Dark Prophet by K.N. Lee
The Chronicles of Koa #2
Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Book Two of the Best-Selling Novel, The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld
Not all vampires are created equal…
Koa is a half-blood vampire with not only the ability to fly, but survive in the sun’s light. She will do anything to protect her mother, and break her curse. The demon, Bund, wants more than her mother’s life. He wants something from Koa, a power that she doesn’t even know she has, and will rip through as many humans as he can to get her to surrender.
Agent Koa Ryeo-won, and her boss, Halston, formed a crew of supernatural agents to stop Bund. But is a prophet, a temptress, a War-Breeder, a half-blood with an enchanted sword, and a few angels enough to stop what Bund has planned?
In the midst of a war between the humans of the mortal world, and the creatures of the Netherworld, Koa discovers the truth of her past. She finds herself torn between two men, and in the center of everything. Faced with all of her returned memories, Koa also finds herself more powerful than ever. Being a half-blood is hard enough, but what exactly is Koa’s other half?
The truth can save…or destroy everything.
Will the Netherworld Division stand behind Koa once they learn her secret?
Chapter 1 of K.N. Lee’s young adult fantasy, Academia of the Beast!
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Koa frowned down at her body. A red dress. Koa hated red, but she did not have a choice. Like the blood that Koa had spilled the night before when she had been cut with a glowing dagger, the dress was dark and rich.
Ceremonies such as this were normal in the Netherworld. The wound on her white wrist healed before her eyes. Within minutes, the ceremony was complete, the tests were run, and it was confirmed that she was indeed the daughter of Alsand Vangelis, the vampire king of Elyan.
Only hours ago, Koa was awakened by a team of violet-eyed women tugging at her limbs. They washed her in scalding hot water, scrubbed her raw with oils, and slathered creams onto her snow-white skin. They straightened her thick black hair and painted her face with colors that Koa only thought older women were allowed to wear. Then, she had been dressed.
In a gaudy red wedding gown… at the age of twelve.
Koa wanted to run from the black temple that she and her father had slept in. On the side of a mountain, the temple faced the back of the dark kingdom that was meant to be her prison for an eternity. She wanted to break free from the parade of attendants sent to accompany her and fly home.
The human world seemed so far away.
No one understood just how much she did not want to do this. This wasn’t to be a human wedding, but a Netherworld wedding… a vampire wedding.
Koa scrunched up her nose as she looked down at the billowing gown, littered with sparkling crystals and black taffeta. She looked like a gothic spin on a Disney princess.
Vampire Barbie, she thought to herself.
Even at such a young age, Koa knew she did not fit the role of such a character. She was not a doll or a character from the books she read. She closed her eyes and tried to calm her nerves.
Like boiling acid, anxious feelings churned within her stomach, making her feel like she might faint, or worse… vomit at any moment.
How embarrassing that would be, Koa thought as she chewed her lip. She grimaced. Her lips tasted horrible, like tar. She’d almost forgotten that she was covered in makeup like a clown. Her small hands shook and she wanted to cry. It took all of her strength to keep the tears from escaping and causing an even bigger scene. With hot cheeks she held her breath, and prayed for an escape.
Koa was afraid of this dark place, where neither the sun nor moon existed. The entire population was composed of millions of creatures that would have given normal girls nightmares. “Nephilim” is what her father called them. The spawn of fallen angels. King Alsand was a nephilim. Koa was as well.
She was glad that her father was by her side. He never let go of her hand. With her free hand, Koa tugged at the high collar of her gown. She groaned. The black lace made the skin on her throat itch.
Koa looked up at her father. She was small, and her father always looked like such a giant to her. King Alsand walked regally by her side. He commanded such attention. With his head held high, his face depicted an air of authority. Together, they walked at the head of the procession through the wide streets of Lyrinia, while the citizens watched in uneasy silence.
Netherworld vamps, War-Breeders, Jems, Syths, and even ghouls came out of their hiding spots to catch a glimpse of the mysterious half-blood princess.
Koa tried not to stare back at the horrific creatures all around. The sound of metal and robotic buzzing noises caught her attention as a quad of Scayors entered the crowd. Everyone stepped aside to let them through to the front. Like metallic giants, slim, and sleek, the Scayors patrolled the event like silent police. Their eyes cast a dim green glow over what they scanned.
She shuddered when their gaze lingered on her. She feared that they were reading her thoughts and knew that she was afraid of them. That was one thing that Koa hated, the admission of fear. Even the monk-like Syths scared her. They were big, pale, creatures with bald heads and faces covered in tattoos.
Lightning broke out and everyone looked up to the sky. Koa clutched her father’s arm and paused.
He smiled down at her. “Don’t worry, Koa. It’s not a real sky, my love. That is simply the ground of another Netherworld level. I believe they are having a battle up there.”
Koa’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the dismal black sky. Lightning struck again, but it wasn’t the kind of lighting that she was used to. It was green and took the shape of various symbols as it faded into the dark. To think that they were only on one of the many levels of the Netherworld, and that entire civilizations and kingdoms were going about their business with little to no care about what an important day this was for Lyrinia was too much for young Koa to grasp.
When she looked back down, she saw that everyone had returned their attention to her. Vampire women and men stared at her. They were the only creatures that she wasn’t fearful of. Father had various vampires over at the manor from time to time, but none of them looked as picturesque as these Netherworld vamps.
Painted faces stared at her. The vampire women were the most beautiful women that Koa had ever seen, and yet none compared to her mother’s simple and natural beauty. These women were like painted dolls who she imagined tipping over and watching crack into pieces of porcelain.
Koa noticed how they seemed to be separated into groups. The red lipsticks on the left and the black lipsticks on the right. Koa didn’t know if it was simply a fashion trend or something more, but all of the women wore the most elaborate gowns and jeweled arrangements on their perfectly sculptured hairdos.
They watched her, unblinking, unsmiling. She could see the judgment in their eyes.
“Father,” Koa breathed. She looked away from their violet eyes and clutched her father’s arm.
King Alsand looked down at her. His green eyes were serious today. “What is it, darling?”
Koa looked ahead at the sparkling golden palace before them. The golden plates along the palaces walls shimmered and reflected all of the light from the Disc Moon, the artificial moon of the Netherworld. Her voice was caught in her throat. Something felt odd and yet she felt drawn to the palace. It stood out like a candle in the dark and pulled her in, as if by magic, like a moth to a porch light.
Koa’s face paled. This was the place that would be her new home. King Greggan’s teenage son, Prince Jax, would be her new husband.
Koa stopped. The guards that were leading them looked back and seemed ready to seize her and force her forward.
King Alsand leaned down to her ear. “What’s wrong?”
“I want to go home.”
Her father patted her hand and when one of the Syth guards stepped forward, he whipped out the Lyrinian sword with lightning speed. Everyone drew in a breath and stepped back as they beheld its power. The ring of steel rang throughout the air. It pulsed, audibly, and visibly as the red glow made the air heat and crackle.
Even Koa held her breath as her eyes shot to the Lyrinian blade.
King Alsand’s raptor-like glare burned into the guards, warning them to keep their distance. He didn’t have to say a word. The red glow of the black blade was enough to make the large brutish creatures rethink their actions.
King Alsand waited a moment longer, making sure that they knew how serious he was. Koa had only trained with that sword once. The power was too great for her now, but one day it would be hers.
She flinched when her father’s glare landed on her. “Koa, this is your home.”
Koa shook her head, but avoided his eyes. She looked around. The air was stale, not like the fresh, fragrant air of France. The sky was dark, lit only by the Disc Moon that cast different colors across the land whenever the hour changed.
She missed the moon of Earth. She missed the sun, the trees, and the flowers. The Netherworld felt like a nightmare from which she would never awaken. No matter what color the day was in the Netherworld, it was always too dark for her. Koa’s father didn’t understand her love for daylight, for he had never seen real daylight.
The sun’s rays would kill him just as surely as it would kill any vampire, Netherworld or New World. Koa was the only exception and she wished that he would at least try to understand.
“You are half Netherworld vamp, Koa,” her father gave her hand a squeeze. “This is where you belong, amongst your people.”
“I am also half human.”
King Alsand looked down at her and pursed his lips. His eyes hid something from her.
Koa tried to soften her voice and sound as sweet as possible. “Bring mother here, and maybe I won’t feel so homesick,” Koa reasoned, her green eyes hopeful.
King Alsand shook his head, but his features softened for her. “My darling girl. You will see that this is the place for you. You belong here with your people. The treaty has already been signed.” He leaned closer to her ear and whispered. “Your mother cannot come here Koa. She is safe in the mortal world. If we do not fulfill our side of the treaty, she will be in danger. Now, is that what you want?”
Her lips trembled. She shook her head quickly. Just the thought of someone harming her mother made her feel sick. She didn’t know what she would do if she lost that sweet, loving, woman.
She looked into her father’s eyes.
“Do you understand what I am telling you?”
Koa nodded. She understood, but she still didn’t agree with what was happening.
Alsand smiled and stroked her pale white cheek.
“But I don’t want to do this,” Koa whispered.
Alsand’s smile faded, but his eyes didn’t turn cold on her as she expected. He knelt down to her level and cupped her cheek.
“I know, my dear girl, but sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to… to protect those that we love.”
“May I?” Faun asked of Alsand.
Alsand nodded and Faun gathered her white skirts in one hand and scampered over to fix Koa’s long black hair. Koa didn’t take her eyes from her father’s. She hoped that he would see how miserable she was.
Koa ignored Faun as she examined her face with violet eyes. She was adamant about making sure that Koa’s part was perfectly straight and that her hair fell in long ringlets.
“Smile,” she said.
Koa twisted her mouth. “I don’t want to.”
Faun put her hands on her bony hips. She scrunched up the space between her thin brows as she narrowed her eyes at Koa. “Just do it. It’s only for a second.”
Koa rolled her eyes and faked a quick smile.
“That wasn’t so hard, now was it?” Snickering, she gathered her skirts in her hand. “You have red lipstick on your teeth,” she said and returned to her place in the procession behind Koa and her father.
Frustrated, Koa rubbed her teeth with her finger. She knew just how ridiculous she looked. Black liner, red lips, and rosy cheeks.
Alsand locked arms with Koa. He leaned close and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He lowered his voice into a whisper. “Remember, never mention that you can walk in the sun. Never.”
Koa swallowed and squeezed her eyes shut. “I know, father. You don’t have to keep reminding me.”
“Good,” he stood back to his full height. His eyes widened and he leaned down again. “Or that you can fly.”
Koa nodded, her head down. “Yes, I know.”
He pinched her cheek. “Good. Shall we continue, darling?”
“I don’t know, father.” Koa couldn’t bring herself to look at her father again. “Is there anything else that you want to remind me not to say or do?” Her eyes were burning from the tears that threatened to gush forth.
Alsand noticed and simply shook his head. He patted her hand.
She hung her head. Once again, they were walking down the black stone walkway that led to the gate and stone doors of the Lyrinian palace.
Koa’s heart pattered against her ribcage. She felt like she might have an anxiety attack. So many eyes staring. So much anticipation in the air.
Those golden gates that she’d been staring at for the past hour, as they walked through the entire kingdom, were held open for them and heavily guarded.
When Koa stepped through the gates and entered a massive courtyard of stone. Their path was lit for them. On either side of the carpet were artificial trees of stone and black clay. They weren’t real, but they were beautiful. Art.
Even Koa could appreciate the mastery. She examined the sculptures as she followed her escort through the courtyard and to the stone doors that led into the palace. Once inside, light seemed to fill every dark space. Chandeliers, torches, candles, mirrors reflecting the light, and light discs were positioned all over the wide corridor.
It was then that Koa contemplated flying away. She’d thought of it often. It would be her last chance. She took a peek over her shoulder. She could still see the door. She’d just promised her father that she would keep her abilities a secret. She wasn’t sure why such things were so important.
She could simply lift herself into the air, and head for the Gate, but visions of her mother being harmed kept her firmly planted to the purple carpeted floor.
Koa felt numb, like she was walking to her prison cell.
Each corridor led to another corridor of a different theme. From one of light and mirrors they stepped through grand archers to a corridor of dim candles and artificial flowers in vases painted with paint that seemed to have a light of its own. There was a corridor with walls filled with paintings and soft music played by a small creature that resembled the one at the Gate. Tunes was what her father called him, but all Koa remembered was how creepy he was. She shuddered as she recalled Tunes’ bulbous eyes.
Koa watched it buzz around with short black wings as it blew eerie melodies out of its flute. She tapped her chin and furrowed her brows as she tried to remember what kind of creature it was.
With bat-like wings and rubbery, yellowish skin, she was sure she’d seen that creature in a book from her father’s study. Koa spent hours in there, reading anything that she could get her hand on. The Netherworld tomes always intrigued her. Now she was faced with the creatures she’d studied.
“An imp!” Koa shouted triumphantly. She covered her mouth with her hand and looked around in horror. She hadn’t meant to say that aloud. Everyone glanced at her with disapproval, but the imp continued playing its flute until they went into the next corridor.
Koa was relieved to find that the maze of corridors had finally ended, and that they were finally in the main ballroom where the prince and the royal family awaited them.
She stepped into the room, from carpet to shiny granite floors and a flood of light and decorations overwhelmed her senses. She didn’t want to admit how beautiful it was, but her eyes widened at the spectacle. Hundreds of chairs draped with gold silk lined either side of the alleyway that led to the dais where the thrones stood.
Her heart thumped. She felt something she hadn’t expected. Koa’s face flooded with blood as her eyes met those of the prince.
No one else mattered. Nothing else existed as Koa’s eyes cut through the crowd and down to the set of five thrones as Koa and her father stopped before the platform.
“Princess Evina, 1st Queen Katya, 2nd Queen Lera, your highness, King Greggan, and Prince Jax, behold King Alsand of Elyan and Princess Koa.”
Koa heard the introductions but something odd was happening. She stared at Prince Jax with her mouth agape.
He was the most attractive person she had ever seen in her life: piercing dark blue eyes, dark blood-red hair, and a perfectly sculpted chin and nose. Koa felt her face flush as he looked her up and down. Then, he did something that made her grin, despite her previous fears and doubts.
Prince Jax winked at her.
5 out of 5 stars
Amazon verified editorial review
The Best Sequel Novel I’ve Ever Read–Period
“When I finished reading K.N. Lee’s “The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld,” I remember the anticipation which began to build from that moment for the story I knew was coming.
Well, “Dark Prophet: Book Two of the Chronicles of Koa” certainly did not disappoint. Koa and Halston are back, better than ever. It sets a precedent for me to finish reading fictional works the very same day I start them, but that’s EXACTLY what happened this afternoon. An original, detailed plot–unique characters a reader finds themselves investing in readily–true hang-on-for-dear-life action–this book has it ALL. Lee writes in such a way she engages her audience from the opening sentence. I’m thrilled to say I’ve seen it happen twice now.
At this point, allow me to make something crystal clear: I’m not the type of reader who simply decides to review written material with the coveted 5-Star Rating just because others have before me. That’s just not “how I roll”. But, as I mentioned above, I’d already seen Lee’s talent with her first Koa publication; Dark Prophet validates my anticipation. Five stars? By all rights, there SHOULD be a 5-Star PLUS designation specifically for K.N. Lee.
There’s already a legion of fans out there who share my opinion.
Join us, and get this book, folks.
It’s that simple.”
Michael Holman, the author of Resolve and Retribution
Available on Amazon
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