Extinction (Free Magical Adventure Book!)

Author: Simon Smith-Wilson
Publisher: Smith-Wilson Books
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Price: FREE
Download Link: Smashwords

Extinction: The state or process of a species, family, or larger group being or becoming extinct. A mindless act of terrorism, by a small minority, turned the humans against the Airedales. Humanity waged war against this peaceful species and drove them to the point of extinction. Twenty years on, the last remaining Airedales are hunted down. With nowhere to run and no one to turn too, Callie, escapes the clutches of her human owners and returns to barren landscape she once called home. An outrageous bounty is placed upon her head, driving thousands of crystal mages and an army of humans to join in with the hunt. The Hermit Master and his friends set out to disrupt the hunters, but can one man really make a difference?  
Extinction Excerpt

Chapter One: No Vacancy

Jeff “Jawbreaker” Hardly was a big man. This is not to be mistaken with a tall man or a fat man. Jeff was big in the sense that he looked like the ancient Great Wall, but built purely out of bulging muscles. His biceps were as big as a normal person’s waist. He was of average height, with shaggy brown hair, which had knotted itself into his curly beard, and now covered most of his face. Two beady little eyes were the only features that people could see. A large intimidating battleaxe rest upon his back, only someone with his build could ever dream of using such a bulky weapon. When people are introduced to Jeff they pause for thought at the word “Jawbreaker”, as it was an interesting and uncommon name, which originated from the breaking of jaws. It was an early warning sign that he wasn’t the most pleasant of men.

It was one reason most people, packed into the inn, were avoiding eye contact.

The inn was overflowing with customers, but that was to be expected with the occasion. It was literally impossible to get from one side of the room to the other. Health and safety would have a nervous breakdown if they did a surprise investigation right now. It really was a case of people being squished together, shoulder to shoulder.

‘Excuse me,’ said a voice from behind Jeff “Jawbreaker” Hardly.

The man turned like a revolving planet and glared at the owner of the voice.

A little old man, leaning heavily on a walking stick, was stood behind him. The old man was several inches smaller, had a bald head and long white beard, which came as mandatory with being wise.

‘Do you mind if I can get passed?’ he asked politely.

Jeff grunted and turned back to his companions.

‘Um,’ the old man cleared his throat. ‘You are blocking my way. Can I please get by?’

Jeff didn’t even bother to turn around.

And then something happened. It was something that was considered suitable, and within the requirements, for the breaking of one’s jaw. A finger was being tapped impatiently upon Jeff’s muscular shoulder. The flames of anger roared within the depths of his stomach. Clenching his fists into tight balls he swung around to face the old man.

Jeff could feel his heart stop.

Fear was a funny thing. It could turn the biggest, strongest and scariest of men, into quivering wrecks. The old man was no longer there. He had been replaced by someone else. This someone else was a very large, very scary looking Gorilla. The Gorilla had a certain aura about him. That aura was “I am going to eat you.”

‘Could you please move,’ asked the old man from behind the Gorilla.

Jeff moved.

In fact everyone moved.

The Gorilla walked through the centre of the crowd like some kind of mythical figure parting the waves. The old man, holding the hand of a little blonde girl, followed a few steps behind. They approached the barman, who was doing his very best at appearing invisible, which was pretty difficult for someone that round and hairy. It was clear he didn’t want to deal with them. The inn had become uncomfortable quiet.

‘Do you happen to have any rooms?’ asked the old man.

‘I-I...’ stuttered the barman. His eyes were fixed upon the Gorilla. ‘I’m afraid we are booked up.’

‘There is no reason to be afraid,’ countered the old man. He stroked his fingers down his beard, in that way wise men do. ‘I suspected this inn would be like the others.’ The Gorilla nodded his head in agreement.

‘Do we need a room, master?’ asked Rocky the Gorilla. To those who could use magic, which granted them the ability to talk to animals, heard Rocky speak, but to those that couldn’t use magic, heard a rather deep and scary noise, which sounded a bit like a grunt-come-growl. ‘It shouldn’t take, Charlie, long.’

‘That is true. Do you have a free table?’

‘Um, well, we do, but you see,’ the barman cleared his throat nervously. ‘Animals are not welcomed in here.’

‘Oh, did you hear that, Rocky?’

‘I did, Master.’

‘Do you feel unwelcomed?’

‘Not really.’

‘Then it is settled. We will have the table.’

The barman wasn’t exactly sure what had just been agreed, but if it meant the Gorilla going away and this weird old man stopped talking to him, he was more than happy to give them what they wanted.

Callie’s legs were starting to turn to Jelly. She could feel her muscles starting to give out on her, as she galloped on all fours across the rocky wasteland. Her ears twitched in the air, as she listened to the sound of horse’s hooves echoing off the cliff face. The black and tan dog leapt across a crack in the dried up floor and landed with the elegance of a bag of potatoes on the other side. Callie was a dog. She wasn’t what you would class as a big dog, but she wasn’t small either. Her back was at the level of a full grown man’s knee. She had big floppy ears and a long tail that curled vertically up into the air. Her legs were a soft tan colour, but her back was mostly black, her face and muzzle were tan and the centre of her chest was milk white. She was a very pretty dog and resembled a walking teddy bear.

‘There she is!’

Callie heard the voice of the human man just before a rock beside her exploded.

A cloud of dust filled the air, as debris fell to the ground all around her. Callie had to dig deep to find the energy needed to keep moving forward. How long had she been running for now? When was the last time she had a drink? She really couldn’t remember. Above her the burning fireball in the sky, known as the sun, was heating up the landscape to unliveable conditions.

Callie was tired, weak and most of all, she was scared.

Explosions began to ignite all around her, and mocking laughter echoed down into the valley.

Rocky sat with Tamara, the little blonde haired girl, on his lap. They were sat towards the back of the inn, next to a window that looked out across the town. The old man placed his backpack on the floor beside to his furry companion.

‘I am going to head out for a little bit,’ said the old man.

‘I will look after, Tamara,’ replied Rocky.

‘Thank you.’ The old man knelt down beside the girl and placed his hand upon the back of hers. ‘Tamara, I am going out for a little while. You are going to stay with Rocky, okay? I won’t be long.’

‘Okay, Granddad.’

‘Good girl. I will be back soon.’

He nodded to the Gorilla and quickly faded into the crowd of people. Rocky turned his attention to the little girl on his lap. Tamara was six years old. She couldn’t use magic, which meant she couldn’t understand anything that Rocky said, but that didn’t matter, as she completely and utterly trusted him.

It was a shame that she couldn’t use magic, as Rocky would have liked to be able to talk to Tamara, but only a small percentage of the earth’s population could actually use magic. Rocky was one of these rare few. He had dedicated his life to searching out magic crystals. Magic crystals are what give crystal mages their unique abilities. Rocky didn’t care for fame, glory or power. All he wanted was to help. In all his years of searching he had only found one magic crystal that offered what he wanted. It was the ability to heal physical injuries and disabilities.

He was a healer.

The main problem with magic crystals, is that a crystal mage can only ever join with four crystals, and once joined they cannot be parted, which means you must pick wisely. Rocky was still searching for the ability to cure disease and illnesses. He would search all his life if he had too.

‘This time it will work,’ he placed his frying pan sized palm just in front of the young girl’s eyes.

Tamara didn’t flinch or react in any way shape or form, but why should she?

Tamara was blind.

Taking in a long, deep breath of air Rocky focused. He pushed the breath down into the depths of his stomach. The Hermit Master had taught him “Where the breath goes, your life force will follow.” Rocky forced the air down into the core of his being. He could feel something tingling within his stomach. It was like someone brushing the tip of a feather against his insides. He concentrated on the palm of his hand. He could feel something warm and tingly climbing the inside of his body, through his chest, across his shoulder and down his arm.

His hand began to glow.

It wasn’t a bright light. It was sort of that strange lazy light, like you would get from a full moon. The light was a friendly soft green colour. It flowed forward and covered the girl’s eyes. Tamara giggled and gave her head a quick shake.

‘That tickles.’

Rocky smiled at her laugh, but kept his concentration on the healing spell.

He had done this spell every single day since moving to the mountain forest, but there was something about her eyes that he couldn’t work out. Rocky could heal practically any physical disability or injury, but he could not heal Tamara. That didn’t mean he would stop trying, but there was definitely something odd about her blindness.

The old man walked out into the sunlight and paused. His eyes scanned the sea of people that filled the street. It was like an army preparing to march. The small outpost town, located in the middle of the desert, was filled with thousands upon thousands of people. They were all here for the exact same thing, to claim the ten million crystal bounty that had been placed upon that poor dogs head. The people came in all shapes and sizes; there were men, women, children and animals. The majority of them were crystal mages, but a percentage was ordinary humans trying to capitalise on the outrageous bounty.

‘Master,’ a male voice spoke within the old man’s head.

Any other person might think they were going insane, you would think this if a voice suddenly started talking to you from within your own mind.

‘I can hear you,’ several people gave the old man an odd look.

‘I have the scent. It won’t be long now.’

‘Very good, but it appears that the hunt is about to officially begin.’

‘I will be as quick as I can,’ and with that the voice disappeared.

The old man turned his eyes toward the stone tower that overshadowed the entire outpost town. It was so high that he had to arch his neck to see the very top. A smile split his lips. ‘And I will give you as much time as I can, old friend.’

Alex was having a bad day. He had grown up here in the outpost town. It wasn’t exactly a tourism hot spot, which meant the influx of out-of-towners meant for exciting times, or it would have if he wasn’t stuck here sweeping up. Mr Sinclair had given all the other employee’s the day off, to enjoy the festivities or join in with the hunt, but not Alex.

No one cared about Alex.

He swept the brush across the stone floor and created a pile of dust. A faint breeze blew into the courtyard and spread the dust back out into its original starting position. Why was he even bothering to do this? In all his days he had never seen the floor clean. You brush the dust to the left and dust is blown in from the right, you brush to the right and it comes in from the left. This is an outpost town, in the middle of a desert, and the chief export is dust. Everything is covered in dust.

The sad fact was Alex wasn’t the type of person that got practical jokes, or the fact that Mr Sinclair was only pulling his leg. No one was even aware that Alex was working today.

‘Excuse me,’ said a friendly voice from the stone archway. ‘Do you work here?’

‘Yes, I do,’ Alex placed the brush against the wall and turned to the newcomer.

His jaw nearly hit the floor.

He couldn’t believe his eyes.

The old man, with the bald head, walking stick and long white beard was standing in front of him. ‘Oh my god, you’re the Hermit Master!’

‘Oh dear,’ sighed the Hermit Master. He knew what was coming.

‘I am your biggest fan,’ Alex plucked a newspaper from the inside of his shirt and unfolded it. The image of the old man was on the front cover with the headline “Nine time World Magic Champion” written in big flashy letters. ‘I watched your semi-final match against, Isabella. It was a brilliant victory.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Can I have your signature?’ he handed him the newspaper and then did that annoying thing people do when they don’t have a pen, know they don’t have a pen, and know they haven’t even handled a pen in days. Alex padded down his pockets.

‘It is okay,’ the Hermit Master clicked his fingers and a pen magically appeared within his grasp. He scribbled his signature down on the paper and then handed it back to the young man. The pen disappeared in a puff of smoke.

‘Thank you so much.’ A thought occurred to Alex. ‘What are you doing out here? Are you taking part in the hunt?’

‘Not exactly, but... no, I shouldn’t ask really.’ This wasn’t originally part of his plan, but seeing as the young man was a diehard fan; he might as well push his luck and see if he can get away with using his “celebrity” status.

‘No please, feel free to ask away.’

‘If you are sure,’ the old man could win an Oscar for his acting. ‘I was actually hoping I could have a look inside this tower.’

‘Oh,’ Alex looked up at the fortified stone tower. ‘Well, you see. Only members of the towns defence force are allowed in the tower.’

‘I thought as much,’ the Hermit Master done his best sad face.

‘But, I might be able to make an exception being that it is you. We don’t get many celebrities in these parts.’ Alex spoke in a low whisper with this next part. ‘Just don’t tell anybody, as I could get in trouble.’

‘My lips are sealed.’