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PROLOGUE 3rd PROLOGUE 1st CHAP 1 3rd CHAP 1 1st

Bookland Fantasy Fiction: Halden Prologue 3rd Person

There was nothing half so rewarding for Poppy Hart as a fist or a foot finding its mark. Sure, that was a strange thing to satisfy a seventeen-year-old girl, especially one who was a bit on the petite side, but there it was. And really, it wasn’t the only unusual trait the intrepid redhead possessed either. She was also a total nerd and science buff.

Even though her Uncle Zim had plenty of money, Poppy didn’t expect him to put her through college when she was smart enough to earn a scholarship, but every time she brought up college the man would merely frown and shake his head at her. “There is no need for you to concern yourself with the costs of your schooling, my dear. When the time comes for you to make such choices, it would be a small matter for me to provide the funds.”

Today had been no different when she’d brought the topic up. It was weird, but it almost felt like Zim didn’t really want Poppy to go to college at all, yet that was never precisely what he said. It just felt—well, implied. Clearly he seemed to have other plans for her once she graduated, but he had never bothered to enlighten her as to what they were.

But now, with only days until her eighteenth birthday and her graduation from Valor High, Poppy had hoped that her uncle might be more agreeable to discussing the future. When she’d talked to him that morning, however, he had seemed more cryptic than ever, and left her so frustrated that she truly looked forward to blowing off a bit of steam in the exhibition ring.

“Poppy, you’re up,” the coach called. “The opponent they’ve got you pitted against looks like a pretty big guy. You sure you’re up for this?”

She scoffed and raised a brow at him. “Coach Daniels, if you have to ask you clearly haven’t been paying much attention to all the progress I’ve made during my senior year, both academically and in your class.”

He smirked. “No, Miss Hart, I’ve watched every moment. I just don’t want you to get hurt. Much as you refuse to acknowledge that size matters when it comes to this sport, the truth is that guy could hurt you if he wants to, and their school and ours are huge rivals. There would be no dishonor in bowing out.”

“My uncle didn’t raise a quitter,” she replied. “I’m going in there and giving it all I’ve got.”

“That’s the spirit,” he told her. “Just remember, blocking is every bit as important as the attack. Don’t let this guy mess you up, all right?”

“Sure thing, coach,” she told him. “I’m all over it.”

Poppy did a bit of limbering up as she headed for the ring. Before she managed to reach it, however, about six black-clad, huge and imposing guys stepped into her path and arranged themselves in the most threatening manner possible. It was obviously her they were focused on since each one cast her a sinister glare.

“Whoa, who let the ninjas out?” Poppy scoffed as she pulled up short and adopted a fighting stance of her own. Behind her, she heard one of her team members shout to the others, and they all gathered around her within a matter of seconds, ready to help her if she needed them to.

“Who are these guys?” Becky asked close to Poppy’s ear as they waited to see what they would do.

“No clue,” Poppy admitted. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to let them jerk me around. Coach Daniels is about to ask them what they want. Let’s see what happens – but be ready for a fight. I don’t think these guys showed up just to pose.”

“Gentlemen, what’s the meaning of this?” Coach Daniels demanded, hands on his hips as he stepped between the thugs and the students.

“Stand aside, teacher,” said their apparent ringleader. “We’ve been searching for this girl for many years, and no mere human is going to prevent us from obtaining her now.”

He cocked his head in confusion. “What’s that supposed to mean? Are you guys totally cracked in the head or something? I’m not going to let you attack one of my students, so you can forget that. Just get out of here before I have you arrested. Don’t you know there are always four police officers on the school property each day?”

“Your law enforcement agents have already been dispatched,” he added smugly. “They were no match for one Krellin warrior, let alone a group of the Attan. Now step aside so we can tend to the job we came here for.”

Suddenly, Poppy’s uncle appeared in a puff of smoke, except he didn’t look anything like she remembered him. First, he’d changed out of his usual understated business suit and was instead dressed up like some sort of green ninja. He was also sporting a wicked sword which he clearly knew how to use.

“Uncle Zim?” Poppy exclaimed, staring at him.

“Get to the car, Poppy, right now,” he instructed. “There’s no way I’ll be able to explain this right now, and we’re going to need to get you out of here.”

“Screw that,” she complained. “I prefer to fight my own battles. You know that.”

“I’ll not allow you to fight a battle you haven’t been prepared for,” he insisted. “This is a battle that right now you cannot possibly win. Now go.”

Something told Poppy that she should listen to him. For one thing, the big, bad guys were no longer just standing there, but instead they’d started to fight. Both Uncle Zim and Coach Daniels stepped forward. Somehow or other, the coach was now holding one of those wicked swords as well, but though he was impressive, it was Zim who killed four of the attackers before the other two turned to retreat.

As she ran in the other direction to get to the car, Poppy overheard Zim say to Coach Daniels, “We can’t let them get away. We need to find out how they knew to come to Earth. You must tend to them while I tend to our girl.”

She shook her head, but didn’t let her confusion slow her down as she bolted out the back door, sprinted to the car, and locked herself inside of it. Not too much later Zim joined her there.

“What the hell is going on, Zim?” Poppy demanded. “Why are both you and Coach Daniels suddenly skilled swordsmen, and where did those damned ninjas come from?”

“They’re not ninjas,” Zim insisted. “And it’s a good thing we got your passport the other day because it looks like we’re headed to the airport two weeks sooner than I was anticipating.”

“Airport?” Poppy exclaimed. “What do you mean? I can’t leave, I’ve got graduation tomorrow morning.”

Zim rolled his eyes as he started driving. “Sorry to burst your bubble, princess, but you really are a princess, just not from this planet. Your true name is Princess Valima Salinan, daughter of King Ergon of Raavi, and those guys want you dead so you can’t return home to fulfill the prophesy.”

“What prophesy?” Poppy shouted, frustrated beyond belief. “Just spit it out already!”

“You’re destined to marry The Halden,” he said. “It’s not my place to explain these things, they are meant to be revealed to you by your father, who asked me to take you to Earth to keep you safe. But with your birthday just two weeks away…well, I suppose it was too much to ask that our enemies would not discover your location and try to prevent your homecoming.”

“And this is why you wouldn’t let me pick out a college, right?” Poppy asked in a disgruntled tone. “Because of some stupid betrothal I never even heard of? Well, that also explains why you refused to let me date, too. Wow, I really can’t believe this. This is the craziest thing I ever heard, Zim. Are you really even my uncle?”

“No, Your Highness, I’m not,” he admitted. “I am a servant in the services of King Hal, who agreed to see to your safety once the marriage bargain had been struck. But after all these years I sure hope you’ll keep thinking of me that way. Raising you was the best job I ever had.”

“Sure, Zim, just because you’ve lied to me my entire life in order to keep me safe doesn’t mean I think you’re crusty or anything,” she agreed, though there was a bit of sarcasm in her tone. “At least these guys didn’t show up when I was ten, before you agreed to start teaching me how to kickbox. Can I go out on a limb here and assume maybe you knew I might need the skill?”

Zim laughed. “Of course you will, Poppy. Getting married isn’t going to stop the enemy from wanting to harm or kidnap you. Even after the wedding, you’ll still need to keep at it. But The Halden will take charge of your training then. There are a great many other skills you can learn once you have returned to Zaadar.”

“God, this is so crazy,” she said, sighing. She was pretty sure she ought to be pissed off, and yet somehow she was filled with a sense of calm, as if she may have had some idea of her fate all along. “Well, I hope at the very least that this Halden guy is cute. And nice. Nice always works.”

“You’re taking this much better than I anticipated, Poppy,” Zim said. “I think you are going to make a most formidable queen someday.”

“I mean, I could freak out, but then you’d still take me to some other planet to get married anyway,” she pointed out. “It doesn’t make any sense to complain. If I stay here I’ll only get myself killed, and I’m kind of partial to the idea of checking out another world, even if I’m just exchanging one set of societal rules for another.”

“Excellent,” he said, nodding as he pulled into the lane for the airport. “I’m pleased you have remembered all my teachings.”



CURRENT FEEDBACK

Pretty cool my planet like that had fall colors that turned green before the leaves fell off and water creatures that jumped out and ate people if they got too close to the lake they lived in -- L.H.

This planet is very similar to Earth, that's why they are linked in the first place. But I would like your idea in a different story -- Robin

That is a wonderful prologue, Robin. Love it. It leaves things wide open. Well, with a few guidelines. I like that Poppy gal. She is perceptive and takes no shit.-- W.B.

Thanks, I'm looking forward to writing this story...if I can find the time to work on it!



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