Heir Of Fire Chapter 16 Read Online Free

Full Read the Online Chapter 16 of Heir Of Fire PDF Book for free by Sarah J. Maas .

Chapter 16 OF Heir Of Fire Book Free: Of all the spaces in the Omega, the mess hall was by far the most dangerous.

The three Ironteeth Clans had been divided into rotating shifts that kept them mostly separated—training with the wyverns, training in the weapons room, and training in mortal warfare. It was smart to separate them, Manon supposed, since tensions were high, and would continue to run high until the wyverns were selected. Everyone wanted a bull. Though Manon fully expected to get one, perhaps even Titus, it didn’t keep her from wanting to punch out the teeth of anyone who even whispered about coveting a bull of her own.

There were only a few overlapping minutes between their three-hour rotations, and the coven leaders did their best to keep them from running into each other. At least Manon did. Her temper was on a tight leash these days, and one more sneer from the Yellowlegs heir was likely to end in bloodshed. The same could be said of her Thirteen, two of whom—the green-eyed twins Faline and Fallon, more demon than witch—had gotten into a brawl with some Yellowlegs idiots, unsurprisingly. She’d punished them just as she’d punished Asterin: three blows each, public and humiliating. But, like clockwork, fights still broke out between other covens whenever they were in close quarters.

Which was what made the mess hall so deadly. The two daily meals were the only time they all shared together—and while they kept to their own tables, the tension was so thick Manon could slice it with her blade.

Manon stood in line for her bowl of slop—that was the best name she could give the doughy goop the mess hall served—flanked by Asterin, with the last of the Blueblood witches in the line ahead of her. Somehow, the Bluebloods were always first—first in line for food, first to ride the wyverns (the Thirteen had yet to get airborne), and likely to get first pick of the beasts. A growl rumbled deep in her throat, but Manon pushed her tray along the table, watching the pale-faced server heap a grayish-white ball of food into the bowl of the Blueblood in front of her.

She didn’t bother to note the details of his features as the thick vein in his throat pulsed. Witches didn’t need blood to survive, but humans didn’t need wine, either. The Bluebloods were picky about whose blood they drank—virgins, young men, pretty girls—but the Blackbeaks didn’t particularly care one way or another.

The man’s ladle began shaking, tip-tapping along the side of the cauldron. “Rules are rules,” drawled a voice to her left. Asterin let out a warning snarl,

and Manon didn’t have to look to know that the Yellowlegs heir, Iskra, lurked

there. “No eating the rabble,” the dark-haired witch added, shoving her bowl in front of the man, cutting the line. Manon took in the iron nails and teeth, the calloused hand so blatantly making a show of dominance.

“Ah. I was wondering why no one’s bothered to eat you,” Manon said.

Iskra shouldered her way farther in front of Manon. Manon could feel the eyes in the room shifting toward them, but she reined in her temper, allowing the disrespect. Mess hall posturing meant nothing. “I hear your Thirteen are taking to the air today,” said the Yellowlegs heir as Manon received her own ration.

“What business is it of yours?”

Iskra shrugged her toned shoulders. “They say you were once the best flier in all three Clans. It would be a shame if it were just more gossip.”

It was true—she’d earned her spot as coven leader as much as she’d inherited it.

Iskra went on, sliding her plate along to the next server, who spooned some

pale root vegetable onto her slop. “There’s talk of skipping our training rotation so we can see the legendary Thirteen take to the skies for the first time in a decade.”

Manon clicked her tongue in pretend thought. “I also heard there’s talk that the Yellowlegs need all the help they can get in the sparring room. But I suppose any army needs its supply drivers.”

A low laugh from Asterin, and Iskra’s brown eyes flashed. They reached the end of the serving table, where Iskra faced Manon. With their trays in hand, neither could reach for the blades at their sides. The room had gone silent, even the high table at which the three Matrons sat.

Manon’s gums stung as her iron teeth shot from their slits and snapped down. She said quietly, but loud enough for everyone to hear, “Any time you need a lesson in combat, Iskra, you just let me know. I’d be happy to teach you a few things about soldiering.”

Before the heir could reply, Manon stalked across the room. Asterin gave Iskra a mocking bow of the head, followed by identical gestures from the rest of her Thirteen, but Iskra remained staring at Manon, simmering.

Manon plunked down at her table to find her grandmother smiling faintly. And when all of Manon’s twelve sentinels were seated around her, Thirteen from now until the Darkness embraced them, Manon allowed herself a smile, too.

They were going to fly today.

As if the open cliff face weren’t enough to make the two gathered Blackbeak covens shift on their feet, the twenty-six tethered wyverns in a tight space, none of them that docile, made even Manon twitchy.

But she showed no fear as she approached the wyvern at the center. Two lines of thirteen stood chained and ready. The Thirteen took the first. The other coven took the one behind. Manon’s new riding gear was heavy and awkward—leather and fur, capped with steel shoulder-guards and leather wrist-braces. More than she was used to wearing, especially with her red cloak.

They’d already practiced saddling the mounts for two days, though they’d usually have handlers around to do it for them. Manon’s mount for the day—a small female—was lying on her belly, low enough that Manon easily climbed her hind leg and hauled herself into the saddle at the spot where the long neck met the massive shoulders. A man approached to adjust the stirrups, but Manon leaned to do it herself. Breakfast had been bad enough. Coming close to a human throat now would only tempt her further.

The wyvern shifted, its body warm against her cold legs, and Manon tightened her gloved grip on the reins. Down the line, her sentinels mounted their beasts. Asterin was ready, of course, her cousin’s gold hair tightly braided back, her fur collar ruffling in the biting wind from the open drop ahead of them. She flashed Manon a grin, her dark, gold-flecked eyes bright. Not a trace of fear

—just the thrill.

The beasts knew what to do, the handlers had said. They knew how to make the Crossing on instinct alone. That’s what they called the sheer plunge between the two mountain peaks, the final test for a rider and mount. If the wyverns couldn’t make it, they’d splatter on the rocks far below. With their riders.

There was movement on the viewing platforms on either side, and the Yellowlegs heir’s coven swaggered in, all of them smiling, none more broadly than Iskra.

“Bitch,” Asterin murmured. As if it weren’t bad enough that Mother Blackbeak stood on the opposite viewing platform, flanked by the other two High Witches. Manon lifted her chin and looked to the drop ahead.

“Just like we practiced,” the overseer said, climbing from the open-faced pit to the viewing platform where the three Matrons stood. “Hard kick in the side sends ’em off. Let ’em navigate the Crossing. Best advice is to hold on like hell and enjoy the ride.” A few nervous laughs from the coven behind her, but the

Thirteen remained silent. Waiting. Just as they would faced with any army, before any battle.

Manon blinked, the muscles behind her golden eyes pulling down the clear film that would shield her vision from the wind. Manon allowed herself a moment to adjust to the thickness of the extra lid. Without it, they’d fly like mortals, squinting and streaming tears all over the place.

“Ready at your command, lady,” the man called to her.

Manon studied the open gap ahead, the bridge barely visible above, the gray skies and mist. She looked down the line, into each of the six faces on either side. Then she turned ahead, to the drop and the world waiting beyond.

“We are the Thirteen, from now until the Darkness claims us.” She said it quietly, but knew all could hear her. “Let’s remind them why.”

Manon kicked her mount into action. Three galloping, thunderous steps beneath her, surging forward, forward, forward, a leap into freezing air, the clouds and the bridge and the snow all around, and then the drop.

Her stomach shot right into her throat as the wyvern arced and angled down, wings tucked in tight. As she’d been instructed, Manon rose into a crouch over the neck, keeping her face close to the leathery skin, the wind screaming in her face.

The air rippled behind her, her Thirteen mere feet away, falling as one, past rock and snow, shooting for the earth.

Manon gritted her teeth. The blur of stone, the kiss of mist, her hair ripping out of her braid, waving like a white banner above her.

The mist parted, and Darkness embrace her, there was the Gap floor, so close, and—

Manon held on to the saddle, to the reins, to conscious thought as massive wings spread and the world tilted, and the body beneath her flipped up, up, riding the wind’s current in a sheer climb along the side of the Northern Fang.

There were triumphant howls from below, from above, and the wyvern kept climbing, swifter than Manon had ever flown on her broom, past the bridge and up into the open sky.

That fast, Manon was back in the skies.

The cloudless, endless, eternal sky held them as Asterin and then Sorrel and Vesta flanked her, then the rest of the Thirteen, and Manon schooled her face into cool victory.

To her right, Asterin was beaming, her iron teeth shining like silver. To her left, red-haired Vesta was just shaking her head, gaping at the mountains below.

Sorrel was as stone-faced as Manon, but her black eyes danced. The Thirteen were airborne again.

The world spread beneath them, and ahead, far to the West, was the home they would someday reclaim. But now, now …

The wind caressed and sang to her, telling her of its currents, more an instinct than a magical gift. An instinct that had made her the best flier in all three Clans. “What now?” Asterin called. And though she’d never seen any of her Thirteen cry, Manon could have sworn there were tears shining in the corners of

her cousin’s eyes.

“I say we test them out,” Manon said, keeping that wild exuberance locked up tight in her chest, and reined her mount toward where the first canyon run awaited them. The whoops and cackles of her Thirteen as they rode the current were finer than any mortal music.

Manon stood at attention in her grandmother’s small room, staring at the far stone wall until she was spoken to. Mother Blackbeak sat at the wooden desk, her back to Manon as she pored over some document or letter. “You did well today, Manon,” her grandmother said at last.

Manon touched two fingers to her brow, though her grandmother still studied the papers.

Manon hadn’t needed to be told by the overseer that it was the best Crossing he had witnessed to date. She’d taken one look at the empty platform where the Yellowlegs coven had been and known they’d left as soon as Manon didn’t splatter on the ground.

“Your Thirteen and all the Blackbeak covens did well,” her grandmother went on. “Your work in keeping them disciplined these years is commendable.”

Manon’s chest swelled, but she said, “It’s my honor to serve you, Grandmother.”

Her grandmother scribbled something down. “I want you and the Thirteen to be Wing Leader—I want you leading all the Clans.” The witch twisted to look at Manon, her face unreadable. “There are to be war games in a few months to decide the ranks. I don’t care how you do it, but I expect to crown you victor.”

Manon didn’t need to ask why.

Her grandmother’s eyes fell on Manon’s red cloak and she smiled faintly. “We don’t yet know who our enemies will be, but once we are done with the

king’s war and reclaim the Wastes, it will not be a Blueblood or Yellowlegs sitting on the Ironteeth throne. Understand?”

Become Wing Leader, command the Ironteeth armies, and keep control of those armies once the Matrons eventually turned on one another. Manon nodded. It would be done.

“I suspect the other Matrons will give similar orders to their heirs. Make sure your Second keeps close to you.”

Asterin was already outside, guarding the door, but Manon said, “I can look after myself.”

Her grandmother hissed. “Baba Yellowlegs was seven hundred years old. She tore down the walls of the Crochan capital with her bare hands. And yet someone slipped into her wagon and murdered her. Even if you live to be a thousand, you’ll be lucky to be half the witch she was.” Manon kept her chin high. “Watch your back. I will not be pleased if I have to find myself another heir.”

Manon bowed her head. “As you will it, Grandmother.”

Next Chapter: Heir Of Fire Chapter 17

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