“The Cygnet grows into a Swan...and the Falcon shall not hunt forever.”
Teenage Sheiji-Yueng is the youngest prince in the Imatsuran palace. Accustomed to complete freedom and being ignored by the rest of the palace inhabitants, he has little need—or desire—to grow up. When his father, on his deathbed, unexpectedly names him successor to the throne, Sheiji must cross the line from childhood into adulthood. Guided by the gentle hand of the late king’s advisor, Sheiji finds himself looking forward to the day he will rule Imatsuro. However, two jealous brothers stand in the way and won’t give up the kingdom without a fight.
Forced to flee for his life, Sheiji is suddenly driven into the outside world with little knowledge of its people or customs. As a pampered prince, Sheiji has never needed the skills his life now depends upon—quick thinking, innate instincts, even just the will to survive. Beginning to enjoy his new life a little too much, he must make a decision. Does he continue his carefree life as a street boy with his newfound soul mate, or return to his own people who are counting on their king to save them from a tyrannical usurper?
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Hauptmann Fritz Schneider trudged wearily through the somber aisles of the dark forest. Sweat rolled down his bullet head and stood upon his heavy jowls and bull neck. His lieutenant marched beside him while Underlieutenant von Goss brought up the rear, following with a handful of askaris the tired and all but exhausted porters whom the black…