The Chimera Jar (Ebook)
The Chimera Jar (Ebook)
Book 3 in The Aegis of Merlin Series
Whoever said homework was the worst part of going to school has never been to the Academy.
Conryu returns to the academy after surviving his first semester by the narrowest of margins. Little does he know the monstrous threats waiting for him in the second half of the year.
Back in Sentinel City things aren’t progressing any better as the devious Lady Raven plots the city’s destruction from her hidden lair.
The exciting third book in The Aegis of Merlin Series finds Conryu facing an ever growing list of dangers. Can he conqueror his foes before time runs out?
Conryu walked down the familiar hall to dark magic class with a mixture of relief and disappointment. Winter break had been a pleasant change of pace after months of magic studies, but he hadn’t been able to avoid magic all together. The business with the Department remained fresh in his mind. Hopefully Mr. Kane would have the situation straightened out soon, if for no other reason than Maria was worried about him.
Prime wriggled in his grip. The scholomantic didn’t like being carried and kept fidgeting in his hand. Right now Prime looked like nothing but an ugly green book. Conryu hid him between his notepad and Infernal Basics book.
So far he’d been able to keep Prime a secret from the other students, though he had no idea who Dean Blane had told. Only Mrs. Umbra had asked to see the scholomantic and that had been a brief inspection conducted ten minutes after he got back to school. She seemed neither impressed with Prime nor disappointed in Conryu for claiming him. That was about as good a reaction as he dared expect.
Prime had strict instructions to remain silent except when they were in his room and even then Conryu wasn’t allowed to study any of the many secrets the book held, except as applied to whatever his teachers had him working on.
In addition to checking out Prime, Mrs. Umbra had said that they’d turned the investigation into the Grand Brawl incident over to the Department in Central. The only clue they’d found was a small fragment of necroplasma that had been made as hard as steel. It seemed the viper golem had been made of the stuff, but most of it dissolved when the demon escaped. He shuddered to think how many lives it took to create that much of the crud.
“Conryu!” Kelsie jogged down the hall to catch up to him.
He slowed and she fell in step beside him. When he hadn’t run into her on the train or in their dorm Conryu feared she may have decided she didn’t want to be friends after all. Her bright smile as she walked beside him argued otherwise.
“How was your winter break?” he asked.
“I survived. You?”
“It was interesting.” No reason to give her too many details, especially since he had no idea what he could and couldn’t talk about. “I did some fieldwork with Maria’s mom, you know, to get a taste of the business of magic. Can’t say I’m much more interested in it now than I was.”
“I don’t blame you. It seems like all my family talks about is business. I feel more like my mom’s employee than her daughter sometimes.”
“That’s harsh.” Conryu opened the classroom door for her.
The others turned to look when they entered. No one said anything, they just stared. It couldn’t be just him. They had to be used to having a guy in the class by now. Maybe it was because he was hobnobbing with the rich and famous.
He shook his head and took his seat at the back of the class. When Kelsie sat beside him instead of in her usual spot up front Conryu raised an eyebrow.
“What? I can’t sit beside my friend?”
“Sure you can. I was just surprised.”
The door burst open and Mrs. Lenore hustled through. “Sorry, I got mixed up in something. Welcome back, everyone.”
She set to drawing on the chalkboard. When she finished there was a group of stick figures around a spell circle. “So for the second half of the year we’ll be focusing on group castings. Group castings allow individual wizards to combine their power to create more potent effects than they’d otherwise be able to. With each person added to the casting it grows more complex so we’ll be limiting our groups to five.”
Mrs. Lenore wrote out two words in Infernal, break and shatter. “We’ll start working in pairs to create a combined breaking.”
From behind her desk she took out metallic spheres covered in runes. “These will be your practice targets. One member of the group will chant ‘break’ to destroy the wards while the other chants ‘shatter’ to smash the orb. The spells protecting them are much more potent than those used in the wooden blocks we trained with earlier. Everyone pair up.”
Before Conryu had a chance to look Kelsie’s way Mrs. Lenore continued. “Conryu, you’ll be working with me. For safety reasons you understand.”
Conryu sighed, nodded, and walked down to the front of the class to join her. While the girls were talking and sorting themselves out Mrs. Lenore leaned close so no one could overhear. “It won’t do any good to pair you up with one of the girls until you can modulate your power enough to match a weaker partner. As it stands now your power would do all the work and she’d get nothing out of the experience.”
“So what am I really going to do?”
“I’ll explain once the girls have started.”
The groups were soon set and Mrs. Lenore watched them for a few minutes to make sure they were doing everything correctly. When she was satisfied she rejoined Conryu in the front of the room.
“So you were saying?”
“Right, modulation. You need to hold back enough of your power so you don’t overwhelm your partners.”
“That sounds kind of pointless. If the idea is to combine our powers to create a more potent effect why would I use less than my full power? I mean to match Kelsie I’d have to use like ten percent of my full strength and the combined casting would amount to less than a quarter of what I could do on my own. How is that beneficial?”
Her mouth opened and closed but no words came out. She looked a bit like a fish caught on the beach. After a moment she pulled herself together. “When you put it that way it makes no sense at all. Combined casting is what I always teach during second semester. It never even occurred to me that it wouldn’t work for you.”
She slumped and fell silent. He glanced back at the girls, but they were all engrossed in their practice. He put a hand on her shoulder and Mrs. Lenore looked up.
“What are we going to do? If the final is all about combined casting I guess I need to learn it.”
She shook her head. “That’s not really what it’s about. It’s just the breaking is of an order of magnitude stronger than what a single dark wizard can handle.”
Conryu raised an eyebrow at that.
“Okay, an ordinary dark wizard. Sometimes I don’t even know why you’re in my class. If you took the final today you’d pass it with ease.”
“For the sake of argument and the fact that we don’t have enough people for only two groups, how could I work with weaker partners? We’ve established that lowering my own strength is useless. What could a second and third person do to make me stronger?”
She sat on the edge of her desk and rubbed her temples. “I’m not sure. A standard circle casting wouldn’t work. It’s designed to unite wizards of similar strength. The problem is fusing the energy flows into a coherent whole.”
“When I helped Mrs. Umbra banish the demon serpent she drew out my power and directed it with a spell of her own. Would something like that work?”
“If you had the Death Stick and fifty years of experience, sure.” Mrs. Lenore closed her eyes and sighed. “I don’t know what to do. I’m a horrible teacher.”
“Don’t say that. This is new for everyone. I have class with Mrs. Umbra later. Would you mind if I mentioned the problem to her? She might have a suggestion.”
“By all means. God knows you need someone other than me to help you.”
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