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Darinel and the Dragons of Aquaria

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Can friendship defy a sea dragon’s magic?
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Author: Antje Hergt
Description

Darinel and his dragon-friend, Idunal, take his wife, Princess Tuskja, on a pleasure flying trip high up in the mountains when she is attacked by a blue light and falls into a deep sleep. To cure her, Darinel and Idunal set out to find the ‘Sea With No End’. In its heart lies the underwater city of Aquaria where the last sea dragons live. These mystical creatures are said to have the Secret Green Waters, a potion strong enough to heal the curse of the blue light.

Sea dragons save the friends from almost drowning in their attempt to reach the city and bring them through the barrier into Aquaria. There, they meet beautiful Queen Ozeania, who ensnarls Darinel under her spell.

Banned from the palace for not trusting the queen, the dragon sets out alone to find the cure while Darinel forgets more of his past with each passing day. Having forged an alliance with the independent sea dragons, Idunal has to break the spell on Darinel and find a way to penetrate the barrier without breaking it in time to save Tuskja.

Title Darinel & The Dragons of Aquaria
Author Antje Hergt
Series The Reluctant Dragonhunter Book 2
Genre Middle Grade/Tween Fantasy Adventure
Release February 2, 2016
Length 214 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-780-8
Price $4.99
Artist Charlotte Volnek
Tags Dragon, Prince, Princess, Knights, Friendship, Love, Adventure, Fun, Action, Life or Death Decision, Sacrifice
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Excerpt

How had it changed so quickly? Darinel couldn’t tell later. One moment, the sun was bathing the mountain meadow. The next minute, clouds loomed over them, expelling lightning, and gusting winds pummeled their bodies. It came too fast, even for a mountain storm.

“Run for cover,” he shouted against the wind. Grabbing Tuskja’s hand, he dragged her toward the rock face. “Can you see a cave, Idunal?”

The dragon perched high above them, visibly fighting the wind to stay in the air. He swung his head to scan the wide valley.

The air grew thick with energy, but no raindrops had fallen even though steel-grey clouds towered over them blocking the sun.

Straight ahead. On the shadow side of the mountain, Idunal’s voice directed Darinel.

“Idunal said to the left.” Darinel tightened his grip on Tuskja’s hand.

“But that’s solid rock. I can’t see any opening…” The wind roaring in his ears claimed the rest of Tuskja’s protest.

He pointed with his left hand and pulled her closer to him. “I trust Idunal.”

Tuskja stumbled, and her hand slipped out of his. He turned to help her as a silent cry escaped her lips. Horrified, he froze, his out-stretched hand suspended in midair, but Tuskja was not there. She floated a couple of meters above the meadow, engulfed by a blinding blue light. Darinel stepped toward her.

No! Idunal’s voice rang through his thoughts. Don’t touch her. That’s no ordinary lightning strike.

“Tuskja,” he whispered, his hands still reaching for her.

In the air, Idunal leaned in closer, carefully sniffing the blue light. His heart-shaped tail swung around to touch it, but before he reached it, it vanished. The princess lay face down in the grass.

“Tuskja!” Darinel rushed to her. Gently, he turned her over and cradled her in his arms. “Are you okay, love?”

The princess opened her eyes slowly and blinked.

He hugged her closer. “Say something. Are you hurt?”

She shook her head slowly. “No, I think I am fine.”

“Are you sure?”

Idunal’s shadow swept over them as Tuskja nodded. The dragon hovered for a second then landed beside them. He spanned his wings around them protectively.

Tuskja laughed softly. “Really, guys. I’m fine.”

Darinel held her tight but looked up at the dragon. “Is she all right?”

I am not sure. Idunal’s face looked troubled. Tenderly, he lowered his green-scaled head until his snout touched the princess’s head.

“Idunal,” Tuskja protested.

The prince laid his fingers on her mouth. “He wants to check you over.”

The dragon closed his eyes. Seconds trickled like sap off a tree bark.

Darinel could barely contain himself.

After what seemed like an eternity, Idunal opened his eyes. He tipped his head sideways to see them both. She appears unharmed.

“Heavens,” he breathed out.

But I would like to listen to her heart to be sure.

“Go ahead.” Darinel loosened his hold and leaned back.

The heart-shaped tip of the dragon tail swung around and was about to touch the princess when she pushed it away violently.

“Stop it you two.” She wiggled out of the embrace and leaped to her feet. “I said I was fine!” Impatiently, she brushed dirt and grass off her riding dress. “What did Idunal say?” She raised her head and looked at the dragon then shot Darinel an angry glance. “You know how I hate it when you two talk behind my back.”

Darinel sprang up to lay a hand on her arm, but Tuskja sidestepped his gesture defiantly. “He was just checking to make sure your heart wasn’t damaged by the lightning.”

“What lightning?” Tuskja blinked. “The sky is clear.”

He bit his lip. “Don’t you remember the approaching storm?”

“Yeah, but it obviously passed, didn’t it?” Tuskja chuckled. “Now, don’t look like two sourpusses. I thought we were going to check out the upper valley.”

“Yes, but…”

Tuskja twisted her head then darted up a barely visible trail in the grass.

Darinel looked up to the dragon. “Guess she is okay then.”

Idunal observed the princess. His horned ridges nearly touched each other. We must assume so.

“Are you coming or sprouting roots?” Tuskja called over her shoulder. “Whoever is up there first doesn’t have to attend the minister’s assembly tomorrow.”

“Oh, come on,” Darinel moaned. “You have such an unfair head start.”

Tuskja just laughed. “Try to catch up then.”

He glanced at Idunal, shrugged, and dismissed the worried glance of the dragon.

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