Warrior King : New Worlds (Crystal Kingdom #6) by 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.