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The Blood of Solomon (Ebook)

The Blood of Solomon (Ebook)

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Book 1 in The 72 Demons Urban Fantasy Series

Audiobook Version

Paperback Version


Daisuke Kugo was born to a family of skilled fire magic users. As the eldest son, he was to become the next clan head.


Then came his thirteenth birthday and his spirit awakening ceremony. He failed, getting badly burned in the process.


Rejected by the spirits, Daisuke is quickly banished to a Swiss boarding school.


After graduation, Daisuke wonders Europe, collecting magical items and knowledge. Though the fire spirits rejected him, he is highly skilled in other forms of magic.


And so he’s recruited by the Circle of Sorcery, a group of wizards dedicated to securing dangerous magic so that it won’t be used for evil ends.


Daisuke’s current mission takes him back to Japan where he’ll have to deal with enemy wizards, dangerous demons, and worst of all his family if he wanted to stop the release of a powerful Elder Demon.


For the sake of the world, he’d better succeed.

Look Inside

Daisuke Kugo let out a long groan and stretched. The flight from Switzerland to Japan was a long, miserable one even if you went first class. It would’ve been so much easier to just shadow walk, but magical entry was strictly forbidden in Japan and he didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot after ten years away. At least there was no rule against keeping your luggage in an extra-dimensional space, so he was free to skip baggage claim.

The bathroom, however, wouldn’t wait. Merging with the flow of people streaming away from the arrival gates, he made the short walk to the men’s room and ducked inside. It was packed, but after a short wait he had his turn then went to the nearest free sink. As he washed his hands he noticed a middle-aged man wearing an ill-fitting suit staring at his right arm. Covered from fingers to elbow in ugly, blotchy burn scars, it certainly wasn’t an attractive sight. He usually wore thin leather gauntlets that hid it, but airport security required the gloves be removed.

Unable to stand it any longer Daisuke snapped, “What?”

“Nothing, sorry.”

The curious fellow offered a little bow and hurried away, hands still dripping.

Daisuke’s outburst had drawn even more eyes his way. No matter the circumstances, you simply didn’t make a scene. It was rude. And being rude in public was a grave breach of etiquette. All the old lessons were coming back and he hated each and every one of them. Drying his hands and going outside, he paused long enough to pull his gloves on. If customs wanted them off, he’d remove them when he had to.

It should’ve been simple for a priest to heal his scars; the nurse at his old school had offered as soon as she saw them. The problem was that they were as much a curse as a burn. Besides, Daisuke would’ve refused even if healing was possible. They served as a constant reminder that his family—his face twisted in a bitter smile when he thought of those people as family—had cast him out at the first hint of failure.

Well, to hell with them. He’d finish his job and be back in Europe by the end of the week. With any luck he could just avoid them altogether. No doubt that would suit them just as well as it did him.

Thankfully customs didn’t force him to take his gloves off and after a quick scan of his passport, he was allowed to enter the country. Now to find a cab and get to his hotel. A hot shower would be most welcome.

At the packed terminal he swung past the vending machines and picked up a box of strawberry Pocky before turning toward the exit. Halfway to the doors, he spotted a man in a white suit holding a sign with his name on it.

Shit. Neither he nor his employer had arranged a limo, which meant his family must’ve found out he was coming and sent it. The only reason they would do that was because they wanted him to come to the family estate.

And no way was Daisuke going to do that. He pretended not to see the driver and ducked outside. A row of ten blue and black cabs sat parked and waiting to his left. He went to the nearest one and opened the back door.

The driver immediately looked over his shoulder at his new fare. He had to be in his sixties and wore a flat cap scrunched down so low on his forehead it nearly covered his eyes. “Where to?”

“The Continental Blue Hotel.”

“I know it. Climb in.”

Daisuke did so, settling in to the spotless back seat, and glanced out at the ocean as they left the airport behind. It was a beautiful sight, with the sun glinting off the waves. Kurisato International Airport was built on an artificial island that jutted out into the Pacific Ocean. It was built after World War Three decimated the country. Though to be honest, Japan had come through the war in better shape than plenty of other nations. At this point, North America was basically a mutant- and monster-infested wasteland and mainland Asia wasn’t much better.

Of course, the war happened long before Daisuke’s time—two hundred years before, as a matter of fact.

He yawned, happy to let random facts distract him from the limo driver waiting for him back at the terminal.

“Where you from, kid?” the cabby asked.

Japanese cabbies weren’t exactly known for being chatty, but it seemed he’d found an exception. “Here, by way of Switzerland. You?”

“Here. I retired last year, took the cab-driving job to get out of the house. It was that or the wife threatened to divorce me.”

Daisuke dutifully chuckled at the lame joke and offered a silent prayer to any listening archangel that the driver would be satisfied.

“What brings you to town?”

“Business.” Maybe a one-word answer would get him to take the hint.

“No kidding. Usually the business guys wear suits and are at least ten years older than you. Must be a laid-back business if they let you wear a t-shirt and jeans.”

Keep calm and don’t cause a scene. That thought ran through Daisuke’s head over and over.

“I’m a freelancer and my customers don’t care what I wear as long as I get the job done. It was a long flight, so I’m going to rest my eyes until we get to the hotel.”

“Sure, don’t mind me. It’ll be about half an hour.”

Daisuke closed his eyes and silently activated a spell. The cab appeared in his mind just as if his eyes were still open. Japan might be a low-crime nation, but he still wasn’t about to trust a complete stranger.

Fortunately, the trip passed without issue and soon enough they came to a stop in front of a twenty-story hotel painted deep blue and gray. A sign over the revolving door read, “Continental Blue.”

“Here we are,” the cabby announced. “That’ll be a thousand yen.”

Daisuke passed him a black credit card and a moment later got a receipt, his credit card, and the cabby’s business card.

“You need a lift somewhere, give me a call.”

“Thanks.” Daisuke climbed out of the cab and sighed as it pulled away. If he needed a ride, he’d be sure to find a quieter driver.

He pushed through the revolving door and walked through the lobby to the front desk. He had the whole place to himself, which was unusual. The scattered chairs were empty and there was no one perusing the snack bar.

A chime of the brass bell on the check-in counter brought a skinny little man barely tall enough to reach the computer. He typed for a moment then asked, “Do you need a room, sir?”

“I should have one. Daisuke Kugo.”

“Ah, yes sir. Mr. Kugo. We have you in a suite on the top floor. All paid up for the rest of the month.” The little man reached under the desk and brought out a keycard. “There you are, sir. Do you have bags? If so, I can call the bellhop.”

“I’m good, thanks.”

So saying, Daisuke headed for the bank of elevators behind the check-in counter. When he glanced back, he found the clerk punching numbers furiously into the phone. That couldn’t be good.

He shrugged and pressed the call button. Looked like he was going to have to deal with his family after all, but if he was right, at least they would have to come to him.

The silent ride to the top floor was a boon to his soul. As someone that spent most of his time working alone out in the middle of nowhere, being surrounded by people and having to talk to them was a chore he’d just as soon foist off on someone else. Pity he couldn’t this time.

The keycard said room three and he soon found it. The lock beeped when he put the card in and he pushed through the door. The boss certainly hadn’t skimped on his accommodations. There was a king-sized bed in the main room, a queen in another room, a huge bathroom with a tub and a tile shower, and finally a full kitchen. He could move in here and live quite comfortably. It was actually nicer than his apartment in Zurich. Not that he spent much time there.

He pulled his phone out, tapped the boss’s number and waited. Three rings brought an answer. “You made it okay?” The boss’s voice was a rough, throaty purr. She thought it sounded sexy. Daisuke thought it sounded like she smoked too much. Which she did.

“Yeah, no sweat. Any updates on the job?”

“Despite my warnings, the idiots refuse to take the bronze prison out of the exhibit. It’s only one item, a rather plain-looking piece, yet you’d swear I was asking them to set fire to the main display.”

“That’s not ideal. Any word on the seal?”

“Helena lost it.”

“Shit! So not only is the prison not secure but the Blood of Solomon has the seal. That’s pretty much the worst possible news. Is Helena okay?”

“There’s nothing wrong with her that a day in a healing circle won’t fix, but it was close. It’s all on you now, Daisuke.”

Daisuke let out a long sigh of relief. If the boss was that nonchalant, then Helena should be fine.

“Great. If there’s nothing else I need to ward my room and get a shower. I’ll scout the museum tomorrow. Did Helena at least say who attacked her?”

“She’s not awake yet. I’ll let you know as soon as she says anything.”

“Thanks.” Daisuke disconnected and ran a hand through his hair. Helena was one of their better operatives. If she got taken out, the Blood of Solomon must’ve sent one of their heavy hitters. And now whoever they’d sent would be on their way here.

 There were days he regretted taking the boss up on her offer to join the Circle of Sorcerers. But then he thought about all he’d done and seen over the last three years along with what he stood to gain in the future. Not to mention what he and the world stood to lose if the Circle failed in its mission.

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