Kiss of the Goblin Prince
Author: Shona Husk
Shadowlands Trilogy #2
Released: May 1, 2012
Instead of going straight back he delayed a little longer and went to the park where he’d seen a dying tree. Over the past couple of days as he walked he’d tried to look beyond what everyone else saw and into the way everything was constructed. If he used the magical sight for too long, it made his head ache. But he was willing to risk it today.
He needed to know if he could heal the tree… and then maybe himself.
Dai took a seat on a bench covered in symbols he was unfamiliar with, then took a breath and let his vision slip. He tried to focus on the threads that wove tightly together to make up the tree, but his mind wasn’t truly on the magic. It kept drifting back to the few moments he’d held Amanda.
He glanced at his hand, seeing more than just skin lined with faint scars. He saw the magical construct of his body and the golden strands that linked him to Amanda. He wasn’t imagining her interest. This was the proof – not that he’d be able to explain it to anyone.
If he had his books on magic, healing the tree would’ve been easy. He ignored the doubts that rose about fixing his own scars; healing was a fine art for even the simplest of cases and his damage was far from simple. He rolled his shoulders, but the tightness remained.
Tree first. If he killed it, it didn’t matter as it was dying anyway. If he healed it… well, he’d be one step closer. He was tired of waiting for Birch Trustees to finish their examination of his library. He and his brother had stashed much of their horde there over the centuries. The secret bank was known for handling… unusual… requests with discretion. For the most part Birch had been nothing but helpful since he and his brother had broken free and become human. The bank had transferred their gold and silver and gems into regular human bank accounts, then supplied fake IDs all round. They had eased what could’ve been an impossible transition.
At first glance there was nothing to distinguish him from any other man in the Fixed Realm… except he’d outlived Rome and knew magic was real. With the sight he looked at the web of lines that made up his hand as he flexed his fingers. Oh yeah, he was a regular twenty-first century man.
And he was finally able to put into practice the things he’d studied but had been unable to do as a goblin. He didn’t need to touch the tree. He could see how the fibers of the truck were snagged and twisted, cutting off the life that pumped through the earth and eddied around its roots. From his training he knew it was possible to heal the damage; whether he could do it was another question.
The risk of failing held him motionless. He’d spent too much time studying instead of acting. He’d waited so long to be rid of the curse, and before that he’d been fighting to be free of the bloody Romans. He wanted a life, now.
He forced himself to act. His fingers twitched against his leg as he imagined smoothing the strands of magic that made up the tree. He forced his will into thought. The tangles unraveled and the tree gave a shiver as the life force of the earth was again able to flow freely. If it had been that easy to break the curse and pull the gray of the Shadowlands out of Roan, they would’ve been free centuries ago.
He paused to watch the tree and see if the magical changes would hold. The tree sighed as if touched by a breeze, but the changes did more than hold. Buds began to form and new leaves unfurled as if it were spring and not midwinter.
“Too much,” Dai muttered and tried to pull back some of what he’d done, but the tree pushed him away. The throbbing in his temples began as he tried to do too much with the magic he could barely control. Then the throb spread, tightening around his skull like hands seeking to crush the bone. With a gasp he released all hold on the magic and let the tree win the fight for survival. He lacked the heart to kill anymore.