A Golden Opportunity - Amy Sumida

Chapter One

I put the Bleiten ICD—an intergalactic communication device—back into my nightstand drawer and took a deep, calming breath. My husbands, consort, and I were finally settled in our new home, and I had an enormous bedroom all to myself. Of course, one of them shared my bed every night, but at the moment, I was alone. That was a particularly good thing since I had been speaking with yet another potential lover.

I have four men already—three husbands and one boyfriend—because I'd gotten myself drawn into a Faulin fusion to save my life. The Faulin are an alien race who humans once called Incubi and Succubi—that's male and female Faulin, respectively. I have no idea why humans separated Faulin by sex; I'm sure there's a story there. My story is a long one, but as for the Fusion situation, I can sum it up by saying that I'm bound to all my men through magic and love. They were okay with sharing me because of that magic and love. The Fusion helped them get over any possessive or jealous feelings while it gave us lots of perks. Perks such as shared power.

I'm half Danutian (Fairy to all of you humans) and half Triari (Angel). When I was born, my immortal Danutian side was unbalanced by my mortal Triari side, and I got very ill. My cells refused to die properly—something humans call cancer—but it wasn't cancer, it was the curse of being a changeling. Changelings are children who are half Danutian and half anything else. I specify children because there has never been one who survived into adulthood. Not until me.

My father had been a runaway Triari prince who also happened to be a scientist. He developed an elixir to help his people colonize an inhospitable planet. That elixir worked better than expected, and instead of merely healing injuries, it gave immortality. The Triari King, my uncle, wanted to dispense this elixir to a select few of his people, but my father knew it would be a mistake to allow that to happen. So, Dad destroyed the elixir and all his notes and then fled to Earth.

On Earth, my father met my mother—a woman who was also in hiding from her people. When they had me and I got sick, my father decided to whip up a fresh batch of the Amaranthine Elixir—ironically my namesake—and administer it to me. His gamble paid off, and I was healed, the imbalance in my blood corrected to make me fully immortal.

Recently, I'd discovered that because of this balancing done by the elixir, the latent elemental magic inside me—that which all Danutians are born with—was made whole. But to explain that, I have to back up a little. The Danutian's original planet, Danu, was destroyed, and they came to Earth seeking refuge. While here, they decided to pool their asha—their life force and magic—to create a magical realm where they would be safe. Danutians used to possess equal parts of all four elements, but to make the realm of Danu—named after their home planet—they removed pieces of their asha and donated them to the realm. Every Danutian removed most of three out of their four elemental magics, leaving them with only one strong element to sustain themselves. This deficiency created a symbiotic bond between the Danutians and their new home.

Because they gave pieces of themselves to form the realm, they couldn't be far from Danu for long without their magic suffering. Danu sustained them by refreshing their lacking magic through a cycle that connected them with the old pieces of their asha. This deficiency was inherited by their children since the Danutians didn't have the magic to pass on and so, even those who had not sacrificed parts of their magic still had to reconnect with Danu or the magic they were born with would eventually die. That's what happened to my mother; her elemental magic died. But it never happened to me.

I had previously believed that I'd been spared because I was born on Earth, but that may not be the case. A Danutian mage—a scholar who is more in tune with the magic of Danu than other Danutians—inspected me and concluded that my magic was whole. Beyond whole even. I have all of my elemental magic thanks to my father's elixir, but that magic had also blended to create a fifth element—that of Spirit. Spirit, with its direct connection to asha, gave me the ability to see asha and the non-magical human version