She lowered her eyes toward the ground, understanding that there were times when stubborn arrogance became little more than stupidity and she had no wish to bring an entire army of the dreadful beings down around her.
What must the King think of my boldness in coming here? She drew in a deep breath that burned in her chest and throat.
While she stared at the dirt and moss beneath her feet, her thoughts spun like a whirlpool. This was truly a haunted forest or else she had gone completely mad. Each time before when she had come to the forbidden mountain, she wished for the gods to speak words of enchanted wisdom to her heart. She now began to wonder if they had sent a demon to torment her instead.
Shivering in the chilled morning air, her feet were the first to move out of their paralysis-of-terror that had momentarily taken her over. Not wasting another moment, she spun around in the opposite direction.
Her feet poised to flee back toward safety at the base of the mountain where the village lay below. But before she could escape the shadow of the trees, invisible fingers dug into her arms, forcing her back toward the open glade where the man-thing stood.
“You have nothing to fear from me, Little One.” The creature’s voice held a pleasant warble as if the man’s voice and the bird’s song mingled as one. “I am Sojobo, King of the Tengu,” it said. “Haguro Mountain is my home.”
Curiosity tore at Tomiko’s fear, giving her the courage to look toward the birdman. A good-natured smirk tugged at its sensuous lips making Tomiko flush hot with embarrassment. She quickly averted her gaze toward the scaly bark of nearby tree as if there was something interesting there that she must examine.
In the safety of Tsuruoka Castle, her home by the Sea of Japan, she had heard tales of demons and mountain goblins such as this one, again told to her by her auntie. At mention of the roguish imps, she had shivered with delight–then.
Now as she faced this creature clearly not of the world that she had known thus far, she was both exhilarated and terrified all in one breathless moment.
“I know you.” King Sojobo narrowed his eyes while cocking his head to one side as if probing her inner most thoughts. His pointing finger twitched toward her nose. “You have come here many times before.” His grin widened. “One so young and brave could not have missed my notice.”
Tomiko drew in a deep breath to steady her voice. Still it cracked with nervous tension when she dared to speak. “You, you have been watching me?” Her gaze shot warily from one side of the tree-walled glade to the other. And all this time she thought her movements stayed secret.
During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.
Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.
Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.
In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.