Ribbons of white, then yellow, then red flashed across the hallway as an electric shockwave vibrated through every stone wall around them. Small, black pebbles danced across the ground as they ran. But their narrowing tunnel was safe… for now.
Nastasya glanced up at the old woman.
With sweat dripping down her brow and red, splotchy cheeks, the woman didn’t look down at her. All she did was look forward and push Nastasya along. Occasionally, she would glance over her shoulder, but there was nothing but darkness behind them.
Another burst exploded to their right, and fire plumed into the tunnel.
Nastasya jumped back in shock and panic into her caretaker. Where was her mother? A bit of fear surged through her, but the caretaker’s cooling touch softened the swell of emotion in her gut.
“Keep going,” the caretaker said as the fire cleared, pushing her past a few stones that had crumbled to the ground. “We must make it; it’s only a few more turns.”
Nastasya sucked in a sharp breath and pressed on, avoiding the giant hole in the wall the best she could. What would be there? Who would be there? She didn’t need to know. Her tired feet ached from stepping on the tunnel’s hard stone floor, and even though she tried to step over the crumbled rocks, bits of gravel kicked up and lodged themselves into her furry boots.
They turned a corner, and a window of light beckoned them.
Nastasya’s caretaker pushed her farther. “Almost… there.” She exhaled and tossed another furrowed glance over her shoulder. What was she looking for?
Nastasya glanced over her shoulder as the pit in her stomach swelled again. Where was her mother? Was she following somewhere behind them? When would she see her again?
Something exploded above them.
The caretaker shoved Nastasya forward, launching her into the stone door with the small barred window, and ran harder. The rocks above them collapsed. The caretaker turned, pushing her open palms out, exposing the blue gem in the palm of her hand. Beams of ice protruded from her hands, freezing the collapsing stones in place like a wave of stone and ice.
With that wall there, how was the Queen supposed to follow them?
“It’ll hold for now,” she said and turned to the door. She tugged on the iron latch, but the door didn’t budge. With a heavy sigh, she shoved her body weight into the door. “Come on,” she motioned for Nastasya to help. “Just a little…” With achy shoulders, they pushed into the door, but it still didn’t move. “Great!” The caretaker flung up her hands in annoyance and looked around.
The little light from the window illuminated the small area between the unmoving door and wall of ice the caretaker had created that prevented them from being crushed to death. Her caretaker tried to move the metal bars, but even if it did manage to move, Nastasya knew she would never fit through. Maybe her head, but definitely not her shoulders.
“Where’s my mother?” Nastasya asked in the stillness. The fire blasts and electric shockwaves had muted for the moment. A few minutes of silence later, no one answered.
Nastasya glanced back at the ice wall. “How is she supposed to follow—?”
“She’s not going to follow!” the caretaker said with an urgent rush in her voice.
Nastasya’s eyes filled with red-hot tears, and she sucked in a sharp breath. What were they going to do without her mother? Without anyone to help them escape?
The caretaker’s eyes darted to Nastasya’s as if noticing she just exploded on a child. She calmed her voice into a whisper, but the red in her eyes intrigued Nastasya a little. “No one is going to follow us.” She glanced behind them, back where they had come, seeing past the ice wall she had created and into the castle.
Nastasya nodded slowly as fear and anxiety shook her. If no one was following them, where were they going? What were they doing, and how were they going to do anything alone?
Another burst of fire exploded somewhere behind them, but it was muffled by rocks and stone and endless tunnels.
The caretaker patted Nastasya on her head and stood. She touched her palm to the stone, but nothing happened. “And I don’t know how we’re going to get out of here, either…” Her voice trailed, but the surge in Nastasya’s gut swelled again.
A black mist rolled over Nastasya’s eyes as whatever was inside her bubbled to the surface. She let out a hollow scream and thrust her arms forward. The solid stone wall burst open, and bits of rock flew everywhere. When the haze receded from Nastasya’s vision, she noticed her caretaker flat against the wall.
When Nastasya smiled, so did her caretaker.
But her smile was quickly overtaken by a frown. The caretaker grabbed her arm and pulled her through the threshold and outside into the frosty winter air. “What you did was great,” she said as she scanned the area up and down. She then kneeled to Nastasya’s level and grabbed both her shoulders. “But you must not use your magic again,” she said. “Ever… again.”Nastasya nodded, and the woman’s soft smile faded slowly as she stood and pulled Nastasya into the wintry night air.
Thursday, October 13, 2022
The Chaos Daughter by Sara Michaels Virtual Book Tour
The Celestian Duology
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Sara Michaels Books
Date of Publication: September 14, 2021
Number of pages: 190
Tagline: When all magic is ruled by Order, being a child of Chaos is the ultimate danger.
Nastasya lives a sheltered, small-island life, hiding her Chaos magic and living quietly with her protective foster parents.
At the age of 18, she finally persuades them to let her venture across to the mainland… but what should be an exciting shopping trip quickly turns into much more than she bargained for, and events unfold that will change her future forever.
Nastasya has always been taught to hide her Chaos magic, but she’s never understood why.
Her past has always been a mystery to her, but her trip to the mainland leads her to question everything, and she knows she must learn more about her birth family and the power she possesses.
The Chaos Daughter is an action-packed adventure of self-discovery inspired by the tale of Anastasia. Question everything, and trust no one: what Nastasya’s about to discover will change the world forever.
About the Author:
Sara lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs. A lover of the writer word from an early age, Sara reads everything from middle grade to young adult and adult novels. She loves genres ranging from science fiction and fantasy to contemporary and historical fiction, which is why she writes and plans to publish across several genres, including contemporary, romance, NSFW, young adult fantasy, and science fiction.
When she’s not writing, you can find her playing video games, reading way too many books at the same time, singing to music, or riding her motorcycle around a beautiful Washington backdrop. She also writes for several online blogs and newspapers.
Subscribe to her monthly newsletter by visiting https://www.saramichaelsbooks.com/Newsletter
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