The Shifting Sands (Deltora Quest #4)
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When the seven gems of the magic Belt of Deltora were stolen, the evil Shadow Lord invaded the kingdom and enslaved its people. Determined to rid their land of an evil tyrant, Lief, Barda and Jasmine are on a perilous quest to find the lost gems, which are hidden in fearsome places throughout the kingdom. They have found three gems. Now they must seek the fourth, hidden in a shimmering, barren waste, kept jealously by an unknown guardian. Confusion and strange, terrible enemies await them in the ordeal of the Shifting Sands.
but Lief, Barda, and Jasmine managed to survive every round. Unlike most of their rivals they were used to fighting for their lives. They had all learned much since they first met in the Forests of Silence. But even their early training helped them now. Not for nothing had Lief spent his childhood on the dangerous streets of Del. As Barda had told Mother Brightly, he could dodge and run with the best, and use his wits to foil enemies far bigger than himself. He was young, but because of his
feathers, trying to clean himself. Filli chattered excitedly inside Jasmine’s jacket. She murmured to him, calming him. Lief brushed at his face with trembling hands. “An earthquake,” mumbled Barda. “So — that is why this place is called the Shifting Sands. We should have realized …” “It was not an ordinary earthquake,” snapped Jasmine. “It cannot simply be chance that Lief was kicking those marks away when it began. Lief, why did you do that? What is wrong with you? Are you ill?” Lief could
“Lief will not speak to me!” he heard Jasmine say to Barda in a frightened voice. She sounded very far away. The sun was still blanketed by the clouds above. Lief could not tell which way was east and which way west. And he had been spun and tumbled so many times that he had no idea from which direction he had come. So this is the beginning, he thought. His glazed eyes fell on a mark in the sand, quite close to where he was lying. His throat seemed to close as he stared at it, and understood
to pieces in the darkness below. In that darkness, no doubt, the giant Hive Queen lurked. He almost felt he could see her bloated shape, rippling in the depths, laying eggs, eggs without number. But he knew that if he attacked the pyramid the Hive would be upon him. The smoke would not hold it back. And the Belt was throbbing and burning. Somewhere in this gleaming tower lay the gem he was seeking. Was it the diamond? The amethyst? The emerald? He could see clear, purple, and green stones among
lies with these young ones. It would be my joy to know that in some small way I have helped their cause. In faith — Josef Writing in the city of Del in the 35th year of the reign of King Alton. Grey Guards, slavish servants of the Shadow Lord, appear human, but are monsters in the truest sense. Created by their master to enforce his evil will, they lack all normal human emotions, relishing cruelty and destruction above all else. They have great physical strength, are capable of enormous