Hey, all! Things are still going forward very well with my third book. As of this second, I am more than halfway through the edited manuscript, so I’m still planning on releasing Welcome to Wacky Water World mid-late March (either Friday, March 19th or Friday, March 26th). I will keep you updated in the coming weeks.
As promised, here is a little sneak peek at Welcome to Wacky Water World, the third installment in the Edania Chronicles series.
*SPOILER ALERT*: if you have not read the first two books, then the following will give away some major plot points. You’ve been warned. If you wish to continue, here is the Doren Report:
DOREN REPORT #5—MARINA
CENTRAL CONTROL ROOM
“So, Barbaas is dead, is he?” Doren asked from his virtual prison. “Are you sure, Flutura?”
Flutura bowed before his computer. “Yes, Master.” She looked up at him, feigning sorrow. “When I reached the submerged power plant, the Edanian agents had already caused the Illusion Tree to fall, and Barbaas was crushed under its fractured roots, his body burned from the explosion. There was no saving him. All I could do was acquire the Ark.” She held out a round, flat object with a glimmering yellow jewel in the middle of it.
“So, it was the Ark that caused the disturbance to the lair’s power?” Doren asked.
“Indeed it was,” Flutura answered. “These objects contain such power, the depths of which we cannot even fathom.”
“Then, we must handle it with care,” said Doren. “Well done, Flutura. Place the Ark on the pedestal under the screen.”
Flutura walked to the computer screen and put the Ark on the pedestal right below it. A glass dome closed around it, and the computer analyzed it. The lights in the room began to flicker.
Doren laughed madly. “Excellent! I can feel the barrier keeping me in here weakening from the Ark’s power. We just need the other six and I’ll be free.”
Flutura smiled sweetly. “I’m on it, Master. I will gather the remaining Arks and deliver them to you and—” She shivered as a single drop of water fell onto her forehead. She looked up at the ceiling. Another drop of water dripped on her. Then another.
“What is this?” Doren snapped.
Flutura tried to find the source. “I don’t know, Master. Perhaps there was a pipe that burst from above when the Ark caused the power outage.”
“That’s not it,” a man’s voice said from behind Flutura.
“Balthazar,” said Flutura as the dripping became a steady flow.
Balthazar appeared from the shadows, his face obscured by his black cloak. “This water is emitting a Dark-Segol energy signature.”
The flow turned into a heavy downpour.
“What is the meaning of this?” yelled Doren.
The torrential downpour suddenly stopped, and all of the water flowed to the central control room’s entrance, forming a large puddle. With a loud roar, a powerful geyser shot out of the puddle.
“I do not mean to intrude, Master Doren. I assure you, I come in peace,” said a soft, feminine voice from inside the torrent.
The geyser opened up elegantly like a liquid rose, and there stood a young woman. She was slender and petite, and had long, jet black hair in a bun surrounded by a vine of blue hydrangea flowers. Her eyes were azure like the sea. Her skin was pale like the moon. She was wearing a furisode kimono that was deep blue with black trim.
“Who are you that you would intrude into my lair?” Doren growled.
The woman gracefully trod to the computer screen and bowed. “My name is Marina, and I’ve come to help with your quest to gather the Arks.”
“And how do you know of our plans for the Arks?” Flutura snapped.
Marina glanced at her and smiled kindly. “Everyone knows of Master Doren’s plan. It’s not much of a secret among the Corrupted.”
Balthazar swiftly appeared behind her and grabbed the back of her neck. “And tell me, little mermaid, from what vile pool did you flop out of?”
A smile remained on her face as Balthazar’s grip grew stronger. “If you please,” she said in an eerily calm manner. Her body liquified and poured out of Balthazar’s grip, then seeped into the ground. A pillar of water shot up from behind him and solidified back into the lovely young woman. “I have been training with Madame Circe of the Olympian Alliance for quite some time. But I left just hours ago when I heard that my dear sister had been brutally murdered by the Edania Organization’s new agents.”
“That flower child was your sister?” asked Flutura, as the thought of the wretch filled her entire being with hatred.
Marina’s eyes became cold as she glared at Flutura. Then her face became as serene as a calm sea. “Thistle was my sister, yes. I’ve come to avenge her untimely and embarrassing demise.”
“You have no right to interfere with our plans!” Flutura snapped.
Marina frowned. “Please, mind your temper. It’s quite unseemly for a woman as beautiful as you. I am simply here to offer my services to Master Doren, and in doing so, get my revenge on the Edania Organization. I assure you, I am quite competent, and I have excellent references.”
Balthazar sneered. “Nobody at the Olympian Alliance should be called an excellent anything. They all betrayed Master Doren in his time of need.”
“Oh, dear, no. I’m not referring to them,” said Marina, shaking her head.
“She’s talking about me,” echoed a very deep, hollow voice.
“So, we have more unexpected guests…” said Doren, trying not to get enraged at the presumptuousness of it all.
A thick, dark fog descended upon the room, and a cloaked figure appeared from its midst. “You’re not being very hospitable, Doren. Being trapped in your own computer is no excuse for such rudeness.”
Flutura took a moth-shaped shuriken from her belt. “How dare you speak to Master Doren in such a manner! I ought to cut your tongue out!”
Balthazar quickly grabbed her hand and lowered it. “Don’t,” he said flatly.
On the computer screen, Doren’s shadowy figure took a step back. “M-Master Faust…my apologies. I didn’t realize it was you.”
Shock and horror filled Flutura as she watched the dark figure approaching. “Did he just call that man in the hood ‘Master’?” she whispered to Balthazar.
Balthazar didn’t utter a word, or even acknowledge her question. He stood as still as death, glaring at the man robed in black.
The man turned to Flutura. “Indeed he did, my dear,” he said in a pleasant tone. “My name is Faust. I am what is known as a Recruiter, much like the brilliant young Balthazar there.”
Balthazar bowed. “Th-thank you, sir. Although I’m nowhere near as brilliant as you are.”
Did Balthazar just bow down to someone? Flutura thought.“You’re a Recruiter…like Balthazar?” she said out loud.
Faust nodded. “I am. In fact, I’m the oldest surviving Recruiter among all of the Corrupted. I’m the one that brought Balthazar into the darkness. I’m also responsible for recruiting Doren.”
Flutura quickly put her shuriken away and bowed her head. “Forgive my insolence. I had no idea.”
“I will forgive it this time,” Faust said pleasantly. “You didn’t know to whom you were speaking. Now then.” He turned his attention to Doren’s pixelated image. “I must insist that you let Marina aid you in getting the next Ark, Doren. She and Thistle were my most promising new recruits, but poor Thistle was cut down before she could really master her power. That said, I wish to give Marina a chance to exercise her Dark-Segol and kill those foolish agents for her sister’s sake.”
Marina held her hand out, and a luminous orb of water appeared above it. “I assure you, I am a very skilled water manipulator. I can create illusions with my water, much like Thistle could with her plants. And, although her illusions packed more of an offensive punch, mine are much more stable and almost impossible to escape once my victims become ensnared.”
Flutura grunted in anger. It looked like once again, her mission would be stripped of her.
Marina glanced over at Flutura and smiled. “Please don’t be too upset, dear. I know my sister’s personality was a bit…abrasive. I tried to make her more of a lady, but I suppose she was not granted our mother’s grace and charm like I was. I welcome any help I can get.”
Flutura turned her back on Marina. “There is no need for that. I have my own project to work on. I truly wish you luck on collecting the Ark,” she said as she stormed out of the central control room.
“My, my, my. Why is it that most of the female Corrupteds these days are so brutish?” Marina chimed. “Just because we don’t have our humanity doesn’t mean we’ve lost our ability to be civilized.”
“That’s enough of that, Marina,” said Faust.
Marina bowed regally. “My apologies.”
“Now,” said Faust as he turned his attention back to Doren. “My dear Marina has already found the Ark, and she has a plan to gather the energy to shatter its defenses.”
Marina nodded. “Yes, the Ark is in an abandoned water bottling plant, ironically enough.”
“Tell them your plan, Marina,” Faust instructed.
She giggled. “Yes, of course.” The glowing ball of water dripped onto her hand, and her whole arm became a stream of water. “My entire body can turn to water, but it’s no ordinary water. Every drop is infused with Malkirite. My plan is to reopen this bottling factory and sell the ignorant citizens of the Force-Pointe Islands bottles of water infused with my dark energy. When they drink my water, it will slowly drain their life-energy without them even knowing. And since the water is from my body, all that energy will come back to me, and I’ll apply it to the Ark’s barrier.”
“What if the children from the Edania Organization come sniffing around?” asked Doren.
She seemed unphased. “Like I said, my water can also create illusions. Well, it’s a little more complex than that. To be more precise, my water can create an inescapable dimension of illusions. If they interfere with my plan, I will simply trap and kill them in there. Oh, I do hope they interfere. I very much look forward to drowning them in an ocean of sorrow,” she giggled.
Faust cackled. “Quite the young lady, wouldn’t you agree, Doren? While being forever the polite debutant outwardly, on the inside she’s wickedly devious.”
Marina scoffed. “I most certainly am not devious. I just wish to do away with those self-righteous rapscallions.”
“If the opportunity comes, seize it. But be warned,” said Doren.
Marina looked up at the computer screen with a frown.
“Do not seek these agents out,” he continued. “Or purposely draw them in. They may be mere children, but they’ve been able to best one of my most loyal servants, as well as your very own sister. It would be unwise for you to underestimate them.”
Her eyes sharpened as she stared at Doren. She managed a thin smile. “There is no need to worry, sir. I will not be bested. Rest assured, I will be completely focused on obtaining the Ark for you.”
“By the way, do you know which Ark it is?” asked Balthazar.
“I believe it is Jordan’s Ark,” Faust answered.
Balthazar pondered. “Jordan… Which of the agents was that?”
Doren huffed. “She was the one that could stop time… What an annoying little power. They have a time-stopper in this group, too.”
Marina picked one of the flowers out of her hair and stared at it longingly. “If it’s the time-freezer that will be contending for the Ark, that’s good news for me.”
“How is that good news for anyone?” asked Balthazar.
Marina slowly turned around to face Balthazar, twirling as if she were at a ball. She crushed the flower in her hands, smiling wickedly. “Let’s just say that I won’t be easy to freeze inside of anything, let alone something as insignificant as time.”
Balthazar looked at her in disbelief. “Tch, are you saying you’re immune to her time-stopping Segol? That’s quite unusual for a Corrupted of your rank.”
She looked at him graciously. “I’m not saying anything, love. You’ll just have to watch as I mop the floor with her and her foolish little friends.” She put her hand over her mouth and blushed. “Oops, that was not very ladylike. I apologize.”
Balthazar sighed. “Some other time, perhaps. I’m afraid I’ve got to go. Lots of evil things to do, so little time. Is there anything else you needed of me, Master Doren? Master Faust?”
“No, Balthazar. You may leave,” said Doren.
“It was good seeing you, my apprentice,” said Faust.
Balthazar nodded, and disappeared into the shadows.
“I truly hope Balthazar is pleasing you, Doren,” Faust said. “Has he brought in any good followers?”
Doren nodded. “Yes, I am quite pleased with his work. He’s delivered a few good subordinates, and his skill of shadow manipulation is also quite useful. You trained him well.”
“Yes,” Faust said. “He was one of my favorite projects, much like Marina and her family. But she has little interest in being a Recruiter like me or Balthazar.”
Marina put both hands into the opposite sleeves. “You’re quite right. I don’t want to find people to follow others. I wish to find my own subjects that will follow my every command. At any rate, I think I shall take my leave.”
“Very well,” Faust said. “Go and wreak some havoc, young one.”
She looked offended. “I am a lady. I do not wreak anything. I’ll nurture and care for said havoc until fully developed, then I’ll let it bloom over all of these islands and enjoy the wails of sorrow like a symphony of death.” She giggled. “Well, goodbye for now. I will not disappoint you.” She bowed, then quickly vanished behind a pillar of water.
Faust turned back to Doren. “I believe I will go, too. I have a new group of people I’m working with for recruitment. Unfortunately, most of them are fools, but one truly shows promise. I’ll see you soon, old friend—hopefully next time you’ll be out of your computer prison.”
“Farewell, Master Faust,” Doren said with a bow.
Faust disappeared in a puff of dark smoke.
Flutura was pacing in her chambers. “Ooh, that wretched fish out of water! ‘I’m such a lady, I’m going to let you help.’ Well, I’d like to help, alright, help her dry up like a fish in the desert.”
Balthazar rose from the ground. “Do not fret, my sweet,” he said as he went to her.
She stepped away from him. “I’m not in the mood to see you, Balthazar. I want to be left alone.”
He held out a dead rose. “Please don’t be upset, my wicked little moth.”
She turned away from him. “Too late! This is the third time I’ve been overlooked. The Ark retrieval mission is supposed to be mine!”
“You’ll have your time to shine, don’t you worry.”
“Not with the obnoxious mermaid here. Ugh, no matter. Now I can focus my work on her.”
“Her?” repeated Balthazar. “Are you referring to whatever you have in your lab that you won’t let me see?”
“Yes,” she answered. “And I promise you that when I’m finished with my project, I will not be ignored again!”
Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek! That’s all I have for today. Until next time, happy reading!