The second book in the Legendtopia series, fast-paced action-adventure novels that will have you racing through the pages to get to the fantastical finish! Two kids—Kara, a girl from our world, and Prince Fred, a royal boy from the kingdom of Heldstone—join forces to save Urth.
Kara and her royal BFF, Prince Fred, are on the most important mission of their lives. Kara’s long-lost dad is trapped in the magical kingdom of Heldstone—and the two friends are on an epic quest to rescue him.
It won’t be easy. Heldstone is bustling with parades and parties in preparation for the Luminary Ball, an incredible celebration of the royal family. But not everyone is in the mood to celebrate. The evil Sorceress has transformed into the Shadow Queen. She has poisoned the prince’s parents, and unless Kara and Fred find an antidote, the king and queen will be dead in three days. Their search will take them outside the palace walls, into an enchanting and dangerous world of talking animals, fierce monsters, and vegetarian trolls . . . all the while being hunted by the Sorceress and her evil army of shadows.
Can Kara and Fred save their parents? Or will the Shadow Queen destroy them all?
About the Author
Lee Bacon is the author of Legendtopia: The Battle for Urth and the Joshua Dread series. He grew up in Texas. For two years he lived in Germany, where he encountered many castles and zero dragons. He now lives in New Jersey. Visit leebaconbooks.com.
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to the worst day of my life.
Over the past twenty-four hours, I’ve been attacked by talking frogs, chased by a killer unicorn, and covered in dragon slobber. I found out my dad’s being held prisoner in another dimension. I got into a fight with a couple of ogres in the boys’ bathroom and watched an evil witch turn my normal little town into a fantasy theme park.
I’m Kara Estrada. Until recently, I was living a normal existence. Just a typical sixth grader at Shady Pines Middle School. But that all feels like a distant memory now. My world’s been turned upside down, and I’ve been dumped headfirst into a fantasy story.
It all started with a field trip to Legendtopia (aka the cheesiest restaurant ever). I ended up getting separated from the rest of my class. Wandering into a walk‑in refrigerator, I stumbled onto this strange miniature door.
And like an idiot, I opened it.
On the other side of the door, I found another world. A world known as Heldstone. That’s where I first met Prince Fred. His full name is Prince Frederick Alexander Something Something Blah Blah Pointless Title Something Else the Fourteenth. But I just call him Prince Fred. It’s a whole lot easier that way.
Anyway, the prince followed me back into my world. Unfortunately, so did the Sorceress. She worked her evil enchantment. She turned Legendtopia into a massive fortress. And she tried to transform Earth into her own dark kingdom.
We managed to stop the Sorceress. As her magical castle collapsed in flames all around us, we barely escaped.
Into the refrigerator and through the miniature door.
The magical portal to Fred’s world.
Now that we’re here, I’m one step closer to finding my dad again. He’s being held captive somewhere in Heldstone.
And so here I am: stuck in this strange world, unsure whether I’ll ever make it back home or see my dad again.
Like I said . . .
Worst. Day. Ever.
What a marvelous day!
We defeated the Sorceress. We destroyed her castle. And we made it back through the miniature doorway. The portal to Heldstone. The portal to my world. And now we’re about to embark on our very own epic quest to rescue Kara’s father.
He discovered Heldstone the same way Kara did: by journeying through an enchanted refrigerator. But he never returned. For many years, Kara had no idea what happened to her father. Now she knows. He has been captive in my world all this time.
We’re going to find him.
And we’re going to bring him to safety.
I cast my gaze across the Chamber of Wizardry. This used to be the Sorceress’s workshop. No telling what kind of vile magic still lurks here. Touch the wrong thing and you’ll likely end up with a block of cheese for a hand.
The Sorceress is dead, I remind myself. Vanquished in the fiery explosion that destroyed Legendtopia. Gone.
So why do I have the eerie feeling that her presence still hangs in the air? Almost as if I’m being watched by her cruel black eyes.
“We should go.” My voice cracks. “What I mean iswe shouldn’t be seen here. In the Chamber of Wizardry. It will raise suspicions.”
Kara nods. “This is your palace. Lead the way.”
As we exit the Chamber of Wizardry, I cast one last glance across the room. And that’s when something flickers at the edge of my vision. A dark shadow in the corner. But when I turn to get a better look, it’s already gone.
We hurry down the hallway. Past the familiar sights of the palace: a porcelain vase of exotic flowers, a plush chair that nobody ever sits in, a portrait of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather King Frederick the Bold.
Kara walks beside me, one hand clenched into a tight fist. She’s holding an object of immense magical power and importance. An object we’ll need if we want any chance of succeeding in our quest.
It’s probably best if she doesn’t lose it.
I catch a glimpse of our reflections in a gold-framed mirror. The two of us are a ghastly sight. The explosion in Legendtopia left its mark. Our faces are stained with ash. Our clothing is ripped and burned. We look like we just lost a wrestling match with a fire troll.
“In here. Quick.”
I yank open a door and pull Kara into a servants’ washroom. Fortunately, the small chamber is unoccupied.
Kara glances around, confused. “What are we doing in here?”
“Cleaning ourselves up.” I shove a soapy cloth into Kara’s hands. “Preferably before the washerwoman returns.”
I grab a cloth of my own and begin scrubbing. Once I’ve cleaned the soot from my face and hair, I search the laundry piles until I find a suitable change of clothes for each of us.
“Here.” I hold up a dress for Kara. “This looks your size.”
A frown tugs at Kara’s lips. “Isn’t there something more . . . casual?”
“This isn’t Urth. You can’t go around dressed in a T‑shirt and kreans”
“They’re called jeans.”
“The point is, you’re a young lady. And in Heldstone, ladies wear dresses.”
Kara sighs and grabs the dress. “Fine. Whatever.”
I pull a curtain across the room to grant us privacy while we change. My new garments aren’t as elegant as I’m accustomed to, but at least they don’t look like they’ve been dragged through a furnace.
Once we’re both dressed, I stuff our old attire into the bottom of a waste bin. Then I notice something hanging from a hook on the wall. A woman’s purse. Its seams are sewn with gold silk. The front flap is studded with glittering jewels. These fine details are marred by a splatter of gravy on one edge. Which explains what such a costly purse is doing in a dingy room like this.
It’s here to be cleaned.
I snatch the small purse off the rack and hold it out for Kara. “You should take this as well.”
She eyes the accessory. “Looks expensive. Are you sure?”
“You can’t keep carrying . . . that.” I gesture to her clenched fist. To what we both know she’s holding. “It’s too important. What if you lose it? What if someone hears it in there?”
“All right. I get your point.”
Kara carefully opens her hand. I catch my breath at the sight of what pops out. A small silver owl attached to a chain. Its wide silver eyes are blank, unseeing. But its wings beat the air. Up and down, up and down. Flying in a single direction.
Toward her father.
For years, Kara wore the owl as a necklace. She only just discovered that it’s so much more than that.
It’s a Chasing Charm. An object that has been enchanted to its Other. Kara’s father gave it to her before he came to Heldstone. And now it’s our guide. Our only way to find him.
Kara plucks the flying owl out of the air and gently inserts it into the purse. Closing the purse silences the tiny, flapping wings and keeps the necklace sealed inside.
“Here.” I hand the purse to Kara. “Other than a little gravy stain, it’s perfect. Just don’t lose it.”
Kara holds the purse close to her chest, almost as if she’s holding her father. “No need to worry about that.”
I nudge open the door to the washroom and we step outside. Just as the door clicks closed again, two gentlemen round the corner. One is exceedingly tall and thin, with white hair and the hunched posture of a question mark. The fellow beside him, on the other hand, resembles something more like a period. Small and round. His head is as spherical and smooth as a marble.
Even though I’m certain I’ve never met him, there’s something oddly familiar about Question Mark. As soon as he catches my eye, I can tell he recognizes me. Not that this comes as a surprise. When you’re the prince, everyone recognizes you.
“Ah, there you are!”
Question Mark’s voice echoes down the hall as he strides in our direction. Period scrambles to keep up.
I lean close to Kara. “We mustn’t let them know you’re from Urth,” I whisper. “Allow me to do the talking.”
“Greetings, Prince Frederick.” Question Mark speaks with a deep, authoritative voice. The type of voice that is accustomed to ordering servants and commanding armies. “It’s a great honor to finally meet you in person.”
“And you as well,” I reply vaguely.
The period-shaped fellow beside him attempts a bownot an easy task when you’re as small and round as he is. “Humble greetings, Your Highness. My name is Gimothy Hudd. Chief Advisor to the Sturmenburg family.”
Sturmenburg. As soon as I hear the name, I realize where I’ve seen Question Mark before. His portrait hangs in the Hall of Diplomacy. Right between a pair of battle-axes and a mounted boar’s head.
He’s Grand Duke Nem Sturmenburg.
The Sturmenburgs are the second-wealthiest and second-noblest family in the kingdom. Their prestige is surpassed only by the monarchy. In other words, my family. The Sturmenburgs occupy the Southwest Province, a region known for its abundance of diamond mines. Which may explain why the grand duke’s coat is clasped together by a most unusual variety of buttons.
Huge, gleaming diamonds.
An entire row of them.
His outfit alone is more valuable than a fleet of our navy’s finest ships.
The grand duke arches an eyebrow. “I’m glad we found you. Your parents were ready to send out a search party.”
Nerves twitch in my stomach. “A search party?”
“They said your servants found your room empty this morning,” says Hudd. “And that you neglected to show up for tutoring.”
I glance anxiously from the grand duke to his advisor. What am I supposed to tell them? I can’t possibly admit the truth. That the reason I’ve been absent for the past twenty-four hours is because I traveled to another world, thwarted the Sorceress, and returned with an Urthling. They’ll think I’ve lost my mind.
“Your Highness.” The grand duke peers down at me. “I know precisely why you’ve gone missing.”
My skin goes cold. “You do?”
“Of course I do. You’ve been busy preparing for the Luminary Ball.”
The Luminary Ball. Of course. Every seven years, representatives from all corners of the kingdom journey to the Royal Palace to pledge their continued loyalty to the king and queen. For the entire week, the palace is stuffed with foreign visitors and their attendants. There are parades every day and feasts every night. It’s glorious, magnificent, lavish. And it also makes a wonderful excuse.
“The Luminary Ball, that’s correct.” I let out a nervous chuckle. “Just thought I’d lend a hand. You knowgreeting guests, ordering servants around. On a day such as this, every little bit helps.”
“How very generous of you!” Hudd attempts to bow even lowerand nearly falls on his face. “Truly, you are the most benevolent and kindhearted boy in all of Heldstone!”
Kara rolls her eyes. Apparently, she’s not as impressed by my greatness as Hudd.
“And might I inquire . . .” The grand duke turns his gaze in Kara’s direction. “Who is your lovely friend?”
Before I can respond, Kara steps forward. “Hey, I’m Kara.”
I wince. Here in Heldstone, “hay” is something the stable hand feeds to horsesnot a word you use to greet visiting nobility.
Diamonds swim in the grand duke’s eyes. The tiniest hint of a smile tugs at the corners of his thin mouth. “Quite a curious accent you have, Kara. Where are you from?”
Before Kara can make another blunder, I interject. “She’suh . . . she’s here for the Luminary Ball. Daughter of a visiting dignitary. They traveled here from . . .” I struggle to think of the farthest, most inaccessible backwoods of Heldstone. “From Stonk.”
The grand duke tilts his head. “Stonk?”
“I toured through Stonk just last year. I don’t recall meeting anyone with such an accent.”
I grit my teeth. We’ve only just arrived, and already Kara’s identity is coming into question. If anyone discovers that she’s from Urth, even I won’t be able to protect her. Scholars and wizards will travel from all corners of Heldstone to get a glimpse of the Urthling. She’ll be locked away. Questioned endlessly. Poked and prodded. A scientific oddity. An alien. They’ll never let her go.
The situation is bad enough already. And it’s made even worse by what Kara says next.
“Prince Frederick’s not telling the truth,” she remarks. “I’m not from Stonk.”
I don’t like these guys.
The tall, hunched dude smiles down at me. But it’s not a nice smile. It’s a secret smile. Like he knows something I don’t. And what about that bling? With all those diamonds, it’s like he’s wearing an entire jewelry store.
His buddy creeps me out even more. Short, round, and completely bald, Hudd has the beady pink eyes of a shaved rat.
“How dare you call the Royal Prince a liar!” His chins quiver with outrage. “Such statements cannot go unpunished! You ought to be hanged! Or beheaded. Or”
“Now, Hudd.” The grand duke places a steady hand on his advisor’s shoulder. His long fingers are ringed with too many diamonds to count. “We mustn’t be too harsh on the girl. I’m sure she merely misspoke. Isn’t that right, my dear?”
He raises one eyebrow. The secret smile never wavers.
I take a deep breath. Then I explain. “All I meant to say is, I didn’t grow up in Stonk. I didn’t grow up anywhere, really. Since my dad’s a dignitary, he travels a lot. I went everywhere with him. That’s why I have such a weird accent, I guess.”
The grand duke’s eyes move slowly from me to Prince Fred and back again. “See that, Hudd? The young lady has a perfectly convincing explanation. And you would’ve marched her off to the stocks without a second thought.”
“My apologies,” Hudd says, although he doesn’t sound very apologetic.
Prince Fred clears his throat. “It’s been a pleasure meeting you both. But we should really be on our way.”
“Of course, Your Highness.” The mysterious smile never leaves the grand duke’s face. “I look forward to seeing you both this evening at the Luminary Ball.”
A moment later, we’re on the move again.
“That was a disaster,” Prince Fred moans.
I glance in his direction. “What do you mean? I thought it went pretty well.”
“You don’t call the Royal Prince a liar! There are certain manners you must observe if you want to fit in here.”
“I’m not here to fit in.” I give the sleeve of my dress a sharp tug. “I’m here to find my dad. Who cares what those two jerks think anyway? It’s not like we’re gonna be hanging around the palace very long. I say we leave right away. Get started searching for my dad.”