The dragon princess is missing. War is imminent. And someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes…
Amidst a collapsing empire, Lord Alexander and his divided siblings must band together to save their people from civil war. Their already strained bonds crumble as ‘The Mistress’ undermines their fragile unity.
As bloodstained pasts begin to resurface the three siblings must awaken their spirit arts, an unforeseen effect of the ancient dragon gods’ actions, if they have any hope to survive. But this is all part of her plan. She manipulates their fates from the shadows, intending to devour them from the inside out.
Unless the dragon princess sides with them, all may be lost.
Targeted Age Group:: YA-Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This is the series that I've dreamed of writing for a long time. As a loner kid with a big imagination, The Dragon Princess is where I used to escape to whenever I was lonely.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Mostly inspired from anime, movies and other books, then they morphed into my own characters. D&D has helped with character development too.
The Dragon Princess
Empire of the Dragon Gods — Year 2150 of the Fey Dynasty
"It wasn't your fault, Ryuko," the princess said. He wasn't going to believe her, but someone needed to say it. She stood in the Imperial Chamber of Wishing Lyrecranes—a small but lavish room—the walls painted with the flying birds, their beautiful white plumage a symbol of good luck. It was usually where imperial requests were received, but tonight she had brought this man to her.
His cheeks were hollow, his dark hair plastered around his neck. It was obvious Ryuko hadn't taken care of himself over the last few months, though it was understandable. She had never met him before, but she was possibly the only person who knew the whole truth.
Ryuko knelt before her, pressing a blade against his own neck, his eyes impassive. His stiff leather gloves creaked as he tightened his grip.
"You're just a child, what would you know?" His voice was flat and lifeless.
The princess frowned for a moment, then glanced at herself. Her limbs were skinny and her frame was short—the body of a seven year old girl. She had almost forgotten, her new memories from the dawn of existence itself skewing her reality. With the death of her mother, the spirit of one of the three legendary dragon gods passed to her, irreversibly entwining with her own spirit.
"The empress is dead, and the emperor will follow soon," she said, a slight bite to her tone. Her father was left to a painful fate as the imperial couple must rule and die together. No one but the imperial family knew why, and their people had simply accepted it as part of the legend.
"I'm no longer a child, but the sole heir to the throne," she said, flicking her long hair out of her eyes. At least, the sole blood heir. The other dragon spirit had chosen her partner, the future emperor, from the branch family. "And I'm giving you a full pardon."
Ryuko didn't move the blade away, replying without hesitation. "I don't want it."
The princess let out a breath. She had every right to execute him for his behavior, but she wanted him alive.
"So, you're going to take the easy way out and let that woman escape, after everything she's done?" The princess shook her head. "I expected more from you."
Ryuko's jaw stiffened, the knife moving slightly away from his skin.
The princess smirked, resting a hand on the two swords which hung at her waist. Although they were physically identical in every way, passed down from generation to generation, no pair of swords were truly alike.
"I'm gathering a group to hunt the Mistress down and destroy every thread of rebellion she's pulling across the empire. If you still decide this is the path you want to take, do it after you've gotten your revenge." She met his eyes. He was finally seeing her, so she pushed further. "Lucille would have wanted you to finish this." It was a cruel tactic, but Ryuko's muscles tensed. "Are you in?"
He lowered the knife, staring down at his gloved hands for a long moment.
She held out her hand. "Follow me."
Ryuko ignored it, pushing himself to his feet. He was almost double her height now, black attire covering every inch of his slim figure. The blade began to lose its shape, the metal twisting and melting into a liquid in his palm. It slid up his sleeve, out of sight. His bloodline possessed that unique elemental affinity, and along with his background Ryuko would certainly be one of the most skilled members of her group. He was simply switching his loyalties to her.
The princess sprinted out the door, glancing down every hallway as she left the palace, slipping into the night. There was no time to waste, but she didn't want to draw the attention of her palace guards. She didn't stop to make sure Ryuko followed behind her. Though it would take time to earn his true loyalty, he wanted the revenge she promised. As they reached the end of the palace grounds, a figure stopped them in the shadows, the moonlight shining on his silver hair.
Kakeru drew his sword, his eyes fixed on Ryuko. Her mentor was well into middle age, but his muscles were as defined as any younger man. Besides herself, he was probably the best swordsman in the empire, though he had a bit of a temper.
"This is the man you wanted, the traitor?" he hissed.
The princess ignored his tone as she usually did. This wasn't the time for arguments.
Ryuko clenched his jaw. "Don't call me that, old man."
Kakeru narrowed his eyes, not moving an inch. "He's on death row for treason."
"Not anymore. Put it away," the princess said.
"But we're tracking a group suspected of treason."
She sighed, glancing between them. It was true Ryuko had committed treason, but that wasn't the whole truth. She'd already predicted it, but these two weren't going to get along.
"It's not up for discussion."
Kakeru sheathed his sword with emphasis. "I'll be watching your back then. Come on, the others are waiting."
The princess nodded. He might have an attitude, but Kakeru would always respect her final decision.
They took off again, weaving through the streets of the capital. All the rooftops in the capital were painted in a thin layer of gold and the walls in pure white, reflecting the imperial colours. It was beautiful even at night, but there was no time to admire the scenery. Their steps were light, their movements quick. She had the best people in the empire gathered to track down that woman, Mistress Marionette, as they called her—the one who pulled the strings.
Perhaps the Mistress wasn't even a woman at all as the mere whisper of her name was difficult enough to encounter. Trouble always seemed to point to her, and the princess had to take care of it. Not only was the Lady of Lanadrin murdered and war brewing between her empire's regions, there were now thirty-six missing children. And those were the ones she knew of. If her empire was going to remain in one piece, they had to stop the Mistress.
The streets were quiet, the only sound the distant cry of a lyrecrane. They wouldn't need luck for this mission. The princess leapt over a wall and scaled the next few buildings with more ease than normal, almost over-jumping in some places. She needed to learn to control her powers in this new body, and fast. She weaved through the city, avoiding her own soldier's patrols. It was imperative they weren't aware of these activities, at least not under her name.
The other two members of her imperial guard were crouched on a rooftop, waiting at their rendezvous point.
Sara put a hand on her hip, checking a device around her wrist. "You're all late." She flicked her ponytail over one shoulder and pushed her glasses up her nose—another one of her father's Lysanthian inventions. He was so gifted they had brought him and his daughter to the capital.
Kakeru pursed his lips. "By whose account? You're the only one with that weird time thing."
"Exactly. Father always says to use what you've got."
"That makes no sense if nobody else has what you've got."
The princess rolled her eyes, turning to Cynric. Although he was only just of age, his willowy figure was far taller than the rest of them, a characteristic Calveran trait. Some called Calverans half-giants, although there was nothing in her memories to suggest truth in that rumor.
Cynric bowed, blonde locks sweeping over his face. "Will these do, Princess?" He handed her a black mask, moulded into the shape of a dragon, a sliver of gold decorating the edges. She never demanded subservience from her imperial guard as they were more her family than her parents ever were, but he was the only one who ever showed her customary respect. It was odd since he technically outranked the rest of her guard, though none of the others knew.
The princess slipped the mask on. It covered the top half of her face, slightly restricting her peripheral vision. As long as no one recognized them, it would do. She nodded, and Cynric silently handed them out to the others.
Ryuko frowned, wiping the mask vigorously with a handkerchief, then inspecting it before touching it to his skin. "Must we wear these?" Minor disgust lingered in his tone.
"Yes," said Cynric.
"You want to be recognized, traitor?" said Kakeru, securing his mask.
"I want this over with."
Sara tucked her glasses into her satchel. "Father says impatience is the worst trait one can have."
Ryuko raised his eyebrows. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me." Sara blinked, adjusting the mask. "Oh dragons, I can't see now."
The princess snapped her fingers. They stopped bickering, turning towards her. It was a risk to bring them altogether like this, but she couldn't do everything on her own.
"Stop it all of you. Report, now." She pointed at Kakeru.
Kakeru nodded. "The suspected rebel group has been gathering in the brewhouse across from us, twenty-two in total. Fifteen are armed, but none of any considerable skill. It should be easy enough to handle them. We certainly didn't need the extra… help."
Sara nodded, jumping in before Ryuko could interject. "We should still be careful and ensure they're truly committing treason. The majority are commoners, but five of them are noblemen, three servant representatives of noble families and two are powerful merchants."
The princess bit her lip, glancing at her body again. Their presence could cause problems. She wasn't technically old enough to ascend the throne until she turned sixteen, and until then her imperial council and the nobility held a significant amount of power as a whole. The empire would be without an imperial couple for a long time, so if she wanted to act she needed to do it discretely. This group was her solution.
Ryuko folded his arms, tapping his finger. "I'm guessing these rebels are in the factions that support the young prince, or his older brother."
The princess stiffened, her hands curled into fists. Ryuko had only mentioned him, he wasn't here.
Kakeru took a step forward, staring down at him. "You're the last person that should be questioning loyalty."
Ryuko raised an eyebrow. "That's amusing, coming from someone like you. I know more about you than you do about me."
Kakeru's face turned redder under his mask. "I doubt it. In fact, the emperor ordered me to protect his only daughter instead of himself, whilst you were dragged here from death row."
Ryuko stood his ground. "I'm after the Mistress and everything she's done, I've no reason to act otherwise. A man who's simply ordered around can claim loyalty, but all the while his own motivations are hidden."
Kakeru's fist flew towards his face but Ryuko caught it, a silvery substance hardening around his own hand. Kakeru's lips curled upwards.
"So, it is true, you can manipulate metal." He yanked his arm back, shaking it.
The princess' head throbbed, her hands curled into fists. Unsteady breaths shook her chest. Her aura was slipping from her control, her presence flooding outward. Little colored lights dotted her vision, the spirits awaiting her command.
They were all looking at her now, their eyes widened. Like prey, deciding whether or not to flee. She directed her gaze at the iron encasing Ryuko's hand, forcing it to alter its shape. The liquid metal slid back into his sleeve. Surprise flicked across his face but he hid it immediately.
"Enough," she managed. The princess closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. "Cynric, Sara, cover the back exits. We'll take the front. Our aim is information, so prioritize capture, but don't hesitate to take them out if necessary. Understood?" They put their arms across their chests, bowing their heads. "Move out."
They scattered, positioning themselves around the building. The princess ducked beneath a window peering inside, the flicker of candlelight casting shadows across the walls. Barrels of various sizes filled the warehouse, brimming with aging liquor.
The men gathered in the center muttering amongst themselves, doling out mugs from an open barrel. One of the noblemen strode to the front, quieting the room and throwing out his arms in an extravagant gesture.
"Welcome my friends, to the dawn of a new age. I won't waste your valuable time." He spoke far too loud for a secretive meeting. They were clearly not a true threat, at least not now.
"With the imperial couple out of the picture, the Empire of the Dragon Gods is weak, and it'll be hardworking people like us who take the fall for their incompetence. We can't put our faith in the strength of the imperial family. Why should we be forced to wait for the princess to be of age for the throne? Neither the prince nor the princess can rule without the other—a ridiculous tradition, nothing more than an excuse to allow the imperial council to rule in their stead. It's a pity the prince isn't of true imperial blood." He paused and the men nodded, muttering amongst themselves.
"We have nothing to fear. The ancient power of the dragon gods is a myth only fools believe in. Now is the time to act, with the combined might of the five regions, we can take back the fate of our people. I see an empire where we don't rely on the whims of the imperial couple, an empire where we are free to make our own decisions, an empire united in true peace!"
Several loud cheers broke out but they were quickly hushed.
The princess glanced at Kakeru, who nodded. They had heard enough to confirm their guilt, but executing all of them would cause more trouble than it solved. It seemed there were those who no longer supported the imperial rule entirely, as well as those divided over who should rule. Even if she took the throne, the problems would only be mended on the surface.
The princess moved towards the door, nudging it open with her foot. It cracked off the hinges with more force than she'd intended, the door flying across the room. She was still getting used to that, although it did get their undivided attention. The men leapt to their feet with hands on their weapons. She strode inside with Kakeru and Ryuko following her.
"Good evening gentlemen." Her voice was eerily calm. "I regret to inform you this little gathering will be relocating to the dungeons, as you are all under arrest for treason against the empire."
The nobleman bristled, addressing her guard. "Who do you think you are?"
"We're…" the princess tilted her head thoughtfully. They only had one first impression. "The… Celestial Assassins, acting under the authority of the empire." Yes, that would do fine.
The nobleman smirked. "Some entrance for assassins, this isn't a child's game. You're far outnumbered, little miss." He pointed his sword at her. "Let's make an example of these dogs of the empire."
Some of the men advanced, hesitantly drawing their weapons, though most of them weren't even holding them correctly. It was a foolish move and they would pay for it. As they charged, Kakeru and Ryuko responded without hesitation. Kakeru leapt forward, flourishing his blade with more skill than necessary. He kept glancing at Ryuko as though he were sizing up his skills.
The princess sighed. She really should have split those two up, but they were going to have to learn to work together at some point.
Ryuko held out his arm and the metallic substance swept from his sleeve forming a glaive, the blade on the end of the pole disarming his opponents with ease. It moved like it possessed a mind of its own, snaking in different directions. To them, he would be wielding an unknown powerful force, but compared to her, his control was quite clumsy. He clearly had a comfortable limit he could use in combat, but perhaps she was being harsh on an ordinary human.
As the men fell one after another, a few attempted escape, though she knew exactly how that would turn out with the rest of her guard at the back door. The princess stared at the nobleman who had taken a step back.
"I was planning on letting you all live, but you've left us no choice. Who do you answer to?"
He shook his sword at her, a slight tremble in his grip. "What are you on about? We don't want to answer to anyone."
The princess unhooked one of her swords from her side, leaving it sheathed. She connected with his wrist with a light tap, and his sword was flung across the room. His wrist snapped back at an awkward angle. Still too much force.
"Don't point that at me. I'll ask again, are you working for the Mistress?"
The nobleman's face scrunched, clutching his wrist. "Who?" he hissed through his teeth.
The princess studied his face. He wasn't lying, unfortunately. Perhaps they were just rebelling on their own. Or, perhaps they didn't know they were being manipulated by that woman. Her imperial guard regathered before her, the remaining rebels on their knees in surrender. She glanced over them. Some of them were injured, but most of them were alive. No one she recognized.
"Question them," she ordered.
Their stories poured out readily, the mere wave of a weapon enough to make them talk. A disgruntled farmer, a cheated merchant, an insulted noble. The princess rubbed her forehead. These weren't people truly prepared for a revolt, they didn't know anything after all. Most of them could be let off after serving time, but the nobleman would have a more severe sentence. She waved her hand at her guard, and they stood down. No, it was better to let them go in order to track their movements. They might still lead her closer yet.
The princess finally approached the last man, who had his arms wrapped around his knees while making slight rocking motions. He had been like that since they captured them. Hopefully, waiting his turn would have made him more nervous, but something felt off.
The man looked up at her, breaking into a toothy grin. "You're asking about her, aren't you?"
Not quite the reaction she expected. She leant forward. "Yes."
His grin widened, and he covered his mouth with a dirty hand like he was telling her a secret. "You're no match for her."
Ryuko was suddenly in front of him, gripping his shirt. "Tell me everything."
The man threw back his neck in a high-pitched giggle.
The princess tapped Ryuko on the shoulder and he flinched. Then he exhaled, slowly loosening his grip and taking a step back.
"She's already moving… and you can't stop her, especially not a selfish princess like yourself," the man said, bits of saliva escaping his mouth. "And you're getting nothing more out of me!" He stuck out his tongue briefly, showing them a tiny round seed, then bit down on it.
Ryuko lunged again, shaking him violently. It was of little use, and in a few moments the man's head lolled to the side. Ryuko threw his limp body to the ground, cursing. "We could have had her!"
The princess shook her head. "I don't think so. He wasn't her underling, he was a fanatic. That woman wouldn't keep an unstable person like that close to her."
Kakeru nodded. "Indeed, the Mistress is far too clever."
"Or, this was deliberate. As if she's laughing at us," Ryuko shot back.
Cynric knelt beside the man, methodically checking him over. "His heart stopped."
Sara pursed her lips. "Only vythorn would cause a rapid death like that, and there are very few places you can find it in the empire. I'll talk to my father."
Ryuko glanced at the man in disgust. "Can't believe that woman would have admirers."
The princess pursed her lips. The poison was a message of either influence or resourcefulness. She looked at the man. His clothes were ragged and his hands told the story of a hard life's work. It was unlikely he had either. That woman could have given the poison to him, but it was too much of a gamble. She couldn't have known he wasn't going to spill more details than intended, or even take the poison in the first place.
Unless that woman is a…
The princess sucked in a breath. She looked at the body again, concentrating. It only took a moment, her spirit sight was as natural as breathing now. There it was. Traces of a broken thread, the soft violet glow fading into nothingness.
She took off, sprinting out the door. The thread was long gone, but that woman had to be nearby. Her eyes darted around, searching for the Mistress' presence. Nothing. She dashed around the area, covering every nearby street. Nothing. The princess leapt onto a roof, scanning the horizon. Running aimlessly wasn't going to help. She concentrated on expanding her range, feeling the presence of those around her. Still nothing.
The princess restrained the urge to stomp her foot. How could she have been so foolish? If the Mistress was one of those, everything would make sense. It couldn't be true though, there was only one of them left.
She sensed Ryuko behind her, but no one else she didn't recognize.
"Did you find anything?" he hissed.
The princess shook her head. "But come with me. There's one more person we need to recruit." Or rather, keep an eye on. She was doubtful that remaining person was the Mistress, but it was best to make sure.
The rest of her guard caught up with them.
"We released them as you asked," said Sara. "Kakeru is taking the nobleman into custody. I suspect we'll have created quite the stir tomorrow."
The princess nodded. The town criers would have no voice left by the end of the day. At least this part was going according to plan. Order had to be restored, and right now this was her only option.
In time, people would come to fear those who came in the night, those who came to silence the unworthy, to clean up the scum of the empire and vanish, leaving behind only what they wanted people to see—the Celestial Assassins.
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy The Dragon Princess (Empire of the Dragon Gods Book 1) On Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.