Published by 252 Publishing LLC on June 21, 2019
Genres: Young Adult
Niels Poulsen, self-styled God of Rock and lead singer in a popular punk band, has everything he could want: family, friends, fortune, and fame. When his best friend and fellow band member, Jace, goes missing, Niels will do anything to get him home safe.
Niels discovers that their money and connections won’t help them on their journey. They will rely on an model airplane, a family secret, and a tangled magic that weaves the band into the fabric of other realms so tightly they may never make it home again. Their quest takes them across new worlds, through foreign dangers, and straight into the path of an ancient prophecy that wants Niels for itself.
If Niels and his friends survive long enough to find Jace and negotiate their way home to Manhattan, will it be worth the price? The magic says one of them will have to die…
Hattie finished the spell with Niels’ Mom and Eddie mirror images of curiosity, each one peering over one of her shoulders.
Niels would have liked to watch too, and see how she worked, but there was something way more appealing about watching her face, her concentration, the way she stuck her tongue out a tiny bit when she was measuring everything into one dish.
She stirred it and smoothed it into a paste.
“So,” she said.
“So, if you do this one, what is supposed to happen?” his mom asked. She reached down and rolled a little ball of the paste between her finger and thumb, studying it.
“It’s supposed to clean the place.” Hattie skimmed through the book and applied the paste all over her hands. “Let’s see?” She clapped three times.
The whole house shook. Things tumbled off shelves, and Niels heard from the kitchen the sound of dishes falling and breaking.
Holy shit, they had a mess to clean. “Maybe you don’t have magic,” Niels said.
“Yeah.” She looked around at the disaster her spell had created.
She had to have magic, for this to have happened…right? Just. Misdirected or some shit.
“It said precise,” Eddie told her. “So maybe you just mismeasured?”
Hattie looked at them all. “You want me to try again? Do you think his house can handle another earthquake?”
No fucking way. This house was one bad spell from crushing them all to death.
More importantly, why hadn’t Li and Rhyss come downstairs after that earthquake? Had they missed it somehow? What the hell were they doing up there?
“It could hardly look any worse,” Niels’ Mom told Hattie.
She laughed. “I think that’s debatable.” She turned and refocused on the spell. She cut and measured with more care this time. “Okay,” she breathed when she finished slicing the plants. “So, just…mix it together,” she stirred one last time. “And…”
She rubbed it between her hands and clapped again, three times.
All the things that had fallen righted themselves. Niels might have been insane, but he thought the air smelled a little better too. “Nice,” he said.
Hattie could do magic.
Real, actual, magic.
Pg 89 this was like – pg 90 time to go (347)
This was like one of those frustration dreams, where you had to do something simple but could never accomplish it.
“It doesn’t exist,” Rhyss told him, defeated. It must be like the Holy Grail or something, an unobtainable relic which for some reason they thought Rhyss and the band had.
Okay, then. They’d have to find something else to negotiate.
He could switch places with his mom, maybe. She might be rich, but he was rich and a celebrity. That had to mean something to these people.
He stepped closer, about to offer a trade, when the sky cracked open.
Niels ducked. He was going to die because the sky just had an earthquake, and skies weren’t supposed to do that, and holy shit there were dragons.
Dragons. Or flying dinosaur-chickens with scales and talons. They were all doomed.
Why the hell hadn’t Rhyss warned them there would be fucking dragons ready to eat them? Why was he so worried about cops with phones?
He looked at his mom and the chasm of road between them.
If he ran, he would draw the attention of the dragons.
“We should get out of here,” Hattie urged.
Exploding people, deadly potholes, dragons.
Yep, time to go.
“Don’t die,” Hattie said. She squeezed his hand, stepped closer.
She held a spell in her hand and studied the dragons. There were three of them: A purple and turquoise monster, an all-white thing with a beak-like snout, and a blue-black one. They made some kind of formation like an arrow, the dark one in the middle and flying fastest toward the ground; the lighter ones flanked him.
They dove as a group and breathed fire towards the cop’s friends, though they missed the cop and the fashion girl. When they got close enough for Niels to gauge their size, he could see they were about the size of a minivan or small bus, and two of them had a rider.
Holy shit, there were people on them; people who threw spells into the crowd of burn victims sprawled across lawns and roads.
Pg 92: Out of the Smoke (285)
Out of the smoke, the white dragon and its rider materialized. The dragon huffed an enormous wall of smoke that stretched halfway down the block in either direction, before the rider jumped off.
It was a pregnant girl, dressed in a tunic and black leggings, with wide blue eyes.
“Do you need help?” she asked.
The wall of fire inched forward until the edge of it enveloped her, but somehow she didn’t burn.
Her eyes, her blush, were on Niels.
On an average day, Niels was all about being the strong protective guy. He loved that Hattie came to him when Luca scared her the other night, and he’d been raised by a mother who believed in chivalry the way some American moms believed football was the way to a college scholarship.
Today was not an average day. Here was this girl, just chilling in the fire like it was no big deal, with her magic spells and her dragon and … how the fuck wasn’t she burning?
Niels was all about letting her take over.
“They have my mom,” he told her.
“I’ll get her,” she promised. She walked over to him and pressed a travel pack into his hands. Sparks shot out of her when she touched him, but somehow none of them burned him.
Her hand brushed against Niels’ shoulder, and she blushed as she looked away, toward her wall-of-fire safety blanket. She took a step towards it.
A man materialized between her and the fire. He was older, with pale blue eyes and greying blonde hair, and, the fire froze in his presence. A visible but translucent dome formed around him, Hattie, Niels, and the strange dragon girl.
“Truce?” he offered.
Pg 117: My Own Dragon! (398)
He let Hattie pull him across the road on her quest for death-by-screech, until they were in sight of the screeching thing.
“Is that a dragon?” Niels asked.
Not just a dragon, but…a dragon. It was about the size of a teacup, or a gerbil maybe because teacups didn’t have tails, and this dragon did. It was covered with spines and opalescent scales in every pastel color of the rainbow.
Even though it wasn’t as big as the other dragons they’d seen in Sylem, it made the most god awful noise to make up for its size. Niels was tempted to screech back at it, see how it liked that. Or bring his guitar and climb into the higher notes, with an amp.
When the dragon saw Niels, it screeched even louder, rattling the side of its cage so violently Niels thought it might knock itself off the table.
“It wants you,” Hattie said.
No it didn’t. Clearly it wanted out so it could attack him. While that technically counted as wanting him it wasn’t the good thing Hattie’s tone made it out to be.
He stopped freaking out. What had he just said to himself? He needed to trust that Hattie was often more right than he was about shit.
He finished crossing the road with her and didn’t stop her when she asked, “Can we look at that dragon?”
The stall owner, a beefy guy who would have been a butcher – or a Mafioso, which amounted to the same thing – in any decent, clichéd movie, frowned at them. “You spoiled my dragon.”
He lifted the latch on the cage door and the little rainbow-tiled monster shot out of the cage, directly at Niels.
Niels backed away. He couldn’t die yet. He still had songs to write, Hattie to date, his mom to annoy…
The dragon landed on his shoulder, chirped once, and let out a huff of steam that condensed into beads of water on Niels’ neck.
Okay, so not dying today. Not yet, anyway.
Niels allowed himself to breathe.
The dragon was kind of cute if he ignored its claws digging into his shoulder through his shirt.
“That’s three hundred Angmol.”
Oh yeah, Niels could just pull that out of his ass.
“We don’t have three hundred those things,” Hattie said.
“Or one,” Niels muttered so only she could hear. She laughed.
Pg 132: Just A Kiss (375)
“I have a thought,” the super-albino man said.
Niels hoped it was better than suggesting they take a walk again. He’d calmed down more than Spence had, but Niels suspected he was even more pissed at Niels than Spence was.
The woman looked at him, waiting.
Niels looked at the table.
“What if you tried to repair the bond, and he kissed her? It might reverse the damage.”
“Because it was caused by a betrayal,” she replied, a note of hope in her voice. She addressed Niels, serious. “You’d have to mean the kiss.”
Spence stepped forward. “I can do it.”
Asshole. “Go for it, buddy,” Niels said glibly. He wasn’t kissing some dead, burned princess if there was anyone else around to volunteer.
“I believe it would be better coming from the one who caused the damage. Fixing what the bond thinks was wronged,” the woman told Spence.
Niels couldn’t help but shoot Spence a smug look. He deserved it.
“How, exactly, do I mean the kiss?” Niels asked. “I don’t even know her.”
Zero put his tub of gel down on the table and stepped away from Talise. “You want her to heal. Find a reason to want it.”
That was easy: No one deserved to die like that, burned beyond recognition. It had probably been excruciating.
He walked over to the corpse.
Here was another reason: This was disgusting, and if he was going to do this disgusting thing, then it better work.
He leaned down over her cracked grey lips and pressed his to hers.
Warmth spread through her, starting where their mouths joined and moving out through her body in a uniform circle.
Her hand tangled in his hair, pressing his mouth to hers.
His body came alive, his skin glowing from some ravenous place inside himself, something warm and fiery that longed for her touch. His leg slid onto the table so that he could get closer to her, some kind of force compelling them together.
Holy shit. He kissed her, more, ran his hand down her body, completely lost in the unexpected chemistry, and only jumped back when her hands slid down his back, pulling him against her.
Her eyes sprung open, stunning blue. “What is going on?”
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