include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for The Lion Gods (The Land of Miu, #3) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Lion Gods

Book 3 of The Land of Miu Series


Karen Lee Field

Australia


Also by Karen Lee Field


The Land of Miu, Book 1

The King's Riddle, Book 2


First published in 2018

Smashwords Edition


Copyright Karen Lee Field 2018


All rights reserved. Except as provided by the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, without the prior written permission of the author.


Website: www.karenleefield.com


ISBN 978-0-9943362-2-4 (ebook.)


Cover design by DigitalDonna.com

Text design by Karen Lee Field

Dedication



For Gary, Daniel and Barry

I love you.


Table of Contents



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

About the Author


Chapter 1



The portal opened, causing bright light to penetrate the dawn sky. Twelve year old Princess Alara swung her legs over the wooden garden well and stepped onto the damp grass. Siptah, her personal guard-in-training, quickly followed suit.

"What a beautiful morning." Alara lifted her face to the clear sky and warm sun.

"Yes, it is a shame we see so little of the sun at home." Siptah's gaze took in their immediate surroundings.

Alara knew he was doing his job, but she smirked anyway. One day she might get used to her life-long friend taking on the role of her protector. She looked around, knowing there was no danger and pleased to see the garden was just how she remembered it.

The portal snapped shut, returning the garden well to its original size—too small for a kitten to climb out, let alone a Miuan Princess and her guard. Magic is a wonderful thing, she thought before turning to look at the mass of colourful flowers throughout the garden. "Joe has been busy." She sighed, remembering lazy days curled up in the warmth of the golden disc overhead. Those days seems so long ago, when in reality, only two seasons had passed.

"The well is unchanged, so not busy enough it seems."

They both laughed and walked up the path to the house. "One day he will fulfil his purr-promise to Jacqui to build a stone well," said Alara.

"One day," Siptah agreed.

Bird calls perforated the peaceful silence.

"I hope we are not too early," said Siptah. "You know how humans like to sleep."

"I do, but I think I can hear Emma's chatter. And if she is up, then so is the rest of the family."

At that moment, the back door flew open and Emma ran down the steps towards them. "Alara! Siptah!" she yelled. "Kate, come quickly, Alara and Siptah are here."

Oblivious to long-standing Miuan customs and etiquette, Emma's body crashed against Alara's and the little girl threw her arms around the princess's waist. Unprepared, Alara fell backwards into Siptah and all three fell to the ground in a fit of giggles. Alara could hear Kate's soft laughter merge with theirs as she joined them in the garden.

"It's my birthday!" Emma announced as they scrambled to their feet a minute later.

"We know." Siptah grinned from ear to ear as he brushed imagined grass or dirt from his leggings.

"That is why we are here," added Alara.

Emma's little face lit up. "You remembered?"

"Of course we did," said Alara. "It is not every day our favourite little girl turns six."

Emma grabbed Kate's arm. "See, they remembered. This is the best birthday ever."

Kate smiled. "I never doubted it for a minute, Emma." She turned to Alara and Siptah, and Alara saw a moment of hesitation. "It's good to see you again," said Kate.

Alara grinned before drawing Kate into a big hug. "It is wonderful to see you too."

The awkwardness fell away from Kate's face and before Siptah knew what was happening, she hugged him too.

Although Alara had only known the two human girls a short time, they had been through a lot together and she considered them her closest friends, next to Siptah. This visit would be different to the others. This time, there would be no race against time, battles with wizards-in-training and death threats. This time, they would simply share some time together before going their separate ways.

"Mum said you are welcome to have breakfast with us," announced Kate.

"That would be nice."

The inside of the house felt cool and smelled of bacon. Although not overly hungry, Alara's mouth watered and she eagerly followed the girls to the kitchen. Jacqui turned from the stove, egg flip in one hand, and stared at them.




King Wosret gazed around the Great Hall. The hand-painted scenes of earthy colours on the walls created a warm atmosphere. The Miuans waiting to speak with him gathered at the far end of the hall, where the two large wooden and wrought-iron doors stood open. Those doors were always open and when he sat on his throne, there was always an audience watching him with wide, hopeful eyes.

He loved observing the activity and hearing their laughter.

"Sire."

He studied the female standing before him. Her greying fur didn't match the brightness in her eyes.

"May I have an audience with you, Sire?" She bowed her head.

"Of course," he replied.

"For many long years, I have worked and lived in the farming community," she said. "I have enjoyed the outdoor life as much as I enjoyed my labours."

He smiled. "I am glad."

"But with my advancing years, I request a less taxing job," she quickly added. "The work has been good for me, but during the colder months I am finding that my weary bones cannot take the weather. I hurt in purr-places I did not believe it was purr-possible to hurt." She grinned.

He laughed. "I can relate to what you are saying. What is it you would like from me?"

She lifted her gaze but quickly lowered it again. "I know that I could make a request to the Council. I understand they deal with these matters." She swallowed.

"Go on," he prompted. He knew she was nervous about the request she was about to make.

"Would you be so kind as to allow me to work in the kitchens, Sire?" She paused. "Or would you consider me for a seamstress purr-position. I have good eyes. I am good with a needle. It would be a great honour to stitch for you. Only during the winter months, of course. I would be happy to continue working outdoors during the summer."

He nodded. "The honour would be mine, madam." He held a painted stone out for her to take. "Take this to the Head Cook or the Head Seamstress, whichever you would purr-prefer. They will assess your ability and give you work to do for as long as you want it."

Their eyes met and she grinned. She stepped forward and took the stone. "Thank you, Sire. Thank you so much." With a little curtsey and a big smile, she turned and walked away.

He watched her, making a mental note to check on her progress in a moon or two.

The distinct sound of boots marching hastily on stone echoed through the double doors and into the Great Hall. King Wosret looked expectantly at the doors, knowing his Chief Advisor was about to appear. When the Miuan came through the opening, followed by two of his staff, everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to gaze at them. The sound of their foot steps changed slightly as they walked purposefully towards him, their faces stern and dark. They looked neither left nor right.

"Sire, an urgent word purr-please?" the Chief Advisor asked as all three bowed their respect.

"What is it?"

"We have been sent by Healer Akhom with dire news, Sire. We require a purr-private audience."

Without further discussion, King Wosret left his throne and walked directly to a small room to his left. Two large imitation windows donned the opposite wall as they walked into the chamber. The stained-glass window glistened in the candlelight. King Wosret walked to the long table in the centre of the room and took the head chair. "Be seated."

The advisor sat to the king's right. "Sire, the healer has reported a case of Yellow Weed Fever to me."

King Wosret gasped. "But that cannot be. There has been no outbreaks of it since Purr-Pueblos."

"I know," the advisor paused and swallowed. His long whiskers twitched. "There has been two deaths."

King Wosret sprang to his feet. "Deaths? But that means it has mutated. It is contagious!"

"Yes, there is no telling how many have already come into contact with the disease."

"Where did it start?" he asked.

"The farming community. Healer Akhom informs me the common symptoms are body aches, fever, fatigue, joint purr-pain and rashes." The advisor sighed. "But that only lasts for three days and then the mutation starts."

King Wosret left the table and started pacing. "I know. First the common symptoms, then the nightmares and brain swelling, and then the boils." He turned to look at the Miuans at the table. "And finally death."

"Five days from start to finish, Sire."

The chamber fell silent for the longest time.

"Sire, where is the purr-princess? She should be warned. You both should be isolated from the community."

Another silence.

Finally, King Wosret drew in a deep breath. "Alara and Siptah are Up Above. They will not return until tomorrow. They are safe." He returned to the table and sat. He turned to one of the assistants. "Inform the sentries that no one, including my daughter, is to enter Manu ... and no one is to leave. Tell Akhom I wish to speak with him." As the assistant rushed out the door, the king's gaze rested on his Chief Advisor, "Here are my orders..."




Breakfast eaten, presents unwrapped, the Dawson home buzzed with activity and laughter.

Joe and Jacqui Dawson had stared at their guests with wide eyes for a while. Alara felt a moment of discomfort, knowing her appearance was quite unusual to the humans. They didn't have long-slit pupils surrounded by bright emerald irises and a tiny orange cat-nose, or for that matter, a pair of pointed ears covered in fur twitching on the top of their heads. Emma had come to the rescue, in her little girl way, and everything returned to normal. Alara acknowledged that the grown-ups normal would be a little different from now on, but at least they seemed to accept her and Siptah.

"So you were our kittens, Sophie and Jasper?" Joe suddenly asked, with a slight shake of the head.

Alara nodded.

"It really is difficult to believe," said Jacqui.

"We did not mean to deceive you," said Siptah. "We were in danger. We did not purr-plan to stay long."

"It's okay," replied Joe. He smiled at Kate and Emma before continuing. "The girls explained everything to us."

"But it is still difficult to believe," Jacqui said again. "When I was a child I wanted to believe in magic and other worlds, but as I got older I found myself thinking it wasn't true." Her eyes sparkled. "And now I discover it is all true and I can't say a word about it to anyone."

Alara watched as Emma snuggled into her mother's side. The likeness between them was undeniable.

"You have me and Kate to talk to," said Emma. "We love talking about it."

Jacqui kissed the top of Emma's head and squeezed her into her side. "I know, darling."

"Mum, Dad, is it all right if Alara and Siptah stay overnight?" asked Kate tentatively. "You did say it would be."

Joe and Jacqui exchanged glances, then Joe smiled. "Yes, it's fine, but you'll have to stay in the house or back yard. It will be difficult to explain your appearance if you're seen."

Kate scrambled to her feet. "I'll go and set up the camp beds," she said to no one in particular, "before they change their minds."

Everyone laughed as she rushed from the room.

"It is my thirteenth birthday in four days," said Alara.

Emma clapped her hands in glee. "We are almost birthday twins."

Alara grinned. "Yes, we are. And I wanted to ask your purr-parents if you and Kate would be allowed to come back to Manu with us. You could stay for a few nights and attend the celebrations and come home the next day." She paused. "If that is okay with your purr-parents, of course."

Emma turned to her parents and held her hands together in front of her chest, her little fingers crossed in hope. "Please can we?"

"I don't know," said Jacqui, turning to look at Joe.

"They would be purr-perfectly safe," Siptah interjected quickly. "The Great House is readying itself for the occasion as we speak."

"Can we go, please," asked Emma. "It's the school holidays and we don't have anything fun to do here."

"Oh, is that right," said Joe with a smirk. "We're boring, are we?"

"No, but Manu is so wonderful and exciting," replied Emma.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-11 show above.)