Dragon Princes Book 1 by Cyci Cade Genre: Fantasy
Three lives separated by time and land, connected by curse. Two princes from the Dragon ́s Dynasty, Liu and Wei, are cursed and condemned to live as dragons. After two centuries their fate changes when Kate appears in their lives and they are able to return to their human form. However, the curse isn ́t broken yet. To break the curse, the princes must recover the eyes and heart of the Great Dragon. As Liu, Wei, and Kate embark on a journey to the Palace of Jade in search of the first eye, they ́ll have to face mythological creatures and immortal warriors. They ́ll have to face death too, and prove that they are honorable men to save Kate ́s life. They ́ll be tested as never before. They ́ll discover feelings they never imagined existed. They ́ll have to fight like wild warriors. A curse can be broken... But at what cost?
Xuan´s fingers tightened around the spear; her knuckles became white. She wasn´t a warrior, she had only taken a few self-defense classes years ago and she wasn´t sure how to use that weapon; she also didn´t have the necessary strength to manage it. She had never thought that one day she might need to defend her sons´ lives. How could a weakened woman fight against a warrior? He was twice her height, and he was committed to destroy her family. Even the very well-trained soldiers fell by his sword; her husband was probably one of his victims.
The warrior moved toward her. Xuan pointed the spear directly at his chest and ran toward the man. Dodging her blow, he held the spear and pulled the weapon, dragging Xuan with it, throwing her onto the wall. Her head spun, and her vision was foggy. She just heard the rough voice of the warrior.
“It´s my lucky day.” He laughed. “Who could imagine that I´d find the Emperor´s sons in this place? I looked for gold and found something much better.” He looked at her. “Do you have any idea how much money I´ll get for the babies?” He leaned his head back and laughed again.
“I will give you what you want, but don´t touch my babies.” At first, she begged and then she threatened. “Or you´ll know a mother´s fury.”
He stared at her, narrowing his eyes. “Look at you, woman. You can´t support your own weight.” He turned his back to her and moved to the bed.
The babies cried out. She looked to the corridor, hoping that someone had heard them and would come to their rescue; however, it didn´t happen, nobody appeared. She crawled and grasped the spear that had fallen a few feet from her. Still on the floor, she saw the repugnant man´s dirty hands approaching her sons. He´d touch them. He´d hurt the newborns. She had to stop that man.
She held the spear firmly, yelled, and once more ran toward the man as if powerful hands had lifted Xuan to her feet. She should have done that movement silently because the man turned to her, positioning his sword, but he wasn´t fast enough. She hit his chest.
Xuan released the weapon. The warrior slumped on the floor; she felt her stomach tingling. Pain spread throughout her entire body. She looked down; the soldier had hurt her too. She put a hand on the wound and pressed it. She tried to stop the bleeding, but her unstable legs didn´t have strength enough to support her body and she fell on the floor near the dead warrior, her face against the cold tile.
She looked at her newborn babies for the last time, tears gushed out of her eyes, blurring her vision. The babies cried, waving their short arms; she wondered how she ended up in that situation. I´m not feeling anything else. I´m dying. I´m dying, but I don´t want to die; I can´t die. I have two babies, but even though I´m dying and I can´t stop it, I can´t change it. In a split second, that whole day passed in front of her eyes like a movie. ***
It seemed a normal day; she gave orders to her servants to decorate the first-born and heir´s room. The layette was ready, yet the Empress´s anxiety grew and grew. She still had two months more to wait before she would be able to hold the baby in her arms, look at his traits, then come face to face with the reality, was it a boy or a girl?
It was too much responsibility for a young woman recently married. Since her betrothal to the Dragon Emperor, she knew she should give an heir to his throne, his dynasty. It happened too quickly; a few months after the wedding Xuan was pregnant, now she had to wait eight weeks to seal her destiny; the empire needed an heir, a male heir.
Emperor Shun Xiang entered the room, bringing Xuan back to reality. The servants bowed and moved aside, leaving them alone. The expression on his young face became somber, revealing the seriousness of the situation. Without uttering a word, Xuan knew her husband had bad news; she already recognized his expressions.
Shun held her hands, pulling her closer. He leaned toward her; his lips touched her forehead slightly. “We are under attack. Guards are going to conduct you and the midwife to the shelter where there is food and water. You have everything you need there. Lock the door; open it to no one. I´ll return as soon as possible.” Shun stroked Xuan´s belly. “Take good care of our heir.”
The Empress held her husband´s arm. “Please, stay with us. I need you; our son needs you,” she asked with a pleading voice. It was her first and last attempt.
“The warriors and the empire need me. It is my duty.” He touched her face. “I´ll come back soon; you won´t miss me, I promise you. Now hurry, the invaders can reach the palace anytime. Guards are going to protect you. I don´t think the invaders can find the shelter.” He kissed his beautiful and pregnant wife, grinned, and left her in tears.
Xuan heard a rumble followed by shots, screams, pandemonium; the sound of battle was perfectly audible and moved toward the palace very quickly. That was the worst time for combat; her young Emperor would face a great risk protecting the empire, her and his son´s life. She prayed daily for this to never happen; however, it was in vain. Her husband could die today.
More afraid of the bad timing of war, was her concern about the baby’s gender. The Emperor wanted a boy to be his heir. What if it was born a girl instead? That burden laid heavier than her huge belly. He´d be disappointed; he just talked about the boy who might arrive soon. Poor child, coming to the world with so many uncertainties and bearing great responsibilities.
She went to the door. People ran; they tried to protect their lives. Ai, the servant woman and midwife, approached with the guards. Ai carried bags full of the Empress´s belongings. “Your Majesty, we should go, the guards are waiting for us and everything is prepared for your comfort.”
Xuan looked at the nursery, then reluctantly she moved to the shelter, guided by the guards and the servant. She held her belly and walked as fast as she could. She was scared; the enemies would give anything to capture her and the empire heir. In this case, it might be the end of the Emperor, the Dragon´s Dynasty and their story. Shun would die before he saw his empire in the enemies´ hands.
The imperial guard entered first to check inside the shelter; Xuan and Ai followed. The guards left; while Ai closed the door, Xuan could hear their heavy footsteps moving to their station. Silence filled the room after the woman locked the door. They were alone in that place for an undetermined time.
Ai helped Xuan to lie down on the bed; she put many pillows under Xuan´s back and made the Empress comfortable. Xuan´s belly was too big and heavy. The baby constantly squirmed causing her discomfort. So violent were the baby´s kicks that her skin seemed on the verge of tearing. Maybe she was wrong, and she was more than seven months pregnant. If that was the case, the baby could be born at any time. Xuan tried to avoid the thoughts that constantly passed through her mind.
“Ai, bring me water. I´m not feeling well.” Her breath became deep and intense; her hands were trembling and wet. She rubbed her belly and whispered, “Calm down, son, it isn´t your time yet. Your father isn´t here to see you.”
Ai took a glass of water, put a hand underneath the Empress´s back and gently pushed her forward. “Are you feeling better?” the servant asked while Xuan sipped the water. Ai put another pillow under Xuan´s neck and she lay again.
“No,” Xuan gasped. “Something is wrong!” she screamed and curved forward pressing her belly. “The baby is coming,” she warned the servant through gritted teeth and cried in agony.
“It is too early, he can´t be born now,” Ai said, perplexed.
Xuan grabbed Ai´s hand, breathing shortly and quickly. “I know, but I don’t think he agrees with us,” she screamed louder and writhed; her screams might scare the enemies.
“We can do this, don´t worry. Take deep and long breaths.” The midwife brought a basin full of water and clothes. She removed the pillows from Xuan´s back, parted the Empress´s knees, and lifted her skirt. “It will be fast, the baby´s head is facing. Take a deep mouthful of air and push now.”
Xuan inhaled, curved forward, put all her strength in a push and yelled, exhaling the air, then she let her tired body fall on the bed and tried to recover; however, Ai didn´t give her a break.
“Again!” Ai ordered.
Xuan pushed one, two, three times and many others; her belly became rigid, the contractions didn´t stop, the pain drained her strength. Minutes had passed, and the last push was less intense but efficient. She felt all power leaving her body; Xuan needed to refill it, she needed some rest.
I´m Cyci Cade and I write urban fantasy and fiction novels for young adult. I´ll never forget the first time I wrote a story; I was in fifth grade. That experience enchanted me. What should be an insignificant composition became a four pages flash story. My teacher didn´t like it very much, but who cared? She did. Well, I had to shorten my compositions. However, it didn´t discourage me; on the contrary, it made me try harder. I like a good challenge. I like to try new things; some of them don´t work as I expect, but it doesn´t matter. I always learn new things. I started writing articles for magazines, newspapers, and blogs. I wrote my first book in 2010 and published it in 2012. It was so amazing that I didn´t stop anymore. Writing makes me happy. I have received 5 stars reviews from professional websites, and remarkable comments that have encouraged me. During my free time, I like reading, watching TV series, and movies. I live in Brazil and I have a cat named Angel. I love cats too.
Welcome to my world!