Gwen has returned to Neverland with Peter Pan and the lost children, but this time, the adults are following close behind.
The black-coat soldiers are far from their only problem. Lasiandra is missing. No one has seen her since Gwen left her at the lakeside with Jay, and the mermaids searching have found only grave omens in the stars. With the island on the cusp of a war that threatens to strip the land of its magic, the last thing Peter and Gwen need is the ancient flagship that appears on their horizon, sailing pirates straight for their shores.
When the battle begins amid old and new enemies, Gwen’s maturity will be a double-edged sword. She will either grow stronger or grow up… maybe both.
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marionberries, peaches and papayas, star fruit and oranges… she shoved the land fruit into
her bag, never breaking pace as she trekked weast across the island. She needed to get to
the coast and back before any fairies awoke. The entire fairy population had indulged in joyful
revelries the night before, celebrating some amorphous holiday unknown to humans. The
dawn would find even the most temperate fairies still lolling in drunken dreams and merry
slumber. But dawn had not yet arrived and not everyone slept; stars still speckled the bluing
sky and certain inhabitants of Neverland were still speaking with them.
Tromping over vines and fungi, Gwen bushwhacked her way through the forest-jungle
on anxious feet. The mermaids had not been helpful as of late.
The new mermaids she’d met wouldn’t even give her their names. Eglantine and
Cynara had been snide at best, and contemptuous at worst. Gwen wouldn’t have minded
it—she didn’t care what mermaids thought of her—but she felt certain they knew what had
happened to Lasiandra and refused to explain. This drowsy morning offered her a chance to
tempt them with an overabundance of land fruit without anyone noticing. She would persuade
the mermaids to cede their starry secrets and hurry back before any stray fairy or curious
child found her at the incriminating lagoon.
Gwen reached the wood’s end and hurried down the steps carved into the chalky cliff
face. She moved so fast she half-flew toward the slender figures half-submerged in the
Gwen had not seen Lasiandra since the night she escaped with Jay from Lake Agana.
In the chaos, she had never retrieved the scale from Lasiandra, and thus lost her ability to call
her friend. She hadn’t worried about it—until days and weeks passed without sight of her at
“What business have you with Lasiandra?” Eglantine had demanded last time Gwen
visited. “What matter is she to you?”
“I’m just worried about her,” Gwen had answered, innocent and truthful. The region’s
entire Anomalous Activity Department had been on duty that night, trying to apprehend lost
children and capture whatever magic followed them. Lasiandra’s disappearance was
ominous, to say the least. A few fairies had not returned from the mission, and there was no
question of what fate had befallen them.
In response, the mermaids had only mocked her, contorting their melodic voices into
cackling imitations of her land-dwelling accent, “I’m just worried about her.”
“Worried about her! Concerned about a mermaid?” Cynara had declared, insulted and
amused. “We are not of such a feeble nature as you landmaids. Mermaids have more
strength in a single scale than you have in all of your heart. You need not worry for a
mermaid, girl. We can take care of ourselves.”
Gwen had wanted to believe her.
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