A Coup of Tea
Princess Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: August 2nd 2022
When the fourth princess of Istalam is due to dedicate herself to a path
serving the crown, she makes a choice that shocks everyone, herself most of
all: She leaves.
In hiding and exiled from power, Miyara finds her place running a tea shop
in a struggling community that sits on the edge of a magical disaster zone.
But there’s more brewing under the surface of this city—hidden magic, and
hidden machinations—that threaten all the people who’ve helped her make her
Miyara may not be a princess anymore, but with a teapot in hand she’ll risk
her newfound freedom to discover a more meaningful kind of power.
A Coup of Tea is the first book of the Tea Princess Chronicles,
a cozy fantasy series full of magic tea, friendship, and lifting people up
even when the odds seem impossible.
She hands me a third cup, and I eye her mistrustfully, that unease back again
“Earning your tablecloth,” she reminds me.
I smell the grassiness of the green tea before I taste it. But the flavor is
so strange I can’t immediately identify the elements—she’s used aloia nectar
not just as a sweetener, but to bind this mystery ingredient, and the result
has a strangely smooth, nutty element. I frown at the cup and take another
sip, swirling the tea in my mouth.
“So?” Lorwyn asks.
It’s much better than the other two, but this tea gives the impression of
oozing—no, crawling through the grass—
I set the cup down abruptly. “Please tell me your mystery ingredient is not
Her eyebrows rise in surprise. “Wow. Okay, I’m impressed. Apparently the
trekkers named them sleekbeetles. New species discovered in the Cataclysm.
Talmeri bought crates of their scales.”
I am drinking beetle scale tea.
This morning I was a princess, and now I sit sopping in a tablecloth drinking
beetle scale tea.
Lorwyn shrugs. “I’m sure they were cheap. Talmeri’s always on the lookout for
novelty items to boast the most unique tea flavors in the city, and she also
likes torturing me. Who can say which was the primary factor this time?”
I grimace. “Wonderful. A hitherto untasted bug. I hope it’s at least magically
inert and you haven’t poisoned me?”
“Of course I didn’t poison you,” Lorwyn says. “I tasted it before you did. How
could you tell it was beetle?”
“The grassiness of the green tea,” I say. “It’s too sharp. You need something
mellower that’s still robust enough to hold up to the aloia nectar.”
Lorwyn slumps back—I’m not entirely sure how she manages to, since she’s
sitting on a stool.
“Aloia is tricky,” she grumbles.
“Maybe it needs another note,” I say. “The aloia manages the beetle flavor
into something nearly salvageable. Now you need a bridge between the aloia and
Lorwyn bolts out of her stool. “Wait there!”
She returns with another small pot and a cup, adds them to the tea service.
She lifts the pot to pour, and all at once I realize, beetle scales aside,
what’s been bothering me.
The water from that kettle should not have correctly brewed different kinds of
teas and tisanes. The temperature of the water has to have changed, and there
are no cooling or heating devices anywhere near the table.
I glance around for a structure, anything she could have used to anchor
magecraft. The stools aren’t in any particular order around the table, there
are no candles, and the teacups are arranged for the taster’s benefit alone.
Which means this isn’t magecraft at all.
I promise I can maim you in any number of ways, she said.
Lorwyn holds a cup of tea out to me with an excited look on her face.
I’ve lost my wits. After realizing what she’s doing, it’s the only explanation
for what I do next.
I take the cup, and I sip.
Casey Blair writes adventurous fantasy novels for all ages, and her serial
fantasy Tea Princess Chronicles is available online for free. After
graduating from Vassar College, her own adventures have included teaching
English in rural Japan, attending the Viable Paradise residential science
fiction and fantasy writing workshop, and working as an indie bookseller.
She now lives in the Pacific Northwest and can be found dancing
spontaneously, exploring forests around the world, or trapped under a cat.
For more information visit her website caseyblair.com or follow her on
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