The Legend of the Hermit Master
Author: Simon Smith-Wilson
Publisher: Smith-Wilson Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Price: $0.99 - £0.99
Darkness has fallen upon the mountain forest. The magical animals have been kidnapped by an evil organisation hell bent on retracting the crystal of time, destroying the forest spirits and the ancient never ending forest. The legendary crystal mage, The Hermit Master, sets off on a daring journey with the newly born pup, Katie, and his blind granddaughter, Tamara. It is a race against time. Can they save their friends from the evil crystal mage, Isabella, before it’s too late?
The Legend of the Hermit Master is a story of friendship, courage, self-discovery and magic. It touches upon growing up with disabilities, losing loved ones, but also holds the core lessons of not talking to strangers, telling friends and families where you are going, treat others how you want to be treated and most of all, always do the right thing. An uplifting and positive story that inspires children and young adults to aim for their dreams and protect what is important to them.
The Legend of the Hermit Master Excerpt
Chapter One: Rumble In The Dojo
Thunder rumbled overhead and blue flashes of lightning crackled between the thick dark clouds. The relentless rain continued to pour down upon the old outpost town. It had been never ending all day long. The rain had been so bad that the main dirt road, which ran through the centre of the town, was now a swampy, waterlogged stream of knee high mud. Every single house, store and building was locked up nice and tight. This part of the country was no stranger to bad weather. The residents could tell the early warning signs of a coming storm and prepared accordingly. No one was foolish enough to attempt to travel out in such poor conditions. Travellers that had been passing through were now hiding away within the locals hotels. Their journey was on hold until Mother Nature decided otherwise.
It would have been madness to step outside in this storm or so they thought.
A single figure, alone in the dark, moved within the shadows, his wooden walking stick clicked against the wooden boardwalk that followed the main road through the town. The flame of a lantern, on a barber’s shop porch, danced an orange glow across the hooded figure. The man wore a long dark robe that covered his entire body from head to toe. It was thick enough to keep him warm in the biblical storm that ruled the night, but dark enough so he could move unnoticed through the sleeping town.
The man moved through the night like a ghost.
He walked along the boardwalk reading the signs to the various buildings.
Suddenly his light green emerald coloured eyes fell upon the sign he was searching for. It read “The Invisible Sword School”. The man removed the hood of his robe to reveal a long white beard and an old wrinkly face. He had not a single hair upon his bald head. He stroked his fingers through his beard, in a slow thoughtful manner, and looked up at the four story building of The Invisible Sword School.
‘She has to be in there,’ he muttered to himself.
He approached the thick wooden doors and knocked loudly.
On the fourth floor, of The Invisible Sword School, an argument was taking place. ‘You spent ten thousand crystals on a dying dog, Burt. You know I need that for my new uniform,’ said Sly. He was sitting back on the leather couch with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigar in the other. Sly was so big, powerful and muscular that he had to get all his clothes specially made, which cost the school a great deal of money they didn’t have.
Burt on the other hand was a tall man just like his older brother, but he was skin and bones and had no muscles at all. It didn’t matter how hard he trained, or what he did, he simply couldn’t put on muscle. He could eat an entire cow and still be tall and skinny. It didn’t make him any weaker than his brother though. The Invisible Sword Style taught its students to be themselves and use their bodies to their advantage. The Invisible Brother’s were well known throughout the land as skilled and deadly swordsmen.
‘You don’t understand brother,’ replied Burt. ‘This isn’t just some random dog that was picked up off the street. This is a magic dog.’
‘And how exactly does this help us?’
A big cheesy smile spread across Burt’s lips. ‘This dog will make us rich.’
Sly let out a long sigh and groaned. ‘Do I want to ask how?’ This wasn’t the first time his younger brother had come up with a great plan to make the school rich. The problem was that every plan he came up with failed in some new and spectacular way.
‘Of course you want to know. The dog is pregnant.’
Sly shrugged his muscular shoulders.
‘This breed of dog can have up to eight puppies at one time,’ explained Burt. ‘But these are going to be special puppies because they come from a magic dog.’
‘I see,’ Sly puffed on his cigar. ‘But there is one slight problem with that theory.’
‘There is,’ he replied.
‘And what would that be?’
Sly decided to reply with a question of his own. ‘Why is our sword style called, The Invisible Sword Style?’
‘That’s easy,’ scoffed Burt. ‘Because our father could use magic and his signature technique was to turn invisible so that his opponent couldn’t see him. What is your point?’
‘You want to know my point?’ he asked himself. ‘Can you use magic, Burt?’
‘Can I use magic, Burt?’
‘This is my point. Just because the mother can use magic it doesn’t mean that the puppies will be able to use magic.’
‘Oh…’ it had finally hit home. ‘Yes, but they say there is a four in one chance that the child of a magic user will also have magic. And this breed of dog can have up to eight puppies, so…’ he started to count on his finger.
Sly groaned at his brother’s stupidity. ‘Two,’ he prompted.
‘Thank you. At least two of the eight puppies should be able to use magic. And it doesn’t matter. What we do is sell the other six for a couple of hundred crystals each. We then sell one of the magic puppies at the same price we brought the mother and then already we have made a small profit. We then keep one puppy for ourselves. We train it to use magic and fight for us, which not only will help to make our school famous again, but we can then breed from it every couple of years and sell all the puppies.’
Sly thought about it for a moment.
‘That is actually a good plan,’ he had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. ‘We could make hundreds of thousands of crystals from this dog. Brother I think you are a genius!’ He placed his cigar in the ashtray and placed his glass of wine upon the table. Within half a heartbeat he was up and hugging his younger brother. It had taken him thirty years, but Burt had finally had a good idea.
A high pitch whimper echoed throughout the old cleaning closest. The agonising cry was sounding out every half a heartbeat and it was getting faster. Beneath a dusty old shelf a long white nose poked out of a hole in the wall. Little white ears pricked up into the air at the painful sounds that were disturbing its sleep.
‘What do you think it is, dear?’ asked Marty.
A second nose appeared out of the dark hole.
‘I don’t know, but they sound like they need help.’ This was a soft female voice.
The two little mice crept out of their hole and scuttled out behind the back of the shelving unit. They poked their heads out into the main cleaning closest. The closest door was slightly ajar, which allowed just enough light for them to be able to see into the gloom. Two pairs of eyes turned towards the large cage in the corner of the closest. Something big was inside. They could see its big round tummy rising and falling, as it gasped for breath and panted heavily. The thing inside cried out in pain.
‘What should we do?’ asked Marty.
‘We can’t leave it,’ finished Margret. ‘It might need help.’
‘It might eat us. God knows what’s inside that cage.’
‘It’s okay,’ said a soft voice from the cage. ‘I won’t hurt you.’
‘Margret!’ hissed Marty, as his wife darted across the floor towards the edge of the cage. With a shake of his head he reluctantly followed behind her. ‘Why are you being so brave for?’ he whispered quietly, so the thing inside the cage wouldn’t hear. Margret’s ears sagged back behind her head. She wore a mask of sadness. ‘Oh,’ Marty looked into the cage and felt something heavy pull down on his stomach. A big black and tan dog was lying on its side inside the cage. From the kind look upon its face he could see straight away that this was not a dangerous animal. The dog whimpered painfully.
‘I’m having my baby,’ said the dog.
‘Should we get some help?’ asked Marty.
Margret slipped between the bars in the cage and went inside. ‘You have to breathe,’ she told the dog. ‘She is very weak.’ She whispered the last part to her husband. ‘We have to talk to her and help her through it.’
It had been a quiet day for Brian, but every day was a quiet day for the lowest ranked swordsman in the school. Brian had been a student at The Invisible Sword School for almost six weeks now. It meant that if there was a dirty job that needed doing, he would be the one to do it. If someone had to go wash the dirty clothes, he was your man. If the toilet needed emptying, he was the man that the rest of the students volunteered. It was annoying, soul destroying and most of all boring, but it was something that every single student of the school had to do at one point or another. In time he would be given more responsibility and looked upon with more respect, but until then he was sat at the front door watching paint dry.
The heavy rain sounded like someone was throwing pebbles against the wooden shutters that protected the window. It was coming down harder than before. How long it was going to keep up, he didn’t know, but he prayed to god that no one needed him to go outside to do a pointless errand. A deep jaw dislocating yawn worked its way up his body.
‘God, I am tired,’ he told the world. ‘I just wish something interesting would actually happen.’
Almost on request someone banged upon the front door.
‘Eh?’ was the only sound he made. ‘Who could that be?’
He got up off his wooden stall and stood in front of the thick wooden doors. He flicked open a small latch about head height in the centre of the door and opened the little hatch. His eyes peered out into the gloomy dark rainy world outside. A frown creased his brow at the sight of the little old man standing on the other side of the door. It was the type of little old man that looked like his granddad. He had more wrinkles and lines upon his face than a map of the countryside. The porch candle light reflected off his bald cranium.
‘Can I help you?’ Brian asked the old man.
‘Yes, would you be so kind as to look into my eyes.’
‘Eh?’ Brian unconsciously found himself looking deep into those light green eyes. Suddenly there was a flash of light. It was like someone sparking the tip of a match against a match box. His vision was blurred by the bright white light, as if he had stared directly into the sun.
And then he was falling.
He was falling fast.
Brian could feel the wind whipping against his body, as his clothes flapped violently in the air. His vision returned, but he could hardly believe what he was seeing. Brian was no longer at The Invisible Sword School; he was now two miles up above the earth in freefall. Night had somehow magically turned into day. Light blue sky covered the heavens and soft white candy coloured clouds were scattered in the air beneath him. The green and blue of the world below filled his vision. If his heart was beating he couldn’t feel it.
A long unmanly scream left his mouth.
He continued to fall.
He screamed for so long that he run out of breath and had to pause.
He continued to fall.
Making sure he had a good lungful of air Brian continued to scream.
‘Please stop doing that,’ said the voice of the old man.
Brian looked forward to see the old man sitting cross legged on a small white cloud no bigger than a pony. It was descending at the exactly same speed as Brian, but the old man didn’t seem the slightest bit scared or worried.
‘What’s going on?’ asked a panicked Brian.
‘You are falling out of the sky.’
‘I worked that bit out myself, but why?’
‘Because I brought you here,’ replied the old man.
Brian passed through a cloud and continued to plummet towards the earth.
‘I also gathered that part and I don’t mean to be rude, but the ground is starting to come pretty close so could you please tell me why I am about to die?’
‘I want to go inside the school.’
‘You could have just asked,’ snapped Brian.
The earth was getting closer.
‘I am asking. Will you open the door? If you do I will save you.’
‘Yes, anything you want. Just don’t let me die.’ The field below was rapidly becoming more and more detailed the closer it got. Suddenly he threw his arms over his face moments before impact.
And then he stopped falling.
‘Huh?’ Brian opened his eyes.
The old man was standing outside in the rain. Brian was back where he started, in front of the thick wooden doors, looking out through the hatch.
‘Will you open the door now? I am getting rather wet,’ said the old man.
Brian quickly set to work at sliding back the bolts and unlocking all the old thick iron locks. The large wooden doors were thrown open and before the old man could step inside, Brian done the best road runner impersonation that would ever be seen and ran away into the night.