A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales from Verania Book 4)

By: TJ Klune

Sequel to The Consumption of Magic

Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to follow the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.

The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne.

But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices—and the friends he left behind.

A dream is a wish your heart makes.

—Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston

Prologue: The Fall of Verania

ONCE UPON a time in the Kingdom of Verania, there was a kickass boy born in the slums of the City of Lockes. His parents were hardworking, and at times life could be difficult, but they were alive and had all their teeth. Which was very important.

One day the boy was chased into an alley by a group of teenage douchebags, only to accidentally turn them all to stone. Including, as fate would have it, the love of his life. Only the boy didn’t know about that then. In fact, the boy thought love was kind of gross, because his parents kissed all the time, and it looked rather messy. He didn’t want anyone eating his face like that.

It was probably for the best the boy didn’t know about the one who would be his cornerstone. Things might have gone down a different path, and not necessarily a better one.

A man in pointy pink shoes came for him in the alley, telling him he had magic inside him and that one day he would be a wizard.

“You will do wonderful things,” the man in the pointy pink shoes said. “I promise you.”

“I’m amazing,” the boy breathed. “I knew it!”

And the man would know, wouldn’t he? Because he was Morgan of Shadows, the King’s Wizard. But even more than that, he had an awesome beard.

The boy was taken from the slums along with his mother and father and given a life most would only ever dream of.

But no matter what happened, what adventures his new and exciting life would lead him on, the boy never forgot where he came from.

Sometimes he still wished upon the stars that others would be as fortunate as him.

And he grew! He grew and grew until he was a rather handsome young man. Yes, possibly his nose was a little crooked, and maybe his eyebrows were a little bushy, but hey, it was part of his natural charm. And besides, there were people out there who thought crooked noses and unibrows were dreamy, if the fan mail he got every now and then gave any indication. (“Aw, this nice woman wrote to me that she wants me to come to her house for tea and cake and a mature discussion about how she would like for me to sit on her face so she can lick my—wow, okay. That escalated quickly. I did not expect that. Yikes. Burn this. Burn this letter now.”)

It could have been a lonely life, given that the boy was taken from the slums into a world he had no clue about, but he didn’t have to do it alone. He had his parents and the King. He had Morgan. And he had more than that too, after the wizard sent him into the woods to find something unexpected. The boy came back with a hornless gay unicorn and a half-giant, and was given the name Sam of Wilds.

The unicorn and the half-giant became his constant companions, those who would stand by his side and have his back whenever he found himself in a precarious situation.

Which, to be fair, happened a lot.

“Why are you hanging in a net upside down in the tree?” Gary asked him one time, snorting pink and white sparks from his nose. “And why is there an unconscious man below you?”

Sam sighed. “It’s this whole—thing. I don’t know. All I was doing was minding my own business, and then this guy came up to me and said he wanted my autograph, and then I said sure, dude, sounds cool, and then he said step over here off the road away from everyone because I get shy in front of other people, and then I said that seems like a perfectly reasonable request and so I did, but then he said aha, I have you now, and I am going to hold you for ransom, and you will get me all the special edition centennial stamps issued by the postmaster last week to honor the anniversary of the Veranian accord with the Eastern Sea Mermaids. And then I said, dude, what are you even talking about? Stamps? This is all about stamps? And then he said it was all about stamps, which is stupid because who collects stamps? And then he started to monologue about how his father taught him philately—which is apparently the study of stamps, for fuck’s sakes—and that he wanted to honor his dad by getting the centennial ones. And you know how I feel about monologuing. And stamps.”