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Exclusive Sneak Peak at Chapter 1 for Book 5

This is an exclusive sneak peak at the first chapter of Book 5 of The Sorcerer’s Guide Series by L. Scott Clark. Only 2 books left to go.

Chapter 1

 

“Stand back,” said sixteen-year-old Jet Black. “It’s going to work this time.” He was furious at himself. How had he let him and his friends get trapped in this cavern? He’d never imagined Kevin McCormick locking them inside this tomb. Whispering to himself, he pleaded, “Please…please work. We can’t die in here.”

As Jet began to say another spell, Mckenzey Downs stepped in front of his next spell, raising both of her arms. “You’ve tried twelve spells already,” she said calmly. “Either Kevin placed some sort of—Brotherhood curse—on this place, or this entire cavern is protected against Elemental magic.”

Jet focused on a small space under the locked door and spoke “Pachamama.” The typical reaction to this spell was a four-foot crack that opened in the ground. This time, nothing happened.  Jet rubbed his right shoulder. Just a few hours ago, he had fought two creatures to get to this spot. His right shoulder had been dislocated, and Eric, Mckenzey’s boyfriend, had put it back into place.

“Let’s look at this logically,” said Jayco Carter. His towering figure was less than two feet from touching the eight-foot ceiling. They stood in a cavern, deep within a mountain, in Congo, Africa. “From the looks of it, Shane Fallon or Kevin McCormick beat us to the location of the fourth piece of the Phoenix.”

“Not helping,” said Eric.

Jayco continued, “The black and golden items are missing. Seyanna has been kidnapped by her father, and we are trapped in this magic-protected room while your four golden animals are in the room next door. It often seems that you can communicate with them.”

“That’s a great idea.” In truth, he only really communicated with Iris, the golden panther. These magical creatures transform into living and breathing animals from golden pyramids. Iris followed his commands perfectly. Closing his eyes, he concentrated and felt her presence. She never spoke back to him, but he communicated his wishes. “There are three pedestals in the room. Go to the middle and knock off the box on the middle one.”

He thought he sensed her understanding his command. “She heard me.” And Jet moved to the door.

“About time,” his Asher. “I can’t stand another second in this room with a dead body.”

Jet’s eyes fell on Marapi, and he felt sorrow and relief fighting each other within him. Both emotions were easy to understand, but he hated how they competed for his attention. Marapi was a student from a different boarding school than Jet and the others in the room attended. She went to Dillon Lake while Jet went to Chadwick’s. Both schools had been created to one day teach magic, but only Chadwick’s was doing so at the moment.

She had been killed, but her body had been left here to torment Jet and his friends. At first glance, she looked a lot like one of their best friends, Seyanna, who had been kidnapped by her evil father a few days before. Jet hadn’t known she was missing, but he suspected something had been afoul.

“Hurry up,” shouted Jade, and she began pounding on the door.

Jet refocused his attention on Iris, and he felt her dissatisfaction. He realized that she couldn’t open the door. In his mind, he communicated, “Can’t you tell one of the others?”

This thought was met with annoyance and the meaning became clear. Already tried.

“We’re stuck,” said Jet. “Iris can’t open the door.”

“Can Mckenzey dig us out of here?” asked Keesha.

All eyes turned to Mckenzey. Each Elemental had a talent or two. Jet could magnify his vision and cause it to expand around his head. Mckenzey could heal and dig. Jayco could breathe and see underwater.

Mckenzey closed her eyes. Jet watched as her face reddened as if she was applying great force. After thirty seconds, she stumbled. Reaching a hand out to her side, she caught herself and opened her eyes. “That’s not happening.” Eric hurried to her side and comforted her.

Jayco lifted his golden bracelets to his biceps. For the next five minutes, he slammed the door so hard Jet was convinced the entire cavern was about to fall onto them. Somehow, the door didn’t budge.

Once Jayco’s anger had subsided, Phoebe stepped forward and said, “It looks like we’re trapped here. I think it’s about time you give us some answers.”

“About what?” asked Jet.

“Your plans. Who’s with us, and who’s against us? What’s the overall plan? Why don’t you start at the beginning.”

Jet asked, “Have you seen The Sorcerer’s Guide?”

Lucas and Quinn moved closer. Natalia, Allison, and Alivia sat on the ground, against the far wall. With Lydia, Melvin, Maria, and Keesha, that made sixteen in the room beside the dead Marapi.

Jet whispered, “Bookshelf,” and within the hidden compartment on his ring, he pulled out an ancient book.

“Where did that come from?” asked Asher.

“I’ll tell you soon enough.” Jet pulled out the book and handed it to Jayco. “Open it.”

Jayco pulled and pushed and tried ripping the book apart, but it remained firmly closed.

“Place it on the ground.”

Jayco did.

Using a single finger, Jet opened the cover, and it moved with ease.

“No way,” said Asher.

Removing his finger, he allowed the book to shut. “Try it.”

Asher did, and no matter what he or anyone else in the room did, it could not be opened.

“This is a tome that teaches me and the rest of you about Elemental magic. It only opens at my touch, and only one page will turn at a time. Those pages that have already opened, I can access, but the rest can’t. Additionally, only I can read the words on its pages.” Jet opened the tome to The Legendary Battle. Holding it up, he showed a blank page. “This page talks about the Rivalry, some of the magical books, Arisol the demon, and his imprisonment. As of now, four of the pieces of the Phoenix, the ancient artifact that is spoken about, have been found. We just missed out on the fourth piece. Whoever controls all six pieces, will control the ability to defeat or join Arisol.”

“Why does the Rivalry involve only the Elementals and the Runics?” asked Alivia.

Jet stared at her dyed black hair with blond tips. She was curious and fearful at the same time. “I’m not entirely sure. The Sorcerer’s Guide leads the Elementals while The Mage’s Letters lead the Runics. Shane Fallon is the leader of the Runics.”

“Do you think he beat us to these items?” asked Alivia’s friend Natalia. She was short with brown hair.

“Julian, who died in the traps coming here is good friends with Shane. Only Runics can touch the black items, including weapons and Elementals can touch the golden items.”

“Kevin locked us in here,” said Eric, as he wrapped his arm around Mckenzey. They were boyfriend and girlfriend, but their relationship was complicated. “Does that mean Kevin is working with Shane?”

“No way,” said Keesha. She had dark skin. She wasn’t one of the initial group, but she had been one of the first outsiders to join. “Don’t you remember what Kevin said when he closed the door?”

Phoebe recounted, “Death to the Mikado. The Azurites have killed the Elementals. The Runics are next in Washington, D.C.”

Keesha said, “This tells me that Kevin and whoever else trapped us here aren’t working with Shane.”

“Who are the Azurites?” asked Melvin.

Jet said, “The original groups before magic returned to Earth were the Brotherhood and later the Azurites. They have fundamental differences in how they think magic should be given and used. I don’t trust the Azurites at all, and I barely trust the Brotherhood.”

Jayco added, “That means that Kevin is working for the Azurites. Chief Charlie Eckenkeep of the Brotherhood must be a spy of sorts for the Azurites. There have been plenty of other students, such as Darium, who work for them as well.”

“How did they get the golden items?” asked Lucas.

Jet said, “They must’ve forced Seyanna to gather the golden items. They likely forced a Runic or one freely agreed to help them.”

Asher asked, “Where do you hide all of your things?”

Jet lifted his hand. “This ring came from Alces, the daughter of Queen Aurora, and leader of the Hayawan Kin, who are changelings. Alces helped us when the magic stealers, the Chupovanas, attacked the school.”

“I remember her,” said Phoebe. “Didn’t she die?”

“She did. She was killed by her sister. But before she died, she gave me this ring with a hidden compartment.”

“Where can we get one of those?” asked Asher.

“Good luck,” said Jayco. “All the cool things happen to Jet.

Mckenzey mumbled, “Like getting attacked, almost dying, and being tortured nearly to death.”

Jet added, “Or, you could have your leg broken like Mckenzey, imprisoned and tortured like Jayco and Grantham, or have your magic mostly taken away by a Chupovana like Latisha. We’ve all had tremendous experiences.”

“Totally jealous,” said Quinn. “The best part is when the group of us get locked inside a cave box with no way to escape.”

Keesha replied, “When we don’t show up soon, they will send someone.”

“That guy, Seyanna’s father, called Marapi’s phone. Shouldn’t we be able to call out?”

Everyone pulled out their phones and checked their screens.

“Mine doesn’t even give any bars,” said Lydia.

“SOS,” said Jade.

Maria asked, “What about the phone of that girl?”

Jet had dropped the phone the moment Charlie Eckenkeep had hung up. Walking over to it, he was unsurprised to see that it no longer worked. “Nope. It’s dead.”

“We need a better plan,” announced Asher.

Jayco retorted, “Then you come up with one.”

Phoebe said, “Maybe Mckenzey could try digging upward rather than through the side walls of the floor.”

Mckenzey shrugged. She stood in the center and forced her power to engage. After several moments, she said, “Nothing.”

“This is stupid,” said Asher.

“What skills do you have?” asked Jayco.

Asher said, “I’m not completely aware of my skills, but one thing I’ve noticed over the past month that I never could do before is that I can focus on one item or picture in my past and recall it perfectly.”

“Like a photographic memory?” asked Alivia.

“Yes and no. If the item was a book, I could open it up to whatever page I’ve read before and all other pages, even if I haven’t read them, and they would be perfect in my mind. However, the rest of the room, notes, and such, would be barred from my vision.”

“Even the stuff you didn’t read?”

Asher nodded.

“That is crazy useful for tests.”

“Quite possibly,” said Asher.

Jade said, “I was left-hand dominant, and now they both work the same. I can throw, write, and do anything else with both hands equally. They also can do totally separate things at the same time. I couldn’t do that before.”

“Interesting,” replied Eric. “I would love that for fighting.”

Phoebe said, “I think I have a type of night vision. It isn’t similar to infrared. It’s more based on inanimate objects. Every living mammal is white in color, reptiles are yellow, birds are red. Plants, rocks, buildings, and other things are so much clearer.

Jet asked, “Did you use it when we were fighting the Dreveak Demons?”

“Didn’t need to.”

Jayco asked, “Anyone else have a talent?”

They glanced from one person to the next. Each shook their head no.

“None of those are going to help us get—”

“Iris heard something,” said Jet.

“Something what?” asked Mckenzey. “Is Kevin coming back?”

“Shush,” hissed Jet. A few moments later, he said, “Looks like it was nothing.”

“This is so frustrating,” shouted Jayco. “How did we get into this position?”

“That’s a great question,” said Jet. “But not about us. How did Kevin get here before us? How did he get through the Ratas and Razors? Did they bring a dead body with them?”

“Why is that so important?” asked Mckenzey.

“We’re in Congo, Africa. Marapi must’ve been alive at some point. When did they kill her?” Jet moved to the body. He noticed, as he had before, that she had been positioned carefully. Reaching out, he pulled up her sweater to reveal the skin of her abdomen. There was a huge gash on her right flank.

“Why are you touching a dead body?” asked Jade. “That is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Ignoring this, Jet lifted the back of her head. There was blood smeared into her hair and on the back of her head. Rolling her over, he found that her left and right arms and left ankle had been broken severely. The pink and white striped sweater, which he thought was Seyanna’s, hid most of the injuries.

“How did we miss this?” asked Jet.

“Miss what?” Asher asked.

“They didn’t kill her as much as she got killed.”

“What’s the difference?”

Keesha answered, “We saw blood on that rotating black metal box in the passageway coming here.”

“That would explain these injuries.”

“Like you said, how did you miss this before?” demanded Asher.

“I thought it was Seyanna, then Kevin showed up. It wasn’t like I was looking for injuries. Her face is pretty clean.” Jet stretched out both of his arms. His shoulders felt like fire was going through both. He had cuts and scrapes on his left shoulder, and Mckenzey had wrapped them. Eric had set his right shoulder back into place after it had been dislocated.

Phoebe said, as she knelt closer to Marapi’s body, “They hid some of the damage with makeup.”

“Who cares,” said Jade. “It doesn’t change anything.”

“Well,” said Jet. “It’s unlikely they left the same way we entered. Possibly a second access. If that’s the case, maybe there’s a second entrance to this room. We need to check over everything again.

Before they even took a step, the main door opened. Everyone spun quickly, bringing their weapons to bear.

“Don’t attack,” said a voice that Jet thought he had heard before.

“Who’s there,” Jet asked.

“It’s Rozene Bluesky. I have Mikey with me, he is the one who opened the door. We also have Trinity and Hebrew. It’s just the four of us.”

“Why are you here? What are you doing?”

“I asked them to come,” said Jayco. “At the time, I didn’t know if you, Mckenzey, and Raul would make it in time to New York.”

Jet said, “The Rivalry is for Elementals and Runics, not Predilectors.”

“I know. That’s why they came in after.”

Jet asked, “Why didn’t you tell us sooner?”

Jayco said, “I had no idea if they had made it to Africa. We couldn’t communicate.”

“Is that why you kept dropping those things on the ground.”

“They needed to know which way to go,” said Jayco.

“Who cares,” said Asher. “They’ve opened the door.”

“You better come out here, your animals seem trapped.”

Jet began to walk toward the open door when Rozene stepped into the room. Her dark hair sat frayed on her shoulders. She said, “Can Mikey reappear? Are you mad at us?”

“It’s good to see you,” said Jayco and he hurried over to Rozene. They hugged and kissed.

“Yes. Mikey you can appear?”

The short boy reappeared, smiling. Mikey and Rozene had both helped them escape Dillon Lake.

Asher said, “He can do the same thing I can. What a joke.”

“He’s different,” said Jet. “He’s a Predilector, like Rozene. They haven’t been given magic, but a magic-like ability.”

“That’s weird,” said Jade. “Can we trust them?”

“Yes,” said Jet, and he walked to the door. He placed a hand on Mikey’s shoulder and squeezed.

“What are you saying?” screamed Rozene.

Jet turned to see Rozene walking toward Marapi. They had been best friends.

Rozene said, “I thought she died at Dillon Lake.”

“Was she part of the Azurites?” asked Jet.

“What do you mean?”

“The Azurites, Kevin, and Chief Eckenkeep are here. They kidnapped one of our friends and either Marapi was helping them, or they were forcing her. They got her killed one way or another.

Rozene said, “There were rumors at Dillon Lake that the Azurites had spies. I don’t know how Marapi could have been one of them. We always hung out. She wanted an opportunity to get magic as much as I did.”  She bent down and picked up Marapi’s hand. Tears streamed down her face.

Lucas asked, “What do you mean…get magic?”

Jayco said, “Dillon Lake is different from Chadwick’s. Their students are taught about magic openly. They’ve been looking forward to magic returning. It just happened at a different boarding school.”

“What is a Predilector?” asked Allison.

Rozene answered, her voice thick, “Predilectors are an in-between from those with magic and without. Some of us can tell when magic is being used. Others can become invisible, like Mikey.”

Jet added, “There are three stages of this ability. Each Predilector can do something similar to one of the five types of magic. Rozene can use sound to disorient you. It’s impressive.”

“But very limited,” said Rozene. “The two most important Predilector are those who can disappear, because they can’t be picked up by magic, and those who can detect where magic is going to be used.”

“What do you mean?” asked Melvin.

“If Jet were hiding above a battlefield,” explained Rozene. “And he went to use magic, one of the Predilector would know exactly where he was hiding and what magic he was going to use. This allows Kevin to form a defense to the magic.”

“He can do that?”

“From the stones the Brotherhood embedded in his skin. He found a way to restrain magic. He can’t really use Elemental or Runic magic as the Brotherhood envisioned. With several Predilectors and his stones, he will be hard to beat. He trapped your animals using his talent.  Go take a look. I’m going to need a few minutes before we go.”

Jet nodded as Rozene turned back to her friends. The group, except for Jayco, filed out of the room. They found Iris and the other three golden animals cornered and blocked by a protective layer. It had a soft green to it.

“What do we do?” asked Lydia.

“Practice. Until we find out what breaks through that barrier.”

For the next thirty minutes, Jet tried each of his spells. Nothing worked. Pulling out his backpack, he removed several objects. He tried the other golden weapons first, but nothing. In his hand, he had a few kernels of corn. He knew these wouldn’t work as they created replicas.

Jet lay an arrowhead on the floor and said, “Everyone, step behind me.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Natalia.

“A science experiment.” He dripped some water onto the arrowhead, which stored energy into it. The water splashed on the arrowhead, and a torrent of energy was shot out from the arrowhead in the direction it pointed. The concussive force against the barrier was impressive.

Glancing at Jayco, he noticed that he and Rozene were holding hands and whispering.

Returning to the task, he held a shark’s tooth and thought he knew what this did. In fact, it did something similar to what Kevin had done. It created a protective barrier if the tip of the tooth was stuck into the ground. He pocketed these items.

Back at Chadwick’s, his grandmother had sent him a box of ancient artifacts. It held many wonderous items, including a cloak, pyramid, jewelry, and several other items. The kernel corns, arrowheads, and shark’s teeth had been inside. It also held black powder, which had helped heal him of a magical attack. There were also multicolored stones, feathers, eagle talons, and more. Jet pulled out a multicolored stone, placed it into the ground, and stepped back.

“Do you know what you are doing?” asked Mckenzey.

“Not a clue.”

The instant the stone touched the ground, it grew ten times in size. Jet immediately recognized what it possibly could be.

“Is that an egg?” asked Eric.

The hard outer covering cracked and split. The first piece broke away. An eye peaked out of the shell. An instant later, the creature inside wormed itself out of the shell.

Quinn asked, “What the heck is that?”

“Don’t ask me,” said Jet.

Jayco said, “That seems like a lizard and salamander cross. Both have four legs, a tail, and an elongated body.”

The creature was nearly two feet long. Jet watched as it climbed the walls, dropped from the ceiling, and landed as expertly as a cat. It was orange in color, like the peel of an orange. Liquid glistened off its back, and it had three toes on each appendage. It stared up expectantly at Jet.

“Don’t ask me. I don’t know what to do.”

Iris whined from behind the barrier.

Jet pulled out the next item, a feather. It was red in color with several layers of black coloring. It was twelve inches in length. As he had done with the other items, he stuck the quill of the feather in the dirt at his feet. The result was instantaneous. The entire feather sizzled and melted into the ground as if the hottest furnace in the world had been present. The glob soaked into the ground, disappearing under the soil but forming a lump. The lump weaved back and forth like a snake toward the Golden animals.

“Should we take a few steps back?” asked Mckenzey.

Jet retreated a few feet.

The lump collided with an unseen barrier, and there was a blast of white light. Tiny tentacles scattered across the barrier, causing it to come into focus for an instant as the white light shone. The moment the light receded, Iris stepped from the barrier, hurried over to the lizard salamander, and began licking its back as if mothering it.

“Didn’t expect any of that,” said Jayco. “We put those multicolored stones in the dirt before, and nothing happened. Do you have any more?”

“Some,” said Jet. He fished three out and dropped them on the ground. All three expanded, the shell broke, and different colored lizard salamanders. Each was a different color, size, and the length of their tail was different. Iris cleaned all four of them as Jet said, “Check the room. See if you can find an exit.”

They spent the next twenty minutes searching every corner of the room. Jet lifted the box from the center pedestal multiple times, but no other doors opened. They checked every inch of the area.

Jet asked, “Rozene. How did you get here?”

“The four of us were already at the airport when you arrived. We weren’t going to travel with you guys. We took a different route, and we flew into Juba, in South Sudan. From there, we stole a vehicle and drove into Uganda and then Congo. We had to attack a few people at the borders. It wasn’t that hard.”

“Attack?” asked Mckenzey.

Rozene pointed to Trinity and Hebrew. Hebrew can cause bug hallucinations in his mind and Trinity can whisper unintelligible words. If you want a demonstration, I can show you.”

“I’m tempted,” said Asher. “I really am.”

“So, you trick people into thinking something isn’t there and they go run off.”

“Pretty much.”

“Sounds juvenile.” Jet got a distinct feeling that Mckenzey didn’t like Rozene too much.

“It worked. We needed to get here in a hurry. Imagine if we hadn’t arrived. You would still be stuck in that room with a dead boy.”

“Thank you,” said Jayco. “Can we focus on finding a way out of here?”

Iris was finished licking the four newest creatures. They followed her like she was their mother. Iris stepped to the center pedestal and began pawing at the ground. Moving closer, Jet lifted the box again, nothing happened. Iris’s next swipe hit metal and the sound was different. Bending down, he found a three-foot by three-foot metal door on a hinge in the floor covered by dirt.

It didn’t take long for the entire space to be cleaned off. The door wouldn’t budge.

Jayco asked, “Melvin. Do you still have that key?”

“Sure.” Melvin hurried forward, and using the key, he unlocked the door.

Jet said, “Be ready for anything. We have to get out of here and warn the others.”

“What about Marapi’s body?” asked Rozene.

Standing, Jet spoke to Iris. She turned to the grizzly bear. “We are going to strap her onto the golden bear.”

With Jayco and Melvin’s help, Jet and Rozene tied Marapi’s body to the grizzly bear. They tied her down, then added the blanket over her.

When they were ready, Jet said, “I don’t think we’ll be able to bring her home.”

That’s fine,” said Rozene. “I just can’t have her remain here.”

Jet moved to the door in the floor and opened it. He was immediately overtaken by the desire to scratch his body. The sensation was beyond anything he’d ever imagined. Rozene inched closer and slammed closed the door.

“What was that?” asked Jayco.

Rozene replied, “There are Predilectors down there, making sure we can’t escape.”

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