Mina ran and climbed up the nearest book ladder, and then clambered up on top of the shelves. From there, she could see both ogres as they stalked her below. The shelves were at least twenty feet in the air, and the ogres were at least ten feet tall. She kicked the ladder away from the wall and calmed the Grimoire flame. The second ogre had come close and was staring up at her with a strange, almost human expression. In appearances they were almost identical, but the first one was bit larger.

The first ogre shook the bookshelf and tried to climb it to get up to her, but the shelves easily broke beneath his weight. The main bookshelf, anchored into the wall, held. Thank goodness.

Mina kept her back to the wall and quickly sidestepped along the top until she rounded a corner and was briefly out of sight. Mina gauged the distance between herself and the next stand-alone bookshelf. It appeared to be about three feet wide and spanned a quarter of the room, but it was at least a five foot jump.

She took the chance and leapt.

Almost! Her left foot slipped, and she found herself dangling from the side. Mina scrambled to pull herself up, because she could hear the approaching footsteps of the second ogre. She rolled onto her back, pulled up her skirt, pressed the Grimoire to her side, and waited.

Not only could she hear the heavy breathing of the ogre, but the smell of onions wafted up to her from down below. Onions? Why was she only smelling onions now, and not before? The ogre paused briefly right below her, and she waited for him to knock her down from her hiding place. Instead, it moved on, making an odd grumbling noise in its throat. Was that laughter?

The first ogre wasn’t as amused. He now made inhuman noises and thrashed about in fury as he tried to climb up the wall of shelves.

The onion smell grew stronger. She carefully turned her head to the left to see the second large ogre sitting on the next row over, watching her. How had he made it to the top without knocking it over? She grabbed the Grimoire, and jumped up in alarm. The book lit up in a fiery blaze and morphed into a sword again, revealing her hiding spot.

The first ogre cried out in triumph and ran straight toward her. The floor vibrated beneath her.

The second one still sat precariously on the bookshelf—unmoving.

One ogre attacking in front, one watching her from behind. She had to choose her course of action.


She turned to face the one from below as he crashed into the bookshelf, clearly intending to knock it over with her on it. His beefy arms strained as he pushed and roared. Mina jumped onto the ogre’s wide gray speckled shoulders. She started to slide down, but turned and used the sword to gouge his back.

He fell into the bookshelf, howling, and it took a moment for him to regain his stance and face her. But by this time, Mina was ready for him. He was wounded and struggling. The flaming sword diminished, shifting into the Grimoire. A golden light poured out from within as she opened the pages and turned the book upon the ogre.

He flung his arms up to block the blinding light coming from the book. A strange but wonderfully familiar wind picked up. Books and loose pages flew around the room as the ogre roared again, desperate to keep from being drawn into the book.

But no one could fight the Grimoire. Like the other evil Fae before him, he was sucked into the prison-like pages. And once the Grimoire had entrapped him, the book closed and fell to the ground with a thud. The wind ceased, and the room seemed darker once the book had closed.

Mina picked up the Grimoire and placed it on her lap, her fingers touching it gently. To once again have it within her hands! She felt whole.

Until the ground rumbled as the second ogre loomed over her, its oniony breath wafting down on her from above.

“Hello, Teague.” Mina exhaled, not even bothering looking at him. “Did you enjoy the show?”

The ogre made that odd snorting noise again, and light illuminated him as he shrank and shifted until only Teague was standing in front of her. He was indeed laughing. “That was incredible. I’ve never seen anyone do what you just did. The others didn’t even have the brains to run and hide, much less fight back. One girl sang him to sleep and another went invisible, but I had to intervene each time to save them. To entomb it within a book! Ingenious. Now there will be a delay as the guards must bring in another ogre for the next test. But really, what gave you the idea? I would like to look at this book of yours more closely.” He gestured at the Grimoire with a question in his eyes.

She didn’t see a reason to deny him, so she shrugged her shoulders and handed him the leather bound book. His face was full of awe until he recognized the journal. The smile quickly fell. “Why this one?”

“It was a matter of convenience. I didn’t have much time to choose, and it was lying open on the table.”

“Did you read it?” he accused.

She rolled her eyes at him. “Really, how much time do you think I had while running for my life?”

When he continued to look at her, she finally relented. “Only the words on the last page.”

He turned from her and tucked the book back under his arm. Then, he looked around the room and whistled. “Well, you are the also the one to cause the greatest destruction.” He waved his hand in the air. The books flew back onto their shelves, the table righted itself, and the chairs slid back into their spots.

When he was finished, the library looked as immaculate as when she first entered. All evidence of her fight was erased.

Teague turned back to her and tilted his head to the side. “How did you know?” The Grimoire still remain tucked at his side.

“Know? Know what?”

“That I was the other ogre. That one was real and one was fake.”

“I’ll tell you if you give me the Grimoire back.” She held out her hand.

“Grimoire? This is my personal journal, and you are not getting it back. Not even if you give it pretty nicknames.”

She shot him an un-amused look. She should have known he wouldn’t give it back to her, and now she was peeved that she’d been dumb enough to give it to him in the first place.

“You haven’t answered my question.”

“What?” She seethed, feeling like she’d lost something precious to her once again. She was ready to cry.

Teague saw that she was distressed and moved closer, gently placing a hand under her chin. He brought her eyes up so they’d lock onto his. “How did you know it was me? Why did you not try to entrap me within the book?”

Why hadn’t she? Tears pooled in her eyes, and she wanted to pull away from him. Thankfully, she got them under control before a waterfall appeared on her face.

“It’s just something about you…I mean that I remember…” And she halted. How could she explain that she recognized his ogre shape? It was the same one she’d seen Jared shift into, and he’d smelled of onions in that form. “I had seen you shift before.”

“Oh that’s right. In the forest. But you saw me shift into a griffin, not an ogre. So there’s no reason to believe that I’d be the ogre as well. Only Baldanders can willingly shift into multiple forms, but they’re rare. You can go a whole lifetime without seeing one. They’re extremely shy.”

Mina wanted to laugh. That wasn’t how she’d describe Anders. “You’re a Royal. All Royals can shift to any form at will.”

“Who told you that?” His voice dropped an octave and glared at her. “No one knows about that gift but Royals.” His eyes darkened and his breathing quickened. “Who are you working for? Why are you here?” The accusations shot out of him, and he stormed toward her, making her retreat until she was backed against a bookshelf.

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