Excerpt #4 from GATEWAY TO THERA

Below is the fourth excerpt of the upcoming third book of the ADVENTURE CHRONICLES series. Please remember, this is an unedited excerpt:

The teens had entered the edge of Tarent’s barony at dusk. As Elvara pointed out, there were only three villages in his barony, and only one of those villages stood in their path. The group had decided to stay at an inn here and purchase the rest of the necessary equipment for their journey.

“Careful,” mumbled Jamie as he and his friends climbed from their horses in front of the Wayward Inn. “As that . . . monkey-thing . . . pointed out, Tarent knows that we followed him here and, since this is his realm, we’re outlaws here.”

“Cool!” exclaimed Alexandria. Looking at Max, she chimed, “Just like a good Bonnie and Clyde!”

“Tarent makes the laws here,” explained Elvara. “If he finds us, he will have us put to death.”

“That’s not so cool,” muttered Alex.

The group entered the inn to find that there were ten patrons sitting at three different tables, and two more patrons sitting at the bar. The innkeeper was whistling some strange tune as he cleaned some kind of mugs with a white cloth. Everyone within stared at the adolescents and their two adult friends as they entered the building.

“Friendly people,” whispered Jamie to Yoshi as the group made its way to the bar.

“Considering the law here,” commented the young kunoichi in the same whisper, “I would assume that the people mistrust any strangers.”

The eight each took a seat at the bar. “What’ll it be?” inquired the barkeep, still eyeing them suspiciously.

“Rooms,” answered Deck.

“Two gold a night, per room,” muttered the man. “Baths included, meals an extra gold.”

Elvara paid for eight rooms and meals for each of them. The food was good, a wild boar having been killed by a hunter earlier that day. Jamie, Buster, Max, Alex, and Deck had each drank water, while George, Yoshi, and Elvara each drank ale. After inquiring about the reason Deck had refused ale, the elf was surprised to find out about his ulcer, caused by too much drink when he was learning his trade in Scotland some years before. Apparently bored by the quiet chatter, Max began looking around at the other patrons. Looking to his left, he noticed that one of the customers at the bar was an attractive, young adult woman who was sitting two seats away from him. She had long black hair, and a frame similar to that of Yoshi’s. A short sword hung at her side. But what caught his attention the most was her flute.

“Are you a musician?” he asked her, hoping that she was more friendly than the rest of the patrons.

“Among other things,” she replied with a smile. “I entertain for pay, although nobody seems interested tonight.”

“I am,” stated Alex. Handing her two gold pieces, she said, “Play something.”

The girl smiled and picked her flute up from the bar.

“What’s your name?” asked George.

“Drielle,” replied the entertainer as she brought the flute up to her mouth. “Drielle Nightsinger.” She began to play.

At first, although lovely, none of the group recognized the melody. But, then Max apparently caught some similarity to an earth tune and started singing. Alexandria’s jaw dropped. He sang beautifully. Looking around, she noticed that the rest of her friends seemed just as shocked as she was.

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