The Scribe is down with a bad cold, so we’ll skip the banter this week and jump right into the important stuff, your first look at Rogue Spells!
Then we need to drag Melinda to the pharmacy for stronger cold medicine than a bunch of fantasy characters can provide. We need Melinda to write, not cough her poor brains out. Those brains must stay in her head, so she can write more books for us!
(She doesn’t have a fever and the covid test was negative, so it must be a bad cold.)
Anyway, on to happier news! Rogue Spells publishes on Oct. 25. It’s the sequel to Dragon Spells, but the story is more fantastic than it’s predecessor. (We are fantasy characters, after all. That’s how we roll.)
And now for what you’ve been waiting for (we hope) a special presentation of
by Melinda Kucsera
(A Curse Breaker Companion Novel)
The green glowing sphere protecting us from a wave of debris flickered. Uh-oh. That was bad. I squeezed Papa’s leg as that debris slid closer. It was taller than me and full of sharp things like broken cinder blocks and pieces of metal. If it fell on us, we’d get hurt real bad. “Papa, why’d your shield flicker?” Now would be a bad time for his magic to stop working. “Papa, is something wrong?”
Papa sank to one knee, forcing me to let go of his leg. He rubbed his forehead as his shield guttered. “Something’s interfering with my magic again.”
“How can that be? The bad orb is gone.” I glued myself to his side, and he hugged me as a laugh rang out, startling us both.
“You idiots, don’t you know what that dragon left behind?” Metalara pointed at something small and metallic crawling around the rubble.
“What’s that?” I stepped away from Papa to get a better look because the metallic lady stood on top of the debris that was trying to fall on us. But I’m short, so I needed someone to pick me up. I crashed into Papa’s flickering shield before I took three steps, and it bounced me back to his side, where I belonged.
The metal object the Newsletter-Dragon had dropped rose as it shook, and metal tubes extruded from its rounded edges as a clockwork insect unpacked itself and doubled in size.
“What is that?” I watched its transformation in awe, and I wasn’t the only one.
“It’s an Agent of Chaos. Get away from it.” Auntie Sovvan pushed Uncle Miren and I behind her. She spread her long arms wide to keep us there, but Papa didn’t move, earning him an annoyed look from his twin. “That means you too, bro. That little thing can do a lot of damage.”
“What the hell?” Auntie Sovann’s gray eyes widened as a metal hand wrapped around her arm as Papa’s shield fell.
But the debris didn’t fall on us. His magic shoved it backward, sending it cascading across the room and away from us before its green glow winked out.
Metalara threw my aunt aside. “This all makes sense now.” She stalked toward the clockwork insect like a woman on a mission.
Maybe it made sense to her but not to the rest of us. Though maybe Metalara was losing her mind. She was banged up but still dangerous, and there was an evil gleam in her pink-glowing eyes.
A black substance wept out of the fist-sized hole in her chest, but she didn’t notice that, just the clockwork roach burrowing into the debris. Metalara dove after it. “I’ll destroy you.”
“Are you okay?” I asked as Uncle Miren helped my aunt up. She’d landed near the hole the giant book had made. It had left the building after it had eaten the dragon, and good riddance. I didn’t want to eat anyone I loved, and it wouldn’t if that book stayed gone.
“Yeah, I’m fine, no thanks to Ms. Psychopath over there.” Auntie Sovvan shook her fist at the furiously digging Metalara. But she had to shield her eyes as a bright flash almost blinded us. “What was that?”
I shrugged because nothing looked any different when I could see again. A scream startled me, and I leaned into Papa’s leg and pulled his cloak around me. It was cold here and getting colder because of the giant hole in the wall. The boiler was buried under a lot of debris, and it was probably broken beyond repair, so there wouldn’t be any heat coming from it anytime soon.
“What was that sound?” If someone needed help, then I wanted Papa to help them.
“The new problem the dragon mentioned. I guess it was too much to hope those orbs had completely cancelled each other out. I suppose we’d better go see what they’ve become and do something about them.” Auntie Sovvan climbed onto the mountain of debris without tripping over the hem of her once-white angel robes, but she froze at the top of the pile. “Everyone back away right now.”
“Why? What’s wrong?” Uncle Miren tried to step up next to her, but Auntie Sovvan threw an arm out to stop him.
She hopped off the debris pile and pulled my uncle along in her wake. “Everyone, please back away right now.” Auntie Sovvan’s eyes were wide and scared.
I’d never seen her like this. Until now, I thought nothing could ruffle my aunt, but something had. I craned my neck to see around Papa. He liked to stand between me and potential sources of danger, like the heaps of debris covering the floor in unsteady piles. But some pieces were precariously placed. They could fall at any moment, so he’d put me behind him where it was safe. But his body blocked my view. No fair.
“What did you see?” I asked my aunt when she drew even with Papa and blocked my view even more. Drat.
“What is it?” Papa grabbed her arm, stopping her.
“We have to go now.” Auntie Sovvan pulled, but Papa held fast to his twin. “I should be draining you, but I’m not.”
“And I’m glad you’re not. This is the most time I’ve spent with you since you returned from the dead.” Papa stared at her.
“I’m still dead. I haven’t returned. I’m just visiting until an angel drags me back to the afterlife again. But we really need to—” Auntie Sovvan pointed.
Papa rolled his eyes as he cut her off mid-sentence. “You’re missing the point.”
“No, you haven’t made any points, but you just interrupted mine.” Auntie Sovvan met Papa glare for glare. She was a feisty one, and that inner fire was burning away her fear.
“Will you quit it? I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you.” Papa shook her.
“Quit what?” Auntie Sovvan raised a brow in challenge.
“Bickering with me.” Papa rolled his eyes. “I don’t remember you being this contrary when you were alive.”
“Oh, but I was. You were just a lot quieter then, so I had to verbally spar with other people while you watched and enjoyed the show. But that doesn’t change the fact that we need to go now.” Auntie Sovvan stamped her foot. She was wearing sandals, so it made a loud thud.
“Why? It’s not like you to run away from anything.” Papa held tightly to Auntie Sovvan.
“Trust me. We should run away from this now.” She twisted her arm out of Papa’s grip and grabbed my hand.
“Weakling.” Metalara crushed something in her hand, then blew the remains away as she rose. She stood between us and the hole in the wall. “No matter, there’s now two less Agents of Chaos to destroy. Prepare to die.”
“What is an Agent of Chaos?” Uncle Miren beat me to the question. No fair.
I tugged on his cloak. “Hey, that’s my question,” I said when Uncle Miren glanced at me.
My teenage uncle shrugged. “Does it matter who asked if we get an answer?” He directed that last part to the metallic lady approaching us at a deadly swagger.
“Well, no,” I said, but I wasn’t sure about that, so I bobbed up on my toes and stared at her too. Maybe our combined stares would pull some words out of her. It worked on Papa sometimes. Light glinted off something behind Metalara. There must be some metal in the hole in the wall.
“They’re bad, and we should run.” Auntie Sovvan backed away, taking me with her.
“Did you have to destroy this place?” Melinda poked Auntie Sovvan in the side when we drew even with her.
But I’d wondered the same thing. Auntie Sovvan didn’t usually cause property damage, so she looked a little embarrassed at that turn of events.
“I didn’t destroy anything. The book did. I was just along for the ride.” Auntie Sovvan shrugged helplessly.
Another scream rang out—the one I’d dreaded hearing.
Find out who next week or if you can’t wait, download the full advanced preview here. Putting the link at the end of the preview is so sneaky, right?
Well, I do have a reputation to uphold. This is Ran, son of Sarn, writing on behalf of my Scribe, who also stars in Rogue Spells, singing off. See you next week!
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