Legend of the Tengu Prince: Chapter One, Part Four Novel Excerpt)
For the first time she considered what painful retribution might come from her sacrilege in climbing the forbidden mountain. She stiffened waiting for the worst possible consequences in punishment for her illicit actions.
To her amazement, King Sojobo doubled over with laughter while the invisible fingers that held her fast, nudged her shoulders gave them a playful pinch. The next instant, the invasive hands shoved her aside, releasing their grip so suddenly that Tomiko stumbled forward. Grabbing wildly for something to stop her fall, she tore open the palms of her hands against the rough bark of the closest tree.
“What do you want from me?” she cried out, both alarmed and annoyed.
Her bleeding palms stung bringing angry tears to her eyes while warm breath from someone that she could not see stirred near her ears bring back the pungent scent of pine that tickled her nose. Tomiko sneezed once, twice, three times as invisible arms folded around her.
Strong, yet gentle, they pulled her close. She hugged herself as a shield from the impertinent creature’s advances. Her fingers clenched in fists pressed close to her sides.
Again, the infuriating smirk crossed the tengu’s face while his material body, at least, remained several feet away from her. Then he winked playfully and said, “I see you doubt my sincerity, Kume-san.”
He knows my name? She gasped and flinched as if someone was about to strike her across the face.
King Sojobo sighed, his scarlet face giving the pretense of sadness. He shrugged, raising his hands in what seemed like mock resignation.
“I shall cause you no further discomfort.” He shook his head.” Farewell, Kume-san. Caw! Caw!” The voice of the raven sprang from his throat followed by a vortex of emerald-gold mist that swirled up from the ground up beneath the goblin’s feet.
The mist quickly consumed him leaving only a tail of shimmering green-gold to hang in the space where he had stood. The mist slowly turned brittle, like tossed glitter in the wind. It slowly dispersed in the chilled morning breeze. A loud squawk drew Tomiko’s attention upward in time to see the raven disappear through the canopy of trees, toward the clear sky that peeked through the towering branches.
Leave. Leave now! Her mind screamed for her to react.
She spun around and ran, this time, fast as her frantic feet would carry her through tangled underbrush, around looming trees. Each step a blurred dance of forward thrusts and sideways maneuvers.
In her frantic escape she heard the rustling sound of something weaving a path in and out of the scrub brush that scratched her ankles with itching wounds. She looked down to see the pointed face of a fox peek out from the tangled branches of a bush with dark green leaves and scarlet berries.
It seemed the vixen was keeping pace with her, but for what reason? Again, Tomiko trembled at the awful implications.
During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.
Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.
Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.
In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.