The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book IX
The Ambitious Magus

Chapter 2
Matthew’s Party

© The author reserves all rights to this work.


This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.

NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.

Date: 24 March 2676, Friday

Matthew Keith had waited impatiently for his brother to return from his cruise. Mark, his brother, had promised to bring Matthew out for dinner because it was his nineteenth birthday. Mark had a great surprise waiting for him. Mark had taken the trouble to find out who his friends were and invited them to the party: friends from school, friends from the Pellegrine and friends from his water-polo team. His greatest surprise was that Mark had invited the Robinson family. Matthew had just got through the entrance exams to the local university and he was now in the first year of his degree course. When Matthew started his degree course at the beginning of the year, he did not expect to see the girl he was so attracted to again. This time, she was just a little taller and a little more developed.

“Hello, Professor Robinson, Mrs. Robinson…” greeted Mark as the Robinson family came through the door and towards the dining area. The Robinson girls were also there.

“Good evening, Mark,” Frank Robinson responded offering Mark his hand.

“Mark, it’s nice of you to invite us,” said Geraldine.

“Thank you,” he replied. “It’s Matthew’s nineteenth birthday. I missed giving him a huge bash last year and I want to make it up to him.”

“Can we celebrate Lelia’s sixteenth birthday in the same way?” asked Chiara. She kept quiet when she saw her parents’ disapproving looks.

“Come,” said Mark with a smile. “You’re seated here,” he said when he reached the table that the Robinsons were seated at. Frank instinctively pulled out the chair for his wife. Mark pulled out the chair first for Stephanie, his ex-girlfriend, and then for Lelia. Chiara, being impatient, had pulled out the chair for herself and sat on it. All this time, Mark did not show the discomfort he was feeling. He had not really gotten over Stephanie. He smiled politely but Stephanie’s face wore an anxious smile.

Lelia, on the other hand, was nervous but not uncomfortable. She had spotted Matthew on another table talking to her brother Jacques. She sat quietly with a slight smile on her face. She was happy that Matthew was enjoying himself. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw Matthew turn and glance at her direction. Their eyes locked for a fraction of a second before Lelia shyly lowered her eyes. She wondered if she had been caught looking.

Matthew was an extrovert until the crisis involving his real identity and the divorce of the parents that he knew from birth. His depression brought him into a shell that was only brought about after more than a year of treatment. Once back in school, his extroverted nature re-emerged slowly. However, with Lelia, the girl he was attracted to, who was also Jacques’ sister, Matthew became shy and nervous. Fortunately, Mark did not make him sit next to Jacques’ family. He was seated with several of his friends from the school he was in the year before and two of his new university friends. The Robinson family was seated at a different table as were the crew of the Pellegrine.

Mark and Stephanie were civil to each other. When Mark invited the whole Robinson family, both Frank Robinson and Jacques were not very sure. Mark assured them that he would not cause any unpleasantness at the dinner. If Stephanie did not go, he would not be offended. For Mark, it was not right to invite everyone in the family without Stephanie. He said that should not dampen his brother’s birthday just because there was a problem between him and Stephanie. In reality, Frank and Geraldine Robinson was more afraid of what Stephanie might do.

After dinner, there was dancing. Some of the younger students had a curfew and so had to leave. Frank and Geraldine Robinson also decided to take their leave with their youngest daughter, Chiara.

“Stephanie, stay with Lelia, I think she wants to stay.”

“Mama, she is too young for a dance,” Stephanie said, feeling a little uncomfortable with Mark around.

“She’s fifteen. She’ll be sixteen when her birthday comes in a few months. I remember your first date at sixteen. After all, this crowd seems quite safe and she seems to be interested in Mark’s brother.”

“What?!” Stephanie exclaimed softly. “Are you sure that Lelia is interested in Matthew?”

“I caught her looking at his direction a few times. She hasn’t said much about her feelings but I think she’s interested. I also noticed that Matthew was looking over our direction quite a few times. Call it a hunch. If there’s nothing to it, then she’d want to go home,” Geraldine said.

“Okay, mama.”

“Look Stef, I can see that Mark isn’t too comfortable about you being here either but he’s been a gentleman. Don’t be too childish okay?”

“Yes, mama,” said Stephanie knowing that she was not going to get out of this one.

When they had left, Jorg suddenly sent mental messages to the magi in the room. There were six: Kean, Jacques, Heath, Iris, Natasha (one of the crew of the Pellegrine) and Jorg himself.

*Head up guys, I sense two magi around. They are up to no good. They’re outside. I suspect that they’ll try to get us out and then another do some damage. Natasha, you have the relic with you, right?*

*Yes Jorg,* the other five replied.

*Jacques stay with Nastasha,* Jorg instructed.

Jacques and Natasha moved towards the dance floor.

*The rest of us will go out. Natasha, activate your relic the moment we get the intruders out,* Jorg instructed.

Iris, Heath, Kean and Jorg moved out of the front door. Just before the party, Jorg had given some of the magi a relic each and instructed them how to use them. Natasha had a piece of bone embedded in crystal. The crystal was transparent but appeared in different colours because of the prismatic effect it had. Heath had a heart shaped piece of wood. Iris was given a rock with strange carvings, whilst Kean was given a piece of volcanic rock with a fossil of a leaf. Each relic had its own leather case and was worn round the magi’s necks. Only Jacques did not have a relic. Jorg, on the other hand, had a blue gem on a chain, and a ring. Each magus had been instructed on how to activate his or her particular relic.

Jorg gave them further instructions, *Keep the relics secure.* They nodded. *Iris and Heath, you two cover the front. Kean and I will try to stop the two of them.*

Jorg and Kean appeared in the basement. They saw their targets attaching explosives onto the various reinforcement beams of the building. Jorg counted six. He informed Iris who immediately started to work on them

“Stop what you’re doing!” said Jorg aloud.

“Jorg, we were expecting you,” said a familiar voice. Jorg stopped, feeling surprised. “Surprised? You didn’t realise that I could be working against you, did you?”

A shapely lady emerged from the shadows. She had long, jet-black hair. Kean could detect oriental features on her face. Jorg did not have to see the face to see who it was. It was the voice of Liliana or Agent Jade, one of his colleagues in the rescue corps. She was an expert in explosives.

“Your friend outside … the one who can defuse bombs … she’d tell you that these bombs are set to detonate in ten minutes. You can’t possibly defuse or change their molecular structure of all of them in that time.” Liliana gave a small laugh and then she disappeared with the other magus.

Jorg decide to consult Iris, *How does it look, Iris?*

*She’s right, Jorg,* replied Iris. *The mechanism is pretty complicated for me to defuse within ten minutes.*

*In that case, follow the two,* instructed Jorg. *They’ll realise that they can’t go into the dance hall.*

*Right away!* they replied.

Jorg knew he could not touch the detonator because that would be the first place that Liliana would booby-trap. The only thing was to change the molecular structure of the explosive substance itself.

“Kean, you’ve got to feed me your strength. We need to change the explosive into some inert substance.”

“What kind of substance is it? I know Heath and Jacques did Fuel Chemistry. They must know how to do something so that you don’t have to change all of it!” said Kean anxiously.

“Good idea!” Jorg focused on his new level fifteen abilities and was able to get the molecular structure of the explosive. He sent a message to Heath and showed him the image he had.

*Wow, this is so clear!* said Heath as he studied the chemical. Fortunately, he came up with a solution quickly. *If you move the carbonyl group to the seventh position, then it will become inert. If you could introduce some titanium and copper carbonate into the mixture, the change could be speeded up,* suggested Heath.

*Okay, thanks. Warn Jacques and Natasha about the impending explosions,* Jorg added.

Jorg stared at the bombs in front of him. The explosive material was covered by grey paint. There was a detonator at the bottom of the clump of explosive material. From the outside, the detonator could not be seen but a set of five wires was found emerging from the explosive. All the wires were black. These led to a small box, which contained the timer. The timer was crudely made using ancient quartz timepieces. There was an indication of the time on the exterior of the bomb. The wires were not coloured because Liliana could psychically trace the wires. The absence of colour made the defusing of the bombs very difficult. This technique helped Liliana to be one of the most proficient explosive experts in the Rescue Corps.

Starting at the area where the detonator was inserted, Jorg started to change the molecular structure of the explosive. He observed the structures changing as he did what Heath had suggested. Kean had willed some titanium metal and copper carbonate powder on the floor. Jorg carefully inserted the catalytic substances into the bomb. He focused as each molecule changed from a powerful explosive to an inert substance. He left one-third of the substance unchanged and went to the next bomb. Jorg hoped that with smaller explosions the building might be saved.

*Five minutes left,* Kean announced mentally.

Jorg had just finished the second bomb. He started to work on the third, pushing himself to the limit. He finished the third and started working on the fourth. Halfway through the fourth, Kean announced the end of another minute. Jorg decided to leave it to go to the next one. He slowed down considerably during the fifth bomb. The effect of using his new found level fifteen powers were showing. He kept pushing himself despite the strain. In the end, he finished all six bombs with two minutes to spare. He hoped that all that he had converted was going to be enough to save the buildings. Surveying the bombs, he managed to convert two-thirds of each of three bombs and one-third in each of the other three. The last three bombs were still going through the conversion because Jorg had introduced titanium and copper carbonate into the explosive in two different parts of the explosive material. The two additions that Heath had recommended were still helping in the conversion process. Jorg only hoped that it would be enough to save the building. Then Kean and he moved out to join Iris and Heath

Jorg knew that Heath was unable to help trace saboteurs because he had moved away from them to help with the bomb situation.

*Let’s take cover!* Jorg instructed.

When the time ran out, muffled explosions came from the basement and the shockwaves were still quite powerful. Glass broke and the four magi outside could feel the ground shaking.

Inside, the explosions rocked the dance floor. Many were on the dance floor when the explosions occurred. Most of them hit the floor when the ground shook. There was screaming and yelling. There was smoke coming out from the kitchen and that was all it took to get the youngsters streaming out of the building. Most of them were quite calm but a few were quite hysterical.

Jorg looked around for Matthew and saw him coming out with Jacques and Natasha. Several other magi had arrived at the same time. Jorg had called in his reserve troops.

*Iris, take Heath and try to protect Matthew. I think he’s the main target,* Jorg instructed.

*Yes,* Iris responded.

*Will do … Master Jorg,* came Heath’s reply.

Turning his mind to the newly arrived magi, Jorg instructed, *Look after these people until the authorities arrive. Try to remain as inconspicuous as possible.*

*Understood,* replied Rocky, who was the leader of the reserve.

Jorg mentally searched for the two magi. He found Liliana’s male partner on top of a building, waiting. Liliana was at the shuttleport waiting for the next shuttle out of Uranus. Jorg and Kean reached the shuttleport and found her amongst a crowd waiting for boarding time. Kean caused the cover of a small rubbish disposal unit to fall onto the ground. The sound it made caused a distraction and Jorg was able to transport Liliana to where they were.

Liliana was not at all surprised to see Jorg. However, she was quite impressed by Jorg’s prowess. She sneered, “I see that you’ve managed to avert danger. I must congratulate you, Jorg. You’ve studied your explosives since we’ve last met.”

Jorg’s eyes and face betrayed his pain, *Why are you working for him, Liliana? You could’ve made training master.*

Liliana had a smirk on her face, *He promised us all a new life. It’s magi like you who are going the wrong way. What thanks have we for all the help we provide?*

Jorg looked concern. *You know that we’ve a purpose…*

“Damn the purpose,” cursed Liliana aloud. *White has gone where no magi have ever gone. He’ll lead humanity into their intended evolution. We’re the next step in human evolution. Our tradition has misled us and we’ve been serving humanity for so long. Now, White will bring us to our destiny as masters of humanity. Join us, Jorg.*

Jorg shook his head. *You know I won’t Liliana. I know that deep down inside you know that what you’re doing is wrong.*

Liliana gave an evil smile. *Then you’ll forgive me if I leave.*

*You can’t leave,* declared Jorg. *You’ve got to stand before the council.*

Liliana glared at Jorg. She started to launch a psychic attack on Kean. Jorg sensed it and stepped in front to save Kean. Liliana made use of the opportunity to disappear. Jorg seemed to be distracted by her disappearance. As a result, he took the brunt of the attack for Kean. He staggered a little before collapsing onto the ground. Kean grabbed hold of Jorg before he hit the floor.

“Jorg, you okay?” Jorg was silent. Kean began to be concerned. The relic that Jorg had should have protected him. “Jorg! Jorg! Wake up. You’re scaring me!”

Jorg opened his eyes. He struggled to form a smile. “I’m okay. Just shaken. I’d to tag Liliana before getting hit. I guess the relic needed my full concentration.”

“She’s gone,” lamented Kean.

“Not quite,” said Jorg, getting back to his feet. “If you would lend me your strength, I’ll bring her back.”

Liliana reappeared looking very surprised. “How did you get me? What’s happening? Why can’t I get out?” The slim woman was still but her mind was darting in various directions.

“You can’t because I’ve taken control,” said Jorg sternly. “Now you’ll need to sleep.”

“No! I won’t…” said Liliana as she moved her tongue in her mouth.

“You won’t find your cyanide pill or any other weapon. Your psychic energy is very low. You won’t even be able to kill yourself psychically,” Jorg explained. Then Jorg focused his power again and Liliana collapsed. Turning to Kean, he said, “Let’s get back to the others to help them.”

“What about her?” asked Kean, pointing to Liliana’s limp body.

“We’ll bring her along,” replied Jorg, “but first, I think we’d better bind her.” Suddenly the unconscious Liliana was bound.

Jorg, Kean and their prisoner appeared just behind Heath, Jacques, Iris, Matthew and an unconscious Natasha. It was apparent to Jorg that Heath, Jacques and Iris were trying to keep a protective shield up. They were five blocks from the dance hall.

*Give me your relic,* Jorg instructed Kean. Kean handed over his relic. *When I distract the attacker, get in front of them so that you can enter the shield and then help to keep the shield up. Heath should use his relic to heal Natasha.*

*What about you, Jorg?* asked a concerned Kean.

Kean felt the tenderness in Jorg’s mental voice. *I’ll be fine. Get into the shield.*

Jorg appeared right behind the attacker and performed a Judo throw. The attacker was taken by surprise and he turned his attention to Jorg. The rest, in the meantime had spotted Kean and allowed him into the shield. Kean helped to strengthen the shield that the rest put up after his entry.

*You’re going to go down Jorg,* the magus known as Agent Gold to White threatened.

*If so, perhaps I may know your name so that I’d know who to haunt when I return from the dead!* taunted Jorg.

*My given name is Gilbert but you should know me as Agent Gold!* As he spoke, his mind prepared to lash out towards Jorg.

Though Gilbert’s face was calm and collected, Jorg was very attentive. He guessed that a blow was forthcoming. When Gilbert lashed out, Jorg had just enough time to move away and avoid his attacker’s psychic blow. Then Jorg’s mind reached into Kean’s relic and focused on the fossil on it. The relic collected energy from the surrounding, causing all the electrical lights around the area dimmed. Using the relic, Jorg converted the energy and lashed out a shock wave. Gilbert anticipated the attacked and moved aside as the blow hit the ground causing part of the ground to break up and fly upwards. Gilbert then harnessed all of his psychic will and directed it at Jorg. He allowed a slower but weak blow to move towards Jorg, causing Jorg move to his right. A split second after the weak blow, Gilbert lashed out full on the right. Jorg could not move away in time and this time the force of the psychic attack flung Jorg a few metres away. Kean saw this and was distracted.

“Kean!” shouted Iris. Kean immediately focused on the shield. It was a very close call because Gilbert immediately turned around. Iris and Kean braced themselves for another attack but it seemed that Gilbert was slow in harnessing his energies. The blow hit the shield but the group remained firmly planted on the ground. It seemed that Gilbert had lost some steam. Iris was not going to let her guard down and she raised her head towards her opponent, as did the rest of the group. They were surprised to see Gilbert on the ground. They saw, instead, a tired looking Jorg walking towards the fallen attacker.

Heath had taken his relic and focused his mental energies on it. It gave him a simple image of what was wrong with Natasha. Then, he poured his energies through the relic and started healing Natasha. He was almost finished when Jorg bound Gilbert.

“How’s Natasha?” asked Jorg aloud.

“She’ll be fine,” said Heath. “The attacker was very strong. Natasha tried to hit back and the guy just let her have it. Luckily Iris arrived in time and we managed to get the shield up and so Natasha didn’t get the full force.”

“Yes,” agreed Jorg, “Gilbert was a level fifteen. He was indeed very strong but Natasha should have known better than to let the shield down.”

“How are you, Jorg?” asked a very concerned Kean.

“I’m alright. I’m a little tired because of the battles. I haven’t had such great a battle for a while,” replied Jorg with a slight smile.

“You look pale…” started Kean.

“No, I’m alright Kean. I think I’m better than before,” Jorg said mysteriously. He turned around and scanned the area. He spotted Matthew huddled at the corner. He was a little pale. Jorg turned immediately to Matthew and asked, “How are you, Matthew?”

“Shaken. Were they trying to kill me?” Matthew asked.

“Yes. We’ll be able to get the full story when we get them back to Earth.”

“It’s my father, isn’t it?” enquired Matthew, shaking. It was a mixture of fear and anger.

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” replied Jorg solemnly.

“Why? What threat am I to him? Why can’t he let me be?” Matthew started sobbing.

Jorg put his arms around Matthew and said, “White is a very ambitious man. He thinks only of himself and not of others. He’s also a very insecure man. Most ambitious people are. He wants to make sure that nothing stands in his way in reaching his ambition. Unfortunately, he sees you as a threat and my knowing you has increased the risk. I’m sorry.”

“What do you mean?” asked Matthew. “Are you his sworn enemy?”

“Let’s just say that you’re not the only secret he has that I know about. I haven’t confronted him about the other secrets but as I said, he wants all obstacles removed and two obstacles together becomes too difficult to ignore.”

Suddenly, Matthew turned and attempted to rush off. Jorg stopped him in time.

“What do you think you’re doing, young man?” Jorg asked.

“Lelia! I need to see if she’s okay. I’ve been very selfish! I was huddled within a shield and I didn’t even think about her…”

Jorg laughed to himself. “Don’t rush to the dance hall like a mad man, Matthew. You’d better go with someone…” Heath was the nearest to them. “Heath!” called Jorg.

“Yes, Master Jorg,” answered Heath respectfully.

“Accompany Matthew to the dance hall. He needs to know that Jacques’ sister is all right.”

“Yes,” said Heath with a slight grin. “C’mon Matt, come with me.”

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