Home > Warrior King : New Worlds (Crystal Kingdom #6)

Warrior King : New Worlds (Crystal Kingdom #6)
Author: Milly Taiden


Chapter One



She would not cry, dammit. She would not. She was a McClure. And they did not cry!

Lilah stood at the edge of the forest faes’ new village, staring into the distance. Among the tree trunks, if she stood in the right place, she could glimpse the mountains they had to cross on their way to get home—Earth home.

She couldn’t believe how screwed up the portal stones were. So much for magic being all-powerful and shit. It was cool that Wren could control tree roots to make chairs and tables and have limbs lift stuff off the ground. Her cousin must’ve had a lot of their Grandmom’s blood in her. Why Wren never showed her magic on Earth was beyond her. Then again, what could one gain from moving branches and roots? Unless they could dig up treasure, what was the point?

Yes, she was trying to think about anything except the reason she was in the shitty mood she’d been in the past several days. Wren finding a “mate” didn’t help any. The one thing Lilah had yearned for her entire life, and her cousin had it. Went to show how unfair life was.

Boy, had she learned that. Lilah sniffled and dug the toe of her shoe into the soft dirt. She had to suck it up and realize that anyone with her body shape, a medium pear…okay, a large pear, would have a difficult time finding someone who would take the time to see the real her.

She bit down on her lip to keep the tears at bay. Dammit! Behind her, leaves crunched. Lilah pulled her shoulders back and took in a deep breath.

“Hey, Lilah. You ready to go?” Daphne stopped next to her.

Lilah hoped her cousin hadn’t heard her sniffling. Then the nosy woman would be asking all kinds of questions, getting up in her business, thinking she was a drama queen. Fuck that.

“Of course I’m ready to go. Why do you think I’m standing here?”

When Daphne cringed at her harsh words, she felt even more like shit. Dammit. Lilah stepped forward. “Let’s get this caravan on the road. I’m tired of having to eat only healthy crap.” Plus, she hadn’t had a cup of coffee in ages. That explained her slight headache for the second day in a row. Did this planet not have anything with caffeine?

“Hey, wait up,” Wren called out. Finally, her cousin and the love of her life were finished saying their goodbyes to the clan. It wasn’t like they couldn’t come back. As long as Grandmom had the magical gemstones, they could come and go whenever they wanted. After this, she seriously doubted the old woman would let them within a mile of the portal stones.

“Lilah,” Wren huffed, “do you even know where we’re going.”

Lilah swung around, finger-pointing toward their destination. “It’s a little hard to miss a whole mountain range.”

Wren’s brows drew down, then her face softened. Oh, hell no. Lilah knew that expression. Right now, she couldn’t handle pity from anyone. She turned and traipsed faster, trying not to trip on a root and fall on her damn face.

“Lilah,” Wren called in a soft voice. Quick footsteps headed toward her. Shit. Wren came up to her side. Lilah slowed, realizing her ploy to not talk about her shitty emotional state wasn’t happening. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around much the last couple of days. Not being a very good friend…”

That was what her cousin thought she was angry about? Seriously? “Don’t worry about it,” she replied. “The villagers were more than accommodating. And the dirt wall your boyfriend made between you two and Daph and me when we slept kept your snoring to a minimum.”

“I do not snore,” Wren blurted. She looked over her shoulder. “Zee, do I snore?”

After a pause, he said, “I’m not sure. We haven’t done much sleeping.”

Oh my god. Now they had to rub it in that they were having sex, while she didn’t even remember what it was. Yeah, she’d told them it had only been a couple weeks, but the truth was more like a couple years. If she wasn’t so grumpy, she would’ve laughed at Wren’s very red face.

You know, this was too funny to pass up, cranky or not. Lilah busted out into laughter. “Shit on a shingle, Wren. You should see your face right now. It’s epic.” Lilah leaned back then forward, slapping her leg. “Damn, that’s hilarious.” She looked back at Zee to see his face was totally serious.

Lilah let out a whooping guffaw. Oh god! Her stomach hurt from laughing so hard. It felt good to release what she’d pent up the past few days. She wiped tears off her cheek.

Face still resembling a tomato, Wren stomped to her mate and smacked him on the arm. “You’re not supposed to say stuff like that,” Wren whispered.

Zee glanced at Lilah, then back at Wren, and smiled. “Sorry, love. I forgot your culture is strange about sex and your bodies.” Wren smacked him again and mumbled about men.

Lilah stepped over a downed log. Let the love birds have their time together. At least someone was happy and having sex. She sure as hell wasn’t on either account.

All right. Enough of the fucking pity party already. Lilah was getting disgusted with her own mental whining. McClure women were strong and independent, no matter how sad the situation.

She snapped her fingers a couple times. “Come on, scary as hell kitty,” she said, referring to Xenos’s sabretooth tiger form. “You’re the leader here.” The couple passed by her.

That was something else she couldn’t believe. Her cousin’s mate was a shifter who turned into a tiger with fangs the length of her arm. Not to mention the whole clan’s magical ability with the land. Seeing dirt rise into a mound to sit on and watching seedlings grow before your eyes was freaky.

She wondered if there were dragon shifters on the planet. That would be over the top. She’d been hung up on dragons forever; she still had her stuffed animal from childhood. One eye was missing, and an arm had been chewed off by the dog, but she still loved it.

After a while, they finally reached the base of the mountainside, where the trees couldn’t take root. The group stopped and looked over the forest they had just left. Lilah hadn’t realized they had been hiking uphill. Her extra-thick thighs and ass handled it better than she would’ve thought.

The beauty was breathtaking. There was nothing but trees and sky for miles both ways. They had to be really high up to see so far. Squinting, she noticed far in the distance where the forest looked like hell had come to the planet. All burned; nothing but scarred tree trunks.

Her heart sank at seeing the devastation. She hoped that one day the creatures who set fire to the trees would get their asses kicked. They could’ve burned down half the planet with the dark magic fire.

Zee pulled Wren to him. She was staring in the same direction. He whispered, “In time, the land will heal.” He kissed Wren on the head. Lilah turned away before jealous tears sprouted.

Zee led them along a dusty trail that zigzagged up to the dip between two peaks. Thank god the pathway wasn’t over one of the higher locations. Hell, a couple of mountains topped out above the clouds. If that was the case, she would’ve turned around and become a permanent gnoleon tree villager. They sure as shit had some drool-worthy men, but none who struck her fancy.

Not having heard Daph in a long time, Lilah looked over her shoulder to make sure her cousin was okay. Guilt rolled through her. She shouldn’t have been so mean to her cousin. She should apologize, but her pride couldn’t take the shame of seeming weak.

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