Chapter Three – Tracking the Thief (Lost Rainbows – Serial)
By Connie Cockrell
Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?
This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows
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Tracking the Thief
A quarter mile from the sidhe boundary, Shamus reached the entrance to one of the secret leprechaun roads. He drew his sword. It would glow green when it detected magic along the road and for a short distance outside of it in the real world. The road was more of a tunnel than anything else. The walls glowed pale green, like sunlight through a woodland canopy. With the sword drawn, Shamus could see eddies of residual magic as he followed the road. Once he reached the treasury he looked around for clues. Even in the darkness he could see the torn ground and broken bushes.
His sword glowed bright green. A lot of magic had been used here. The treasury doors, usually secured by strong spells, were shattered into splinters. The bodies of the guards sprawled near them. They’d been blasted by strong magic as well. Shamus straightened them out. He knew these men and their families and he ground his teeth in anger. Who would do this? The humans didn’t know about the treasury. Like the sidhe, it was protected by ancient magic. It had to be leprechauns or perhaps a dragon. They were very fond of gold.
He re-examined the area. No, there were no burned areas. Not a dragon. Leprechaun then. He left the bodies with a salute. Guards from the King would be along soon to take them back to the sidhe. He re-entered the magic road, determined to find the culprits.
The road led toward the sea. Travel was fast within the road. He bypassed much of the countryside and, in what would have taken him four days of travel in the real world, was at an exit in four hours. The magic led him out of the door.
Dawn was breaking when he emerged. He was at the bottom of a hill and as he faced it he could see the sun would soon appear over its left shoulder. The top of the hill was covered by the ruin of a castle. It wasn’t uncommon for a road door to come out near a castle or castle ruins. Hundreds of years ago the leprechauns were friendlier with humans. Now there were too many humans and they no longer believed in leprechauns, so his people stayed out of sight.
He followed the magic trail along a newly hewn path through the brambles up the hill. He moved quietly. There was no need to alert the thieves to his presence. Shamus followed the trail through the ruins. Blocks from the internal walls had been restacked to clear a path. Noise reached him and he stopped to listen, back against the moss-covered granite. The noise was a high-pitched whine, not natural. Shamus moved forward slowly, sword held out in front of him, until he reached a corner. The noise was louder.
Machinery? What machinery would be here? He turned the corner, ready to defend himself. In a cleared space in front of him were several pots of gold. It was a man, human from the look of him, dressed in a long gray gown with a dark blue cloak, and a leather belt cinched it all at the man’s waist. He was moving the pots by magic into the glass of a mirror with a wand. As each pot went through, the mirror flashed red light across the space.
Shamus shook himself out of his shock. The wizard, as he supposed the man was, lifted the last pot. You!” he shouted.
The wizard looked up at the call but never stopped moving the gold.
The wizard moved the pot through the mirror. He looked at Shamus once more, then slid the wand through his leather belt and stepped through the mirror.
Shamus ran forward as the whine increased. Without understanding why, Shamus knew he had to get through the mirror fast. He flung himself forward as the whine reached an ear-splitting crescendo. He tucked himself into a ball and rolled as he hit grass, leaping to his feet, sword at the ready.
It was dark. Shamus spun around, breath coming fast, expecting to be attacked. There was nothing. He lowered his sword. There was no sign of the mirror either. He slid the sword into his scabbard and took a deep breath. The night was broken by lights many feet overhead, placed at regular intervals along a wide paved road. He was outside a high stone wall with a metal-grilled gate ahead and to his right. He hurried to it and peeked around the corner through the gate. A large castle lay beyond, at the end of another paved road, about a quarter mile away. Dogs were barking inside.
He wondered why he’d come out of the mirror here, instead of where the wizard was. He suspected the mirror shut off in some way so he didn’t make it all the way through. Shamus shuddered. He didn’t want to think about where he might have come out of the mirror, or if he would have come out at all. He could sense the iron in the gate. Iron and magic never mixed. Touching it would burn him. A gentle kick confirmed the gate was locked. Now what?
The night air was cool. Shamus adjusted his floppy hat and weskit, then settled his pack more comfortably on his back. A quick look around showed him large mansions across the street. They had huge expanses of lawn. From the size, he knew they had to be human habitations. He needed to get inside the gated castle and find the wizard. Could he hide across the street and watch the gate?
Lights approached along the roadway. He ducked into the bushes beside the gate. It took only a moment for the thing to pass. It had been many years since he’d left the safety of the sidhe but he remembered the humans called those automobiles. It was much quieter than the ones he had seen so long ago. He pulled his sword–it wasn’t glowing. He was reassured there was no magic nearby.
He crossed the road to see if he could find a good hiding place. Half an hour later he was back at the gate. The houses across the street and on either side had no good hiding spots. His only choice now was to walk along the wall and find a way to climb over.
To be continued…
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© 2015 Connie Cockrell