The Soulstoy Inheritance

By: Jane Washington
(Beatrice Harrow Series Book 2)




For Ishie,

I don’t know how you’re still sane.



Maybe you’re not.





Acknowledgements



First of all, thank you to the man who had to drag me to bed at sunrise every morning and make me coffee five times a day, despite my tousled appearance and general grumbling. Also, thank you to my wonderful editor. You make me look like a bit of an idiot sometimes, but I’m okay with it. A special thank you for my favourite girls, Leisa, Madison and Erin. Combined, you provide amazing support, much needed champagne breakfasts, and… well… Erin, you’re just super cute. I’m sorry, but I can’t see past your super cute-ness. Last but certainly not least, a massive thank you to Jesse, for being the very first person to buy my very first book, and for bugging me every single day to finish this one.





Chapter One



Resting Monarchs



My life had never been easy. Not by any measure. People either hated me or else they were drawn to me, a little too much for both their comfort and my own. The former was an aversion to my blood and the latter a desire for my power, for every synfee possessed some degree of allure. I had been alone for so long prior to starting at the Academy, and now I was at the epicenter of two very different kingdoms, two kingdoms that had nothing in common with each other and somehow even less in common with me. A year ago, I had nothing. Now I had friends, enemies and people in-between… mostly enemies, though.

Harbringer burst into the room just as I bent to check the King’s pulse, causing me to tumble from my crouched position in fright.

“It’s not what it looks like,” I pleaded with him before he had a chance to accuse.

His eyes were wide, disbelieving. I followed the level expression, witnessing the scene as he might, with a rapidly increasing sense of discomfort. From Hazen, who was barely managing to retain consciousness on the bed—boasting the façade of a man who had just been dragged beneath a parade of carriages—to the unconscious King, and then back to me. I was still crouched over Fenrel’s too-big and oddly crumpled body.

“It looks like someone knocked out the ruler of the Read Empire beside his son’s sick bed.” Harbringer strode forward and brushed my hands aside to check Fenrel’s pulse himself.

“Well when you put it like that, I guess it’s exactly what it looks like.” I slinked back to give him some room.

Fenrel groaned then, and Harbringer shot to his feet, grasping my arm and drawing me toward the door.

“He’ll be fine, but if he wakes up and sees you, you’ll be dead.”

I quickly scrutinised Hazen, but his eyes had already fallen closed again, and this room was the last place I wanted to be when Fenrel woke up. I let Harbringer pull me through the doorway and out into the hall, where two guards walked toward us from the top of the staircase. He slowed immediately and I collided with him, my forehead bumping the center of his back. It was like running into a stone barricade. After I recovered, we continued toward the men at a more civilized pace. Both of the guards nodded to Harbringer, eyes sliding over me only briefly. Harbringer fell into a run again once we were clear of them, pulling me behind him until we neared the ground floor. He took me down a back staircase through several narrow, damp-smelling passages that spearheaded into a maze of servants quarters. Many startled workers were forced to jump hastily from our path, muttering to each other.

“This is not good,” he muttered, just as we tumbled from the kitchens, out through a service entry in the side of the building.

“I’m not going to apologise,” I panted, clutching a pain in my side as he dragged me to a small maintenance gate at the end of the well-worn path from the kitchen exit.

“Dammit, Harrow.” He slammed the gate behind us and then spun suddenly, pinning me back against it, his eyes fierce. “If you ever take off like that again without me, I won’t be responsible…”

I gripped the wrought-iron bars behind me, my breath catching on a choking gasp, the speed of his ranger-like movements more of a fright than his warning, though that look in his eye would have been enough to send me running on a good day. He seemed to realise how badly he had scared me, and backed off the tiniest bit, but his hands rose to press against the bars on either side of my head, deliberately trapping me in.

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