House of Enchanted: The Revelations of Oriceran, Soul Stone Mage, Book 1
By Sarah Noffke & Martha Carr
The Kingdom of Virgo has lived in peace for thousands of years… until now.
Azure and Monet took a different route back to the House of Enchanted. Monet said there’d be less traffic on that path, but Azure caught him looking between the small cottages that belonged to longtime residents of Virgo. He’s looking for Charmsgood.
Monet would never admit it, but Azure could tell he was starting to worry. And why shouldn’t he? Charmsgood had never been gone this long before.
Many of the Virgoans were more nomadic than settled. It was in their blood to travel. Some roamed to the mountains or the ocean, but they always found their way back here, setting up tents in the green hills around Virgo on their return. Some took lodging with one of the witches or wizards who permanently lived in the nearby cottages. Those belonged to the residents who didn’t travel as much, like Trixie Flourboy who ran the pub. The small business owners, farmers, ranchers and members of the Queen’s Cabinet were permanent fixtures in Virgo. The cottages of these full-time residents were small but smartly constructed and used natural resources. And each cottage was unique, reflecting the personality of the wizarding family who lived within it.
They were just passing Evandar Harlan’s house when they noticed something shimmering from a cluster of trees. Evandar wasn’t in his patchwork house today, since he was employed as the Headmaster for the Virgo schools. Monet had graduated from there many years ago and was still remembered for his antics.
Azure, however, had been provided private tutors, since her lessons were shaped around the responsibilities she’d one day inherit.
She paused, noting the smile that had sprung to Monet’s lips.
“Well, well, well. Look who has decided to grace us with her presence!” Monet bowed deeply to a unicorn that stepped out of the shadows. Her body was white and she had blue eyes, but her mane was typical of unicorns’—it was a rainbow of colors. The land of Virgo relied on horses for labor and transportation, but unicorns were a different story. They were more like cats and refused to be owned, but they couldn’t be given jobs like an Oriceran cat. Seeing one was rare, since they could cloak themselves to blend into their surroundings.
The unicorn whinnied and Azure copied Monet, dipping into a bow. “Pleasure to make your acquaintance,” she said.
The creature shook her head, whickering. When Azure rose, she was astonished to find the unicorn kneeling to her, one of its front legs extended and the other bent.
“Well, I’ll be. I do believe this unicorn is showing me a sign of great respect,” Monet exclaimed, beaming at the animal.
Azure didn’t have to correct him because the unicorn lifted her head and shook it at him. Unicorns couldn’t speak, but their messages were still clear.
“I think she’s paying respect to the monarchy,” Azure said, inclining her chin to the unicorn, whose iridescent coat sparkled. “Thank you, Majestic One.”
Monet stepped forward with a glint in his eyes. “So, although Azure is cool and all, I’ve got quite the noble mission. I’m in the market for some unicorn hair. Do you think you could loan me a strand or two?” he asked, earning himself a contemptuous glare from the unicorn.
She lowered her head, her horn pointing at Monet. The message was clear.
“Don’t pay attention to him. He just wants to create a potion that will make him more attractive. Monet hasn’t gone out with a witch in many double full moons,” Azure told the unicorn.
“I have been incredibly busy, that’s all,” he said, scoffing.
The unicorn lifted her head and shook her mane slightly, her eyes lighting as she did.
“I can tell when he’s lying too.” Azure laughed. With that, the unicorn retreated into the patch of trees, becoming invisible as she walked.
“Well, if that isn’t a good omen about the upcoming coronation then I don’t know what is,” Monet said as they passed the last house on the cobbled street. They had only to head over a large green hill and past the stables until the House of Enchanted would be in view. They’d played with the idea of taking a horse to the market, but had decided against it. And if they had, the unicorn would never have made their acquaintance.
“Yes, and I can only hope that the unicorns don’t have an agenda like everyone else,” Azure said. All types of beings made requests of her mother, the queen. Everyone needed something.
FROM SARAH >>> Just returned from the beach. What are you doing this long holiday weekend? Here’s one of the final snippets before release.