Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 004

SotUcoverWednesday nodded companionably, understanding perfectly that the child didn’t actually want to converse with him so much as he simply wanted someone to listen and make affirming grunts in all the right places.

Well did he know the feeling.

But as they walked along, Wednesday’s tooth started to tingle. Not the one that told the story of his tribe, nor the one that gave a brief history of the UnderWhere itself. No, it was his own personal tooth that was jangling in such a way as to make the fur on his face and arms stand up.

The child was completely foreign, and yet somehow familiar. And why had the Lord Mayor, out of all the UnderWherians he might have chosen, chosen him?

Beneath their feet, the path unwound in a litter of peculiar goldenrod-colored bricks and stones. At first, he’d been so preoccupied with the child that he hadn’t noticed, but now he squinted suspiciously down at the path.

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Mira Morganstein: The Pink Lemonade Club 004

Old Woman

MMCoverMira hugged her book of fairy tales to her chest, willing herself to fall between the pages into a land where fairies were real and goose girls could become princesses. Where fifth graders could be out doing heroic and magical things instead of being forced to endure fractions, decimals, and figuring out where Timbuktu lived on a map.

“Deep in the forest,” she whispered to herself, “lived two sisters. One as fair as the morning, the other dark as night. They lived with their mother in a forest glen, these two sisters: Rose Red and Snow White.”

Her backpack bumped comfortably against her as her stride and the story weaving itself through her mind and across her tongue all fell into rhythm. Her favorite time of the day, besides that silver hour when the world held its breath in between day and night, was the walk home from school.

It was then when she could be any princess she chose to, fall into any fairy tale she fancied, with no one to look over her shoulder or eye her disapprovingly from the front of the classroom. There were no chores for her to do—not yet—and her homework could wait.

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The Faerie Thief: The Ruby Queen’s Garden 004

TFTcover“A rebel, Your Majesty?” Gwyn winced. Her voice was at least an octave too high and a shade too weak.

The queen didn’t say anything; she just looked at Gwyn, her eyes the color of night and twice as unforgiving. Auburn curls fell in soft waves against her face, the only part of her that was gentle. The queen’s poppy-red skirts unfurled about her legs like petals that had bloomed to their fullest.

And she smiled with scarlet lips that hid hungry teeth.

The yellow rose twisted in Gwyn’s hand, and she wished she’d thought to hide it away the moment her cousin had given it to her. Hope and beauty didn’t last long in the Garden, not without the Ruby Queen’s permission.

Permission she never gave to anyone but herself.

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The Curious Leaf: Voyage to the Moon 004

TCL CoverKya closed her eyes and saw the moon’s country in all its unfettered glory. There was beauty and order, but as her mind’s eye rooted deeper, she saw a wildness hiding just below the surface. It was hungry as all great magicks are, but had the civility to use cutlery where it had it, and long, tapered fingers—slender, but strong—where it had none.

As she turned her mind’s eye to the gate, the silver leaves and star flowers swirled together into a long face with star fire eyes and slender teeth that jutted out of a too-wide mouth. It managed, somehow, to eye both her hand and herself with a hungry gleam, waiting patiently while it considered whether she was prey or hunter.

Kya gasped and opened her eyes. The gate stood with silver elegance, silent and toothless, but her gasp had been enough to turn a small key in the lock she hadn’t noticed before. The key chimed against the lock, and the gate swung open on well-greased hinges.

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Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 003

SotUcoverTo the average Underwherian, gillyhoppers were more myth than legend, which might be on account of how shy they were.

Fortunately, Wednesday’s family were the curious sort that were always wondering about the next hill over. They’d found a tribe of gillyhoppers in a forgotten spring in the center of a forgotten forest of stone. They went and visited the gillyhoppers every so often, but never let on they were doing anything more than casual adventuring in the name of curiosity.

That was the other thing Wednesday’s family was very good at: keeping secrets.

He stood next to the child and grinned at him in the most welcoming way he knew how. That is, to say, he bared his teeth so the child could see that he came from a good, if not particularly extraordinary family of a little less than average means. The stories were carved there on his teeth for all the world to see, and the child seemed to be studying them with interest.

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