She wants out, but destiny has other plans . . .
Thirteen-year-old Maia sets out denying the existence of her turncoat mother and ends up finding out a truth that makes her wish her mother was just that–a treacherous double-crosser she could hate. Because sometimes, knowing a hero can be more terrifying than knowing a villain. And being part of a lofty cause can come at a terrible price.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from “Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy,” Chapter 39, The Relic.
Maia sheathed Bellator and dove toward the rock that still sat on the lever keeping the gate half open, palm scraping against the weight of the rough stone as she pushed it away. With a jarring noise that bellowed across the cave, the grille started to move down. A fierce blow narrowly missed her shoulder as Maia rolled frantically in the direction of the rapidly narrowing gap between the jagged bottom of the grate and the stone floor.
Maia heard the ominous hiss of Yoome’s staff cutting through the air, raining blows around her. She pushed herself, twisting her body, pulling herself inside and away from the falling grille. The gate was at the verge of closing shut. Maia curled her feet, pulling them inside; her right arm was next.
I’m almost safe.
Then the world turned black. Yoome’s staff crashed just below her right elbow. For a few excruciating moments, all Maia could hear was a wordless scream that rose from deep within her gut and spread through the dark cave in a slow, throbbing flood. In the moment of perfect clarity that followed that agonizing rush of pain, she dragged her shaking arm inside as the gate thudded shut.
It was a while before Maia made a sound again, only a pitiful whimper escaping her throat, pain shooting through her body in unbearable waves. A few more moments passed before she could look at her limp arm and at Yoome who glared at her from beyond the closed gate.
“Maia?” Dani whispered on the communicator. “Are you all right?”
“I’m nearly there, Maia,” Nafi’s reassuring voice floated in.
Everything seemed distant, almost unreal.
Karhann had joined Yoome beyond the gate, his eyes flashing and burning with rage. Loriine still sat where she had fallen, her sulking face dark with anger. They seemed unable to move, clearly not ready to accept their loss. They had come close, Maia had to admit, agonizingly close to winning the challenge before they lost it all.
“The gate is shut, Karhann,” Maia whispered, her breaths labored and short. “You lose.”
The wild cheers on the communicator deafened Maia for a moment before the bright light of a Cylopede swung up through the staircase and filled the chamber. Nafi jumped down from her Pede and kneeled next to Maia, surveying the damage.
Maia thinks she has seen it all.
She has survived an assassination attempt, she has been threatened by the chancellor, and she has faced off with saboteurs trying to bring down a nation.
She lets nothing get to her anymore-not the ominous nightmares she has been having lately, not the fear of being targeted for another soul extraction, not even the memories of her dead mother’s terrifying communique.
More than ever, Maia wants the Initiative to resume. She longs to visit Zagran-the undersea capital of the Jjord. She wants to ride the underwater transport lines, learn about the Jjordic energy farms and most of all-she wants to goof off with her friends.
But, around the charming city of Zagran, evil is gathering. Maia and her friends do not know it yet, this is just the beginning of a terrifying end.
Some wishes should never come true.
Back home from the Alliance Initiative, Maia is restless.
She wants the Initiative to resume, she wishes to visit the energy summit poised to transform Tansi, she is desperate to break free of her stifling existence and join in the making of Tansi’s future.
When fate rips Maia’s life apart in one cruel swoop and forces her to run for cover, Maia realizes her secret is out and her life is on the line.
But now, thrust into her enemy’s crosshairs, there’s no going back.
About the Author
About the Author:
S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Books have been an important part of Ms. Basu’s life. Even before she had learned to read on her own, she spent hours wandering in the stories her mother read to her. Soon enough, she was weaving a tapestry of magical tales of her own. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books. She shares her home with a large collection of Legos, a patient husband, and resident inspiration and entertainer, her daughter.
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