We hope you’re safe and doing well. This coming week, the complete collection of the Magic Underground anthologies is coming to ebook. So technically, we’re completely collected right now. We might even be calm.
“That’s crazy,” you say.
But it’s true.
And we may never be this collected again. 😉
Okay, all joking aside, here are the details. Because of the pandemic, the twenty authors who contributed three stories each to the Magic Underground Anthologies: Hidden Magic, Wayward Magic, and Forgotten Magic, decided to combine all three anthologies into one gigantic ebook.
That’s right. All sixty stories are now collected together into one massive digital tome for a limited time: Magic Underground: The Complete Collection. It has over 1300 pages of fantasy adventure!
Magic Underground: The Complete Collection will be available in Kindle Unlimited this Friday when it launches. So if you’re a member, you can read it for free through there starting this Friday.
Three stories starring Nulthir and his winged friends: Spell of Wings & Glass, Spell of Bone & Ash, Spell of Scales & Steel. Their story arc, which was set before Curse Breaker: Enchanted, was supposed to end after three parts.
But Shade, (you remember Papa’s friend from Curse Breaker: Enchanted), was extra shady in these three stories, so the adventure didn’t end after three parts. Nulthir and his friends went into extra parts that will publish in 2021 when the Magic Underground series of Anthologies unpublishes.
In honor of Magic Underground: The Complete Collection, we’re featuring an excerpt from “Spell of Wings & Glass,” which first published in Hidden Magic. The story introduces Thing’s mate, Amal, their children, and their grandchildren, and one adorable little furbaby who causes no end of trouble for them while they try to save the life of their only human friend.
“Spell of Wings & Glass”
by Melinda Kucsera
Nulthir sloshed through the puddles under the weeping stalactites while the keys clipped to his utility belt jingled. Behind him, men arrested on a variety of felonies slept the night away inside their cells, snoring loudly. There was no escaping that racket either, not down here where everything was made of gray stone or metal, creating a perfect echo chamber. Those snores chased Nulthir through the tunnel, connecting the cellblock he’d just checked with the next one on his rounds. He couldn’t even stop up his ears while he guarded the snoring prisoners in case a fight broke out or a lock gave in to a pick.
Nulthir shook his head. It was just another night of guard duty. Or it was until the echoes faded, and a soft ‘neep neep’ pierced the silence that fell.
Oh no. Nulthir stopped and glanced around for the source of those ‘neeps,’ but there was only him and a hell of a lot of rocks in this part of the subterranean complex. He must have hallucinated them. Green Block wasn’t going to check itself, so he’d better secure it before his superiors caught him lollygagging, or they might dock his pay again. Nulthir ducked under a long stalactite, and there it was again.
“Neep. Neep, neep.”
What the hell? Nulthir turned on his heel. He regarded the wispy mist weaving through the cells under the dim blue glow of a lumir crystal that lit the cell-filled cavern behind him until a loud snort echoed through the tunnel.
“Neep. Neep, neep!”
Those insistent ‘neeps’ were loud enough now to cut through the snores. Damn, he wasn’t imagining them. “This can’t be happening,” Nulthir said and received a series of happy neeps in reply.
Nulthir groaned. Only one creature made that sound. Or rather, only one he knew of, and that creature had better not be somewhere in this prison. “Furball?” he whispered still unable to believe his ears. That little ball of fur and innocence couldn’t be somewhere in this prison.
“Neep!” Furball confirmed, but that was impossible. Furball couldn’t be making that excited racket because…
“You’re supposed to be asleep in my flat, not wandering around a damp prison.” Nulthir turned toward the fading echo of that imperious neep. He probably shouldn’t have said that last bit aloud, but Furball was sawing on his last nerve.
“Neep neep?” Furball asked as if he didn’t understand. Nice try.
“Don’t you pull that with me. I know you understand me.” Nulthir looked behind another stalagmite. Damn it. There was nothing but shadows back there. “How did you get down here all by yourself?”
“Neeeeeep?” Furball stretched the word out.
Nulthir scrubbed both hands over his face. “Why me?” His best creature-friend, Thing, would be crazy with worry when Thing realized Furball was missing. Maybe Thing wouldn’t notice until Nulthir could return the little guy to his flat. Please, Fate, you owe me one.
“Neeeep?” Furball asked in genuine confusion.
“Never mind, just stay where you are. I’ll find you.” It was safer that way. Furball was small and easily squashed. The little critter also blended into the shadows because of his dark coloring, which made him hard to spot in the ever-present gloom down here. “Alright, where are you, you little puff ball?”
“Neep. Neep,” Furball complained, not liking that ‘puff ball’ comment even though it was an accurate description.
But those aggrieved sounds gave Nulthir a direction, right, toward the next cave of cells, the one he hadn’t checked on his rounds yet or secured. Just great, Furball would show up near the most violent offenders. That was just his luck. Fate had no sense of proportion. “Keep talking—er—neeping, so I can find you.”
Confirmation. Good, at least Furball was still listening to him. Hopefully, he would continue to do so. After all, Furball was just a baby—um—thing? ‘Owl-monkey-cat’ was probably the most apt description of the creature.
‘Gryphons’ were the closest relatives to Furball and his extended family, but gryphons were more eagle and lion, and his little friend was definitely more kitten with a bit of owl and monkey thrown in for fun. His creature friends were also a lot smaller than gryphons were purported to be.
If Furball and his family had a name for their species, they’d never mentioned it. Nor had Nulthir the time to look it up since he was technically in hiding here, hence the prison guard gig. So ‘owl-monkey-cat’ they were, even if that compound name was cumbersome to say. Not that it mattered. They were his friends, and their littlest member would be in a heap of trouble if he didn’t find that furry kit.
Nulthir followed a string of ‘neeps’ to another shadowy corner. Maybe they were Furball’s way of explaining how in the hell he’d gotten down here in the first place, but Nulthir would need a translator to understand that. He squatted and ran his hand through the mist, but there was no furry creature there. “Where are you?”
(Hidden Magic is part of Magic Underground: The Complete Collection, so you don’t need both ebooks. Magic Underground: The Complete Collection has all three anthologies collected together into one massive ebook. There is no new content included in it because it’s so massive.)
Have a great week!
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