After a week of dice rolling and vote collecting the results of round three of the Equus Battle Royal are in. It was very tight this time around, but in the end
Our victor is:
Story Title: A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter
Author: J. J. Roth
Equine Combatant’s Name: Mother “Badass” Unicorn
She will be moving on to compete in future rounds, but not right away. Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:
A Complete Mare by Tamsin Showbrook
Rue the Day but Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Excerpt from “To Ride a Steel Horse” by Stephanie Cain:
“Not this time.” Jack King was a white-bearded guy of about seventy, with sinewy forearms and powerful shoulders. He was shaking his head. “It’s dead, Demeter. Threw a rod. That’s a whole engine rebuild. Don’t throw good money after bad.”
Demy blinked several times, staring at him. In six years, nothing had been too much for Jack to fix. She’d bought the used Triumph as an act of defiance in the face of turning twenty-five—her sister had laughed and called it a quarter-life crisis. That had been the only truly good thing about her twenty-sixth year. That had been the year the magic took her mother and sister both, but Demy had gotten through it because of the, well, zen of motorcycles.
“I’m sorry, D,” Jack said, patting her shoulder. “Go next door and make Bear feed ya. I’ll drop ya by home when I close up shop.”
Demy shook her head. Jack was open until seven, and it was already past six. She didn’t want to be stuck at home with five more hours to get past midnight—there was too much temptation there. As much as she’d refused to follow in the footsteps of her matriarchs, she hadn’t been able to part with the various magical paraphernalia she had inherited. If she were home when the witching hour of Samhain hit…
“It’s fine. I’ll get Bear to take me home when he closes.”
Jack’s thick, white eyebrows shot up, but he smirked. “Raise a glass for me, too, then,” he said. “Happy Halloween.”
Demy trudged across the parking lot, her boot heels grating on the gravel. There were two dozen bikes parked outside the roadhouse, mixed with a few trucks from local non-bikers, because Bear made the best breaded tenderloin in north central Indiana.
She paused halfway across the parking lot and shoved her hands in her jeans pockets, tilting her head back to stare up at the stars that were beginning to appear. This bike had gotten her through the toughest years of her life. How was she supposed to just turn her back on it?
You could fix it, whispered a voice in the back of her head. Magic can do anything.
“Not anything,” Demy snapped, her voice harsh. It hadn’t brought her sister back. It hadn’t kept her mother from dying.