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What can happen on an innocent field trip to a museum? In the secure protection of a jail? Or on a simple bus ride? Plenty, if you are a member of the Pillage family and your name is Beck Phillips. No matter what strangeness is going on, Beck still manages to turn things on their head.
When Beck's personality and behavior begin to change after he makes a fateful, life-altering decision involving—what else?—a dragon egg, there is no one around to stop him from fulfilling his family's destiny set out in The Grim Knot. And as life in Kingsplot moves unwittingly toward the brink of another dragon disaster, Beck finds himself living a life of deception as he hides information from the people who love and care about him the most.
In this final episode of the Pillagy series, with the destructive forces of his family heritage running strong and unhindered, Beck must now face the truth and rise to the challenge of stopping the madness or succumb to the draconic chaos he has helped create.
- Size: 5½ x 7
- Pages: 320
- Released: 01/2012
About the Author
Obert Skye is the bestselling author of the Leven Thumps and Pillagy series. He is also the author of the comic novels, The Creature from My Closet. Obert lives in a constant state of wonder. He has a keen sense of smell and is the owner of a great deal of curiosity. For further information about Obert’s current whereabouts or state of mind, visit abituneven.com.
It’s All Too Much
The mood inside the room was heavy. Kate held the stone in her hands as if it were a baby made of brittle glass. Streaks of new moon slipped through the windows of the manor and painted the room in shades of gray and shadow. The rock she held shimmered lightly, and Kate appeared prettier than I was willing to admit. Her red hair hung forward and down over the stone as she gazed at it with her deep blue eyes.
“This is the last one?” she asked.
“The very last,” I replied.
Wyatt stood next to me, breathing slowly. His dark hair and stout build made him look tougher than I knew he was. Wyatt had been one of my worst enemies when I had arrived in Kingsplot. Now, however, we were friends. He was still annoying at times, but I liked him. Kate, Wyatt, and I had been through plenty in the last little while and now there was just one more thing we needed to take care of before I could breathe easier.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t keep it?” Wyatt asked, his green eyes wide. “We can just lock it up. I mean what harm can it cause locked up in my room?”
“Are you nuts?” Kate whispered. “You’ve seen what the other stones have grown. Who knows what kind of dragon this last one holds?”
I stared at the six-inch-long, oval-shaped, marbled stone. It was gray with ribbons of white and gold running through it. I sighed, knowing that if I wanted I could take it, plant it, and bring something otherworldly to life—something I could use to pillage and stake claim to the spoils my ancestors had gotten rich on. Of course, the last dragon I had grown had almost killed me and Kate. And the ones before that had torn apart the town of Kingsplot. Still, despite the danger dragons were capable of producing, the thought of holding onto the stone was tempting.
“Don’t even think about it,” Kate insisted. “You have to get rid of it.”
“I know,” I said defensively. “Besides, I’m tired of getting beat up by every bush and plant around here.”
My family had some sort of weird control over things that grew. Plants and vegetation seemed to respond and grow for us in ways that they normally didn’t do. I could make leaves float and trees move, and, of course, with the right stones I could even grow dragons. But lately Mother Nature was beating the life out of me. Every tree I passed pinched me. Bushes reached out to trip me. The lawns in front of the manor had found ways of bubbling up and knocking me to the ground where they would give me wicked grass burns. I was convinced that the only way for the beatings to stop was to let go of this last stone.
We tried to break the rock up with a hammer, but no luck. We then dropped it off the side of a huge cliff, but it still didn’t break. It was proving to be indestructible. We considered mailing it somewhere far off, but we couldn’t be sure where it would ultimately end up. Wyatt wanted to pitch it into a lake or river, but I knew that in time it would wash up into the wrong hands.
So, we had turned to the manor for the solution.
The Pillage manor was a seven-story stone wonder. It was not only my home, but it was a place of great mystery and many secrets. There were passages behind walls, and tunnels under its foundation. Mysterious doors were walled up, and bits of the floor had compartments and stairs quietly tucked beneath them. I had found dumbwaiters that seemed to go nowhere and cabinets and holes that were all wallpapered or bricked over.
I loved the manor.
Two weeks ago I had found a dusty, dark chute in one of the unused utility rooms on the bottom floor. I had been exploring the manor and noticed it hidden in a dark corner behind piles of old junk. It was just one more find in the line of cool things the manor was hiding.
Wyatt and I had dropped a few things down it and could hear no bottom. We had thrown sticks down and even lowered an old rope, but we still couldn’t feel or sense any end to the hole. There was also no sign of it on the floor below, and the part of the basement it would have gone through was still packed with dirt. What it really was, was a mystery, but I figured it would be the perfect place to drop the stone. I knew it would be next to impossible to reach it again once it had been released. I also liked the idea that I would still know where it was. I wouldn’t have to worry about it being found by someone else, and it was only fitting that the manor would be its gravestone.
Kate handed me the rock. It glowed like a weak light bulb in my hands.
“Maybe that stone grows a good dragon,” Wyatt said, making one last attempt to stop me from getting rid of it.
“I don’t think so,” Kate said sadly.
I pulled open the chute door and looked down into the dark hole.
“I’m not sure I want to do this,” I whispered softly.
“You have to,” Kate whispered back.
Since moving to Kingsplot I had changed drastically. The old me would have never gone along with something just because it was the right thing to do. But I knew I had to do this because lately life was just too much and it felt as if putting this stone to rest would help things calm down.
“What if there’s an animal or something down there?” I asked ridiculously.
“There’s no animal down there,” Kate said kindly. “Drop the rock.”
Wyatt looked away. I reached out and tried to drop the rock. I guess my palms were kind of sweaty because it wouldn’t leave my hands. I pulled it back in and put it on the ground. After wiping my hands dry on my shirt, I picked the stone up again. I was wondering if the stone would allow me to drop it, or if it would come up with some other way so that I wouldn’t let it go.
Wyatt leaned in closer to see what the holdup was. He bumped me, and the stone bobbled in my hands for a few seconds and then—as we watched in slow motion—it fell to the ground and rolled to the rim of the chute. It hung there for a second or two and then . . . dropped over the edge. Someone yelped; it might have been me. We could hear it scrape and bang the sides of the metal chute as it descended far below. The fading sound continued for some time before it grew too faint to hear any longer. All three of us just stood there in silence, staring at the open mouth of the dark chute. I think we were all waiting for the chute to belch the stone back up. After a few minutes of nothing, I sighed.
“I feel awful,” I admitted.
Kate put her arm around me. Her red hair brushed up against my right ear, and I could hear her breathing softly. She smelled like something much more becoming than a musty old manor.
“I’m impressed,” she said kindly. “You got rid of it.”
I wasn’t going to quibble about the technicalities that it sort of dropped in the chute without my help. My mind raced as I tried to think of another time when Kate had actually been impressed with me. I mean I knew she liked me, but impressed?
“Really?” I asked. “You’re impressed?”
“Slightly,” she said while kissing me on the cheek. “I know that wasn’t easy.”
“Come on,” Wyatt complained. “Do you two mind knocking that off until I’m not around?”
I closed the top of the chute and snapped the latch. The three of us then left the room slowly, foolishly thinking that we would never have to worry about stones or dragons again.