Alpha Asher chapter 150

“You tell anyone, and you won’t see a cent of your inheritance when I’m gone.” Grandma narrowed her eyes, but the frown that tugged at her lips made the flimsy threat ineffective.

“I didn’t even know we had an inheritance.” I snorted as I stood at her side in the kitchen.

Like I had hundreds of times when we lived in the little cottage, I began gathering the d***y bowls and pans that collected in the sink as she baked.

A thin layer of silence settled over us, one that reminded me of long days training with Chris and cherry pies that sat on the windowsill to cool.

“So, you don’t want me to tell anyone you were here or that you were here and using magic?”

She swatted at me with a rag until I chuckled and moved away from the sink. Breyona finished putting the rest of the dried dishes away and perched herself on the edge of the counter, her eyes curious and eager. Her obvious love of magic made a whisper of a smile cross my face.

“No, it’s not that. It turns out Rowena was right; I’ve been using magic to make my baking better, and for all these years…” Her features contorted into a scowl that made my chest begin to throb.

She looked around at the various plates of cookies and exhaled sharply, as though they were to blame for greedily taking the magic from her overworked hands. “I won the Kenworth County Fair’s pie baking competition four years in a row–four years! I’m a-a fraud.”

“Are you joking right now?” Breyona made an indignant sound and slid off the counter. Her voice took on the same lecturing tone as my mom’s when I’d sneak in past curfew.

“You have actual magic, and you’ve been using it for decades without even knowing. You’re not a fraud, grandma. You’re a badass.”

I gave into the grin that tugged at my lips. “Nothing I say could top that.”

“You think so?” Her frown remained, but some of its harshness faded. “There’s nothing I love doing more than baking–well, that and tending to my garden. I…I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense that I was using my magic for both of those things.”

“Maybe that’s part of the reason why you love doing them, because it’s the only time you get to fully embrace yourself.” Breyona’s eyes softened and warmed like the gooey center of grandma’s chocolate chip cookies.

Grandma’s smile was thankful, and I knew from the glossiness of her eyes she’d need a moment to respond. When she finally did speak, she didn’t disappoint.

“If I’m not a fraud, that means there’s no reason to give them trophies back.” The lines surrounding her mouth and eyes faded as the tension seemed to drain from her small frame.

A twinkle of mischief danced in her eyes, “…they’re s**t out of luck for the thousand-dollar cashier’s checks, though.”

Thanks to Breyona’s blunt but much needed words, Grandma relaxed enough to tell us more about the magic she felt stirring in her bones. It was only a little disheartening to hear her say how familiar it felt, like an old friend she’d been waiting so long to meet.

It was Maya that stopped my self-doubt in its tracks and set me back on course. She reminded me that grandma’s magic hadn’t been locked away like ours. It had always been there, but only emerged when she stepped into the kitchen or garden-two places that brought her insurmountable joy.

I had no doubt that the magic she created was masked by the love and care she put into every dessert and plant in her garden.

“I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but Rowena’s been kind enough to give me a hand.” Grandma spoke over her shoulder as she darted through the kitchen like a hummingbird.

“Only Rowena, what about Cordelia?” I questioned.

“Apparently I’m a natural?” Grandma replied, a hint of awkwardness in her voice.

She quickly moved on from her baking spree and started this new mission of hers by pulling out a pack of ground beef and other tupperware containers from the refrigerator.

Breyona hovered around her almost protectively once she started grabbing the ingredients to make lasagna. I’d nearly forgotten about Rowena and Cordelia until I saw the size of the baking dish grandma pulled from the cabinet.

“They’ll be here shortly. Rowena needed some supplies, and it turns out Cordelia did as well, so she tagged along. The two of them said something about a local occult shop.”

Grandma replied in between measuring batches of flour for the garlic rolls. When she had her back turned, Breyona scooped another spoonful of minced garlic into the butter.

‘Us garlic girls have to stick together.’ She grinned behind grandma’s back; her voice smug as it traveled down the mind-link.

‘For sure.’ I swallowed my laughter, but it was impossible to hold it for long when I could see the amused smirk that painted my grandma’s face.

Rowena had been inside the house a total of two minutes when she hefted a massive leatherbound book into the living room and dropped it square on the coffee table.

As she cracked it open and the smell of old paper filled the air, I was surprised to see how well preserved each page was.

I looked up in time to see the shrewd look Cordelia gave Rowena, but within the blink of an eye it was gone. She looked as she always did, her features bright and soft, her slender frame draped with fabrics and dainty crystal necklaces.

An odd feeling ran down my spine, like the trail a drop of rain made as it trickled down a pane of glass.

The sensation vanished when Breyona leaned forward and cooed, “…oh, this is beautiful.”

“It is, isn’t it? It was a gift from the little girl I grew up with, one she would’ve been beaten for if her mother had caught her. Luckily, I’ve always known how to keep a secret and appreciate an incredible gift.” Her smile was the color of rubies and matched her newly painted nails.

She trailed it along the slender script that filled almost the entirety of the page. “I loved this book as a child. It broke everything down in a way I could understand at the time.

Consider this book the foundation of your training. It’ll tell you the seven types of magic, but not how they are manipulated, or the endless ways they can manifest in a young witch.

You’ll come to realize trying to fit any of us into a box doesn’t work well. Like everything else in this world, magic is ever evolving, only it moves at a much faster pace.”

While Maya sulked that our first official day of witch practice wasn’t on creating magical tidal waves or making trees explode from the ground, Breyona and I hunkered behind the billowing pages of Rowena’s ancient textbook and devoured every word until our eyes grew dry.

It jumped right into the first type of magic; one Cordelia happened to be familiar with.

Protection magic was considered one of the smaller and more refined magics, but its chapter was over seventy pages long. Divination came in close second at one hundred and two pages. Rowena had been right, there was no way to track the endless possibilities that came with a subject as broad as protection magic.

The book covered as many variations as it could, darting between protective shields and mentally enhanced barriers, only to completely veer off the map by including ‘ warriors made of marble and coal’ as an example.

As Cordelia helped grandma in the kitchen, and the hearty scent of tomato sauce and herbs filled the air, she also shouted answers to any questions Breyona, or I asked.

“Technically, yes. It qualifies as protection magic.” Her confirmation didn’t ease my surprise. If anything, it made the images in my head much more outlandish. “A very rare type of it, mind you. Even I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Oh, divination! That’s the kind of magic I’d have if I were a witch.” She grinned sheepishly, her finger falling from where it hovered over the second chapter.

The magic Breyona eagerly claimed ranged from visions, mystical prophecies, and crystal bs to seeing the precise moment of a person’s dh through touch alone. Where protection magic was precise, divination was sprinkled with chaos.

“If only more species had that kind of mindset. There wouldn’t have been so many of us k****d during the trials.” Rowena shook her head sadly, even though pride shone in her eyes when they landed on Breyona’s radiant face.

“I’m happy to see our kind working together, even if there are other witches who wish to disrupt that peace.”

The dark turn of conversation tugged my mind in the direction of Lars, who Asher and Zeke had yet to find.

“Can there be male witches?” I asked. When Breyona’s eyes flickered my way, I fumbled for an excuse that wasn’t entirely a lie. “If there’s a chance the infiltrators are men, then we know to broaden our search.”

Rowena smiled kindly and said, “I hope you take this as a comfort, but only women can wield magic. When we do have children, rarely is it a boy.”

Even though her tone was soft and meant to reassure, her words had an unintended effect on me. No matter how far into the future this was, I couldn’t help picturing my own child latched onto my arm.

It wasn’t a bouncing baby boy I saw, but a little girl. Her bright, honey-toned eyes smiling and giggling up at Asher.

What should’ve brought me feelings of euphoria left me ripe with worry, because if Asher and I had a daughter, she’d never be allowed to rule.

No matter how far werewolves had come, there wasn’t a single pack in the world that challenged this ancient law.

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