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Lux’s mate is all she can think about since the very first day she caught his scent. She tries to imagine what he looks like, tastes like…but she knows that even her wildest dreams don’t do him justice. From sun-up to sun-down, Lux’s mate is always there, lurking in the shadows, just out of reach. She doesn’t even know what species he is. All she knows is his name: Soren Age Rating: 18+
Note: This is the author’s original version and does not have sound. The app has received recognition from BBC, Forbes and The Guardian for being the hottest app for explosive new Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy novels. Download the app to read the entire series and explore new genres.👇

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For humans they can be many things: lovers, friends, acquaintances.

For vampires, they’re a constant reminder of the life they are forced to live in death, a sacred hope that they know will be ripped away from them with one bite, the last piece of their soul that exists.

And for wolves…well, for wolves they’re everything! Every happiness, every heartbeat, every flutter in your stomach rolled into one person.

Their smell, their taste… Everything about them is intoxicating.

For most wolves finding your mate is relatively easy.

Every year, wolves who are of age come into our pack territory for my parents’ yearly ball, and every year someone leaves with their mate on their arm.

For twenty-one years I’ve dreamed about the day I’d meet mine.

Who is he? What does he look like? Does he want me like I want him?

Every day I get dressed up, going all-out to look as beautiful as possible to make sure he notices me, and every day I go to sleep disappointed.

You see, unlike my older twin brothers Drayden and Draxel, I didn’t meet my mate when I turned fifteen.


Draxel and Drayden were lucky.

Draxel mated Kimber, a daughter of one of my parents’ best friends.

We’d known her our whole lives, so when it turned out that she was not only Draxel’s mate, but the future Luna of our pack, everyone was thrilled.

And why wouldn’t they be? She’s amazing!

It was only three short weeks after Draxel and Kimber mated that Drayden found his mate, Blair.

But my mating—sigh—well, my mating is a lot more complicated.

You see, unlike everyone else, who gets the chance to meet their mates at fifteen, I met mine way before that.

I mean way, way before that. The only problem is that… I guess I should specify that I’ve never actually met him in person.

My first run-in with my future mate was unexpected.

My parents and I were visiting my uncles, Silas and Thackery, to discuss pack business.

It had been a busy day of meetings when my parents decided that, with my uncles, my younger cousin Kasyn, and my Aunt Milani, we’d all go to the lake to swim and have fun.

The three boys were running wild around the bank, our mothers were sunbathing, and our fathers were cooking near the shore. I, on the other hand, was busy chasing butterflies.

I had found this beautiful neon-blue butterfly fluttering off in the distance, so I took off after it, nearly catching it as it shuffled through the tree line.

It pulled me further and further into the woods until I was surrounded in darkness, and the butterfly was gone.

Getting scared, I started to cry. I could no longer see my family or even hear them over the sound of the wind slamming against the trees.

“Shh, little Lux, it’s going to be alright.” His voice was so deep it scared me yet calmed me all at once.

Jumping up to my feet I searched around for the owner of the voice, but I came up short.

I was alone, or at least I thought I was until he spoke again: “You really shouldn’t be here, my little Lux.”

Sniffling into the sleeve of my dress, I searched around again and found nothing, but I know I heard him.

His voice was so calming. Even as a child I craved to hear it again.

“Who are you?” Searching around again, I hoped and prayed that I’d catch even a glimpse of the owner of that soothing melody he called a voice.

But instead I heard nothing and saw nothing.

My dad came and found me right after that. He scolded me about running off, reminding me that even though we were on safe territory, I needed to be with someone at all times.

I tried to understand—I really did! But even then, he called to me on such a primal level that I couldn’t help but search him out.

After that, I didn’t see or hear anything from the mysterious man again until I was thirteen.

It was an odd day for me. I had just started my period and my brothers and I were butting heads at an unusually high rate, so I stomped off through the tree line behind our house.

I knew I was safe there, being as it was the only place I was allowed to go where neither my father nor my brothers ever seemed to bother me.

Throwing myself down on the tree stump of an old forgotten tree, I couldn’t help but cry out my frustration.

Why today of all days did Aunt Flow decide it had to be her first visit into my life?

Why couldn’t my brothers understand that I didn’t need them getting pissy over me growing up? It wasn’t like I had control over my body’s natural age progression.

I mean, I wasn’t a vampire.

After sitting on the old mossy stump for a good hour, my tears finally died out, and my body was in the last stages of calming—only a few hiccups every few minutes.

That’s when I heard him for the 2nd time.

“Oh my little Lux, you certainly have grown.”

His voice shocked me to my core, and I was up on my feet a little too fast and lost my balance…

Until, ever so lightly, his hand—slightly calloused yet gentle—touched my shoulder, halting my fall and effectively halting my breath.

I felt him chuckling in amusement at my clumsiness. “Be careful, my little Lux.”

“My name is Zayla, I don’t know who Lux is,” I squeaked out, feeling his hand push the hair over my shoulder, before a deep chuckle ran through his body so forcefully that it shook in my own.

“Oh, but Zayla, you will always be my little Lux.” His voice was far more amused this time. I whipped around to look at him, but just my luck, he was gone.

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2 Zayla

11:34 p.m.

I should have already left.

Not sure what’s making me delay.

I take a deep breath and glance at my reflection with a sick feeling in my stomach. Did I look mentally stable?

I frown and take in my discolored gaze staring back at me in my cracker-box bathroom. Definitely, probably, not really. Not when you really take a good long look past my cute face and long black hair.

I used to think my oh-so blessed exotic looks would get me far in life, but I would like to honestly say it has produced adverse effects.

Now, before you get the wrong idea of me, I do appreciate them. I do. I thank the mother who left me at the Water Crest nursing home in Houston, Texas, for them.

But in a way, I think it has made me lazy in areas I should have been strong in, like common sense? Street smarts?

I would tell my younger self that getting involved with a known drug dealer’s handsome son should be avoided at all costs.

Because they do not take break-ups that well. They want to find you and bring you back to talk.

11:49 p.m.

“Oh noooo,” I hiss to myself.

My heart starts the crazy drum roll again as I run to snatch my purse and iPhone. I grab the now dim letter and stuff it into my leopard pack and say a prayer as I run out the door.

I really hope the glowing letter was not a figment of my imagination, or I will never let myself live this down.

I am going to need help if I’m going to find this guy in eight minutes. My violet romper says that I’m cute and approachable, I could find some defenseless guy to help me look.

Luckily, I live one block from the French Quarter. I should be able to find help. I’m only five-five, for crying out loud—like, I’m adorable.

Damsel in distress.

5 minutes later…


“Excuse me—” I am aggressively shoulder-checked by what appears to be a vampire in a bright purple cape and excessive costume makeup.

“Hey!” I get out of his way and shoot him poison-death-rays out of my eyes. He will die a painful death tonight. Or, maybe karma will at least grace him with explosive diarrhea.

Somebody must know something! I run up to a group of middle-aged tourists who seem to be well into their cups, all sporting tall hurricanes, and loud laughter.

“Hi, could you help?!” I try to show them my golden letter, “I need to find a Charming man, I know it sounds weird, but it’s kind of for a game show.”

I wave my hand as I explain, “I would guess he would be wearing a suit—”

They push past me like I’m the crazy one!? I grit my teeth in embarrassment. That man with the camera is wearing white socks with his velcro sandals.

A true crime against humanity.

Karma really has her work cut out for her tonight.

I am on my own.

Two and a half strained minutes have passed without luck. I see no signs saying: Over here looney ladies! Fairy Godmother Inc.!

What the heck was I thinking only leaving myself ten minutes to find this mystery man? What does that even mean?

I’m a horrible procrastinator, always waiting until the last minute to make up my mind. I just like to think it keeps things interesting. I’ll keep telling myself that and not panic.

I’m bumping into people left and right, and I manage to step on some hot gum that now makes a sticky sound every time my black wedge heel hits the ground.


I check my phone.


“I’m a pumpkin!” I yell in defeat, feeling failure seep into every inch of my body. I read over the letter again, and it gave no clear directions. Son of a monkey’s uncle!

“I’m a rotten pumpkin,” I moan to myself.

Cue crazy tears.

I’m probably going to start Mrs. Flow. I’m usually not this emotional.


A lady with her gummy-faced child ushers him to move past me faster as if I might reach out and grab him like oogy-boogy!

“Oh great!” I get out of the way as they pass. “I’m a child-scarcer,” I moan. I sniff, but what kind of mother keeps her kid up this late anyway?

I feel a hand touch my arm. I whip around to stare at a tall, lovely redhead, her hair cut to an A-line at her shoulders.

Her white summer dress is pretty, and her smile even prettier. She looks like a Southern belle.

“May I help you?” I say more angrily than I want.

I’m not in a good mood, lady.

“I noticed the letter you’re holding.” She nods to the paper, fisted into my grasp. “It would seem that we both are having trouble finding Mr. Charming.”


Relief washes over me like a waterfall. So I’m not the only idiot present tonight. “It’s midnight,” I say in defeat.

“Well,” she begins as she glances around the busy streets, “They can’t be mad if we are late with directions like that. I mean, this is silly anyway.”

She laughs and looks at me as if desperately seeking to confirm her thoughts.

And really, this is silly. “I guess I feel a little ashamed even searching for Charming. Curiosity got the best of me.”

She giggles and blows out a big breath and starts to fan her face. “I know, and it’s so hot tonight. I bet they’re filming us right now. We’re probably the only two who showed up.”

I join in because there was nothing else to do than to make fun of ourselves.

We look around for maybe a hidden camera or a group of people looking our way and pointing.

But what I was not expecting was to see a very handsome man dressed in a crisp white suit. Standing not too far from us, in the alleyway across the street.

Our laughter dies as we both sober and stare at him.

I swear I looked in that direction earlier, and he was not standing there with a brilliant smile directed at us. Is this him?!

I’m light-headed and that tingling in the pit of my stomach is back, my pulse pounding.

“You see him too?” I barely ask. “The man.”

“Sure do.”

“What do we do?” I risk a glance at her, my pulse hammering.

“Make kissy faces at him? I have no clue,” she offers breathlessly, her voice wavering.

I’m too shocked to grin. Glancing back at the man, my brain realizes that this man is incredibly handsome, standing there with one hand casually tucked into his suit pocket.

He is leaning against a door, just staring at us with an amused smirk that was utterly charming.

“You think he’s into that?”

“Into what?”

“Kissy faces.”

She grabs my hand at looks down at me, pulling me.

“We should go over there.”

I think I said something, but it was lost in the humid night air.

Walking up to him does not ease our nerves, I can tell because Tall Redhead is grabbing my hand in a death grip.

He smiles brightly at me, then at her, and shifts his weight. His gaze lands on me again, and something odd sparkles in his perfect blue eyes that makes a shiver slither down my back.

“You girls are late.” His voice is smooth and lovely. His blond hair is combed back perfectly, and his face is that of a prince.

I open my mouth to speak, but nothing comes out.

My mind is flat-lining.

“Please, come in. The Fairy Godmother hates to be off-schedule,” he says like we were talking about the weather, something completely normal.

He opens the wood door that descends upstairs and beyond.

It’s dark up there.

Are we going to a mental institution? Will men in white medical outfits seize us and place us in a padded room and shove pills down our throats?

“Hey, are you going to rape us?” I ask then blush.


Redhead blanches beside me then looks back to him.

I just gave him the idea, didn’t I? Though let’s be honest, being raped by him might not be so bad. I might play-fight at first, but then I would be totally into it.

I’m a sicko.

He turns his shocked face towards me and laughs loudly but doesn’t say anything, disappearing up the stairs. “Come on, ladies.”

She shrugs and proceeds after him.

“Was that a yes?” I whisper as I blindly follow them, feeling my skin prickling.

She turns to face me as we walk up the dark stairway. “I think that was a maybe.”

I bet I can outrun redhead if shit hits the fan. Hey, I have never claimed to be noble, it’s a personality flaw that I’m working on.

We make it to the top, and he opens a large silver door, and I tense, bracing myself. Immediately cool, unusual, wondrous air hit us. The sight before me steals my breath clean out of my lungs.

What the…

The room is spacious and completely beautiful, jaw-dropping. I think I hear Redhead gasp, placing a hand over her mouth.

Everything is white and sky blue. The floors are glistening white marble with light blue glittering swirls throughout it.

The ceiling is vaulted with shimmering bits of glass, and the seating area is exquisite with blinding white couches and sapphire accents.

The whole thing doesn’t look real. I take a shaky breath and try to count to ten in my mind.

“Welcome to Fairy Godmother Inc., ladies. Please check in at the front desk,” Mr. Charming says in a sing-song voice. “Please make haste.”

I glance at Mr. Charming, my mouth hanging open. “Check-in?”

He points to a large U-shaped desk with a beautiful woman smiling at us.

She is typing away at a computer and has an earpiece in, talking to someone on the other end. She is wearing an all-white dress fit for luncheon at the royal castle.

Her golden hair bounces as she types, apparently enjoying her job with great enthusiasm. I’m getting a creepy Stopford wife vibe.

I tap down my hysteria, eyeing everything for a potential threat. We walk up to her, and she points at the sparkling paper and pen then keeps talking.

“Yes, they have just arrived—uh-huh,” she pauses, listening, “of course, I know they’re late.” She glances up at us with a stern look.

“I will get them checked in quickly then—I understand. I will usher them back, my lady. I know time is of the essence.”

She glances up at us and forces a smile. “Please sign in and take a seat over there, then Pierce will bring everyone into the arena.”


What the hell?

This place is not big enough for that, and even I’m not that gullible. I sign my name and notice five other names on the list. Seven girls? I thought the letter said five?

Hmm, fascinating. I was expecting more for an advertising stunt, though. I walk around a corner to see five lovely women sitting on white couches, looking just as nervous as I feel.

Redhead does a little nod to them, and we sit together on the only empty couch next to a refreshment table. Okay, this is weird.

“What is this place?” Redhead whispers.

I swallow and shrug, glancing around the beautiful sitting room. “This is getting weirder by the second,” I whisper.

Redhead speaks to the other girls. “Hi.” She clears her throat, “My name is Cherie, did you all receive a letter this morning?” Her name is Cherie, noted.

They all nod and murmur something that is inaudible.

A snobby blond-haired girl sniffs and stands up to look around, her rose heels clicking on the marble.

I say snobby because she has that mean-girl look about her. Perfect blond hair, Barbie body, pink sundress, and a perfected resting-bitch-face that is even better than mine.

She must have had years of practice. Bravo.

“My name is Laura Rogers. I’m sure you heard of my brother. Luke Rogers? He’s the pitcher for the Red Sox.” She beams, looking way too smug.

Laura examines her manicure and walks around the room, listening to everyone’s praise. “I hope this is something to do with T.V.”

“I don’t watch baseball, so boring,” I moan before my faulty filter kicks in. I feel Cherie shoot me a glance then a grin, covering her smile with her hand.

Laura’s gaze pins me and takes her time to look me up and down. She raises a thin brow and walks over to me, lips pinched. She has very thin lips, I notice, that flatten out into a line.

“And who are you? A vampire? Madame Darkness?” She laughs lightly.

That is not even funny.

I resist an eye roll. “My name is Viola Spear, and I’m here out of pure curiosity,” I murmur. Not sure why I just gave her a bogus last name.

“Whatever,” she shoots back. “Aren’t we all?”

A black girl who sits on the couch opposite of me leans forward. “Hi, I’m Destiny. This place gives me the creeps—too sterile. Anyone else feelin’ this way?”

She adjusts her jeans and white tank-top. She has on cute silver pumps, I take note.

The girl next to Destiny, with short platinum hair, nods in agreement. She raises her hand,

“I’m April. I am a little nervous about this setup. I hope there is no auditioning or anything like that. I’m not good in front of crowds, like, I will have a panic attack.”

“We are in a documentary or movie set.” Laura chimes in soundly annoyed by everyone’s incompetence.

A tall brunette laughs. “Let’s not forget how hot Mr. Charming is,” she whispers loud enough for all of us to hear and looks around the corner. “Oh, and I’m Ivy, a former Marine.”

We all murmur something about her exceptional service to our country.

The last girl with medium-brown skin and a Cuban bun raises her hand to introduce herself, but Mr. Charming comes in.

Everyone’s mouth shuts, and eyes widened. My heart pulses to life, like a drunken tap dancer who just pounded five Red bulls.

He grins and places a hand in his white suit pants.

“Ladies, we are ready for you all to move into the Arena where all of your questions will be answered. We are a little bit behind schedule, so please let’s not let the Fairy Godmother wait another second.”

I hear a muffled giggle to my left.

He glances at all of us. A severe look crosses his handsome features as he studies us.

“Please take this seriously. What you are about to see is real. You all are chosen for a reason by Fate’s hand, and before you enter, you must take a deep breath and find your inner calm.”

I frown, not liking the sound of that at all.

If we walk into a sex dungeon like that girl from Fifty Shades, I’m tripping Laura and running. Not even kidding, survival of the fittest, I can fight like a wildcat if need be.

We all line up and proceed to follow Charming through a large sliding door made of glass.

Okay, I need to explain this slowly so you understand what I see as I pass through the door.

We walk into a large U-shaped seating area, like something you’d see at a university, a lecturing room with high seating.

I calm my pounding heart as I grab to steady myself on the back of a chair.

The problem is …

The problem is that where a chalkboard and wall would be, there is nothing. There is nothing behind the large white desk and podium.

No, I don’t mean nothing. What the hell am I saying?!

I might throw up.

Behind the desk was outer F-ing space.

In case you didn’t understand that, behind the desk where a wall should be is OUTER SPACE.

I am looking at the big black abyss that is our universe. Like someone cut a spaceship in half, and we are standing on the edge.

There are distant shooting stars, comets, and an enormous planet that is far off in the distance that you can see the atmosphere moving around it.

Oh, and there is this breeze. I can see little pieces of my hair flowing with the air current.

I feel Cherie’s hand on my arm, squeezing, her fingers turning white as her arm shakes. I’m numb to the pain of her death grip.

I slowly look up and see Charming walk down the pale marble stairs to the bottom level, where the large desk sat.

Dear goodness, there’s even a red shiny apple lay on top of it, like we’re in grade school.

“Ladies!” Charming booms with his hands outstretched. “Please have a seat wherever you like.

“I know what you are seeing does not seem real, but you find out soon enough that this room is the least of your worries. I say this with the deepest part of my heart. Welcome.”

He eyes everyone in the room as we take seats on our shaky legs. His eyes land on me for a second longer than everyone else.

I get a bizarre feeling that he knows something concerning me, but I’m too overwhelmed to give it any thought.

“A drink will be passed around to allow you all to take this in, in a much calmer state of mind. You may pass if you like, but I strongly suggest you take it.”

He motions for two women in white clothing to come in with trays and pass around some pink fizzy drink in a flute glass.

“This will help you, ladies, so please drink up. We do not have time for panic attacks or fainting spells.”

Destiny has her head in between her legs, breathing hard, and April is feeling her pulse on her neck, looking sweaty. Laura sits in silence, her eyes wide and unbelieving.

“Viola? May I offer you a drink?” She leans down to hand me a flute glass without even waiting for a reply.

“Yes,” I barely say more so to myself. I am already down the rabbit hole, so I might as well fall without screaming.

I look to my right, seeing Cherie and everyone else downing the fizzy drink with desperate gulps.

“Is anyone scared of the date rape drug?” I continue, not even sure if I spoke that out loud. “It’s a real thing, people.”

I see a distant shooting star probably miles and miles away, making my breathing hitch. Okay, I’m losing it fast. I feel my left eye start to twitch. Bottoms up.

I down the fruity-flavored drink and repress a burp from the burn of the carbonation.

Welp, there’s no going back now. I just took the blue pill, and it’s coursing through my system. I can feel my body humming, my muscles relaxing.

I will now enter the matrix.

Cue the electronic computer sound as I get sucked into a different reality.

“You all should be feeling calmer in about two minutes,” he says as he grins at us all, his arms crossed over his chest. His shining blue eyes are watching us.

“Let me know when you all feel like you can focus, and we will begin.”

Charming leans against the desk and lights a cigar like he’s at home sitting before the fireplace. Or at a high-end lounge.

I take a breath and feel my nerves settle; a wave of warmth spreads through me like a slow-moving river of lava. I take another deep breath, and my arms stop shaking, and my eye goes still.



I can do this. I glance around, seeing everyone else visibly relaxing, sitting up straighter in their chairs. What was in that drink? I feel great. Now I can enjoy the brilliant view before me.

This is real, unbelievable. All this time the letter was genuine.

“Alright, I can see that all of you are ready to get started.” He speaks with a smile and holds out his arm towards the universe. “Ladies, may I present you to her Fairy Godmother.”

All of a sudden, a door opens, and a stunning woman walks through the archway. Are the Stars and planets just an illusion then? Amazing technology.

Her midnight blue gown glitters and her silver hair is up in a bun on top of her head. She looks like a 1950s celebrity.

The dress flows out at the tight waist and stops under the knee like she wore petticoats. The off-the-shoulder neckline was elegant, probably the envy of every trophy housewife.

She looks like a version of Meryl Streep in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. She looks just as intimidating.

Her expression as she walks is one of utter seriousness. I can’t believe I’m looking at the legendary Fairy Godmother. Our reality is stranger than fiction.

There is still no smile, no happy greeting like Mr. Charming. She glances at Charming with an all but pleased look on her face.

“Pierce, are we ready to begin?” she asks as she scans the room, her gaze resting on mine.

I hold my breath.

Did I have something on my face?

She tilts her head, and I think I see a hint of a smile. The Fairy Godmother looks back to Charming, and he gives her a wink and blows out a trail of smoke. “The floor is yours.”

The Fairy Godmother nods and takes a couple of steps toward us, her gown twinkling and her black pumps clipping. She takes a moment as if gathering her thoughts.

“I will have all of your undivided attention.”

No one says a word.

We will now find out why we are here.

“I will assume you all read your letter sent to you this morning. Each one of you has been chosen to partake in the Fairytale Challenges as our agents,” she continues as we all hang on every word.

“I’m afraid that this time, things are going to be a little different, due to unfortunate circumstances.”

I frown.

She takes a breath and places a hand on the bridge of her nose.

“I have been running Fairy Godmother Incorporated for two hundred years, always providing a happily-ever-after.” She pauses again as if she is having trouble saying what she wants.

Charming steps forward and places a hand on her shoulder and whispers something in her ear. She shakes her head and whispers something back, very upset.

What’s going on? I shift in my seat and give Cherie a look, noticing everyone appears concerned. Cherie shrugs and glances back at the two.

We see Pierce give her a hug, and the Fairy Godmother leaves the room with her hand over her mouth, very distraught. Charming walks her to the door, then he turns back to us and exhales.

“I’m sorry for the delay.” He saunters over to the desk and sits on the edge.

“I will be leading the discussion today; the Fairy Godmother has a lot on her plate, and she has appointments that she cannot miss. I will be taking questions shortly, but for now, just listen.”

His blue gaze lands on me, then everyone else.

“If everyone here agrees to the terms, then all of you will be transported to another world, a kingdom if you will.

“And yes, ladies, we can do that. There are many different dimensions, thus having many different planets with functioning worlds just like Earth. Believe it, because it is very true.”

He moves to stand behind the desk and starts typing, then waves his hands up in the air as 3D images come out.

In one instant, the view of the universe changes.

I gasp.

I see some insanely high technological PowerPoint display here.

On the 3D screen, I will call it, are planets in a list from number one to a thousand and some. The top half is labeled in white, the middle blue, and different hues of red for the bottom.

“As you can see, these are the planets currently under contract with the Fairy Godmother Inc. This is not the normal speech we give our agents, and for that, I apologize.

“We need help; desperation is an understatement here. Fairy Godmother Inc. is on the verge of being out of business. This is the best way I can describe it so you’ll understand.

“I will explain why, and you’re the first group to hear behind-the-scenes information. The entire purpose of the company is to control and maintain peace within the universe.

“The Fairy Godmother answers to a higher authority, who gave her the responsibility to keep a certain level of peace between all worlds.”

He pauses as he gazes around.

“All the planets are invisibly connected, and when one harbors evil, it affects the others like dark oppression, a chain reaction of negativity. This evil is not okay, and it needs to be managed.

“The Fairy Godmother believes that all wickedness can be healed by love; this has always been her slogan. She is an amazing woman, always thinking that redemption can be a part of the most corrupt.”

He pauses at our still-confused expressions.

“We need to keep each planet above fifty percent—evil vs. good. We can never eliminate evil altogether, but we can keep it manageable with this system we have been using for hundreds of years.

“We are talking about the people who inhabit them, their souls combined for a total percentage. If we cannot do this over a period, we are out of the business, and a different power will take over.”

I raise my hand.

He looks at me, then nods.

All eyes on me. “So,” I clear my throat, ” I’m guessing that the Fairy Godmother is going out of business because she is having trouble with keeping evil below fifty percent?”

I am trying to understand this complex dilemma. I blush, hoping I didn’t ask a stupid question.

He takes a moment. “Yes, we are having a problem with one planet. Keep in mind that each planet is judged separately,” Charming continues as he points to the 3D screen.

“The last world on the bottom is the one in question, the one that is bright red. As you can see, the other planets above it are being affected by it, starting to turn red as well.

“It’s like an infection, spreading unless we can cure it, fast.”

“I get it,” Laura blurts loudly and looks around. “You want us to make the leader of a kingdom fall in love with one of us. To cure their evil souls. How romantically heroic of us.”

Her eyes are lit with excitement, “So we are like heroes—love heroes.”

“To change the heart of the corrupt,” I say quietly, ignoring Barbie.

“Yes.” He glances at us. “This one planet is out to destroy us. We have tried three times already and failed. This has never happened before. Heroes you all will be; these are not easy missions.”

“Three groups like us?” asks April with a frown.

“Correct.” He takes some steps towards us and exhales.

“This is our last chance, so you can imagine how distraught the Fairy Godmother is. She will lose everything we have worked for. We were very close to the last mission, getting to forty percent.

“But sadly, almost doesn’t cut it, we need to be above half. The fairy council is very strict about sticking to the rules that keep this universe in balance.

“Our Fairy Godmother will be replaced with another.

“A fairy who—I shall not say any names—who does not believe in what our Fairy Godmother does. The woman is a vile creature and happens to be our Fairy Godmother’s sister. ”

“Does our Fairy Godmother have a name?” Destiny asks. “Or all they all called Fairy Godmothers.”

Charming smiles. “Her name is Zora, and you didn’t hear that from me.” He leans back on the desk. “Her bitch sister is Mildred. And yes, she sounds just like her name.”

I can’t help but giggle. So, we have a family feud filled with jealousy, how very human of them.

No pressure.

But this confuses me. What’s this talk of missions? I thought we were going on an adventure to find love.

“So, what do you mean you were close? He almost fell in love with a girl in the last mission?” For some reason, that didn’t sit well with me.

He chuckles and rubs the back of his neck. “Not even close.” Charming looks up at me and exhales.

“The best way I can describe it, in this short period of time is this. Think of this as a video game, where certain things you do gives you points.

“Having the main ruler fall in love for the right reasons is like a forty percent boost. Everything else is minor. Like getting rid of the bad guy, solving hunger issues, slavery, and the lists go on.

“We only have three months; that’s all Fate will allow us to intervene. So, if you choose to solve their world issues instead of falling in love, that is a tough road to complete in three months.

“And not to mention dangerous. Don’t get me wrong; falling in love is also hard but much more plausible,” he continues, “and generally when you fix the ruler you fix all of the smaller issues as well.

“It’s like a chain reaction of joy and happiness. Therefore Zora believes so much in true love because it fixes everything else along with it.”

Wow, this is complicated.

Much different than Disney movies, but kinda the same.

“So, the last mission they tried to fix the world, not their leader?” I ask, my mind spinning in all different directions.

“They had no choice, for their leader was not interested in any of the women we sent. They just tried to make the best of their time and tried to help out Zora the best they could.”

He looks down like he is lost in thought.

Laura laughed and shook her head. “This guy is picky, I like my men picky, and I like a challenge.”

Charming looks up and stares at her, probably trying to figure out if she was serious.

“I guess you can say that he is picky. I have a feeling he is onto us, knowing something about what we are doing.”

He pushes off the desk and starts clapping his hands.

“This is the time to tell you the rules. We have very little time to do this in because the council gave us only today to send out another team.”

I think I hear him use profanity under his breath. Yeah, he did, this Pierce Charming is not happy about this.

“You each will be in the hands of Fate. That’s how this works, to keep the balance, we must follow what Fate dictates for us.” He holds out his hand, and the ground vibrates.

I sit up in my chair and watch as a stone—birdbath?—raises out of the ground, and in the bath is a metallic-like liquid. How very curious. What is this?

“This is simple, ladies, and again I am sorry we are rushing through everything.

“You each will place your hands into the Bowl of Destiny and Fate will determine what you will be in this challenge. A princess or a pauper.

“This is crucial, for you may not change this once a title has been given to you.”

My eyes widen. So it’s like the Harry Potter hat.

I hear murmurs all around the room, some excited and some worried. I, myself, have very mixed emotions coursing through my body like a crowd of lunatics escaping from the institution.

But I am mostly…excited. I am glad Fate gets to pick, it makes it more exciting. Because we all know everyone would choose to be a princess. Duh.

“After you get your title, we will talk briefly about Delorith, the world you will be traveling to.

“Then you will be able to change three things about yourself to help you ensnare the heart of Apollo Augustus Garthorn.

“You may choose to change appearances or to master an ability. This choice is yours and yours only.”

“Wow,” I whisper. Cherie turns towards me with wide eyes and whispers an OMG. I smile and glance back.

Apollo Augustus Garthorn. He sounds hot and powerful, and I am so curious to see what this dark ruler looks like. Cute? Handsome? Average? Sexy?

I ponder this. He’s got to be easy on the eyes, right? Maybe he wasn’t, and that’s why no girl has worked. Crap. That would be difficult. Maybe he was funny. I could do funny.

“Alright, we will talk more after titles.” He stands up just as Zora, the Fairy Godmother walks in. She looks composed, unlike earlier.

Standing by Charming, she spoke, “Please let us begin, there is no turning back now. There is the door, if you wish to leave now. If not, let’s not waste Fate’s time.”

I just got very nervous, sick even. This is real. There is no turning back, no turning back. I swallow and stand up with everyone else, taking a nervous breath.

Well, Viola, looks like you’re going to take the blue pill and escape the matrix.

Bring it on.

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