Every hero’s journey must eventually come to an end. Even if the hero is totally unprepared.
But with the fate of every realm on the line, it’s time for Riley to finally take a stand embrace her destiny once and for all. Discover how it all ends in The Last Fallen Realm, A Gifted Clans Novel on sale now!
Until then, check out this exclusive chapter excerpt:
“Hey, kid, did you know Las Vegas is Spanish for ‘The Meadows’?” Dahl, my soul twin asks, glancing up excitedly from his phone. He runs his palm down the side of his moon-colored hair, and his eyes sparkle as if they’re housing teeny fairy lights. “Can you believe that in the 1800s, this place was just an expanse of wild grass? And to think it’s now the neon capital of the world!”
Areum, my domesticated bird-woman, shrunken to dove size, cocks her head politely. “That is quite an interesting fact, Dahl Oh,” she responds, addressing him with his full name now that my parents have officially adopted him into our family. Areum is sitting next to Dahl on one of the faux leather fold-out seats of the Galaxy Convention Center, which is teeming with witches who have traveled from all across the country to be here.
“Yeah, that’s pretty cool,” I respond, only half listening. I’m too busy watching a video that my sister, Hattie, just sent me, while simultaneously feeding a willow leaf to the furry brown caterpillar on my shoulder.
In the video, Hattie’s introducing her imugis to an obstacle course in the Spiritrealm’s Central Park this morning. Since deciding to stay down in the underworld to solve the mystery of her unending coma in the Mortalrealm, Hattie has really leaned into her new responsibility as guardian of the hellbeasts. It’s like she was born to be an imugi charmer.
As for my own caterpillar-charming skills, I first encountered the little creature at the Memory Archives down in the Spiritrealm, but they secretly tagged along with me all the way to the land of the living. Hence why I’ve named them Taggy.
“And to think we’ve been in this glorious city a week already and all we’ve seen is the inside of stuffy convention centers,” Dahl says. He looks longingly at his Top Things I Must Do in Sin City list on his Notes app. (Spoiler alert: It’s basically a compilation of every single thing you can do in Vegas.)
“We can see the Luxor Hotel pyramid from here,” I remind him.
“Sure, but we haven’t actually been there or checked out the sky beam, have we?” Dahl points out.
Areum squawks. “And we also passed the Eiffel Tower replica yesterday, Dahl Oh.”
“And let’s not forget when you were desperate to try the toilet for the first time,” I remind my recently-turned-mortal brother, referring to only six months ago when he crossed over from the Spiritrealm into the Mortalrealm with a bucket list that had using a toilet as his #1 activity. “I believe your exact words were Is it normal for my butt to feel like it’s burning? Because I think we need to call the fire service. I’d be more choosy with the bucket-list items, if I were you.”
Dahl leans back in his chair and pops up the collar on his black leather jacket, completely unfazed by my teasing. “But, guys, there’s an M&M’s World here. That’s all I’m saying.”
Satisfied that Taggy is demolishing the juicy leaf, I turn my attention to the hustle and bustle around us. “Besides, we’re not here to sightsee. We have a job to do.”
As if on cue, Sora and Austin, my Horangi guardians, jump up on stage to address the crowds of witches mingling in the large auditorium.
Austin grabs one of the two mics. “All right, everyone. Hope that icebreaker gave you an opportunity to mingle and get to know one another. It’s almost lunchtime, so let’s get straight into it. But first, has anyone not received their biochip yet?”
He points offstage to his left, where Taeyo, my Horangi friend (and Dahl’s new BFF), is manning a small table. He’s wearing a bright orange bow tie over a purple striped shirt, and a handful of people are lined up waiting to have the scholar clan’s tiny invention inserted into their wrists, allowing them to awaken their inner elemental powers. He waves earnestly as people turn their attention to him.
A few hands rise up from the sea of heads.
“Only a few of you, now.” Austin nods. “Great. Please join the line so we can get started with the training module.”
As the remaining stragglers queue up at Taeyo’s station, Sora picks up the second mic. “As you all know, for the past six months, the Horangi clan has been working around the clock to get as many members of the gifted clans armed and trained with our proprietary elemental biochip technology. The abandonment of the goddesses was a shock to us all, leaving the Tokki, Samjogo, Gumiho, and Miru clans without their gifts. And now we know that a war is on the horizon. These are unprecedented times, indeed. ”
She holds up her Gi-less wrist, as if to make a point. “But that’s why we’re doing this. We scholars know that there is hope and magic beyond the goddesses’ divine power. We are proof that witches do not need patron goddesses to thrive. That’s why we have been working closely with the Council of Elders at each of the clan chapters around the world to ensure that all witches have the means to protect themselves, and one another, in these trying times to come.”