AN: Here is the next chapter of Trials for Meridian's Throne, hope you will enjoy. Would like to thank Darev for beta reading this chapter and the following people for reviewing last time: Philip Gipson. Yellow 14, FFHannibal, TTigerz and Darev.

Disclaimer: Do not own W..I.T.C.H.


Chapter 4: Day 1 Part 1: The Test of Knowledge

As Will disappeared in the pillar of lightning, the nobles turned back to gather near the foot of Susan's throne where the queen cast the mystic sand on the floor and created the viewing pool. This was so they could watch and see if Will passed each test. If she did succeed, the nobles wanted to know how she did it.

Though this fact was not known to Will, how she faced the hidden meaning of the tests was more important than getting past the challenges. In theory, a potential heir could only finish half of a gauntlet-style trial and still pass. Given the nobles' lack of faith in Will, though it was unlikely to happen that way, they were still going keep an open mind and see if their princess could prove them wrong.

"So what evil scheme do you have up first for Will?" Irma asked Lady Adira in a sarcastic and bitter tone, thought the elderly woman scoffed at the accusation that this was a scheme of some kind.

"You seem to have the impression we are plotting against the princess. I assure we are not. This is for the sake of our world's future stability, something you should glad we are doing since it only helps give you and the other Guardians one less world to worry about," Lady Adira stated firmly, not liking she was being treated like a villain by these so-called guardians. They were clearly a bad influence on Princess Elyon, who had been treating the majority of the nobles as cold as the Guardians and Princess Wilhelmina's parents had.

Of course, Lady Adira took into account that they acted very quickly and with virtually no notice of their plans and thus knew once all present had calmed down, that they would see the logic in the council's actions. The elderly woman just needed to be patient a little longer and her point would be proven, no matter if the princess succeeded or failed in her challenges.

Irma was about make another comment, but, the Oracle cut her off by saying, "It's starting." This caused everyone to turn their attention back towards the viewing pool and would find out what Will's first test would be.


It took Will a moment to refocus her eyes from the bright flash of light and regain her balance from the new form of teleporting. Upon regaining her awareness, Will found herself on a ledge overlooking a dense forest. She also saw some barren land at the edge of the trees and that a few miles inland there seemed to be a village and a few hills that she assumed would be as barren and rocky as the rest of the area.

"Well…looks like we were right to prepare for a wilderness challenge," Will mumbled, before she took the blue teardrop-shaped pendant lady Adira gave her from around her neck and tried to figure out how it was supposed to help her. It began to glow a moment and a fiery-orange arrow appeared on the crystal.

It did not take Will long to guess the arrow was telling her where to go, making it probably more accurate than any compass. She would always be able to find her tests easily when she always knew their general direction, compared to a compass that could be misread if you didn't know how to use it.

Will noted the arrow pointed in the direction of the village she could see from her current location. The redhead was unsure if the village was the finish, the location of her test, or if it just happened to be in the same direction she had to go and maybe it was the hills beyond the village.

'No point trying to figure it out. I only have three days to do all this and can't waste time trying figure out the plans of the nobles,' Will mentally commented, before she went to look for a way off this mountain and into the forest.

What Will did not know was that several pairs of glowing yellow eyes were watching her as she began walking. These eyes belonged to one of Meridian's most cunning creatures, the Moggriff. These creatures were part of the first tests the nobles had planned for Will.


Back in the throne room, I.T.C.H.E. were trying to figure out what the creatures were but Caleb sensed their confusion and said, "Those are Moggriffs, a race of creatures who can mimic the form of their prey and use it to confuse the target until they can move in for the kill. They are sentient but savage and primitive, and thus do not mix with the other people of Meridian. They also steal and torment farmers and small villages, so if they do not hunt people, it's just so they can steal from them."

The girls gasped at hearing this, since it now seemed Will was the potential prey of these creatures, while Susan looked at the nobles with a cold glare. The queen knew it was not by chance Will appeared right in front of a pack of Moggriffs. The odds of such of thing were virtually none, so it had to have been planned somehow by the nobles to be part of the trials.

"And how will facing such creatures prove she is fit to be heir? Prove she can survive against creatures that would normally be unable to even get close to a queen?" Susan demanded, thinking this trial so far was closer to the kind used by the first queen to kill off her 'weaker' heirs.

Lady Adira was unshaken by the queen's tone and simply replied, "Given the princess' lack of time on our world, we have to be sure she has been learning about the various creatures she could be called on to deal with. Moggriffs are troublesome creatures and are just one of many dangerous creatures Princess Wilhelmina might need to know of if she needs to organize a plan to deal with them if they gather in large numbers."

Susan and Jaden knew the chances of such an event were not unlikely, though such instances of a Moggriff horde attacking in large numbers was rare. Moggriffs have done so in the past and so have other similar races, like the Lurdens. At the same time though, the two parents were wondering if this first test was just a scheme to end their daughter's chances right away.

If that were the case, they knew a group of five girls who right now could not take their eyes off the viewing pool would quickly rectify the problem. It was obvious to everyone in the room if anything did happen to the redhead, it would make the group of teens very unhappy with the nobles...especially Elyon.

'If only Aunt Susan had another child…it would not help Will with the trials but it would at least make it harder for the nobles to use me in whatever game they are playing," the second princess of Meridian thought, as she prayed Will would be okay.


An hour later, Will was walking along a narrow path down the mountain, while keeping an eye out for the first test. This was difficult given how loose the trial's rocks were but the redhead had to make due.

Sadly, the sound of her feet stepping on the rocky surface muffled what little sound the Moggriffs made, as they either flew several feet behind Will or climbing along the rock face with their sharp claws and talons.

The evil creatures were watching the girl closely so they had every detail of her in their mind and waiting for the best moment to strike. They wanted their prey to be in the forest before striking since the path was far too narrow. If they attacked now they might knock their target off the mountain and prevent them from giving chase.

To the Moggriffs, the chase gave the flesh a form of seasoning, plus it allowed them also satisfy their sadistic nature. Unless the savage creatures sated their darker desires, filling their stomachs would have little meaning to them.

Sadly for the pack of evil savages, their youngest member was too impatient for the chase to wait for the right time to strike and dove in for the kill. Its loud screech made Will spin around to see the green creature flying at her and caused the redhead to fall into a backwards slide down the path, the Moggriff's claw the Moggriff's strike barely missing her.

As Will slid down the path, another Moggriff knocked the younger one to the ground, hissing at it in a furry. "Why attack when prey was not in the right spot? Now hunt ruined!" The bigger and older Moggriff demanded, while one other clung to the rock face above the knocked down member and a third circled overhead of them so it could dive and help punish the one that ruined the hunt.

But before the trio could move in to attack, the leader of the group let out a roar that halted the bickering and then stated, "We will not waste time. Hunt has begun and we will not lose our prey because you were fighting one another."

This saved the young one's life though the look his leader made it clear if he tried something like this again, the leader of the group would deal with him personally.

Meanwhile, Will had finally stopped sliding down the path and was getting back to her feet when she saw the five Moggriffs flying towards her. The redhead knew bits about many of Meridian's creatures and right now what little she did know of these creatures said she'd better run!

'I swear if this is one of the tests I know the Nobles wants me dead, not exiled!' Will exclaimed in her mind, while running down the twisting and rocky to get off the mountain and into the forest below.

Fortunately for Will, the Moggriffs were focused on getting organized again and let her get some distance down the path before she heard the creatures' furious screams. The redhead looked back just long enough to see five evil creatures take to the air and being able to pursue her once again.

'Only one chance to get away…its official I am so firing a few those nobles if live through this!' Will screamed in her mind and did the one thing no one would expect: jump of the edge of the path just as one of the Moggriffs got within reach of her.

"Prey thinks it can fly!" The leader called out mockingly as he missed grabbing Will. This made the other members of its pack laugh evilly, despite thinking their prey would die from the fall and they would just have to go straight for the meal.


"WILL!" Many of the people in the throne room called out in horror, these being her friends and family while the nobles who organized the trials seemed shocked at the their princess' choice of action.

"The girl is both cowardly and suicidal!" One of the nobles exclaimed, thinking Will's choice to die over at least trying to fight first only proved the trials had been needed to expose her weakness for all to see.

Of course all the comment really did was cur the anger of five teenage girls and the boyfriend of the supposed 'coward'. The only reason they did not get a chance to kill the man where he stood was because Susan spoke up.

"You can hurt him later. Right now you might want keep watching. Will is only proving she is her father's daughter when it comes doing something crazy, not committing suicide," Susan told the people present making not only Will's friends look back to the viewing pool, but also the nobles who had written her off and all were shocked to see what Will had done in the heat of the moment.

Jaden had shot his wife a mild glare at the crazy comment, but he knew what Susan meant. Not many would have thought of the tactic Will had done, but it seems his child had finally starting showing the nobles she had more strength and conviction then they gave her credit for.


Back with Will, the redhead was falling straight down and it would had been the death of her if it hadn't been for something she had kept an eye out for ever since the start of the trials. Caleb had heavily stressed the need for an escape route at all times and to fight only as a last resort.

On a mountain path one would think the redhead had two escape routes: the path and death. But Will had taken Caleb's instruction to heart and found a third option, a small tree growing out of the side of the mountain. It was barely the size of the branch of a full grown tree in the forest below but still big and strong enough for Will to grab onto and stop her fall.

The only down side of this was the fact she had dropped at least twelve feet just to reach the branch, so grabbing onto the tree would hurt her arms a little but at least it kept her from falling to her death. Plus despite hurting a fair bit, Will could still pull herself up to the stop of the branch and draw her shortsword for when the Moggriffs finally came looking for where their 'meal' had landed.

It was not long after Will managed to get into position when her five savage foes came diving downward from the path, thinking their prey had already landed in the forest below. This made the one who first came down flying past Will's on the tree spot unable to defend itself as Will slashed right through its wing with the finely crafted blade her mother had given her. It also helped the bat like wings of the Moggriff were easily damage by sharp objects, which made it easy to get a clean cut and send the evil beast spiraling toward the ground below.

Sadly this would be the only easy kill Will would get, since the other four Moggriffs had more time to veer away from the small tree and out of Will's reach. Of course despite still being outnumbered and unable to attack her opponents, she knew she had a very small advantage by taking the first of the pack. The Moggriffs would be scared to get in close now.

Right now all the four remaining members of the pack could do was circle overhead as they tried to figure out what to do. No matter how much they wanted to go after their prey they obviously did not wish to risk being struck by the girl's sharp weapon.

Of course while three of the Moggriffs had the patience to wait for a decent chance to attack, the young whelp on the other hand only needed a few minutes before the desire to kill overtook him. With a high pitch screech the creature dove at Will at its maximum speed, planning on grabbing the redhead and sinking its claw into her throat.

The only thing that saved Will was the fact the young Moggriff's movements were sloppy from being inexperienced and reckless. Plus it helped the loud screech startled Will enough to slip and fall off the tree soon enough that the young hunter's claws missed Will.

Sadly this little tumble meant the redhead was going to fall yet again but this time she had no way to save herself. All Will could do was scream in terror as she fell, while the Moggriff that knocked her off the tree dove after her while its pack mates were still caught off guard by what happened.

"Prey is mine!" The young Moggriff called out with glee, diving at full speed to grab Will, its rear claws being brought forward like and owl or hawk would to capture their target. Sadly for the young Moggriff, a panicking and desperate Will used her free hand to grab its right ankle and swing out of the way of the second claw, while at the same time stabbing her attacker in the hip with her shortsword.

The Moggriff screamed in pain while the shock caused it to stop flapping its wings and fall towards the ground. Unlike the previous falling Moggriff the young hunter did not got into an out of control spin; this one maintained a straight dive showing it still had some control despite its injury.

The Moggriff planned on a controlled crash so to get to the ground to care for its wound while at the same at least injure its prey, if not kill it. Of course the young Moggriff was forgetting Will was holding onto it and not the other way around. This gave Will control on what she could do…even if what she did was probably stupid thing to do in midair. She pulled herself forward and thrust her blade into the Moggriffs back.

The blow killed her would be devourer, but caused its lifeless form to spin even more out control then the one she only injured, making them crash into the trees moments later. The dead Moggriff's body shielded Will from any injury as they crashed through the branches, but by the time the 'landed' the teenage girl felt like the world was spinning.

"I hate nobles" Will grumbled, while stumbled around as she got to her feet took out the mystic compass for a double check on where to go, when she heard more of the same screeches her last opponent called out when charging her and made her look up to see the last three trying make their way through top of the trees.

"I REALLY HATE NOBLES!" Will ranted, as the adrenaline surge dispelled her dazed state and start running through the thickest brush she could find. Will knew she needed to make ground before the Moggriffs landed. In the forest the Moggriffs could not fly, but with their ability to replicate forms of others they could easily change to a form that could travel on the ground much better than their true forms could.

The trio of remaining Moggriffs landed near the body of their formerly rebellious member and looked at his corpse in disgust. "Foolish child killed by prey! He deserved death!" The Leader of the pack stated, before raking one of his rear claws across the face of his former pack mate (the Moggriff version of kicking a dead body).

With that the three Moggriffs then began to change shape and took the form of Will, only their eyes looked much more feral then the original. They also seem slouch more and keep lower to the ground than Will or other humans would, a habit most Moggriffs had since they were not used to being bipedal. They could still run on only two legs, but it would still help Will in terms of being a little more agile in comparison.

Once the trio were finished changing, the trio started running so they could catch up with Will. Despite losing two members of their pack they got what they wanted, the redhead in the forest. Now they could do their hunt in their favored method and could also wear their prey down to the point where they would not need to fear her weapon anymore.


Back in the throne room, several nobles were grumbling about the two times Will verbally made it clear she did not like them very much. Lord Olsen and the other supports of the queen hoped this dislike did not apply to them because they could see the redhead seeking retribution once this was over and did not wish to be on the receiving end of the princess' wrath.

Susan on other hand only had one thing to say about all that had happened, "I stand by what I said: she is her father's daughter. Insanity runs in her blood!"

Jaden once again shot his wife small glare and grumbled something about not being insane, which would normally get giggling from some of Will's friends but they were heavily focused on the redhead current predicament.

"Aunt Susan…are you sure this is a good time to tease Uncle Jaden? Will still seem to be in danger and it seemed more like luck then skill saved her once the attack started," Elyon asked her aunt, her voice clearly very concern for Will's wellbeing.

"Don't you worry, Elyon. Will might be in trouble at the moment but I'm certain she can overcome this test easily enough. Caleb has clearly trained her well and Will has always had great strength and resourcefulness so I'm certain she can easily deal with the last of the Moggriffs now that they are on the ground," Susan assured her niece, though deep down she did still worry the savage creatures might still win. The dark haired woman just knew her daughter well enough to have faith she could succeed.

Vulkron snorted at the mentioning of Will being strong and resourceful, but did not make any actual comment about it. He knew it would have every magic user in the room turn their powers on him or at the very least a shapeshifter trying to finish what he started when Vulkron took Will's powers.

Lady Adira on the other hand kept her signs of disbelief at the princess being a formable person hidden very well. She did admit the child showed minor promise in confidence and knowledge, but has yet show if this was a regular occurrence or just the heat of the moment. The fact that some of the action could be mistaken as acts suicide or at least a 'nothing to lose' mentality did not help Lady Adira's opinion of the child.

'Let us hope for the princess' sake, she can show she had problem solving skill that can't be confused with acts of suicide or seen as dumb luck,' The old woman mused, while watching the view pool closely and see how Princess Wilhelmina faired against the last three Moggriffs.


As Will ran, she could hear the stomping and growling sounds of her three pursuers as they gave chase. Will glanced back to see, much to her shock and horror despite everything she knew of Moggriffs, three versions of herself right behind her.

It was bad enough she was running from 'herself' but the idea that these other versions of her were probably planning on EATING her was what freaked Will out the most. No amount of mental preparation would help most people get over things like that!

After a few minutes of chase, the leader signaled his two pack mates to split up with one going over in the right direction and the other going to the left. The basic plan was to be a form of pincer attack, with the two Moggriffs focusing getting ahead for the target and attacking from the sides, while the third one tries to take the prey down from behind.

This also doubles as way to cut off any escape attempts, since running to the right or left would be met by possibly caught by either the Moggriffs on the far sides or the third one still managing to come up from behind. It left a straight line being the target's only option making it a contest of stamina and speed over evasion, something the Moggriffs had in great supply in both categories.

Will on the hand was falling right into their hands, focusing more on running rather than how to actually lose her pursuers. She was panicking and losing stamina by the second. Her only hope was to regain enough self-control to outwit her foes or she was done for.

To make matters worse for Will, the Moggriffs knew the immediate area very well and were herding her into a spot ideal for the finish of this hunt. The location being one that was an open clearing with large amounts of deadfall, a perfect place for the Moggriffs to change back to their true forms and attack from above while their prey was prevented from going into an all-out run because of all the fallen timber and tangled brush.

The only good thing going for Will right now was the fact she saw the clearing coming up and feared the very thing the Moggriffs planned, though she assumed the clearing coincidence. This made Will need to choose between fight in the forest where there were many trees for her foes could dart around and make hard to keep track of or fight them in an area that allowed them fight on the ground or in the air whenever they pleased.

Making her choice quickly, the redhead went with fighting them in the forest and turned around and charged the Moggriff that was right behind her and hit him with a leaping front kick. None of her pursuers were expecting their prey turn around and fight, so the two that had spread out to the left and right had kept going while their leader was caught off guard had Will's foot firmly planted in his chest.

The force of the blow knocked the Moggriff over and became dazed upon hitting the ground hard, the loud thud finally catching the attention of the final two Moggriffs and making them realize they had left their target behind.

The two skidded to a halt and tried come back to save their leader in time, but it was too late. With the fear of death and seeing an opening to attack driving her, Will jumped into the air and slammed the tip of her blade into the leader of the Moggriffs' chest, making its copied face of Will's widen in pain and terror.

Death came quickly though and its now dead formed slowly changed to its true shape and making Will no longer have to look upon her own face anymore. It did not stop the image of seeing 'herself' die by her on hands and burn the image into the mind of the young girl.

It made Will puke as she finally realized she had not taken just this Moggriff's life but the lives of two others as well, not something she even thought she would despite Caleb having done everything he could to prepare her for this possible event.

While Will struggled to get her stomach back under control, the other two Moggriffs were frozen in their tracks. Despite their prey being an easy target, they had no wish to go near an opponent who had taken out their leader and two others in the group, thus were quickly choose to use this moment to choose between fleeing or finishing off their target.

The cowardly nature of the Moggriffs quickly ended the internal debate and the two final standing hunters returned to their natural forms and made for the clearing. Once out in the open they flew as fast as they could, planning on finding a safer target to chase and kill for their next meal.


In the throne room, the nobles seemed disgusted by Will current actions; though it was unclear if it was because she was puking at the moment or if it was form what caused her to do this. Her father was somewhat disappointed because his warrior and hunter nature but somewhat more understanding to his daughter's reaction to her first kills.

Susan and I.T.C.H.E. on the other hand were worried about the effect this would have on Will mentally, since taking a life was hard to at any age, let alone a thirteen year old girl. The only one who was neutral to the scene that was happening was Caleb, who had often been with new rebels who made their first kill and had expected this to happen to Will. He was concerned for since was Will's boyfriend, but leading a war partially desensitizes a person to such events after seeing them more times than one could count.

Of course Caleb's neutral attitude went out the window when Lord Vulkron commented in a snide tone," So much for being strong. She can't even handle a simple battle against such mindless creatures!"

Caleb had started to take a few steps towards the man (and several magic users were powering up an attack) when Matt Olsen pushed past his grandfather and parents and punched Lord Vulkron in the face. The older noble had not expected the 'weakest' of their kind to be the one to attack him or Vulkron would have been ready, so was easily knocked to the ground by the force of the blow.

Of course had Vulkron knew the young man before him was Shagon, he would probably fear Matt Olsen more than Caleb. The only thing stopping the younger lord form unleashing his powers was the knowledge the trouble exposing his secret before such prominent people would only lead to his immediate execution. Shagon was still a wanted criminal after all and only Will, Caleb and Cornelia knew the truth that Shagon was 'retired'.

"Call her weak again and you will wish it was me who chooses to strike you next time!" Matt growled out, his threat making the veteran warrior/noble actually feel a tinge of fear. Matt may have given up his pursuit of Will's affection but would not tolerate any insults toward his future ruler.

With that Matt backed away from Lord Vulkron, only glancing towards Caleb for a moment to see his nod of approval. None of the other nobles who stood against Will dared to oppose the future head of the Olsen family for his actions, knowing Queen Susan clearly acted like nothing happened.

Once Matt had stepped in to deal with the arrogant lord, Susan had simply gone back to watching her daughter and seeing the poor girl had pulled her sword free and run away from the scene. Susan knew her daughter was trying to get away from the memories of the battle.

'Stay strong Will and be ready for your next great test…' Susan thought as she watched her daughter run, then focused her thought on Raythor who was in the forest right now. He was Will's next test.

'Be ready Raythor, Will is going to be heading toward you very soon.'


At the camp Raythor was stationed at right now, he replied to his queen's message and exited his tent so see her several dozen troops waiting for their orders.

"Men we move out at once! Our mission, capture Princess Wilhelmina before she reaches this camp!" With those words, his troops saluted and began gathering in their groups and head out to comb the forest for their princess.


AN: And another chapter comes to a close, will hopefully have the next one out soon. Hope you enjoyed this one.