When her mentor is arrested, sixteen-year-old botany student Erina joins a competition where the king will grant any request of the successful hunter of a shape-shifting Dragon mage. Lacking magic herself, Erina must rely on preparation and strategy to survive the Dragon’s island and the other hunters. To achieve her own endgame and free her mentor, she’ll have to determine who to trust while keeping her secrets close.
When the palace bell tolled fourteen times, the city came to a hush. The Dragon Hunt had begun.
I was in the main reading room of the university library placing books in the towering shelves that surrounded the circular room when the bells first sounded. As the ringing continued, the students who’d been occupying the tables in the middle looked up from their books and packed their things. I rushed to be the first out but froze when I saw Yelena Grintor and her friends blocking the exit.
Three years ago, Yelena had taken my journal and written “Traitor” in red ink on the pages before posting them across the door of my room in the Masters’ House. While that was more tolerable than the pitying gazes, the reassuring platitudes, and the condescension of some of the Masters, I didn’t want to give her an opportunity to torment me further.
As the girls laughed and made their way out, I wondered how differently I’d feel if my father had been Morden’s tax collector like Yelena’s instead of a political dissident. Would I be carelessly drifting along to the amphitheater without having to worry about losing those closest to me?
But such musings were unproductive, and I needed to move forward.
I hurried to the back and had almost gotten through the door when a voice called out, stopping me midstep.