. It’s not unlike what a moonstone is to your kind. With it we can find a deeper connection to our god, it has healing properties and is used in almost every magic that our mages work with”
“Kyanite...you are brilliant” Moira whispered.
Had I missed something? Prince Pebble had a pretty blue rock and a bracelet. Point being?
I watched as Moira sifted through the box in front of her, withdrawing a small velvet pouch. From the pouch she withdrew a moonstone.
“What about the bears?” She asked, looking over to Kyanite.
“Amber” he answered.
Kyanite sighed and looked at me as if my question was stupid. I wanted to punch him.
“Yes. Amber. It’s fossilised tree resin and has been appreciated for its colour and magical abilities since Neolithic times. The bears prize amber and have been using it in their medicine and sorcery since they walked the earth. They specifically work with Baltic amber as it’s considered the best quality and has a powerful ability of warding off dark magics...specifically witchcraft”
“So, wait a minute” Gretchen muttered, “let me see if I’m picking up what you’re putting down. Your idea is to affix the gems to the cuff to create a completely new amulet? The cuff itself will act as the protectant and the gems will act as the vessels. Do you think it will work?”
Cassius thought for a moment, rubbing his chin and studying the objects on the table.
“In theory. Yes. It’s the best idea we’ve got”
“It’s the only idea we’ve got” Quinn added.
“I don’t have any Amber here. Well, I do, but it’s not Baltic” Moira muttered as she sifted through a small wooden box of gems and precious stones, “would you have any back at Panthera?”
Kyanite shook his head.
“No. We don’t deal with Moonstone or Amber for obvious reasons”
Quinn stood up from the table and looked down at me, her eyes full of hope and excitement.
“I know who can get us some” she said, a smile playing in her lips, “Norah”