The hunt is on for the Eye of Dedithe legendary object that stores magic untoldand siblings Alex and Emma are determined to get it first. The only problem? They're not the only ones looking. Hot on their heels is the evil Shadow Conjurer who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Eye and finally control all of the Conjurian world. It's up to Alex and Emma to outsmart the Shadow Conjurer and his league of ghastly monsters, or risk losing magic forever.
Fall under the spell of the Conjurers. Masterful storytelling and over 100 captivating black-and-white illustrations fill author-illustrator Brian Anderson's world with charm and intrigue.
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I’m blind, thought Emma, instinctively rubbing her eyes. She opened and closed them.
No difference. This was not good.
She detected damp earth, tasting it, crunching it between her teeth. Every breath scratched her throat.
She tried calling to the others, but no sound escaped her grime-coated mouth.
I’m buried alive!
Panic crept through her. What had happened? She remembered Clive Grubian picking her up and carrying her under one enormous arm—his brother, Neil, under the other—as the Conjurian Detention Center shook around them. The boy, Savachia, had been behind them, dragging his father. Then Clive had let her fall and collapsed on top of her, a second before a wave of dirt exploded down the corridor, destroying all light and sound.
Clive had saved her. If you counted being buried alive as safe. But she couldn’t see. She couldn’t move.
And what about her brother? What about Alex?
She’d bluffed her way into this prison to find and rescue Alex. But she hadn’t been able to locate him. Had he been locked in one of the cells? Had he been crushed when the earthquake hit?
Did that mean Emma had been left completely alone? No family at all? Something grunted and moved above her, and suddenly Emma could breathe more easily. A hand seized her arm and pulled her up through a few inches of loose dirt, and she was standing in the corridor, coughing and gasping.
“Neil? Clive?” she sputtered.
“I hope they’re crushed under the debris,” muttered an irritated voice—Savachia’s. He coughed. “Some help they turned out to be.”
“Neil!” Emma called again, ignoring the boy.
Sparks flickered before her eyes. Then Neil’s face, round as the moon, appeared in front of her, lit by a flame dancing on the tip of his thumb.
“You’re alive!” Emma beamed with relief. She barely knew the two Grubian brothers, but in the relief of knowing that she was not all alone in the dark, she could have hugged the short, rotund Neil and his gigantic brother, Clive, visible now as the flame on Neil’s thumb grew bigger and brighter.
Clive nodded at Emma and returned to his task. He was industriously stuffing tiny sacks into small cracks in the wooden wall of the prison.
Emma looked up and down the corridor, but she could not look far. The ceiling to her right had caved in, blocking the hallway completely. To her left, the passage was choked with dirt. Emma could see no sign of Sergeant Miller or his men, who had been just about to arrest every single one of them.
Savachia crouched by his father’s limp body. He’d finagled his way into this prison, along with Emma, in order to rescue his father—but he hadn’t told her about his plan. She had thought he’d been here to help her rescue Alex.
She’d been wrong. About that. About a lot of things.
Emma reached out to tug on Neil’s soiled jacket. “There’s no way out. We’re buried alive!”
“Now, my dear, we are not buried. Although we are alive. Details count.” Neil nodded at his flaming thumb. Emma’s grip on his jacket threatened to pull his coat sleeve down over his hand, smothering the flame.
Emma quickly removed her hand.
“You have to have faith,” said Neil. “Do you trust me?”
No. The answer was no. She’d only just met the Grubian brothers, shortly after flying skeletons called Rag-O- Rocs had invaded the mansion that belonged to Emma’s uncle. Uncle Mordo had shouted at Emma and Alex to run, to save themselves, to follow Emma’s pet rabbit, Pimawa. And they had.
Pimawa had turned out to be more than a pet. He was actually a Jimjarian, a walking, talking servant bound to serve a magician all his life. He’d brought them to the Conjurian, into the Mysts, where they were attacked by an entirely different kind of monster, a bandiloc. It had been Neil and Clive Grubian who’d saved them from the bandiloc and who’d taken Emma and Alex and Pimawa to Conjurian City.
Emma had thought they’d be safe there. That was one of the many things she’d been wrong about.
Conjurian City was where Emma had been kidnapped (by Savachia), where her brother, Alex, had been taken prisoner (by their uncle’s old colleague Christopher Agglar), and where Emma had been told by the man who had been her dead parents’ closest friend that he would not help her or protect her.
Conjurian City was where Emma had learned to trust no one at all.
But she had no choice now. She could not get herself out of this prison, where the collapsed roof and crushed walls and tons of dirt trapped her and the others more securely than locks and bars.
If Neil had a way out, she had to trust him.
She met his eyes and nodded.
Neil held the flame closer to Clive, who stuffed one last pouch into a small crevice and stepped back.
Emma had seen pouches like that before, in the Grubians’ carriage. They had been full of woofle seeds. Emma didn’t know much about woofle seeds, but she knew that they could explode.
Hope blossomed inside her, bright as Neil’s flame. They weren’t buried alive after all—or they wouldn’t be for long!
Clive stepped back and spread his great arms, gesturing for all of them to step behind him. Emma did so quickly, nodding at Savachia to do the same. He was a liar and a traitor, and she would be sure to tell him exactly what she thought of him once they were free—but that didn’t mean she wanted to see him blown up.
Savachia dragged his father behind Clive as the larger of the two Grubian brothers kicked the wall hard. Nothing happened.
“Kick harder, you elongated barber pole!” shouted Neil.
Clive kicked repeatedly.
“For the love of—move aside and let me—”
Neil squirmed out from behind Clive just as the woofle seeds erupted in a blinding, golden flash. The tough wooden roots that made up the walls of the Conjurian Detention Center were wrenched apart, and the earth that surrounded them shuddered and split, revealing a slender fissure. Fresh air washed in.
“Ladies first.” Neil coughed. He helped Emma into the crack. “When we get to the carriage,” he added, jabbing a finger into his brother’s gut, “you will spend the rest of the day checking the expiration dates on all the woofle seeds.”
Emma clawed her way up, emerging into the giant field that lay at the foot of the Tower of Dedi. She looked around, hoping beyond hope to see Alex rushing toward her.
Instead she was enveloped in a curtain of sooty air. Chunks of wall and piles of brick and stone littered the plain and choked the gaps between the roots. She clambered up onto an arching root, desperately searching for the Tower of Dedi through the filthy air.
“Miss Emma!” croaked Neil, climbing out after her, followed by his brother. “We should stay low until the air clears.” Rasping, Neil leaned against the root Emma was standing on. “Come down before someone, or something, spots you!”
A wind gust briefly cleared the murky sky, and Emma gasped. There, not more than two hundred yards away, stood what remained of the Tower of Dedi.
The last time Emma had been aboveground, the Tower had risen over this plain like a skyscraper. It was a building created out of the largest living tree Emma had ever seen. It made a California redwood look like a spindly sapling.
And now it had fallen.
That was what had caused the cave- in, Emma realized. Not an earthquake. The Tower had collapsed.
Only the stump of the tree remained. The few surviving branches curled downward like the hands of a corpse.