Legend of the Tengu Prince: Chapter One, Part Six Novel Excerpt)
She had seen no other person on the open steps, except for herself and the young priest. So whom did he speak–surely not to a lowly female?
When no other voice answered him, Tomiko lifted her eyes, astonished to see the bamboo pole remained tucked at the priest’s side. She could see it there as clearly as she could see the beautiful smile on his face.
“Of whom do you speak?” she replied, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Why Sojobo-sama, King of the Tengu,” the priest exclaimed, sheer delight apparent in his manner. “You did see him, did you not?” A perplexed expression drew a frown between his brows.
“Ye-es, I saw him,” she answered.
Still uncertain, she slowly pulled to a kneeling position. Fingers pinching nervously at the ground in front of her knees, her gaze caught in the priest’s mesmerizing eyes. Her mind seemed lost in a fog of confusion except for the lingering image of her cracked skull.
Much to her astonishment, the young priest knelt toward the ground. Placing a hand on one knee, he leaned toward her.
“It is a very good sign, you know.” His smile broadened, crinkling the corners of his eyes. “King Sojobo does not appear to just anyone. He is a very solitary and taciturn fellow from what I hear.”
In a movement graceful as the wing beats of the crane she had seen fly into the dawn sky, the priest took something from his robe pocket and placed it on the ground near his bent knee. He then bowed reverently toward her direction as if to the sacred Buddha.
When he rose to his feet, he smiled and said, “It is for you.” Then he turned and strolled soundlessly into the forest to disappear through a thicket of spruce trees. A moment later, she heard the wing beats of a second crane in flight. She caught a glimpse of the bird as if rose in the distance over the stone path.
Alone near the pagoda, she looked more closely at the place where the priest had stood only moments before. To her delight and amazement she saw a glistening jade egg cradled in tufts of grass. Scrolls of gold etched into the egg’s jeweled surface shined in the morning light. The gilded lines seemed to pulsate and move as if alive.
Curious to a fault, the terrors she had felt earlier melted almost completely away as she scooted forward on bended knees. Unafraid, she lifted the egg to nestle it against her cheek. Through the warm shell she could swear she heard a heartbeat throb.
Prize in hand, she jumped to her feet and ducked quickly beneath the sheltering trees. Better to be safe than sorry. No use pressing her luck. Careful and quiet as possible, she wound her way through the trees that ran along the stone steps, keeping out of sight as she aimed for the splintered gate that led to the pilgrim’s inn.
Continued … in Chapter Two. Available at Amazon.com & Smashwords
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.