by Amy Winters-Voss
(The Liminal Chronicles, #2)
Publication date: May 10th 2023
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
“One hundred pieces of gold for every kitsune head laid at my feet!”
Convinced redemption lies in becoming a Guardian, Umeji Tatsuya seeks mentorship from the legendary tengu king Soujou-bou. Though, the rest of the Guardian Council is skeptical he’s left behind his dark yakuza past. There’s no time to prove his loyalty and worth before disaster strikes.
A pair of kitsune refugees arrive and hot on their heels is a massive oni army led by Ibaraki Douji, who plans not only to exterminate kitsune kind but also to resurrect the title of Shogun to become ruler of Japan. As kitsune are slaughtered and Umeji and his family fight for their very survival without the support of the Guardians, Umeji questions where his loyalties actually lie.
Just when Umeji thinks things couldn’t get worse, the oni army lays siege to the rural town of Nonogawa and takes on the League of Guardians themselves. When Ibaraki makes off with a legendary sword, the Guardian Council blames Umeji for its loss. He’s done playing by their rules. With family and friends by his side and all of kitsune kind counting on him, Umeji vows to recover the sword and stop Ibaraki for good.
Will the cost be too high? Because the search leads to places mere humans don’t dare tread and what Umeji and his crew find is darker than anything he saw in the mob…
Guardian is the second book in the Liminal Chronicles series. Buy now and enjoy Umeji’s action-packed journey into Japanese myth, personal redemption, and found family.
Next, the tengu king’s eyes narrow and his wings ruffle. “Let us see you in your original shape, boy. Your magic doesn’t quite match the kitsune form you present.”
He waves his feathered fan, popping me back into human shape. At least I had the sense to dress formally, in a navy suit and a tie that Su-chan picked out for me. Though, I still feel out of place. Besides my aunt and I, everyone else wears a kimono and hakama. It’s different from the streets of Kyoto, where you see the traditional clothing only occasionally.
Then Soujou-bou raises a bushy eyebrow. “Nakamura-san, why do you associate with a magic thief?”
“That is his story to tell, Soujou-sama. Know that I believe him,” she responds in a flat, neutral tone that raises my hackles. She’s never this submissive.
As I give a deep, reverent bow, he remarks, “Boy, Nakamura-san’s recommendation does not excuse the evil in which you’ve partaken. Why did you stoop so low and steal kitsune magic?”
My insides twist at having to contradict the tengu king right off the bat. Taking a deep breath, I keep it simple. “We did not steal it, sir.”
But he snaps, cutting through the air with his feather fan. “No one gives such a gift! It destroys the owner. If I do not find your explanation satisfactory, you’ll not leave my palace alive.”
The declaration sends a shiver down my spine and my words spill out. “The fox I was fighting was Date Sari. She’d repeatedly attacked me and Aunt Hisako because of an old grudge and used her magic for evil—mixing it with that of an oni to add to her power.
“When she attacked my girlfriend, I tried to stop Date without killing her by dispelling her abilities. We didn’t know it would split and settle into each of us. The kami judged Date for her actions and Inari Okami was merciful. He didn’t require us to return her magic or hoshi no tama, which would have killed us.
“My aunt gave me a chance to start again after leaving the yakuza, and I wish to honor her and follow in her footsteps.”
“Yakuza, you say?” His eyes flick to my aunt.
I whisper, “I have much to atone for, sir.” Pressing my palms together in front of me, I bow as low as I can and remain in the position as I ask, “Please, teach me so I can serve as a Guardian.”
Amy is a former programmer turned author after her first trip to Japan in 2017. Now she writes Japanese myth-based urban fantasy to reconnect with the country and culture that captured her heart. She lives in South Dakota with her supportive husband, two wonderful kids, and three wily and crazy ferrets.
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