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When Balsa saw the prince fall from the bridge, her destiny took an unexpected turn.

A prince in danger. A fierce woman warrior and bodyguard with a kind heart. A queen who will do anything to protect her son. A king who plots to kill his son to save himself. Loyal friends who help without thinking of themselves or asking questions that cannot be answered. An egg, a spirit, that yearns to return home to the distant sea.

Balsa was a woman, but she was also a bodyguard, one of the best in Yogo. She made her living protecting the wealthy, but she herself was a commoner. And although she didn't know it at the time, her life changed forever when she saw Prince Chagum fall from his carriage into the flood-swollen river far below. Without hesitation, she plunged in after him, saving his life.

She expected some small reward—a sum of cash perhaps—but she never expected an invitation to first dine and then spend the night at the royal palace—it was unheard of for a commoner to be given such privileges. Late that night, she was awakened when the prince and his mother came to her room long after midnight. The queen explained what she wanted Balsa to do. Chagum was possessed by a demon, one that the world believed had been conquered long ago. Its very existence threatened his father's reputation as a descendant of the gods. From his father's viewpoint, the best way to protect that reputation was to kill Chagum. Two recent accidents had threatened Chagum's life, and the queen wanted Balsa to take him far away and protect him from his father.

But staying alive wasn't easy for Chagum, because he carried not a demon, but an egg, in his body. He had to protect it, keep it alive, until he could deliver it to the Water Spirit in its home in the distant sea. The journey was long and difficult, and Balsa had to call upon all her courage and all her skills to keep them alive and ahead of the two enemies following them: Chagum's father, the Mikado, the ruler of Yogo, and the Egg Eater, the monster Rarunga.

Will Balsa's abilities as a warrior and her determination to keep the prince alive be enough to get them to the distant sea, and save their land from a deadly drought?

This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.