“No, not here! Not now!” Mina turned to run off the floor.

Brody called out after her, but she didn’t stop, didn’t slow down. She just kept running. Tears started to fall as she realized the implications of what she was doing. She ran through the foyer, toward the exit, aiming to get out of the building and onto the golf course behind the club. Somewhere where there were less people.

She never made it. Her shoes sparkled and the lights flickered faster. She picked up the hem of her dress and barely made it down the first few steps when Brody burst through the doors in a panic, as if he too realized what the Cinderella story really entailed. He would lose her.

And—with the Story in charge—he might not find her.

“Mina!” Brody yelled from the top of the stairs.

She stopped running. “Stay back, Brody.” Mina stood on the bottom step, holding her hands up warning him away.

“Don’t go,” he said. “Please.” He looked heartbroken.

“I have to. I have no choice.” The tinkling sound grew more intense, and a piercing white light surrounded her, cutting off her view of Brody. One minute, she saw him mouthing her name and reaching for her. The next—he was gone.

Chapter 19

Mina refused to move until her eyes adjusted from the flash of light.

Right before she’d transported, she heard a loud sucking noise followed by a small pop. She could only imagine what being pulled through time would do to her nervous system. Her limbs tingled from the rush of returning blood as if her whole body had fallen asleep. Tall spindly forms began to come into focus around her.



Where had she ended up? When? Teeth chattering uncontrollably, Mina wondered how the whole time travel thing actually worked. Had she gone into a hyper sleep? Broken down into energy particles, beamed somewhere else, and rematerialized like on Star Trek? The sheer thought of it all scared her. She was just grateful to be alive and in one piece.

She tried to take a step, but her body seized up in pain and she had to grab onto a nearby tree for stability. Her hands were cold as ice, but she tried to continue moving. She didn’t know how much time she had, but she figured she needed to find Jacob and Wilhelm. This whole curse had started with them, so maybe if she could find them and warn them about the Fae plane, she could convince them never to set foot there. Maybe, just maybe, she could end the curse before it ever began. Then the brothers would never catch the eye of the Fae or the Reapers. And her family would be safe.

But what if Schumacher’s shoes didn’t take her to the right time? What if she didn’t land in Germany—or anywhere in the vicinity of where she needed to be to save the Grimm Brothers? She tried to keep herself together and not fall into hysterics. She really should start thinking things through before she agreed to these plans.

Wait, she had thought them through. She said no! Look how well that didn’t work.

She blinked and studied the mossy pine forest around her. Her eyes had adjusted enough that she could try and make it out of the woods to look for a road. If she could find a highway, it might lead to a town where she could get more information.

A few steps told her it would be a difficult journey. Her glass slippers were impossible to walk in, and the heels kept sinking into the soft earth.

She gathered the skirt of her dress, watching her step carefully. She made it to a clearing and looked up into the night sky, hoping to see the North Star.

“Oh crud.” Mina was on the verge of breaking down. The night sky was alit in a glorious display of stars, but—unlike her stars on Earth—these were moving and shooting across the black expanse. Something that wouldn’t happen on her plane. At least not to the extent that it looked like a never-ending display.

Which meant she was on the Fae plane.

Mina found a stump and sat down to take off her shoes. It may not have been the smartest thing to do, but she could move faster without them. Gripping the glass slippers in one hand and holding up her dress in the other, she started walking.

The moonlight shed a bit of light in the woods. Mina had no clue what direction she was heading, since she couldn’t find a single point in the night sky that would stay put long enough for her to get her bearings.

Suddenly, an immense shadow flickered on the ground as something passed over her. She froze in her steps and waited, counting to thirty before she continued on. When the shadow passed over her a second time, she ducked underneath the canopy of the nearest tree. Mina tried to calm her nerves and scan the sky for the owner of the shadow, but her silent predator made no sound. Staying beneath the branches of the trees, she kept moving. She needed to either find shelter or lose whatever was tracking her. The size of the shadow filled her mind with the worst possible man-eating-beast scenarios.

Her canopy came to an end. She’d have to run without cover to the next copse of trees. Gripping the shoes close to her chest, she counted to three and took off running across the meadow.

She heard it before she saw it. The screech of her pursuer was the only warning, a sound so terrifying it made her body tremble. She looked up to see an immense red-gold griffin bearing down on her from above, its front claws outstretched to maim her. She threw up her hands to protect her face just as something dark darted out from a nearby tree and knocked the griffin out of the sky. Mina felt the barest touch of the griffin’s wings across her back as she dove to the ground.

Her rescuer swooped back into the clearing—another griffin. The much larger red-gold griffin veered right and pulled up into the sky again, driven off course by the smaller griffin. Its feathers were gray, fading to black along the hindquarters. The dark griffin flicked its feline tail, while its bird-like head screeched at its airborne enemy. Then, it landed right in front of her. Up close, the griffin was terrifying—a four-legged beast with the hindquarters of a powerful lion and the giant flesh-ripping talons of a bird. Enormous gray and black wings extended from the powerful predator’s back.

Mina was frozen in terror, lying on the ground in front of the black griffin. Its scorching breath heated her face, and she tried to not show fear.

The powerful beats of the golden griffin’s wings thundered in the air around her as it tried again to attack her from above. But the black griffin screeched and opened its wings wider, claiming her as its own.

Mina was too terrified to scream or run. She just stayed low and waited for the ensuing battle over who got to eat her for dinner.

The golden griffin wouldn’t back down and kept calling out in challenge from the sky. Twice more it feinted toward her, veering away at the last moment, trying to draw out the black griffin. The third time, the predator flew even higher, tucking its wings to its side with its talons extended, prepared to attack.

Mina watched in wide-eyed astonishment as the black griffin’s feathers grew lighter and it shifted into a smaller form. Before her eyes, the tail disappeared along with the wings, until a young man stood before her, protecting her. He turned his face upward and held his strong arms outward, challenging the griffin.

When the giant griffin saw the man, he squawked in fear and pulled up. Ungainly and clearly disappointed, it flew away into the moving starry sky with its tail between its legs.

“I’m sorry about that,” the young man spoke up. “The griffins are allowed to hunt these grounds freely. When, they’re hungry, they tend to forget their manners and will fight over food. Sometimes they need to be reminded that a Royal is never to be undermined.” He kneeled down and gave her a brilliant smile, offering a hand to help her up. “Are you okay? You shouldn’t be out in the Fates’ woods unescorted. It’s much too dangerous. And, Milady, where is your coach?” He looked around and waited for her to explain her sudden appearance.

Most Popular