Steel City, Veiled Kingdom, Part 1: Surface

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom Vol. 1

Jerimin Icarii’s life is in shambles. Once an ambitious young scientist, years of hardship on the streets of his homeworld have transformed him into a desperate man, willing to do anything to get his life back.

In his darkest hour, he strikes a deal with the bizarre Queen of the faerie world.

Little does he know her help comes at a cost even he cannot calculate…

Steel City, Veiled Kingdom is a science fantasy overflowing with intrigue, adventure, and colorful characters you’ll love (and a few you’ll love to hate). It’s the perfect story for any sci-fi/fantasy lover looking for an immersive, inventive read.

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I once tried to run into the sea to drown myself, but the water never rose higher than my skinny fourteen-year-old calves.

It didn’t take long before I found the end of the sea, a glass wall at the very edge of the tower. Jets pumped recirculated water through slots aimed at my ankles. I stared through the glass at the steel city before me. If climbed over, I could jump, and if I jumped, I’d fall. I’d close my eyes and pretend I was flying—at least, until the first autokinet smashed into me. It’d be a quick death—the machines never stopped in time—and a better one than the injection in store for me when I failed my final set of tests.

At least this way I get to choose.

My palm had just kissed the glass when my father grabbed me from behind.


I twisted, but he was too strong. He hauled me, his only son, through the water, back to where my mother screamed and people avoided looking at us. My escape had failed.

I’d been paying for that day’s cowardice ever since. You see, I didn’t score low enough on my final Kakuri-Majinuri tests to warrant death—but my numbers weren’t high enough to declare me a safe member of society. I fought the judgment for a couple years, but I eventually got the message and stopped.

Fifteen years later, there was no water. And no wall, either. I’d found another edge, on an unfinished street. No one would see.

The autokinets thundered at the base of the skyscraper city.

I took a breath, closed my eyes…

And swore. Why did I have to do this? I never did anything wrong! I never hurt anyone—never wanted to! I’d just been judged unfairly—the tests were wrong!

But my anger changed nothing. The KM numbers made me unemployable, so I was penniless. The numbers made me dangerous, so I was friendless, even among the other city castoffs. And, worst of all, the numbers made me honorless, so I had no family.

The numbers had stolen my future, and I couldn’t get it back. It wasn’t fair, but I saw no other solution.

The world grew dim as dusk arrived. I took a step towards the edge—

—and was grabbed from behind again.

But instead of being dragged away, I was swung to the ground. Dazed, I stared up into the face of a pale-skinned woman with wild black hair. Her hand pressed on my heart, pinning me down.

“Do not,” she said. “I need you.”