The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2)

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2)

C. J. Redwine


HUMANS WERE PATHETICALLY predictable. Always longing for more. Always desperate to get their way. Shamelessly grasping for what remained out of reach, even when it cost them dearly.

He despised them.

Alistair Teague rubbed his fingers absently over the smooth surface of his carved ivory pipe—an unwilling gift from the human who’d betrayed him—and raised his nose to sniff the air. A midnight breeze blew in from the nearby Chrysós Sea, sweeping through the leaves of the olive grove with a faint hiss and carrying with it the sharp scent of a human’s terrible desperation.

The magic in Teague’s blood responded, surging through his chest, cold and insistent, and he drew in another deep breath as he pocketed the unlit pipe and straightened his immaculately tailored dress coat.

The salty tang of the sea and the wild sweetness of the trees tugged at the part of him that missed living on the fae isle of Llorenyae, but the scent of a human ready to stake everything he had on a chance at gaining the deepest desire of his heart was the true intoxicant.

Teague had lived in exile among the humans in the kingdom of Súndraille for nearly two hundred years, and it never got old.

Their desires. Their greed.

Their weaknesses.

Weaknesses that had kept his business thriving and his pockets full of coin but had failed to silence the fear that one day another human might get the best of him, and this time, instead of being exiled, he might be killed.

He shivered as he turned south toward the scent of the desperate human. The thought of losing the centuries he still had left to live—of sinking into the dark abyss of the unknown where he would no longer be the Wish Granter of legend—haunted him.

It was the gnawing terror of what came after he’d breathed his last that had given him an idea that was going to guarantee no human ever had power over him again.

He moved through the trees, his steps a whisper against the loamy soil, his magic drawn unerringly toward the human in need.

Toward the young man who was the key to Teague’s plan.

Passing by the boy’s sister, huddled asleep at the base of a tree, dirt smudging her tear-streaked face, he made his way to the edge of the grove where the land fell away and the sea hurled itself against the shore below. The boy stood facing the water, his hands fisted at his sides while he stared at the night sky as if hoping the answer to his troubles could be found among the stars.

Teague smiled, his magic unfurling from his chest to flood his veins. The boy’s fear was heavy in the air. His shoulders bowed beneath the weight of it. He was out of options, out of hiding places, and out of allies.

He was exactly where Teague wanted him to be.

“You won’t find answers in the stars, Prince Thaddeus,” Teague said.

The boy whirled, his dark eyes wild. “Who are you?”

“My name is Alistair Teague”—he leaned closer, his gaze locked on the boy’s—“but some call me the Wish Granter.”

“The Wish Granter?” The prince’s voice shook. “That’s a bedtime story to frighten children.”

“Oh, I do more than frighten children.” Teague smiled coldly as his magic begged for release. “I give people the deepest desires of their hearts. What do you want, dear boy?”

As if he didn’t already know that the bastard prince and his twin sister had been exiled from their father’s palace upon the birth of the queen’s son—her womb miraculously opened after seventeen years of barrenness thanks to the bargain she’d made with Teague. He’d tried to make an additional bargain—a seat as the king’s adviser in exchange for getting rid of the bastards so that the queen’s son had no competition for the throne—but she’d refused and sent her own hunters after the twins and their servant mother instead.

Maybe she’d suspected that Teague had no plans to remain a mere adviser to the throne. Maybe she’d wanted the satisfaction of killing her son’s rivals without magical help. Either way, Teague had been forced to change tactics. A simple word in the ear of one of the queen’s hunters had sent the man straight to the family’s hiding place with instructions to kill the mother and the sister and bring the prince to Teague for double what the queen was offering as reward. The man had succeeded only in killing the mother before the princess had taken him down with a hay rake, but it didn’t matter. The prince understood the terrible danger he and his sister were in. He knew more hunters would track them down. He knew they wouldn’t survive without help.

Help Teague was happy to offer.

For a price.

If the queen wouldn’t give him access to the throne, then he’d put Súndraille’s crown on one who would.

“If you really are the Wish Granter, then prove it.” The prince raised his chin in challenge, but hope flickered in his eyes.

Teague’s smile widened, and he clapped his hands. The sound reverberated through the ground like thunder. The crash of the waves against the cliff became a deafening roar as the water surged upward toward them. The prince shook as the enormous wave crested the cliff, curving toward the fragile human who trembled beneath it.

“Athrú,” Alistair said, and, as the water fell, it became showers of golden coins that spilled across the boy’s shoulders to pile around his feet. With another clap of his hands, Alistair sent the sea back to its rightful place and bent toward the prince. “Tell me your wish.”

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