The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book IX
The Ambitious Magus

Chapter 3

© 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

Jorg and his team survived the attack. Matthew was concerned for Lelia and so, together with Heath, he went off towards the dance hall. They knew that the police and emergency department were already there. They could hear the sirens and the flashing lights.

In the meantime, Natasha recovered. Jorg instructed the rest of the magi to move back to the dance hall. Their prisoners were rendered invisible and were put in a corner with at least one magus to keep an eye on them. The firemen had already put out the fire and the police were interviewing everyone. Jorg tried to arrange the scene mentally so that there was a reason for the absence of the seven of them. Then he informed the other magi regarding what he had arranged.

Matthew did not get a chance to look for Lelia because his brother spotted him when he reached the dance hall.

“Matt! There you are. We were worried that you’d been trapped in there. When the rescue workers went in, they could not find you,” said a relieved Mark.

“Okay. This was the birthday boy?” asked a police officer, putting up his hand to stop Matthew from going further. He looked like the most senior officer there. He was in his fifties and slightly overweight. His uniform looked a little tight in at the waist. He had just finished talking to one of Matthew’s university friends when he heard Mark shout.

“Yes, I am,” Matthew, said softly.

“Where were you all this time?” asked the officer.

“He was with me,” answered Heath.

“And you are …?”

“Heath Williams,” replied Heath.

The officer raised an eyebrow as he checked his notebook. He recognised Heath’s name from the police files and Heath’s appearance confirmed that he was speaking to George Williams’ son. Heath’s father was a well-known Earth politician. “And where were you? I understand that you came out just before the explosions occurred.”

“It’s kind of personal …” began Heath, looking a little unsure, “but I guess I’ll have to say it.” Heath looked resignedly at the officer and explained, “I was having some problems in my love life and I wanted to ask Iris for some advice. We couldn’t speak properly inside because of the music and so we came out to talk. Then the explosions occurred. I turned back and saw the people run out. Then I spotted Matthew. I called out to him. He came towards me at first, but then took off. I had to run after him.”

“Why did you run away?” the officer asked Matthew.

Matthew was at a loss. He became very pale. Mark asked, “Are you okay, Matt?”

“Yes, I feel like a fool for running away like that but Heath set me straight,” he managed to mumble out.

“Yes,” interjected Heath. “Matthew recovered from a bout of depression a few years ago and his life was just looking good. When he came out, he … ,” said Heath.

“Why don’t you let the lad speak,” interrupted the officer. He was annoyed.

“Well,” answered Matthew, realising what Heath was driving at. “I panicked. I felt that this was fate’s way of saying that I shouldn’t be happy. I ran because I began to feel really bad. All my friends were with me to have fun. Now because of my stupid party, some of them are hurt. I felt the need to run away from this sadness. Heath caught up with me and talked to me. He made me realise that this was not my fault and persuaded me to come back with him.”

“Okay, and anyway, the most serious injuries your friends have are just some scratches and bruises,” the officer said.

“Can I go now? I need to see to my friends!” pleaded Matthew.

“Yeah! You can go…”

“Thanks!” came the quick reply and Matthew ran off with Heath and Mark tailing behind him.

“What about you?” the officer asked Kean who had just come towards the policeman. The officer had not noticed Kean in the crowd and was a little suspicious of him.

“I was about to go into the toilet when the explosions occurred.” Kean had caught the officer’s projected thoughts almost immediately. “Captain Brown had just come out of the toilet. There was quite a lot of smoke in the passageway. We tried to go out by the front way but the smoke was too thick. We decided to go out by the back way. We had to move through a maze of kitchen utensils before getting out through the back door. Unfortunately, Captain Brown had breathed in too much smoke and he was having difficulty breathing. I stayed with him until Iris found us. She helped me to move the Captain to a less smoky area. She is now with the captain and the paramedics.”

The officer then went around continuing to interview everybody else and taking down their particulars. When he had finished, he made a general announcement that they could all go home.

Matthew realised that his friends were not badly hurt. Many were conscious. Many called out to him and gave offered their sympathies. No one seemed to blame him. During this time, he was looking out for Lelia. Then he spotted her standing on the opposite side of the road. She seemed unhurt. Matthew walked towards her.

“How are you feeling?” he asked gently. “I’m sorry for all that’s happened.”

“It isn’t your fault,” Lelia replied with a small smile. “I’m fine. When I heard the explosions, I realised that everyone had to leave. I headed straight for the door just before the fire broke out in the main hall.”

“I’m glad that you’re feeling okay,” said Matthew softly. He was getting nervous because he didn’t know what else to say.

“Are you okay?” asked Stephanie. Matthew jumped because he did not notice Stephanie standing just to the side of Lelia. “You’re very jumpy … Well, I guess when your birthday party goes up in smoke, you should be …”

“Stef!” chided Lelia. “Matthew, I’m feeling alright, really. Don’t worry. It was probably an electrical overload that caused the loud bangs and the fire.”

“Thanks,” Matthew said quietly. He was feeling a little down because of what Stephanie had said.

“Matthew!” Mark called out. He had seen his brother going towards Lelia and he knew that the both of them needed some privacy. However, Stephanie’s interruption meant that he would have to intervene. “Hi, Lelia … Stephanie … You both look tired, let me ask one of my friends to bring you home. The inspector had said that we could leave.”

“Thanks,” responded Stephanie coldly.

“Thanks,” said Lelia with a small smile and a nod of her head.

“Bye Lelia,” said Matthew.

With a smile, Lelia responded softly, “Bye.”

When they were outside earshot, Lelia said, “That was very inconsiderate of you, Stef,”

“What do you mean inconsiderate?” retorted Stephanie.

“He must have been feeling very down and yet he showed concern for his guests. He put his own personal feelings aside to make sure that all of us were okay,” said Lelia.

“You mean he showed concern for you,” stressed Stephanie. “I saw the way he looked at you, Lelia. Men shouldn’t be trusted. Don’t let you be sucked into this too soon. You’ll be sorry.”

Lelia kept quiet. She knew that Stephanie was still upset over her failed relationship with Mark. Lelia had wanted to tell Stephanie that the person who was really hurt was Mark, but she thought better of it. She decided that it was neither the time nor place to start something like that.

As soon as the girls were quite a distance away, Mark began, “And you, bro … you need to get back and rest. It’s been a trying night. I’ll let you sleep in since tomorrow’s the weekend…”

Matthew knew that Mark was teasing and said, “Awww, I’m already nineteen … You don’t have to baby me…” giving his older brother a friendly punch in the arm.

“C’mon,” responded Mark. “Let’s go home.”

As they walked back to the public transport terminal, Matthew took a good look at what his biological father had caused. Although the building was not totally gutted, the once well painted walls were charred and wet. The smell of burnt fabric and paint was very strong, even though the emergency operatives had put out the fire and siphoned off most of the burnt gases into special tanks. When he thought of what who his biological father was and what he was capable of, Matthew shuddered. He knew that this was just the beginning of his problems.

‡ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ‡

Date: 25 March 2676, Saturday

“What are we going to do with our prisoners?” asked Jacques. “Is it dangerous to keep them in this state? We can’t leave Uranus at least until Monday.”

Both Agents Jade and Gold were being held asleep in one of the rooms in Titan Tours. They were guarded by Rocky and his reserves. The magi had spent quite some time making sure that there was an alternative explanation of the explosion. It was already two in the morning. Jorg, Kean, Heath and Jacques were at Jacques and Heath’s flat.

“The two of them are in no danger,” replied Jorg. “However, we’ll have to make plans as to what to do when Monday comes.”

“Wouldn’t White be ready for us?” Kean asked.

“Perhaps he would, perhaps he won’t,” said Jorg. “He’ll probably guess that his agents were captured but he won’t realise how badly things are going for him.”

“When you arrive on Earth, he’ll be sure to try to find out whether Matthew’s with you and get into action,” said Jacques.

“Yes, Jorg,” Kean chipped in. “We’ve seen how good his agents are. I’m sure that the has more high-levelled agents that can overwhelm us.”

“So who are going to Earth?” asked Jacques.

“All of us, except for Rocky and his reserves,” answered Jorg.

At that moment, Heath came in with a tray of cups. Jorg and Kean wanted herbal tea whilst Jacques wanted his daily dose of coffee. Heath had a warm cup of cocoa. “Here you are…” he said as he placed the cups on the table.

“Master Jorg was just telling us that all of us were to go to Earth except for Rocky and his reserves,” Jacques informed him.

“That makes sense,” said Heath, picking up Jacques’ cup of coffee and handing it to him, “seeing that Matt will probably need some protection.”

“Actually,” Jorg said after he had taken a sip of his herbal tea, “Matthew’s coming with us.”

“Uh? I don’t think it’s such a good idea,” remarked Jacques. “As Kean just said, we might be overwhelmed with White’s agents.” Heath kept silent as usual, waiting for more information from Jorg before making any comments. He knew that Jorg had reasons for his actions.

“I wouldn’t want to leave Matthew Keith out of my reach after what happened last night,” Jorg began to explain. “Liliana and Gilbert, or Agents Jade and Gold, aren’t his most powerful agents. If White sends some more people, I doubt if Rocky and his reserves can manage. That’s why I need Matthew to be with us when we go to Earth to meet the Magi Council. We needn’t tell them about the both of you but Matthew becomes another piece of evidence to bring White down. How many fathers do you know want to kill their own sons for their own gain?”

“Furthermore,” Kean added, “when Matthew is with us in the Council Chambers, White wouldn’t dream of trying anything to harm him.”

“Okay, okay,” said Jacques. “I understand the reason but … how? What are we going to tell Mark? How’s he going to account for his absence in school?” Jacques asked.

Jorg merely smiled. He took another sip of the tea and then said, “That’s where the two of you come in.”

¤ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ¤

Matthew did not have a good night’s sleep. He was haunted with images of his father doing him in. Fortunately, he did not scream or yell in his sleep. His brother, Mark was oblivious of all that was happening. He tossed and turned in his bed half expecting another Agent Jade or Agent Gold to come and claim his life. When he closed his eyes, he could see the two renegade magi in their tight black suits doing all sorts of unmentionable things to him. He could hear his friends’ screams and perceive the smell of the burnt building. He then thought of Lelia and he calmed down a little, thinking of her smile and her sweet voice. Then he considered the situation where Lelia was harmed. He was filled with horror and fear. His eyes filled with tears when he considered that it was his fault that Lelia was harmed. Realising that that was an unhealthy thought, he brushed it aside but the emotion had already gained a foothold in him. He tossed and turned filled with fear, dread and sorrow.

He got out of bed at seven when Mark was still asleep. Matthew crept to the kitchen and made himself a hot cup of coffee. The dark sky outside the apartment did not improve his mood. He got onto his terminal and tried to do some homework. After about fifteen minutes he was buried deep into calculus.

Mark awoke at about eight. He got out of his room, intending to take a peek at Matthew. He was surprised when he passed by the den to get to Matthew’s room. Matthew was in the den doing his homework! Thinking of the events the night before, Mark did not want to startle his brother and so moved back into his room, sat on his bed and called out, “Matt, are you awake?”

Moments later, Matthew appeared at Mark’s door, “I’m awake.”

“Let’s get some breakfast,” suggested Mark.

“That sounds good. Should we call Jacques and Heath?” asked Matthew.

Mark could not resist taking a jab at his brother. “Your call, bro. After all, you’re the one interested in his sister…” Mark did not have a chance to end his sentence because Matthew pounced on him and the two of them collapsed onto the bed. They ended up wrestling in the bed.

Mark managed to pull himself free. He stood up, half laughing, half panting and asked, “What was that all about?”

Matthew sat on the bed, looking unsuccessfully to be cross. “Don’t act as if you didn’t know. I’ll teach you not to assume that every time I think of Jacques and Heath, I’m thinking of Lelia.”

“Don’t tell me you weren’t…” Mark teased. Matthew got up and poised to strike again. Mark put his two arms up into the air in surrender. “You win! I won’t make any more assumptions. It’s still your call, bro. You decide whether to call Heath and Jacques and where to go for breakfast.”

They went out with Jacques and Heath after all.

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