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“Thian is a world with magic.” Bastien stood, making his way over to the window. “It’s the reason we’re here.” He thought back to his own arrival, and how complicated it had been. Lottie seemed to be taking it all much better, but then there was no way for him to know what she was truly thinking or feeling. “Someone who’s given the chance to call Thian home is here because the world wanted to give them another chance to live out the life they should have had.” Running his tongue over his lips he turned to look at her. “You do know how you’re here, don’t you?”

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Travelling from one world to another is something I have never much enjoyed. People judge me based on what they see, and, of course, what they see is only a tiny part of who I am. My clothes might not be the newest fashions, but they keep me safe from the things I know I’ll be dealing with when I finally get to Deotis. I’d rather be protected than look good. Of course that tells them I’m a treasure hunter, which means, obviously, I have no morals. I am willing to do whatever I have to in order to get whatever it was I was hired to get. Yet, to me, that defines a thief, and I’m not a thief. I would say I’ve never stolen anything from anyone, but that would be a lie. I have to admit I have stolen, from the bodies of people who would have killed me had I not killed them first, and I don’t have any regrets about that choice. Sometimes it’s been the only way I was able to survive.

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Equinox couldn’t stop herself from staring out of the window. She knew it wasn’t a good idea, it never was, but she hadn’t yet found the strength to stop herself from doing it. At the same time as usual a group of three girls walked past her house, and she watched them wistfully. They were all normal teenagers while she was one of the Seen. No one outside the family and the Seen Council even knew she existed. It hurt to watch them because they got a chance to live their own lives while everything she did, especially the books she read, had to be vetted by her Watcher. Some days she imagined what it would be like to be one of them. A normal girl with a normal life. When she had the window open it was possible to hear them complain about how boring their lives were, and she always felt the same disappointment. They couldn’t see what they had. They didn’t know how lucky they really were. Their mundane life was the thing she wanted more than anything else, but they wanted something more, something better, when their lives were so much better than hers.

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There were two things Claire noticed as she made her way around the hotel – it was empty of guests, and it was far bigger on the inside than it was on the outside. Knowing the fae the latter was to be expected, but the former was unsettling. Earning a living from something like a hotel meant having guests, although it was possible Bran’s death… the story he’d told her wasn’t easy to believe, and yet it was one she’d heard so many times. People who’d never thought for a moment they might have fae blood were finding that, actually, something had happened in the past that had led to that being a possibility. Sighing, she raked a hand through her hair. Her blood meant she was the one to inherit the hotel. Her blood meant she was probably going to be stuck with the place until she died.


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The call had drawn her to what appeared to be a school. After everything she’d been through Astrid knew better than to think what she was seeing was what she was actually going to be dealing with. She wouldn’t have been called if there wasn’t something unusual going on. Biting hard on her lip, her heart pounding in that way it always did when she found herself standing close to a lot of magic, she gave herself a moment to think things through. Just running in, as much as she wanted to, wasn’t going to do her any good, so she took a few steps backwards, in the hope it would help. It didn’t. Whatever was in that school was strong, and strong often meant dangerous. Raking a hand through her hair she thought about the stories she’d heard while she was in town.

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I am Hestia. Well, most of the time I am anyway, but that isn’t important right now. Our names never are, when we first make the decision to connect with someone, as we want to give them a chance to get to know us first, before they start learning something about who we aren’t. That is the major problem with the myths that surround us – they are more about who someone wanted us to be and less about the people we actually are, which is part of the reason we’ve chosen to be a part of this, because it would have been easy enough for us to walk away. For a while I was going to, thinking that it wasn’t possible for someone to really write down what I wanted them to, but so far this does seem to be working. It’s a nice surprise and I can feel how uncomfortable she is writing this.

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With Riordan gone Tegan looked at her parents. They looked back at her, and it was easy to see the worry in their eyes. She hadn’t been careful enough. If she had been she never would have been found, but there was nothing she could do to change what had already happened. It was done. All she could do was accept it, while trying to work out what her next step was going to be, because the one thing she knew for certain was that the fae were not going to be happy about the existence of those who could walk the worlds. Everyone knew they hated not being in control. Anyone who knew anything about the Web of worlds was certain they were never going to be in control. They’d used magics they didn’t truly understand, and those magics were already changing on them.

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Ace had visited the house every night for six months. He’d started on the night of Rebecca’s 18th birthday, and every time he walked in the door he gave her parents a look. She knew the look meant that they were meant to have told her something, but she was glad they hadn’t. There was something about him, probably the whole vampire thing, that terrified her, so the last thing she wanted to hear was that they’d sold her to him. It was something she’d heard stories about, even though she didn’t quite believe they were true, and she really didn’t want the proof to change her life.

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Crying again wasn’t going to change anything. Anastasia pushed aside the emotions, doing her best not to think about how things might be for her sister, and instead focused on Lauren. Of course she was surprised to find Woody was gone. The last time she visited he was still pretending he was normal, still making it seem like he was the man he had always been, still doing his best not to push her into doing something it was obvious she didn’t want to do, even though that pretence had quickly faded once she was gone. After that his emotions had been all over the place. He didn’t believe that she didn’t want to join with them. Like so many things he’d been able to blame the World Government for her choice, wanting to believe she was trapped by them. Forcing her to stay would be nothing more than rescuing her.

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There was only one person who would knock on my door at 3am. For a moment I lay in bed, hoping he’d go away, but then he knocked again. “Lily.” His voice was little more than a whisper, but I could hear him like he was right beside me. “Come on, little sister. I need you.”

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Aeron was certain they were making a huge mistake. He glanced at the souls that were sitting in crystal jars on the side, trying not to let the sight of them get to him. Under normal circumstances they would have used second-hand souls, who had already lived at least three lives, from fae who had volunteered. Making a whole new race of people wasn’t normal circumstances, because the new Queen was family and wanted to experiment with her abilities, so they’d created new souls too, which was… he shook his head. It shouldn’t have been done, and he no longer wanted to be part of the experiment, but he had no choice. His Queen had given the command that it was time to try to place a soul within one of the newly created dragon bodies.

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When Nate walked in with Adrianna on his arm I knew exactly what he, and his brother, were doing. Had it not been for Richard Nate would never have known who she was. That would have been better for everyone involved. Seeing the pain in her eyes when she realised the man she loved was betraying her… had I been anyone else I would have been able to comfort her, but I wasn’t. She didn’t trust me, and that I understood. I was the Duke of West, a title that came with certain connotations that I’d done nothing to dispel when I inherited it, knowing that they would help me in the future. People who looked at me saw my father’s son. People who got to know me quickly realised I was nothing like my father. Adrianna didn’t know me. There was a chance she would never see past the person I pretended to be.

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As the House came closer Diggory slowed. Emmett glanced at him, before turning his attention back to the woman they were mostly carrying between them. Even though Diggory had the strength to carry her alone it was better that he didn’t, because the wound was enough for him to want to feed from her, and after all the hard work they’d done neither of them really wanted him to do something he would later regret. “We made this decision together.”

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Tears streamed down her cheeks, but Amelia knew she was doing the right thing. It would keep her family safe, which was the most important thing, and no one would be able to find her. At least that was what she had been told. Going underground, into a sanctuary that had always been used by people like her, was the only logical thing to do, even though she had no idea what would happen then. After one last hug, her mother crying just as hard as she was, she walked away from the people she loved.

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No matter how strong you were dealing with the walking dead was never a simple proposition. I fought, the way I always had, but I was tired. Being tired was what had killed my companions, and I wasn’t going to join them. Killing all of them, which might not even be possible, wasn’t something I needed to do, but creating myself a path was. With every kill I took another step forward, another step out of the pack I’d found myself trapped in the middle of. I felt like I was going to get out, at least until some of the fallen stood again. Of course they did. Right when I was close to freedom. For a moment, I’ll admit, I thought about giving up, but I couldn’t. I had to keep going.

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Every report Thomar read seemed worse than the one before. Sighing, he looked out of the window, seeing his city untouched by the illness, and realised, the same way his parents and brothers must have, that their only hope was the Magi. Convincing the Magi to help them seemed impossible. It had been centuries since the Magi had been kept as slaves, yet they still hated the Carne for what their ancestors had done. He didn’t know how he’d feel if he was in their position, even though he hoped that he would have been able to forgive and forget, but he accepted their hatred because he could easily imagine hating the Magi if things had been the other way round.

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The bathroom seemed the best place to go. I could feel the spell wrapping around me, and I tried to breathe as it tightened around my rib cage. It wasn’t the easy thing I’d ever had to do. Whatever had been used made me want to curl up on the floor and sleep, but I knew that letting the spell get the better of me was going to be a mistake. Then my cousin would grab me the way he’d been threatening to since he realised what I could do, because he needed me for the next step in his plan to take over the world. Laughing at him when he asked me for help probably hadn’t helped things.

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There was a light. I remember that better than anything else. I felt it drawing me towards it, in such a way I knew I wouldn’t have been able to stop what was coming from happening, and then I stepped into it. I glanced over my shoulder, at the car in the ditch and my body. I was dead, so, logically, wherever I found myself must have been the afterlife. Yet, when I looked around, I found I was surrounded by tall trees, which made me think I was in a forest… and I definitely wasn’t expecting there to be a forest in the afterlife. Slowly I looked around, trying to work out where I was. At the same time I wasn’t entirely certain I wanted to know. I was definitely dead. I couldn’t have survived the crash.

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The first thing Melody noticed was the sound of snoring. At first she wasn’t really awake, so she thought it was the end of a dream, because she was sure she could remember her car going into a tree and a vampire saving her life. It seemed so utterly impossible that even when she was awake enough to open her eyes that she couldn’t quite believe that she could hear snoring. Being able to hear someone snoring, when it wasn’t something she would normally hear in her bedroom, could mean only one thing. Her dream hadn’t been a dream. Slowly, breathing deeply in an attempt to stop herself from panicking, she sat up and stared down at the vampire who had saved her life.

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Father was never the sort of man who felt the need to explain the orders he was giving me and he didn’t when he sent me to Ildieu with a scroll in my hand that described how to create a sanctuary using blood magic. The mages of Ildieu didn’t use blood magic, because they’d lost all knowledge of it when they willingly removed their own memories, so no one would know how bad things had become. Unfortunately we didn’t know anywhere near as much about blood magic as we once did, either, after our libraries were burnt down during the wall. All we’d ended up with was a few left over scrolls, most of which were no use to anyone at all. Maybe, if Father had told me he didn’t have any idea of what would happen to me if I used that magic, I never would have created the Hollow. Being immortal was never something that I wanted. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened to me when I used a magic I didn’t know enough about – and in the end it was my own stupid fault.

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The Many Worlds of K. A. Webb

July 2017

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