The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book IX
The Ambitious Magus

Chapter 7

© 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: 29 March 2676, Wednesday

Kean was worried. He knew that Ryan White was a level eighteen magus. Jorg, who was only a level fifteen magus, was no match for Ryan White. Kean formed a psychic image of Jorg’s person and reached out with his mind to locate him. His mind reached the limit of his range but there was no contact. Kean’s mind began to whirl. He was thinking of all the possible places that White and Jorg might be.

No, you stupid! he chided himself. How would you know where they are? White led Jorg, not the other way round. Let’s try this again. He tried to calm down, but he was still as anxious as before. His heart was racing as he tried once more to locate Jorg. He reached the limit of his range and was still unable to find him. He checked himself. He had done everything he had learned. He had left out nothing. At this juncture, he cursed himself for not training harder to extend his range. He took a deep breath and reached out in a circle around him. Further and further he reached out, wider and wider the circle became. He reached his limit again, filtering all the images within a split second but he was not able to find Jorg.

Kean’s eyes grew wet. His heart ached for Jorg. He loved him. He wondered if Jorg knew how much he cared. He managed to calm down and feel a litte, a small part of the love Jorg had for him. Suddenly, he paused. What he felt was not part of his memory. It was active. It was dynamic. It was an active love in real time. He was able to feel what Jorg was feeling right then! He had reached Jorg! Kean focused his heart on that love which was so familiar to him and willed himself to its location. He found himself about two metres behind Jorg, who was shielding himself from White’s attacks.

Jorg dropped to one knee and extended his shield round Kean because he had sensed Kean’s presence. Kean could not see Jorg’s face for Jorg had his back was towards him. However, Kean could see White’s face, which was twisted with rage. A single vein was throbbing on his forehead. He looked nothing like the publicity pictures that was normally seen in the news.

Jorg’s mental voice boomed into Kean’s mind, *Get out of here, Kean! He’s powerful and I can’t protect the both of us!*

Before he could react, Kean found himself on a very gentle slope about 500 metres from the battle. The battle was fought very close to a crater of a volcano. Even at this distance, Kean could feel the heat of the lava. However, the heat he felt was not only coming from the nearby lava. The sky was blue and the sun was very bright. Kean could feel the heat radiating from above. It was just after the Spring Equinox. The temperatures in the temperate zones were mild. Only in the tropics could the temperature be so high. Kean reached out with his mind to the surrounding areas. He sensed a small village. The villagers were a contented folk. Despite the presence of food dispensers, they were still mending small nets and managed small boats. They had a passion for fishing. As Kean extended his mind, he discovered that he was on an island. Further on, he was able to encounter more such islands. Then he saw, in one corner, a very familiar place. He also discovered a very familiar phenomenon there. Surrounding it was a mirage shield that he had helped to create. It was Jorg’s Micronesian home. Kean concluded that White had led Jorg to a Pacific Island. He wondered if it was from this island that White and his minions were monitoring Jorg. He wondered whether it was on this island that White had been eavesdroppping on Jorg and his activities. There was a volcano on one side of the island. There was a considerably large plateau of igneous rock just two metres below the crater. The plateau was devoid of vegetation except at the end furthest from the crater. That was the site of the battle. At the moment, there was a large cloud of fumes forming a column above the crater.

*Keep back, Kean,* Tsui instructed. *You could lose your life and Jorg will never forgive me.*

Kean looked around. Ten magi had transported themselves to the location. They moved nearer to the two battling magi. Kean was tempted to get nearer but he knew that he would be more of a hindrance.

Jorg and White were locked in a psychic battle. White kept a constant barrage of attacks at Jorg. Jorg tried to dodge and took a few hits before he could retaliate. When Tsui and the other magi appeared, Jorg levitated himself. On the ground, he could only dodge in one plane. When he was in the air, he had a greater degree of movement. Seeing Jorg in air prompted White to take to the air as well. However, this meant that the other magi had to move further away to avoid being in the battle zone. Twenty minutes after the other magi arrived, the battle between the both of them was at a stalemate.

*Stop it! Both of you!* screamed Tsui’s mental voice.

The mental scream startled both White and Jorg and the psychic battle paused.

Ryan White was normally a calm man. However, he was anything but calm at the moment. He could not understand how Jorg could defeat him. Jorg was three levels lower than him and he was holding his own. He just could not understand it.

Jorg was actually struggling in the battle. While White was working to dominate his opponent, Jorg was merely stalling for time. He knew that he could not subdue White and needed Council members to come to the rescue.

*White,* continued Tsui in a less forceful volume, *the Council finds you guilty of …*

Ryan White was getting more and more annoyed. He could not believe that what he had worked for had come to naught because of a one-night fling with a woman who satisfied his lust at the time. White knew that his life was crumbling before him because of the meddling magus, Jorg Vengrom. His whole being slowly became consumed with hatred for the blond-haired man. As Tsui began speaking, White formed a plan to get Jorg. He fired a weak but very quick bolt towards Jorg. Jorg noticed that bolt and move quickly to his right. Without realising it, White anticipated his move and threw a second powerful psychic bolt towards Jorg. Jorg did not see that coming. The relics that Jorg was wearing under his clothes protected him but he was thrown down on to the ground and the momentum caused Jorg’s body to slide several metres on the ground. White took the opportunity to pump a continuous stream of deadly force onto Jorg’s unmoving body. White’s psychic force was still pumping into Jorg for several seconds before Tsui’s mental voice screamed again.

*That’s treacherous! You shall be nullified immediately …* Tsui’s mental voice boomed.

“Not if I go first …” shouted White as he moved himself quickly to the column of fumes and vanished into the crater of the volcano. Tsui and the other Councillors saw White’s shadow descending and disappearing. Before three seconds had passed, there came a loud sound that seemed to be from the bowels of the earth itself.

*No!* yelled Jorg’s mental voice. He had just gotten up from the ground. *He’s caused a volcanic reaction. The volcano’s going to blow any moment now!* True to his prediction, the ground started shaking more violently. The only way was to go up. They hardly had any time to steady themselves on the ground before the first eruption occured. They hurriedly levitated themselves off the ground. Jorg went immediately towards Kean and lifted him up before the lava reached him. Kean did not have the capability to float in air yet.

The magi floated a good three hundred metres above the volcano before moving away from it. They stopped about three kilometres from the erupting mountain. A piece of earth from the volcano shot up quite high before coming down and landing in the lava that was already starting to flow.

*It’s nice to know that you’d risk your life for me,* remarked Jorg, referring to the way Kean had reached him, *although it was foolish to just rush in without surveying the situation.*

“I couldn’t afford to lose you,” whispered Kean into Jorg’s ears.

*Sorry to interrupt.* It was Tsui. *I’ve located White. I need help to transport him out of there.*

Jorg’s mind went into the crater and detected a body on a ledge within the central vent. The lava rose out and flowed out eastwards. The ledge was on the western side of the vent and was somehow not touched by the rising lava. However, at such temperatures, his skin and flesh would have been roasted if not charred.

*I don’t have enough psychic strength. Can all of you help me?* Tsui asked the magi around her. The moving of the body in such a delicate situation needed an intense concentration. Unfortunately, the fumes had made breathing difficult and the magi was not able to concentrate in moving the body and remain levitated at the same time.

*Let us combine our efforts to keep Tsui in the air,* said Jorg. *This would help to keep Tsui focused.* Then Jorg moved closer to Tsui and instructed the magus he was holding, *Kean, augment Tsui’s strength. You’re the only one not expending energy.*

Kean reached out his hand and rested it on Tsui’s shoulder. This allowed Tsui to tap into his strength.

*You’re a store of psychic energy!* Tsui commented.

Unfortunately, before she could lift the body, the volcano blew again, rocking the ledge where the body was. Tsui tried to hold the body steady but another piece of rock hit the body and it slipped into the hot burning lava.

*No one, human or magus should go this way but I supposed it’s for the best,* remarked an exhausted Tsui.

The eleven magi could not do much to stop the eruption. The fumes from the crater made things more difficult for them but they managed to raise up enough barriers from the ground to divert the flow of lava towards the sea and managed to save the village at the foot of the volcano. The village was covered with ash and looked as if it was covered with snow. The villagers would have a lot of clearing up to do. The ash-covered magi looked rather like white wraiths to the villagers below. Several villagers saw them and they immediately fell on their faces. The magi could sense a great fear in them. Fortunately, the villagers were the only ones to see the magi as Benedict was monitoring the situation and made them invisible to radar.

§ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ §

Date: 30 March 2676, Thursday

The Magi Council was very busy the next day. The disappearance of Ryan White would cause many problems. He was a well-known person in the solar system. That he temporarily turned down the nomination to be president of the World Council had made him a household name. His death would be scrutinised by everyone. The Magi Council had to tread carefully.

The first thing the Magi Council had to do was to round up all the magi under White’s payroll. The Council managed to round up the magi that worked for White in the RCC building. That number came up to about eighty. Helen was then sent by Benedict to see if White had left any records of his other magi ‘employees’. Unfortunately, none was found. About twelve hours were spent interrogating the magi found in the RCC building. About half of them had some idea of what White was up to, whilst the rest were just ordinary workers. The former group of magi saw what happened to White when the magi councillors, who were there at the volcano, projected what they saw simultaneously. A simulatneous memory normally has a few minor irregularities, but when the image formed by six minds at the same time were so vivid, it was clear to those magi that the councillors were not lying about Ryan White. Out of the eighty from the RCC building only three were nullified. These three openly defied the findings of the council, calling White a visionary. It was with great regret that Benedict had them nullified and their memories erased. This was the only way the magi could protect the secret of their existence without resorting to eliminating these people altogether.

Next, the Magi Council had to determine how to explain the disappearance of Ryan White. It was decided that Ryan White would die in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps with his family. To that end, White’s schedule was examined. The fact that White was a private man helped to keep things simple. A memo was sent out of the office, claiming that White’s son needed some time in the mountains and White wanted to spend some time with him. Of course, White had no son. He had managed to keep an illusion of having a son. After several decades, White would ‘die’ and his ‘son’ (who was actually himself) would inherit the company. So far, White had gone through three ‘generations’ of Whites. In that memo, the running of the company was left to his deputies and his meetings were all cancelled. This was nothing out of the ordinary as White had, in the past, gone off suddenly on personal business for a few days. What was unusual this time was that White had hired a new set of attendants to accompany his ‘son’ and him on this trip. The new attendants were all magi in disguise.

‡ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ‡

“Hey, Rieder!” the sergeant of the Alpine Emergency Service Splügen Sector 3 called out to one of his squad members. “Headquarters wants to send you for an upgrading course.”

“What kind of course?” asked Rieder as he approached the sergeant. He was updating the wind current chart when the sergeant called him.

“Something on the new system they are thinking of implementing next year. I’m quite sure you’d want to go. They are holding the course in Nice.” The sergeant looked intently on his squad member. The waters at this seaside French resort city were warm compared to the weather in the Alps.

“Nice?! Wow! Maybe I’ll get to meet my dream girl there!” sighed the man with a far-off look.

“I don’t know if you’ll get to enjoy yourself. You leave tomorrow and return seven days later,” said the sergeant with a grin. “Get packed up. You’ve a pass to get to town once your shift’s over.”

“Seven days?!” groaned Durand, another squad member who was listening in on the conversation. “Do we have to do extra shifts when he’s gone?”

“No,” said the sergeant. “In fact, we could be doing less shifts. HQ’s sending two people to replace Rieder. One’s an intern doing exposure rounds in the various sectors. They should be reaching here within the hour.”

When the two reached the rescue post, no one realised that they were really magi.

In a similar manner, Magi Rescue Corps members were deployed in the hospitals and the police stations that would be involved when the avalanche occurred.

‡ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ‡

It was a huge endeavour. The Magi Administrative, Support and Rescue Corps worked together to get the stage set for one of the largest sting operations the magi had ever staged. As with every other Magi operation, everything went on with precise timing. In the end, the world received the tragic news of the death of Ryan White and his son. With Corps members strategically placed, everything — from the difficult job of locating the bodies to the funeral services for the deceased — was handled by magi.

With that out of the way, more magi resources were put into another consequence of White’s death: his secret magi society. The examination of Liliana and Gilbert revealed the manner in which White had conducted his secret magi society. White had a secret society of about twenty magi agents. None of the agents knew who the others were. They only knew their partner because they all worked in pairs. With White gone, the Council deliberated on the danger that these agents posed. A special team was formed, with Tsui as the council liaison, to root out these agents and try to keep them at bay. Jorg had respectfully declined the appointment to be leader of this team. The Council did not force him, as they understood that he was probably the most hated person in White’s underground magi movement. His involvement with the team would be more of a hindrance than help.

Jorg was asked, instead, to bring the three normal humans home to Uranus and to adjust their memories of what they had witnessed in the past few days. Jorg did not argue with them, as the Council did not know of the powers that Jacques and Heath had.

The biggest problem was his company: the Ryan Communications Company. It had only 15% of its shares in the market. The rest were owned by Ryan White. His had no board of directors. He took care of everything. His deputies were only the stewards of his company. None of them were magi. Their contracts, said that they had no voting powers in the company. Effectively, the company was run by Ryan White alone. Obviously Ryan White did not expect to die so soon. According to the magi experts on civil law, the company would have to be put up for sale. The most realistic outcome would be that the company is carved up into several parts and then sold. It was highly unlikely that the company would be bought up as a whole. The Council needed to buy into the part of the company that had helped in the keeping of magi records. So, the magi lawyers were asked to try to see if they could do something positive in that direction.

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