Home > Queen Heir (NYC Mecca #1)(10)

Queen Heir (NYC Mecca #1)(10)
Author: Jaymin Eve, Leia Stone

Of course, to be an heir-brood mare was not exactly a joyous destiny.

My mother died giving birth to Winnie. Wolf births were very dangerous, the fetus constantly shifting form – blood loss was common. On top of that, for some reason unknown to us, heirs had an awful time getting and remaining pregnant. My mother had six miscarriages before she had Winnie. She never talked much about getting pregnant with me, so I went with the assumption I’d been easier. Winnie, on the other hand, she’d talked about constantly. Before there had even been a belly to show her miracle pregnancy. I’d sit at her feet and listen with total focus. I loved my mother, but just like my aunt, she’d always held me at a bit of a distance.

My attention snapped back to the council as silence descended and all eleven of them rose. I could feel magic sizzling in the air. The Summit had officially begun. The far door to the grand room opened and in walked Sabina, the Manhattan pack’s magic born, powerful and ancient. But she was still no match for Violet. No one was.

Even though I had gazed upon the magic born my entire life, their unique looks and energy still held me mesmerized – me and everyone else. The magnetism of them drew your gaze, held it, and kept you in their thrall. Sabina’s white skin was void of any pigment, along with her white hair, lashes, and brows. All magic born were extremely pale in coloring, which made them even more beautiful and fascinating. Their wolves were truly a sight to behold, a beauty that could not be replicated by any other. Their fur shimmered iridescently, almost like fur made of mother of pearl.

Sabina made her way across the room and met my eyes briefly. I liked the queen’s magic born. She was mature and level headed. I’d never had a single reason to fear her, or worry for my queen. But now that the Red Queen had fallen, was there more to the magic born that I’d never seen? Did I miss something there – more importantly, did the Red Queen? Did the magic born have a desire to rule? Could they?

Sabina stood with the council and closed her eyes, breathing deeply. No words were exchanged, she knew what needed to be done. When she opened them again they were a glowing ice blue, and as she raised her arms up to the ceiling, she pushed lightly with her hands and a burst of energy shot out. Within moments, a thousand aged scrolls were dancing across the upper eaves of the high ceiling, many feet above us. The sight filled me with both fear and excitement, the wash of emotions trickling across my skin and mingling with the magic in the air. Maybe it was that we’d just been connected to the mecca through our blood, but I would swear the energy was so much stronger than usual. Or maybe this is what it felt like to be almost queen.

Torine stood straighter, his dark eyes locked onto the scrolls whooshing above. He had the honor of selecting the first task, the first step to one of us earning the right to govern the mecca and all wolf clans.

The ancient wolf crooked his finger at a scroll, and somehow the scroll knew it was the one wanted, because with one flick of his wrist it descended into his hand. I could barely contain myself, my emotions inside were a mess. I wasn’t sure I’d ever been such a mix of scared, excited, nervous, and exhilarated – compounded by the constant sorrow permanently etched into my heart. Three deaths I must avenge. One could never forget.

Torine took an unnaturally long time to unroll the aged parchment.

“The first task,” he said, his voice booming across the silent packs, “is war strategy. This is a game of cunning and intellect. Brute strength will serve no course here.”

My lips quirked into a smile and I saw Calista give a slight grin. Breanna gave me a side look and there was nothing but fear in her large hazel eyes. It was common knowledge that I was best with strategy among us, besting all of the other heirs in the few tournaments where we’d played mecca chess. I’d been playing the popular shifter game with Calista since before I could talk, and for the most part liked logic and reasoning. Selene might survive this round; she wasn’t completely useless, but Breanna was screwed. I had no doubt in my mind that I stood a good chance of winning.

There wasn’t much to say about Breanna. She was pretty unremarkable. She was the smallest of us all at five feet three, with plain brown hair. She was one of those no personality or true power wolves. She did the bare minimum at all times. Lazy, really. Oh, she had some skills, especially in one-on-one fights, but nothing compared to most heirs. I really wasn’t sure what it was that triggered someone like her to be born with heir status and receive her familiar, but I think a mistake was made.

There was shuffling around on the floor below us and the guards began backing up and lining the walls, making room for the council to prepare the test. Greggor, a council member and old wolf from the Purple Hearts pack, had disappeared, but was already returning with a giant rolling mecca chess board. Now I was really smiling. I hadn’t been totally sure that war strategy would be played out on the mecca chess board, but thankfully it was. Selene was also grinning. Breanna let a curse word fly but stood tall.

Torine’s voice bellowed and carried throughout the great hall: “This test has two parts. Part one is worth fifty points to the winner. Part two is worth twenty. These first few rounds are very important in building points. Whichever two heirs have the highest points before the final round will be the ones in the final battle. The winners of each round will also be awarded with gold, and special spell books for their pack’s magic born.” The mention of spell books got me excited. A long, long time ago, when witches still existed, some of them inter-mated with our wolves and the result was the magic-born wolves. Over time, the witches began to die off, and their knowledge was lost. All that was left were these highly coveted and guarded magical spell books. It was a prize far more valuable than gold.

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