Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2018 finalist, Larrabee Mitchell! Larabee finished 3rd grade this past school year. The story he submitted is called “The Last Magi.” Our judges enjoyed the imaginative yet believable world Larrabee created and noted that Larrabee had a great command of pacing – slowing down and speeding up with clear intent. We hope you enjoy his story!
Jason was eating his last bite of egg when he felt a sharp pain in his stomach. He looked down at his watch. 7:30. Then he remembered. It was the 22nd. He fell to his knees, clutching his stomach.
“Ignis,” he said. A jet of fire came streaming out of his hand.
Jason was a magi, which is a person who gets a power or spell every month on a certain day at a certain time. He was ten-years-old, so he’d just gotten his 121st power. Every time he got a new power, he felt a surge of pain go through his body, and a thought would go through his head. He would say the thing he thought of, and his new power would happen.
Jason was the only magi left.
Sometimes he felt lonely. He was also in great danger from the other tribes who wanted him for their own armies. The only person who made him feel good was his friend Rocco, who was the prince of Phoenix tribe. Rocco had been protecting him since he was in preschool.
Jason heard a knock on the door. He opened it and saw a small, plump messenger.
“Prince Rocco has a message for you,” said the messenger. “The Liquidium tribe is coming for you. Meet him at the beach at 8:10.”
“Thank you,” said Jason.
He ran outside and got on his bicycle. He got to the beach right on time.
“Hi, Rocco,” Jason said.
Rocco was a skinny teenager with messy blonde hair. He was almost 6 foot 1.
“Hello,” Rocco said. “We gotta move.”
Rocco stepped aside, and behind him was a huge longboat. Jason stepped inside. He had to admit it was a nice boat. But still, he hated boats. He always got seasick.
A Day at Sea
It had been 22 days since they left, and Jason had hated each and every one of those days.
“Is it safe to go home yet?” Jason asked Rocco.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “But I think it will be safe tomorrow.”
Suddenly, there was an explosion a few feet away from him.
“Watch out! Liquidium tribe invaders!” said Rocco. “They’re looking for trouble.”
“Uh-uh, I think they’re looking for me,” Jason said.
“Parvus,” he said, and in a second he was as small as a fly. He almost got stomped on five times. He climbed into three people’s ears and knocked them out cold. Then he went back to his normal size.
“Inuisibilitas,” said Jason, and he turned invisible.
Prince Rocco was struggling with two more invaders. Jason went up behind them and helped Rocco wrestle them to the ground.
A sleep dart hit Jason in the neck. He lost control of his magic and became visible again.
“Ignis,” Jason said weakly. Fire shot out of his hand and blasted three more invaders off the ship.
The last thing he remembered was a sharp pain in the side of his head.
Jason had spent nine days in jail waiting for this moment. He must have been poisoned because his powers still weren’t working. He was about to get another power, and hopefully it would get him out of here.
Suddenly, pain shot through him.
“Imperium,” he said. A wave of power destroyed everything around him. He ran through the broken bars, but the guards were onto him quickly.
“Volant,” Jason said. His powers were back. He lifted off the ground, now able to fly. He needed to find Rocco. Then Jason saw him in a jail cell below. Jason dropped to the ground and ran toward Rocco.
“Imperium,” Jason said. The bars broke and Rocco ran out of the cell. They shot towards their boat.
“Celeritas,” said Jason, and he was as fast as a bullet. He knew he would faint soon because when he used his powers too much, that was what happened.
“Rocco, let’s go!” Jason shouted over the sound of the wind.
They started off into the sea again. Then an old man dropped from the sky onto their boat. He had a long white beard. He was wearing a robe as dark as night.
“People think you are the only magi alive,” said the man. “But I’m a magi also. If you come to my mansion, I will show you things about your powers and how to use them.”
Jason was amazed. He looked at Rocco.
“Don’t do it,” Rocco said. “How do you know you can trust him? Come home with me.”
“I must learn how to use my powers,” Jason said. He had been wishing for another magi all his life.
Rocco shrugged. He knew he wasn’t going to win the argument.
“Alright, I’ll come,” Jason said to the man.
The man took him toward the mansion through some sort of space plane.
“By the way, my name is Luca,” said the man.
Jason looked out the window, and all he saw was a blur of stars. It had been almost 3 hours since he left Rocco. “When do we get there?” Jason said.
“A few minutes,” said Luca.
Suddenly, the ship started hurtling headfirst towards the ground. Just as they were about to hit the ground, the ship flattened out and they landed softly. The door opened automatically as Jason walked towards it. He stepped out into a warm desert.
“The mansion is this way,” Luca said.
Jason followed Luca, and when he looked up, he saw the most beautiful house in the world. He ran toward the entrance and pushed the door open. An alarm immediately sounded. Six armed guards dropped down and surrounded Jason.
“Imperium,” Jason said, and the guards were thrown to the ground.
“This is our guest,” he heard Luca say.
“I understand you must be tired,” said Luca. “So you can be lazy tomorrow, but the next day I want to train you.”
“Okay,” said Jason.
Jason went up to his room, but he was too excited to sleep. He went onto his balcony. If there was one more magi, maybe there were more than that. He looked down across the lawn. He could make out two figures. He could tell one of the figures was Luca. The other one looked familiar, but he couldn’t place him.
Rocco would know who it was. Rocco knew everyone. Maybe Rocco was right. Maybe he couldn’t trust Luca. Jason wished he could listen in on their conversation. Then he remembered. His spell.
“Audite,” Jason said. He could now hear their conversation.
“He’s never been trained,” said Luca. “He might be too old.”
Are they talking about me? Jason wondered.
“Let me know by Friday,” said the other man. A pod drove up to him, and he got in and flew away.
Jason went back inside and flopped on his bed. Even though he was tired, it took him a long time to get to sleep.
Jason woke up at 7:30 the next morning. The house was huge, and all the halls were very dark.
“Fax,” he said, and the air lit up around him. Soon he found his way to the kitchen, where Luca was waiting for him.
“Good morning,” said Luca.
“Good morning,” said Jason.
“I would like to show you some things,” said Luca. “Follow me.”
Jason followed Luca down a long series of corridors into a large room.
“This is the training room,” said Luca, “There are two important things that you need to know. First, control. Second, focus.”
“What do you mean?” asked Jason. He had never tried controlling his powers before.
“I’ll let you figure that out on your own.” And with that, Luca turned invisible and left the room.
Jason had been wrong about Luca. Luca wasn’t trying to help him. Luca didn’t believe in him. Jason was determined to figure out his powers by himself. After that, he would escape the mansion and go back and see Rocco.
Jason had practiced his powers for several weeks. He had almost mastered them. He had not seen Luca the whole time.
“Ignis,” said Jason. Jason held a small flame in his hands. He tossed the flame from hand to hand. He had figured out what Luca meant by control. He had to be able to control his powers.
“Inuisibilitas,” said Jason. His chair turned invisible. This is what Luca had meant by focus. He had to be able to focus his powers on a single object.
Jason was ready to escape and go back to his own kingdom. Then he heard Rocco’s voice.
“Under here,” said Rocco as he rolled out from under the bed.
“When did you get here?” Jason asked. “I was just about to call you.”
“A couple of minutes ago,” said Rocco. “Also, I need you to come with me because the Liquidium tribe has declared war on the Phoenix tribe.”
The Liquidium tribe? Luca lived very near the Liquidium tribe. Could he be working for them? Then Jason remembered… The man Luca had been talking to on his first day was the king of the Liquidium tribe.
“We have to leave right now. Luca wants to capture me,” Jason said.
Jason raced down the stairs. Luca was not awake. Jason inched towards the door. He set his hand on the door handle, but then the floor fell beneath him. He grabbed onto Rocco, but that only brought Rocco down with him. Jason heard Luca laughing as he and Rocco fell down, down, down.
Finally, they landed on something soft. Jason stood up. It seemed they were trapped in a huge maze.
Then a voice said, “Welcome. My name is Jack and everyone here is a magi, except apparently your friend.”
“Impossible,” said Rocco. “All the magi except for Jason died years ago.”
“Actually, most of them were captured by Luca and sent here like us,” said Jack.
“Prove that you’re a magi,” said Rocco.
“Liquescimus,” said Jack, and the rock right behind Jason melted a tiny bit.
“I guess that counts,” said Rocco.
“Sorry,” Jack said. “My powers are getting weaker every day.”
Jason looked around. There must have been at least twenty magi in the maze. He wasn’t alone after all! He had an idea. When he got his next new power tomorrow, he could work with the others to break out of this dirty, smelly prison.
Jason woke up at 7:29. A minute later he was on the ground.
“Et conlidam,” said Jason and the stone wall near him shattered. That power would be useful in his plan. He called everyone to the landing pad below the place where they had fallen.
“Alright, does everyone here have a spell called volant?” said Jason.
“Yes,” said everyone else. “But we’re too weak to leave the ground.”
“And et conlidam?” said Jason.
“Yes,” everyone said again. “But we can’t shatter anything.”
“I just got that one today. If we work together, we can fly up there and shatter the ceiling,” Jason said. “Jack, when we get through the ceiling, I want you to melt the door. OK?”
“Okay,” said Jack.
“You’re going to have to leave him behind,” said one of the magi, pointing at Rocco.
“No,” Jason said.
“You can come back for me later,” Rocco said. “You need to get out.”
“You have to come,” said Jason. “3, 2, 1, go!”
“Volant,” everyone said simultaneously.
Jason grabbed Rocco and pulled him up towards the ceiling
“Et conlidam,” everyone said at the same time. The ceiling shattered and Jason flew through it.
“Liquescimus,” said Jack and the door melted.
Luca was standing there.“You can’t escape,” he said. “I was supposed to be the last magi.”
“Your plan failed,” Jason said.
“We’ll see about that,” Luca said. “Adhæsit!” Everyone was immediately stuck in place. Everyone except Rocco, that is. The spell only worked on magi. Rocco tugged on Jason’s arm and Jason could move again, too.
“Quickly,” he said. “Touch all the magi!”
The two of them rushed around tapping the magi. As soon as they were free, the magi disappeared. Only Jack stayed behind.
“Wait!” said Jason. He had just met these magi, and he was sad that they were leaving.
“Let’s get to the boat,” Rocco said. They ran and hopped on board.
“I wanted the magi to come back to the Phoenix Kingdom,” Jason said.
“They need to return to their own tribes,” Jack said. “But I’ll come with you. I’m from the Phoenix Kingdom.”
“There’s going to be a battle,” Rocco said. “The Liquidium tribe is attacking the Phoenix tribe tomorrow.”
“Bring on the fight,” Jason and Jack said simultaneously. Jason smiled. He was happy to be friends with another magi.
They sailed away toward the horizon.
“Ugh,” said Jason. “Another day at sea.”