Chapter 300 Affected Morpheus

After finishing their meal, Cornelia continued to act like a proper host to her guests."Miss Ember, would you like to go see the city or do you want to return to your room to rest?"

"I want to see the rest of the city, but if we do that, won't it be too late for us to return to the palace? I like the sight on the way here but riding horses after dark is a bit..."

"Miss, there is no need for you to rush. His Majesty has permitted you to stay in my residence as an esteemed guest till you finish exploring the city," Cornelia informed her with an amused smile. "Honeyharbor might be smaller compared to Ronan, but you need more than a day or two to fully explore the wonders of the city. Due to what happened earlier, you could not do much sightseeing."

"Did His Majesty really say that?" Ember asked with surprise. Ever since she became his mate, she couldn't remember a time where she had been allowed to spend the night elsewhere.

"Yes, Miss. So rest assured and be here as long as you want. I will make sure you will be comfortable in my residence."

"Thank you, Lady Cornelia. I will be under your care then."

"Then, Miss, shall we leave now?"

Ember agreed and Erlos excused himself first so he could prepare the horses. Though Honeyharbor only houses a small population of witches, the size of the city was still something that would exhaust a human being if they merely walked from one end to the other.

Just as Ember and Cornelia stepped out of the witch's residence, Cornelia seemed to have sensed something and looked up in the sky. "To receive these many guests in a single day, what a rare occurrence."

Ember looked up but she could see nothing. It just so happened that Erlos was walking towards the women coming from the direction of the stables with the reins of the horses in hand. He mumbled under his breath, "Can't stay away from the annoyance for long."

Ember looked at Erlos with a puzzled expression, but the elf merely started putting the saddles on the horses. Just as she wanted to ask what he meant, she felt a strong gale blowing towards her, causing her to shield her face and hold onto her skirt. When she looked around while fixing her hair, she finally found the cause of the strong wind--she was welcomed by the sight of one handsome man with ash gray wings, followed by a younger winged man whose body seemed to shine like gentle sunshine.

Morpheus gave a polite bow towards Cornelia, and the witch also did the same, exchanging brief greetings. Given their status, Cornelia who led the witch race in Agartha and was part of the council was of a higher rank than Morpheus, but given Morpheus' seniority and war achievements, he was someone the Head of the Witches also respected.

"Hey, little female," Morpheus offered his usual playful smile afterwards to the pretty brunette standing beside the witch.

She smiled back at him. "Morph, how come you are here?"

"Playing guide. Just like you, my nephew wished to see the territory of the witches."

"Oh, no wonder."

Ember looked at Aureus, who bowed to her. "I pay my respects to Her Majesty Queen Ember."

"Please get up!" Ember was taken aback by this. 'Q-Queen?' She was not a queen. "I...You can call me Miss Ember or simply Ember."

"I dare not, Your Majesty," Aureus replied as he straightened himself.

Ember didn't know what to say when Morpheus spoke, "Let him call you Queen, Ember. You will soon be officially crowned as one anyway so get used to it."

"It feels weird."

"The King's mate should be the Queen, unless you don't want it, then the King has to get another female to be his Queen," Morpheus teased.

Ember frowned inwardly as the thought of her husband having another woman next to him was enough to displease her. 'No way. He is just mine.'

They all observed the fleeting change in her expression. That tinge of anger in her beautiful green eyes was particularly eye-catching.

"But I won't call you the Queen ever. You will always be Ember for me," Morpheus said, which diverted her attention.

As people who had been interacting with Ember for sometime, Cornelia and Morpheus had noticed how sensitive her emotions had become these days, more particularly so ever since she had touched her energy core. They were both aware that Ember's temper was short, especially when it came to her mate. It would be better for everyone's sake that no one angered her for real. They didn't want another incident like back when she burned the palace garden because that fox Isa's behavior displeased her.

Cornelia turned to the other esteemed guest who had been silently observing the entire exchange.

"Welcome to the witch city of Honeyharbor, Divine Eagle Aureus. I am Cornelia Grimm, the Head of the Witches." Cornelia finally got the chance to welcome the golden eagle whose arrival had caused an uproar within the entire kingdom. It was the first time she was seeing him, and just like others who have met Myra, she could see how much the young eagle resembled his mother.

"I am honored to be in your presence, Lady Cornelia." Aureus also gave a polite bow her way, which the woman returned with equal grace.

"Cornelia, I have to trouble you to have us as your guests as well," Morpheus commented. "My nephew was raised by witches so he is particularly curious about your people and lifestyle."

"It's not a problem, Morpheus. Please be comfortable."

Morpheus looked at Ember. "Shall we go around together?"

Before she could answer, Erlos spoke up with a bright smile, "Oh, this sounds troubling. Miss is going on horseback, and from what I had heard this morning, eagles don't like to ride horses, hmm?" Though he looked as carefree as usual, his words were filled with mockery.

"Would you look at this? The master is not here yet his pet won't make us forget him," Morpheus commented with an amused look. "Don't worry, we eagles can manage to follow you while walking. We have feet too, you know, and it's not like you can enter shops or buildings bringing horses with you. Surely you will dismount and walk too?"

With Ember being on her fertile days, Morpheus knew he should not risk carrying her with him and he had no such intentions in the first place. The farther, the better...well, as long as she's still within sight. Seeing Ember smile from time to time brought a wave of happiness Morpheus never imagined he would experience in his lifetime.

Together with the newly-arrived guests, Cornelia led the group out on horseback, her horse a beautiful dappled mare brought out by her servants while they were welcoming the shapeshifters. After a while, their group were ready for their city tour, with Cornelia and Ember in front, their horses side by side with each other, followed by Erlos and the witches serving the Head. The two winged men insisted on walking at the rear. Given their appearance, Morpheus and Aureus looked more like guards escorting a group of fair maidens.

With the sun pleasantly shining down on them, it was a leisurely ride, with the retinue bringing with them a basket of snacks and other necessities. As Cornelia's residence was away from the bustling part of the city, it was mostly surrounded by idyllic greenery, making it look like her cottage was in the middle of the quiet woods. Along the way, the cottages were few and sparse, each of them with a large yard.

"Your city is so peaceful, Lady Cornelia," Ember could not help but remark, "and I barely see people in the streets."

"That has to do with our values. You see, Miss, the witches are rather...individualistic people, if you are to put it nicely, and rather reclusive if you view it in another way," Cornelia explained. "We are a race who values curiosity above all, and that's why, many of us focus on understanding the world and the magic supporting it. You can think of us similar to scholarly mages so we spend most of our time at home or in a workroom, focused on our areas of expertise."

Ember had read about witches on the books in the palace library, but still, she found Cornelia's personal account fascinating.

"Miss Ember, Mister Aureus, first, I will show you the gardens where we grow our herbs," Cornelia said as their horses neared what seemed to be tall fences wrapped in flower-bearing vines.

"There are many gardens like these within the city, and this one is the largest, established to grow the precious herbs and plants for potion-making. You probably know this, but making potions is a specialty of the Witch Race."

They entered the vast gardens established inside the fenced region, and there were almost a hundred greenhouses inside. Ember was mesmerized by seeing the beauty of fields of colorful plants, orchards thick with fruits she couldn't name, along with the greenhouses where one could see people working inside, watering or checking on the various plants. What more, Ember could feel the strong elemental magic pulsating in the air.

When they reached the stables, they climbed down their horses and proceeded to walk towards one of the fields planted with purple flowers.

"Is the soil enchanted with some kind of magic?" Ember asked.

Cornelia had a satisfied smile on her lips, hearing her question. "It's good to find you can see through the magic, Miss. These aconite flowers are ingredients for potions that are rare to find in the wild, that is why they are cultivated carefully by the herbalists. They grow slowly so we have to protect them using magic."

"They are so beautiful."

"Not all beautiful things are good," Morpheus commented as he eyed the particular kinds of flowers.

Ember turned towards him with a puzzled gaze and heard him continue, "They are deadly poisonous."

Ember looked back at those flowers. "I wouldn't have known."

"Morpheus is right, Miss. Aconites are also called wolfsbane and are deadly poison humans used to lace their arrows to hunt wolves in the past, hence the name. But they are useful as well if we use them in the right way. They can help you in a way you might not expect."

"Oh!" was all she could say, and they continued to walk along the segregated fields and greenhouses until they saw a beautiful and large two-storey structure made of red bricks at a distance.
"What is that place?" Ember asked.

Aureus also paid attention to know about it. He was quiet but he was noticing everything around and was paying attention to each word others talked about.

"That's our research workshop where we experiment on these herbs to create more potent or other useful kinds of potions. Herbalists, apothecaries, and alchemists sometimes stay inside for days, if not weeks, as if they're living within their own workrooms whenever they have ongoing experiments. There is also a huge library within that has records of all the discovered herbs so far, as well as the potions that we have created till now. Would you like to visit?"

"Yes!" Ember nodded immediately as she could not wait to see how witches make potions.

"This particular part of the city, including these gardens and fields, the workrooms and the library, these places are not open for all witches. Only concerned people part of the Honeyharbor coven can enter here."

"Why so?" Ember asked. "And will that be fine for us to enter? It sounds like a really important place for your people..."

"With the Head of the coven accompanying our esteemed guests, there is no reason why it won't be fine," Cornelia announced with pride. She continued, "Witches have different areas of expertise. Our coven is divided based on the work particular coven members do. Rules and regulations are necessary, otherwise, the witches will request ingredients for their own potions or spells that might severely affect the supplies of those plants.

"As long as they are within the city, the residents cannot do anything other than what is assigned to them unless I or the senior witches permit them. It helps keep things in order, without getting chaotic. Our coven follows rules strictly and no one dares break them or else the punishment won't be merciful."

"I see..."

Their group reached the entrance of the workshop where two females who were dressed like guards greeted their Head. However, they remained unfazed as they stared down at Aureus, Erlos and Morphues. As per their coven rules, no one without the proper identity could enter this particular place. Though they were aware that they were esteemed guests, rules were rules.

Even Ember was not spared from their glare, although they pulled back the moment they saw the mate bond mark on her neck which gave out her identity as a mate for their king, the Black Dragon. Still, within the witch territory, the Head of Witches Cornelia Grimm's words are absolute and they would only listen to her.

"It's alright. They are my guests," Cornelia spoke and only then did the two guards make way for them.

The grand-looking double doors had ancient symbols carved on its wooden body, and it made a heavy sound as they opened to welcome the guests. They entered inside a large lobby, where Cornelia led them to another guarded door leading to the largest library Ember had ever seen. Ember turned around to see the countless shelves lining up the circular chamber filled with various books from top to bottom.

"There are so many books! Are they all about magic?" Ember asked.

"Not all. Most of them are about plant records, medicine and potion-making."

"Am I allowed to read books here?" Ember asked again.

"Though outsiders are generally not allowed, I can permit you to read it as you are His Majesty's mate."

"Thank you, Lady Cornelia!"

When Aureus saw that library, he was not particularly impressed because he had seen an even bigger library than this one inside the Royal Palace of Megaris, but he was still interested because he imagined that these kinds of books must be what Esther and Tyra would have enjoyed reading if they were here.

His attention then turned towards his uncle whose eyes were only following Ember's slender body as she approached the shelves. Neither the books in the library nor the specialties of the witch territory appealed to him; he was simply interested in seeing that beautiful face which had shown various colorful emotions in a short span of time--from curious, to amazed, to happy and shocked--as she got to know new things.

Just in time, Morpheus felt a strong gaze on him and met his nephew's gaze, who then offered him a teasing smirk. In return, Morpheus offered him an equally teasing smirk as if telling him that he was not any different from him. Flustered, Aureus averted his gaze from him and quietly looked around.

After Ember informed Cornelia she would return to read the books here in the near future, they left the library. Cornelia led their way through another huge door connected to the lobby and then they entered an extremely large room with countless tables and side rooms attached to it.

Inside, there were about tens of witches experimenting on their respective tables, some crushing the herbs on their mortars, others casting magic spells to test their potions on plants, while others were mixing certain shiny chemicals inside the glass bottles and flasks.

"Miss, this is the main workroom and these are the ongoing experiments on various herbs to make either new kinds or more effective potions."

Ember could not help but gasp in wonder as she walked closer to one table. She had seen the High Elder of the Wood Elves, Leeora, make an elixir for her back then inside her tree house, but it was not even close to how fancy or complicated the potion-making of the witches. Just then her gaze caught one witch experimenting on a beautiful flower which started to bloom bigger in size with silver shine forming around its petals in whirls.

"So beautiful!"

Ember walked ahead in a daze but...



That flower exploded the next moment which caught Ember by surprise, making her jump in fright towards the arms of the person standing behind her. Her eyes were shut tightly, her hands clutching onto the strong arms, almost digging her nails into its skin, with her face buried against the strong chest of a man. She was so close, she could clearly hear the man's loud heartbeats.

"Miss! Are you alright?" Cornelia asked as she had not expected this to happen. After seeing no injuries on her, she then turned towards the witch closest to the table. "Mildred, how about you? There should be a defensive spell around each experiment..."

"L-Lady Cornelia, I apologize!"

"As long as you are unhurt as well--"

The witches nearby helped to clean up the leftover mess.

Meanwhile, Morpheus, who held that shivering, delicate and sweet-smelling body in his embrace, was unable to move, completely frozen in his place. He felt his heart would jump out of his chest in a moment.

He gulped as a clear line of sweat appeared around his temple.

"Are you alright, Ember?" Morpheus asked, trying to sound as calm as he could.

Ember took some time before she could regain her composure. Only after she finally opened her eyes did she step back. She let out an awkward laugh. "Hmm, I didn't expect it to explode."

"It's fine. Nothing happened," he assured her.

Erlos was also by her side, fussing over her body. "Miss, you gave me a scare. Please be more careful! I am glad you are not injured. Still, you must have been shocked. So you want to sit somewhere? I will get water for you--"

"No. I am fine, Erlos. I am sorry for worrying you all."

"It's alright, Miss. We know you are not used to these things. Don't worry, but please next time, avoid approaching magical items or enchanted things without understanding how they work."

She nodded, knowing Erlos meant well. She then spoke to the approaching Cornelia, "Apologies about this. I'm unharmed so is it fine for us to continue?"

"It's fine, Miss. I should have warned you before we entered, so I am also at fault."

"All of you can continue. I will wait outside," Morpheus said as turned to leave.

"You are leaving, Morph?" Ember asked.

"There is nothing much for me to see. I have seen all these in the past. Have fun," was all he said before departing from the workroom.

Aureus could only pity his uncle as he watched him escape as if he was being chased. He knew why his uncle left. Morpheus could never show it to anyone, not even to the woman who had affected him greatly, making him almost lose control over himself.


A/N- Dear readers, the things in these novels about some supernaturals might be different from how you must have read about them in other books till now. How the Queen of witches can be decided on and how their clan work. Also, about Dragons and mate bonds which I wrote in my own way. I am not sure if there are any books which includes eagle shapeshifter clan that I have written here.

I just want to say that if you find it different from how it had been written in other books, then it's not wrong. It's my way of creating this new world, without thinking or knowing how others have written it. In the end, it's fantasy and nothing is absolute. In coming plot, there would be many more things coming that would be different. <3<3