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CHAPTER ONE

DreaganApril

Things weren’t going well, and they didn’t look to be improving anytime soon.

V wearily ran a hand down his face. All he wanted was to go to his mountain and figure out why his sword wouldn’t work. But he couldn’t. If he did, every Dragon King at Dreagan would know that something was wrong.

Eons after having his sword stolen and then hidden from him, it was now back in his possession. But it did no good. And every King was counting on him to use it in order to check on the dragons.

He paced his room inside the manor, wondering if it was somehow his fault that his weapon wouldn’t respond to him anymore. Had he done something to…? That couldn’t be it. The blade was his, part of him. All Dragon Kings had a sword that only they could use.

So, if it wasn’t him, then what was it? What kept him from being able to use his blade to check on the dragons? Ever since the Kings forced the dragons to leave during the war with the humans, they’d had no idea if their clans were alive or not. The Kings didn’t even know where the dragons were.

The dragon bridge was a manifestation of the combined magic of all the Kings, and it was the one and only time they had ever used such a thing.

V couldn’t stay in his chamber any longer. He stalked from his room and made his way downstairs. As he walked across the vast expanse of Dreagan—staying far from the Visitor’s Center at the distillery where people lined up to take tours—he was glad he didn’t run into any of his brethren.

Only Cináed knew about his conundrum. If this continued, V would have no choice but to tell the rest of the Kings. After everything he and Roman had gone through in Iceland just to find his stolen sword, it wasn’t right that he couldn’t make it work properly.

V kept walking. He didn’t care where he went. He just needed to burn off some of the anger and anxiety that churned within him like a raging storm. His first choice would be shifting into his true form and taking to the skies, but that wasn’t something they could do during the day. The fact that they were hiding from the humans prevented it.

V could use his power. Every Dragon King was granted a special type of magic. For him, it was disguising his dragon form when he shifted. He was so tempted to do that, but he didn’t. It wouldn’t be fair for him to take to the skies while the others could not.

He had no idea how much time had passed before he found himself walking along a paved road. V paused and looked up to get his bearings. He was no longer on Dreagan, and with their land encompassing sixty thousand acres, that meant he had walked quite a ways.

V heard the roar of an approaching engine. He grimaced when he recognized the unmistakable sound of the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale that belonged to none other than Constantine, King of Dragon Kings.

V watched as the bright blue sports car came into view. And just as expected, Con slowed when he spotted V. The Dragon Kings were the most powerful beings of the realm, but even they had someone to answer to. That someone for V was Constantine.

Con rolled down his window, his black eyes locking on V’s face. He was attired in his usual—a suit, starched shirt, gold dragon head cufflinks, and no tie. “Everything all right?” he asked.

V nodded. “Just walking.”

A blond brow shot up on Con’s forehead. “Toward the village?”

“I needed to stretch my legs.”

“And you couldn’t do that on Dreagan? Or was it that you didn’t want to run into any Kings?”

V blew out a breath and looked over the top of the car to the opposite side of the road where some sheep grazed on the steep hill.

“I see,” Con said after a moment. “You know you can talk to me about whatever is troubling you.”

“I know.” V met Con’s black gaze. “I just need some time. Finally having my sword back after so many millions of years without it is taking some getting used to.”

Con blinked, his expression devoid of any emotion, but V knew him well enough to know that Con was trying to discover what V hid. It was one of the many reasons Con was King of Kings.

“You know where to find me,” Con replied.

V gave a nod. Con stared at him a moment longer before he drove off. The last thing anyone at Dreagan needed was the knowledge that something was wrong with V’s sword. With all he and Roman had discovered in the mountain on Iceland regarding the Others, there was much the Kings had to do.

The Others.

The mere thought of them made V want to retaliate. The mysterious group was a mix of good and evil Druids, as well as Dark and Light Fae. Why such an alliance would form still confused the Kings.

Worse, the Others seemed to be after the Dragon Kings. And they had waited thousands of years before taking action. Though no one knew why the Others had been so patient.

Or what they were after.

V waited until he saw the taillights of Con’s car disappear over a hill before he turned and resumed his walk. He couldn’t think about the Others right now. He had to focus on his sword. Yet, the two were connected.

It was the Others who initially tried to get his sword. Fortunately, a group of humans that V had once protected discovered the Others’ plan and used their skills to steal the weapon from V and hide it before the Others could lay claim to it.

V wished the gypsies would have shared their plan, but he knew he wouldn’t have listened to them even if they had tried. He would’ve told them that he could take care of things himself. The truth, however, was that he would’ve underestimated the Others. The gypsies had not.

The Others spelled V so he lost his memories about when and how his sword had been stolen. But he remembered now. His memories gave him little insight into the group, however. What they did show him was the lengths that some mortals would go to in order to help the Dragon Kings.

That was in direct opposition to what the majority of humans had done to the Kings in the past, the transgressions which began the war between them. V still couldn’t believe that the Dragon Kings—the strongest, greatest beings in the realm—had given up everything.

That was a road V didn’t need to wander down. His mind returned to the Others. Despite the gypsies’ attempt, the Others found the man who had taken V’s sword. The gypsies made sure that the Others couldn’t touch it, but the nefarious group put other traps in place throughout the mountain in Iceland to hinder anyone’s attempts to retrieve the weapon.

It was with great difficulty and the help of friends that V and Roman were able to escape the mountain, not only with their lives but also with the sword.

This wasn’t the first time the Others had set traps and deceptions for the Kings. Perhaps it was because of the tricks the Others used that V was apprehensive. First, it had been the wooden dragon carved as a replica of Con. One touch, and the figurine caused chaos to erupt.

Then there was the incident in New York with the black dagger and a fellow King, Dorian.

And now this.

At least, those were the only ones V knew of. There could be more. That in itself made his worry double.

It had taken all of V’s considerable magic and strength to bust through the spells woven through his memories from the Others. For millions of years, V hadn’t known that anyone touched his mind. But now, he knew what to look for.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Donna Grant