Savage King: New Worlds by Milly Taiden

Prologue





He smelled his prey’s fear. The air was heavy, the scent sticking to giant leaves in his hot, humid home. The kappy raced to get away, but his meal was too fun not to catch. He wanted to chuckle, but creatures like him couldn’t do that. Instead he chuffed. If he had remembered the words, he would’ve taunted the kappy. After all, cats did like to play with their food.

At an easy lope, he followed the trail through the jungle. His meal had a long way to go before it reached its home in the caves. Plus, with only two legs, it was slow. His four paws making no sound, he ducked under large leaves from the overwhelming flora covering the ground. Most going higher than a fae stood.

Bugs and small animals scampered out of his way. They recognized when a predator was near. Birds in the dense foliage overhead quieted after squealing a warning to anything around that could hear them. Normally he cursed the flying bastards, but this hunt didn’t depend on stealth. It was about who could go on the longest. And he could go on a damnation long time.

An orange flower launched its poisonous dart at him, his thick fur and hide barely moved when it hit and bounced off. Stupid plants. If they tasted good, he would’ve chewed on them. A memory from his past tried to wiggle free from the hole he’d buried them in long ago. Never. He stopped that dragon shit before it even started.

His senses alerted him that something was going to happen. Then not too far in the distance, an explosion shook the ground. Sounded like trees snapping in half. What the hell?

He had a choice: continue after his morning meal or check out what happened in his territory. His stomach twisted, making the decision for him. Thank the goddess. Picking up speed, he was tiring of the chase. He was hungry and wanted to get this over with.

Then his senses gave him the same warning, and another explosion rattled the ground much closer.

He focused his eyes as he padded along, peering through the dense vegetation for anything unusual. The air crackled with a strange smell, like something burning. The trees ahead were bent and broken. He stepped into a round patch of sunlight that had never reached this dirt before.

In almost a perfect circle, the area was cleared of all greenery, stripped of ground covering and top layer of dirt. What the goddess’s hell?

He noticed movement on the other side of the circle. His prey had stopped too, its eyes wide and mouth hanging open. The expression was familiar, but he couldn’t remember what it meant.

His body tingled a third time, much stronger than earlier. It was a warning of imminent danger. He spun around to run, then his ass end lifted high into the and he flipped several times before he crashed upside down against a leaning tree, sliding toward the ground, and stopping when his head touched dirt.

In front of him in the clearing, a circle floated a short distance off the ground. Inside that ring stood three females dressed in strange clothing. The space around them wasn’t jungle, but forest and grassland. How was that possible?

As he watched, the trio stepped out of the other place and into his. Then they tumbled to the ground like newborn cubs learning to walk.

What in demon’s hell had just invaded his planet?





Chapter One





“It’s about damn time, girl.”

Resting under one of the tree houses in the new dragon/dark elf forest home, Wren lifted her brow at Daphne’s comment. Usually, the woman never had a negative thing to say, even when everyone knew she was angry. She always bottled it up and looked the other way. One of these days that would bite her in the ass.

But Wren supposed it was better than what she did herself, which was freak out in a panic attack, then hide herself for days writing stories she had control over. Where she could make the world how she wanted it.

From where Daphne sat against a tree in the new village of Elgon in the Crystal Kingdom, she climbed to her feet and brushed off the back of her jean shorts.

“Hey, shut it,” Lilah snapped. “Next time, you go find Chelsea in the fucking food fields. I had to go all the way to the other side of this place.” Lilah threw Grandmom’s magic stone at Daphne. The girl lifted her hands to shield herself and ducked. Not that Lilah had good enough aim to tag her. The rock flew past at least a foot away, bouncing on the ground.

Wren shook her head. Those two fought like sisters instead of cousins. “Lilah,” she said, “be careful with that. They aren’t normal stones. You might break it.”

Standing in front of Wren, Lilah slapped a hand on her plump hip. “Break a magic rock? Yeah, right.”