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Curse of Blood and Fortune

Book 3:

Shadow and Ruin

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Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Paperback ASIN:
Ebook ASIN: B0CW1BPVMK
ISBN-13:

About the Book

To save their loved ones, they must find a cure for calaris.

Driven into a corner, Andi and Caden journey to Lintue, where the world’s most talented alchemists reside. Obtaining a cure for a deadly disease is the only way to free their loved ones from General Nox’s clutches. But after crash-landing into the city, they’re forced into a shady deal with a powerful woman—Adrienne Flint.

Her orders? Locate the only alchemist with a cure.

The arrangement is perfect…until they actually find him. Not only is he a hopeless drunk with a temper, but the ingredients he needs are locked in the impenetrable Yao Apothecary. Breaking in won’t be easy, even for Andi, an experienced thief.

To make matters worse, an assassin is after the alchemist. With disease spreading among soldiers in the western continent, the cure can tip the balance of Nox’s war. Succeeding is more vital now than ever, especially when the general is summoning demonic creatures to aid his schemes. His victory means the end for Eris, Killian, and Aria. Forever.

In a race against the enemy, only two questions remain. Will Andi and Caden find the cure in time? And at what cost?

Curse of Blood and Fortune is the third book in the Shadow and Ruin series, packed with action, adventure, and suspense.

Prologue

 

He’s winning.

There’s no doubt that he’s a fool. He knows nothing but his own greed, embarking on conquest after conquest with an insatiable hunger. His plans are far too fickle for the weight of his own ambition, and he has never tasted true sacrifice. He will fumble at some point.

I will have to eliminate him.

This is what is running through my head as I sit across from the famed General Nox of Eleah, listening to him ramble.

“Do you understand what you have to do?” he finally asks.

I nod and give him a small smile. Every bit of my expression is docile and inviting, like a lamb offering itself to slaughter. “Of course, sir.”

The general grins, handing me a small envelope. “Good. You’ll be cured in no time.”

“Thank you. Your generosity is much appreciated.”

I feel the envelope. Sure enough, a small vial lies in there. Its contents can temporarily cure this vessel’s body. If the vessel doesn’t take it, she will wither and die—and so will I.

How troublesome.

The general opens his mouth, but a knock at the door interrupts him.

“Come in,” he says, a note of irritation in his voice.

Gloria Nox steps in. As usual, her golden hair and fair skin shine with otherworldly beauty. Her heels clack against the wooden floorboards as she approaches her husband’s desk. Every inch of her perfectly coiffed hair screams of wealth. The general’s gaze softens, any hint of annoyance disappearing upon seeing his wife.

“I wanted to talk to you about that boy you brought in, my love,” Gloria says.

My ears perk up. Now, while General Nox may be a fool, his wife is nothing of the sort. She’s calculating, cold, and vicious. She never just says things. She says things in just the right way to get what she wants.

If she wants to talk about Killian, he must be important.

“What is it?” the general asks.

“His heritage,” she says. “Among other things. I think we should bring him with us to Sercha, so I can test his presence against the gate.”

The general’s eyebrows shoot so far up, they practically disappear into his hairline. “That trip is not happening for a while. And he’s not in fit shape to travel.”

At this, Gloria’s smile brightens. “I’ll make sure he’s taken care of. I think this trip will prove beneficial for the both of us.”

She doesn’t clarify whether the both is referring to Killian, or the general.

“In fact,” she continues, “I think we should move the schedule up a bit. Let’s start moving within the next week.”

At this, the general frowns. For a moment, he mulls over her request.

“All right, Gloria.” He sighs. “I’ll make the arrangements and notify all personnel.”

Gloria Nox gives him the sweetest smile. “Thank you, dear.”

She glides out of the room. As the door clicks shut behind her, I examine the general’s expression carefully. He doesn’t appear to be under any direct Mana ability—mind control—yet he so easily caved to his wife’s whims. Something about her commands respect.

I crave that respect.

A shiver overcomes me. I glance down at the dark veins in my wrist that have become more pronounced, practically writhing. It’s as if every inch of my skin is desperately fighting calaris.

This vessel is weak. I cannot command anything in this body, let alone respect.

I bring my gaze back up to General Nox, who’s tapping his fingers against the wooden desk thoughtfully. He seems to have forgotten my presence, instead pondering his wife’s request. I wait for his permission to, clutching the envelope in my hands anxiously.

Finally, the general speaks.

“We’ll have to prepare quickly,” he says. His fingers stop tapping, leaving an echoing silence in their wake. “Pack your bags, Eris.”

 

Chapter 1: Caden

 

At least I'm not dying on the side of a mountain.

That's the first thought that crosses my mind when we land in Lintue. Andromeda and I grip the reins of our pegasi tightly as their hooves skim the dirt road.

The very busy dirt road.

We barely avoid hitting several people along the way, upturning fruit stalls and sending vendors scrambling backward. Anxious yells fill the street as we finally reach the ground. Then the pegasi, spooked, start down the street.

The only reason we’re here is to find a cure for calaris, and what better place than the hub of innovation and magical healing methods? Lintue, the capital city of Axir, is our last chance. If we don’t get on good terms with the people here, we’ll never find the cure. If we never find the cure, our dragon companion Aria, my brother Killian, and Andromeda’s friend Eris will stay in the general’s clutches.

And we’re already botching our mission.

We gallop past the stands and into the market, where the Lintuans are taken by surprise by our presence.

“Woah!” Andromeda looks like she’s on the verge of passing out. “Uh, Caden?”

“Hold on!”

I steer my pegasus to the side where there are less people, desperately trying not to trample anyone. Andromeda follows, soothing her pegasus in the process. We finally stop, both of us catching our breath for a moment. I turn to Andromeda.

“Do you want to—”

Someone behind us yells in a different language. I look back, confused. They repeat themselves, but I shake my head.

“You destroyed my cart!” the man says in a thick accent.

We really can’t catch a break, huh?

A crowd of angry Lintuans gather around us. We try to back away, but we’re surrounded. The pegasi begin to get spooked again. I pull back on the reins, sweat dripping down my spine. The sun beats down on us, making it difficult to think.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I can pay you back later!”

We don’t have a single coin on us anymore. If he wants payment now, I have no idea how we’ll get him the money. The man becomes more irate at my words, and someone throws a small pebble at us. Andromeda yelps and backs away. I still can’t understand the man, but I try to explain that I don’t have any money on me with whatever limited knowledge I have of the Axiran language. The few jobs I’ve done in Axir allowed me to catch some of the basic words and vowel sounds, but the Lintuan dialect is harder to understand.

As they speak, I note how different they look from us. Both the men and women wear long, flowing fabrics that reach their ankles, even in this infernal heat. Their skin is a shade darker, and their features are narrowed. In comparison to them, we stick out like a sore thumb.

When we come to an understanding, he backs off a bit, and the other city dwellers do, too. Slowly, we push through the crowd, cringing at their glares.

As we enter a quieter street, Andromeda suddenly slumps over.

“Andromeda?” She doesn’t respond. “Andromeda!”

Struggling to catch my breath, I dismount the pegasus and rush to help Andromeda down.

She practically collapses into my arms.

Oh no.

She's losing consciousness.

“Help!” I yell.

I run back to the market square, motioning frantically to where Andromeda is lying.

“She needs a healer!” I yell. When no one moves, I mime someone getting hurt. Dammit, if only I knew how to speak their language. “Healer!”

A group of Lintuans rush toward us, pulling Andromeda up and to the side of the road. They move so quickly I can barely react. Before I know it, a woman dressed in healer’s robes—striped red and black with silver adornments—is by her side.

I stand out of their way, keeping the pegasi at bay and ignoring the glares directed at me from all directions. Half the people here look like they want to smite me…and I don’t blame them. Andromeda and I just crashed through their livelihoods.

I sigh. Our quest to find a cure for calaris will have to be paused for now.

But hey, at least we’re not dying on the side of a mountain.

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The Series

Flower of Song and Silver

Book 0.5

Quest of Shadow and Ruin

Book 1

Blade of Night and Winter

Book 2

Curse of Blood and Fortune

Book 3
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