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Andrew Dobell Author

Magi Adept - EBOOK

Magi Adept - EBOOK

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BOOK 3 of the AETHERIC ACADEMY

Fairies visit the Academy to teach the students, and build relations with the Magi.
But when tragedy strikes, Katy suspects the Red Witch is back.
And this time she means business.

With the infinite Aetheric Realm now being explored by the Magi, and relations with the Fae growing, a delegation visits the Academy to help teach the new generation of Magi.

Katy is fascinated by them, and befriends one of the visitors.
But when blood is spilt, relations become strained. But worse still, Katy suspects the Red Witch is causing trouble again.

As Katy struggles with her attraction to both Titus and Trenton, finding herself torn between them, she must find a way to stop the Red Witch and her latest fiendish scheme.
She must risk everything to stop the crimson ghost, before more blood is spilt, and an old evil returns.

This is the thrilling finale to the Aetheric Academy, and ends the latest chapter in the Magi Saga.

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Katy sat on the steps in the courtyard. Leaning back, she placed her hands on the stone and closed her eyes as she tipped her head back. The Aetheric, at least here, where the Academy was located, wasn’t cold, but it couldn’t be described as very hot, either.
It was a comfortable, pleasant temperature that allowed her and the other girls to walk around in the skirts that were part of the school uniform without getting a chill. The uniform’s thin shirts weren’t much of a barrier to a cool breeze, either.
Katy imagined being home in the summer, sitting in her garden sunbathing, and feeling the heat of the sun on her skin. The thought was a pleasant one, and for a moment, she lost herself in it, forgetting her troubles and worries as she imagined being on a sun lounger somewhere, without a care in the world.
There was no chance of doing that here, though. The sky was an ever-present grey of roiling clouds that skidded by, undulating as they shifted, letting the occasional shaft of light break through, before closing again.
This place, according to the staff, was an area of the Aetheric known as Limbo, located in the Deep Aetheric. It had links to death and the afterlife, and there were rumours that sometimes the dead could find themselves arriving here rather than Sheol, doomed to wander the endless dusty wastes of the Realm.
Katy had never seen one, but she had seen lights glowing in the distance from her dorm window occasionally. She wondered what they were but knew better than to leave the Academy grounds without good reason.
The Aetheric was dangerous and unpredictable, and it was all too easy to get lost. But in here, protected by layers of powerful Magical protections, they were at least moderately safe.
The main courtyard was huge and circular, surrounded on all sides by the seven towers that made up the Academy building. A large raised circular area in the courtyard with steps all around it dominated the space. In the middle of the raised section was a sphere that apparently represented the Earth. The talk amongst the students theorised it had once been a Magical item. Apparently, it had been used by the Sentinels who were based here before it became the Academy.
Katy sat on the steps of the raised section, beside Trenton, Dana and Felix.
A short distance away, Yuki sat with Jasper, smiling and laughing, much to Felix’s annoyance. He grunted and sighed again as he pulled his eyes away from Yuki for the umpteenth time.
“Do they have to do that?” Felix grumbled.
“What? Smile and enjoy themselves?” Trenton asked, sarcasm in his voice.
Katy elbowed him. “They’re just enjoying each other’s company.”
“I know but, can’t they do it somewhere else?” Felix muttered.
“They’ll probably start snogging next,” Dana said, her hands pulled into the sleeves of the school sweater she wore.
“Don’t.” Felix rolled his eyes.
Katy smiled, recognising his annoyance for what it really was. Everyone knew what it was. It wasn’t very well hidden, after all.
He was jealous. He liked Yuki and didn’t like that she was with Jasper. Katy sympathised, but there wasn’t much she could do. Yuki had to do what she felt was right for her, after all. But, she did feel bad for Felix.
Trenton turned to her and leaned in. “He’s still jealous then,” he whispered.
“Mmm,” Katy replied, keeping her voice low. “He’ll be fine.”
“Have you spoken to her about it?”
“I think she knows.” Katy shrugged. “It’s up to her.”
“Yep.”
As they sat, Katy became aware of something going on at the main gates. Several other students were talking and pointing, some were walking over, and she could hear voices coming from that direction.
Curious, she looked over, wondering what the commotion was all about. The Academy wasn’t exactly on anyone's travel plans, and most days, no one seemed to come or go through the main gate, so a visitor was often a cause of interest.
“What’s going on?” Dana asked as Mr Spiros and Miss Hunt appeared and walked over to the gates.
“Looks like we’ve got visitors,” Trenton said
As Katy watched, she saw the teachers open the gates and let a group of seven people in. They were all dressed practically, with rugged clothing and walking boots, but they were a mess. Some of their clothing was torn, and they were all dirty. Wanting to know a little more about what she was seeing, Katy concentrated and used her Aetheric Sight to get a better look at them.
Around her, the other students and the staff glowed with Essentia, marking them as Magi. A Riven mortal wouldn’t glow at all, but these seven people seemed to flicker with mystical energy, as if it was trying to bubble up from within, but couldn’t quite get a hold of them.
The teachers helped the travellers through the gates. Katy could see a couple of them were injured and were being helped along by their friends. They looked like they’d been in a fight and then walked ten miles to get here through difficult terrain.
“Who are these guys?” Katy asked. “They’re not glowing, but there’s something going on there.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of this,” Felix said. “These guys must be Hedge Magicians.”
“Hedge Magicians? What’s that mean?”
“My parents told me about them. The Council has started to take notice recently because they’re appearing everywhere and causing problems.”
“They’re not Magi, then?”
“Kind of, half Magi. They’re Riven, basically, but since the Restoration, Magic has changed and become more accessible, to the point that some Riven can learn to control it through studying certain books.”
“What the hell?” Katy asked, shocked. “Really? You mean like, spell books or something?”
“Yeah. I know, my parents were saying it’s got the Council really worried.”
“So, how do they use Magic if they’re not Magi?”
“They have to say chants, make gestures with their hands, sacrifice things, like small animals or people, or make blood offerings. They’re using the same Magic we do, I think, the same Essentia, but it’s much more limited. They can only do certain spells, I guess. But they’re not under the auspices of the Council, and they’re difficult to track. Apparently, it’s causing all kinds of headaches for the Council.”
“I can imagine,” Katy said. “So, what are they doing here?”
“I don’t know,” Felix answered.
“Those are Hedges,” Yuki said, walking over.
“So, Felix was just saying,” Katy replied, noticing how Felix was watching Yuki and Jasper.
“I’ve heard that some of them are finding their way into the Aetheric and getting lost.” Yuki continued, “I bet that’s what happened to these guys.”
“Getting lost? Wow, I bet that scared the hell out of them,” Katy said, getting a good look at the group as the two teachers started to lead them across the courtyard. They were all looking around with expressions of wonder and disbelief. “I don’t think they expected to find a school for Magi here.”
“Can you imagine?” Dana said, also watching them as they hobbled across the courtyard. You take a trip into the spirit world, and there’s a School of Magic hidden there. I’d be surprised too.
“Yeah, I guess,” Katy said, as a man towards the back looked over and locked eyes with her. The man met her gaze and didn’t look away. He stared right at her as he passed.
“What’s his problem?” Trenton asked, noticing the look.
Katy frowned. “I don’t know…” she muttered, unsure what to make of the look the man was giving her.
“I’ve a mind to go over there and teach the idiot some manners,” Trenton said, starting to stand up.
Katy grabbed and pulled him back as the man finally looked away and followed the others into the base of the Ebon Tower. “Don’t be silly,” she said, annoyed at Trenton’s temper.
They’d got on well over the last few months while she’d been dating him. She liked him, but his temper was a constant source of irritation for her. He was always getting angry at the smallest thing or taking offence at things. Hardly a day went by without him threatening someone.
He wasn’t violent or particularly nasty to her, though, just to others around him. Even so, she felt like she was walking on eggshells around him, constantly being careful not to annoy or upset him unless he took it out on someone else. She understood why, of course. She knew his history. She knew he’d grown up in a difficult home and area and that he’d accidentally killed his younger brother during his epiphany, which went a long way to explaining his temperament, but it still troubled her. She felt desperately sorry for him, and she actually kind of liked it when he was being cheeky and playing the rascal. That side of his edge was quite fun, but he had a darker side, and it made her wonder about their future. He was an entertaining person to date, but she was less sure when it came to their long-term prospects.
She just couldn’t see it lasting.
She recognised how pessimistic that was of her, but she couldn’t help but wonder if that was where things were going.
Time would tell, of course, and she wasn’t quite ready to break up with him yet. Besides, she wasn’t sure how he’d react, so she felt like she needed to pick her moment.
“But, he was giving you dead-eye,” Trenton said in protest.
“It’s fine. I’m sure it’s nothing,” Katy said, keen for him to calm down.
Trenton gave her a look but must have seen the steel in her gaze, because he relaxed and backed down. “Alright, no worries.”
“Shall we go to dinner?” Felix asked.
“That sounds perfect.” Katy stood up, brushing down her skirt.
“Not long until the end of the year, now,” Dana said as they started across the courtyard, heading for the canteen.
“Yeah, it’s been fun,” Katy replied. “I’m looking forward to the second year.”
“Have you seen what some of them can do?”
“We’re getting close to that level already,” Yuki said.
“Speak for yourself,” Trenton replied with a grunt.
“I’ll help you.” Katy smiled at him.
“Thanks, babe.” He gave her bum a pat as he smiled at her.
The evening meal was the usual plentiful buffet, with a table filled to overflowing with food for them to choose from. As they finished up, Katy felt like she needed a little time alone and excused herself.
Yuki had already disappeared with Jasper, and Felix had also left. She’d been sitting with Trenton and Dana, who had been talking animatedly about some music they both liked. Katy had limited interest, though, and had come to the conclusion she’d leave them to it for a while.
She said her goodbyes before wandering through the corridors, back towards her dorm in Guardian Tower.
Partway there, someone called out to her. She turned to see Titus jogging to catch up, leaving some of his friends to come and say hi.
“Hey.” Katy smiled. Titus smiled back, and she felt herself go a little weak at the knees. It was a childish reaction, but she’d found herself more drawn to him recently, which both excited and concerned her. She’d always liked him but had chosen Trenton several months ago after he’d come clean to her about his history while on the school trip to New York. She’d felt connected to him, and it felt right at the time.
But things were different now, and she didn’t quite feel the same way anymore.
“What are you up to?”
She shrugged. “Not much. Just heading back to my dorm for a bit.”
“Oh. Everything okay?”
Could he sense that she had a lot on her mind? Possibly. He was a Magus like her, after all, and while he couldn’t sense her thoughts through the Aegis she had cast on herself, it possibly didn’t take any Magic to know that something was on her mind.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired, that’s all.”
“Okay, well, if you need anyone to talk to…?”
Katy smiled. “Thanks, but I’m okay.” She nodded down the corridor. “Your friends are leaving you behind.”
“Oh, yeah. Okay, I’ll see you later.”
“You will,” she confirmed and watched him jog back along the corridor before she turned and set off again, her mind a chaotic mess of emotions and thoughts as she wondered what the best thing to do was.
Trenton or Titus? She liked both of them, and while she knew Trenton liked her, she wasn’t sure that Titus did. They’d been through a lot together as a group, going up against the Red Witch earlier in the year. That created a kind of bond between them all, and she’d seen Titus be equally friendly to Yuki and Felix, too. So maybe that’s all it was? Maybe he didn’t see her as anything other than a friend, but without just outright asking him, she couldn’t be sure.
With an exasperated sigh, she approached her door and unlocked it. As she stepped through, she heard a clatter of footsteps behind her. With a flutter in her heart, she wondered if it was Titus, suddenly overcome with passion for her. She turned to see a figure rushing right at her, but it wasn’t Titus.
The man slammed into her, tackling her to the floor of her dorm room. She hit it hard, the action knocking the wind out of her as her back exploded in pain.