Back of the book:
Rahani stood at her grandmother's bookshelf and ran her fingers across the aligned spines. They were all written over a hundred years ago, all first drafts, hand typed and bound by a legend in their family, the greatest inventor the world would never know.
She pulled the only one in a red cloth cover.
It had been in her family forever, yet only one word of it had ever been read, the title, "Waffen".
She gently tugged at the covers, and found it as sold as a block of wood. Its delicate pages and soluble ink had been glued together, to keep its dangerous knowledge from ever landing in the wrong hands.
This shelf was their tree of knowledge, and this book was their forbidden fruit.
She had read the others as a child, but this one always held a spell over her. Her curiosity ached to know what secrets were locked within.
She wanted to sink her teeth into its forbidden truth.
But once opened, it could never hide in plain sight again. Eventually, all its secrets would leak out.
She marveled at the ingeniousness and the utter simplicity of this ancient form of lock and key. Pick the wrong solvent, and the ink washes away, along with the glue. Try to force it, shave it down one whittle at a time, and you'd spend a tedious forever, and still lose all but a few of its precious words.
Yet, soak it in the right formula, and it emerges as legible as all the rest, just with a permanent stench of death.
She put it in the plastic bag.
Her grandmother was missing, and may well be the first casualty her family would have to endure. The rugged mountains that had protected them from their enemies for centuries... protected them no more.
This, was war.
She added the solvent, closed the bag, and pondered the irony, while the glue released its grip on the past.
The key had been hiding under everyone's nose, the entire time.
The most dangerous book in the world was guarded by a creature so fierce that bears, mountain lions, and ravenous wolves ran at the very sight of it walking their way.
It feared nothing.
Was feared by everything.
And an ounce of its essence unlocked the most powerful book in the world.
She turned her head and coughed, as tears ran down her cheeks from the fumes.
Waffen was German for weapons, and the book was now, and forever more, seeped in the stench of its key, the bitter wrath only dozens of skunks could unleash.
Rahani just hoped that what these trapped words could release would be as powerful as the smell. She hoped it would be enough to turn back the evil army, marching their way... an army that had never known defeat.
Waffen is the Seventh book in The Hummingbird Series.
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