My Guardian (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 6)(6)

By: Alanea Alder

"Me too! So, what is this, like, the shopping place?" Meryn waved around them.

Micah stepped forward. "Sir, may I?"

"Of course, Micah." Adriel nodded.

Micah bowed low and stood up, a charming smile in place. "My lady, after entering the city from the Ledge, you entered the Grand Hall. From there we used what we call the transport tunnel to drop down to where the Levels begin. When the city was first designed, there was a bit of prejudice left over from the old days, so the levels closest to the surface, or where the humans were, denoted a drop in class in the social structure. This is Level Six, the Market Place. Here vendors and merchants of all kinds set up daily to sell their wares." Micah pointed to the rows and rows of carts.

Meryn smiled. "It feels like a Middle Eastern bazaar."

Micah grinned broadly. "It does, doesn't it? Now, here's where it gets a bit tricky. As you descend lower into the city, the higher the social standing. On each level, the closer you are to the transport tunnel, the better your standing. Vampires are extremely class conscious."

Adriel cleared his throat.

Micah rolled his eyes and continued. "Each of the residential levels is ruled by a single Founding Family and the two Noble families that report to them. For example, Level Five is ruled by the Founding Family of DeLaFontaine; their quarters are the closest to the transport tunnel. Then we have the Noble families DuBois and LeBeau. DuBois outranks LeBeau, so they are located in the quarters after the DeLaFontaine residence making LeBeau the innermost located ranking family. After the LeBeau quarters are your everyday people, or citizens. With me?" he asked, pausing his explanation.

Meryn had her eyes closed and was tracing lines in the air with her hands. She nodded. "Yup. Keep going."

"Right. The next level is Level Four. The Founding Family is Géroux. The Noble families are Fabre and Tremblay. After Level Four is where we lowly grunts live. It's not a numbered level, as we were not given such a distinction, but as luck would have it, we're located right in the middle of the city, so it makes patrolling pretty easy. Under us is Level Three, the Founding Family is Régis; the Noble families are Evreux and Delacroix."

"Yikes!" Meryn's eyes popped open as she grimaced.

"What darling?" Micah asked.

Bethy waved her hands frantically. "We'll explain later."

"You both tease me mercilessly, I find myself loving your tortuous ways," Micah sighed.

"Get on with it," Declan growled.

Adriel watched as Micah winked at Meryn before continuing.

"Level Two, the Founding Family is Belle Rose. The two Noble families are Voclain and Richelieu. And last, but certainly not least, is the much-coveted Level One. That is where the Royal Families, as leaders of the Founding Families, established their residences. At the time of the city's creation, there were four royal families. After much tragedy, there are now only two. Level One is divided into four quarters. House DuCoeur and House DuSang are now extinct. But House Rioux and House Ambrosios, as you well know, exist today. That's where we are heading, Level One. Prince Magnus is most eager to see his niece."

Meryn's eyes narrowed into little slits. She turned to Bethy. "Prince?"

Bethy grimaced. "It's a lingering title. Outside of Noctem Falls, he's more recognized as the vampire Elder."

Meryn turned her attention to Gavriel. "Prince?"

Gavriel shrugged. "The House only became active again when I stepped forward to be a member of the Alpha Unit. I gave up such titles a long time ago. I happily leave that to Magnus."

Meryn tilted her head. "Which level are the council members on?"

Etain stepped forward. "The fae, witch, and shifter council members maintain a residence in the Noctem Falls estate in the human city of Albuquerque. They use a portal to travel here for council meetings."

"I'd like to see the estate later." Meryn smiled at Aiden who just nodded. "Good idea."

Micah extended his arm and pointed to the transport tunnel. "Now, if you don't have any questions, I'll joyously escort you to Level One."

Meryn scrunched up her nose. "How do you poop? Where does it go? If you get more prestigious as you go down, aren't you shitting on the upper classes?"