Le Paris Magic Académie Book 1: The Forbidden Incantations
Two friends, beginning a new adventure. They get a little more adventure than they bargained for
The Forbidden Incantations snippet –
“If we don’t hurry, we won’t be able to catch the boat in time,” Samantha Tempestade said to her best friend as they hurried through the busy streets. Sam moved with an agility and grace that could have only belonged to a nineteen-year-old girl who had been athletic almost all her life. As quick as she could be, the one thing she had never been good at was arriving on time.
Lily Vivace, the other nineteen-year-old trying to keep up, had never been helpful for this problem. She giggled. “I think we ate too much this morning. I really don’t want to run anywhere right now. I feel like I’ve eaten five breakfasts in one.”
Sam grinned. “I think you had one too many pain au chocolat, Lil, but even after all that, I can still count your ribs over your shirt.”
“There’s no such thing as too much chocolat.”
They had gotten out of the Champs-Élysées an hour later than they had planned, and the location of the boat at the Haropa port to the south was farther than either one of them had guessed. Normally, they did not take the Parisian streets on foot and so had not accounted for how long it would take. But Sam and Lily had deserved the brunch and shopping this morning!
They needed nice clothing for their arrival at the Academy. No one liked being a first-year in last year’s clothes—or so Lily had said before insisting Sam purchase the dark green trousers and beige, chiffon blouse she had been eyeing in one of the shops. The satchel holding her new clothing and some other prized possessions thumped at Sam’s side. She was beginning to regret how much time and money they had spent on shopping, though.
She rounded the corner and entered the Rue Saint-Rustique. It was the oldest street in Montmartre and just so happened to be where all of Lily’s favorite vintage shops were. Sam wound through the narrow, cobbled street, careful to avoid plunging into carts and skirting dogs out on leashes.
Sam remembered her first time in Paris with Lily. When they were little girls, Lily’s grandmother, who owned a summer house in the French countryside, had brought them into the country’s capital. They had spent many summers here since. Sam loved coming here, as did Lily, but it was one of the worst places for them to be so close to sundown. The dying sun shone on the glass windows, reflecting faces in a pleasant, orange haze. It was Lily’s favorite spot for taking Instagram photos, buying new clothes, and…
“Oh, Sam! The Le Consulat, I’ve been dying to try—”
Sam rolled her eyes and grabbed her friend’s arm. “We don’t have the time.” She only held onto Lily’s hand for a moment before releasing her again and clattering down a part of the street that took a sharp decline.
Sam and Lily left the street and came to a broader avenue. They had to go several more blocks south to reach the harbor. Sam was beginning to feel anxious about missing the boat. She had been anxious before, but only in theory. Now it thrummed in her chest, telling her that if she didn’t make it to the water by the time the sun set, the boat would leave without them and there went their first year at university. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the school wasn’t so exclusive, hidden, and only accepted a certain small number of new students every year who were required to attend the first night of the new term. Why, she did not know, and she wanted to find out. I can’t find out this way, running around trying to figure out where the hell I am going.
Lily had suggested a taxi earlier, but Sam had been against this because a taxi would take just as long in traffic as running did.
Sam, who had been running ahead this entire time, glanced over her shoulder and noticed Lily’s dark green hood falling away from her mass of dark curls. She gestured for Lily to pull her hood back up. “Thank you,” Lily mouthed.
The greatest question both girls now had was the location of the Academy. To keep the school a secret from those who did not attend or were not alumni, the precise location of the school was not disclosed. It could be under these very streets for all we know, Sam thought.
All Sam thought about for the next few minutes was the fact that staying on top of her classes was the only reason she had been accepted into the top-secret school. The same went for Lily. It wouldn’t matter, though, if the boat left without them. Sam did, however, try to remain positive. “I don’t know why we don’t buy watches in all those nice shops we go to,” she called to Lily.
When no response came, Sam halted and turned. Lily was nowhere in sight. “Lil?” No answer. Sam cursed. With how busy the Parisian streets could be, it was easy to get separated. She probably got distracted by something she saw in a window, Sam thought.
Lily knew her way to the port, and Sam was sure they would run into one another on the way. Still, she worried for her friend. This was going to make them later than ever! Sam turned and wound her way back through the streets in search of her friend. She sent Lily a text and tried calling her, but there was no response to either. Dammit, Lily!
Sam cut down a side street. Isn’t this the area where all the muggings happen? The buildings above her were tall and slanted toward one another so that only a sliver of the burning red sunlight penetrated the alley. I won’t be around long enough for it to matter.
As soon as she had this thought, Sam knew to eat her words. She exited one of the alleys and came out into a small, empty square. The place was rundown, and the buildings around her appeared to have been left unoccupied for quite some time. Sam heard a rustling sound behind her followed by low snickers and voices. Oh no. Her heart sank. Sam turned in time to see two drunk young men stumbling out of the alley.
Sam didn’t let her thoughts go on. It wasn’t going to matter, because she wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to her. She thought she might be able to flee the scene with a speed most humans did not possess, but then she saw what the young men had in their hands. Well, this is just my old Tempestade luck, isn’t it?
Sam had seen such magical trinkets many times, but not in the hands of muggers. From the looks of it, the young men had stolen the trinkets and didn’t know a damn thing about them. It wasn’t until Sam saw them turning over the brass, gold, silver, and jeweled objects in their hands and laughing about what they might be that she realized they had not yet seen her. She slipped into the shadow of another alley and peered out at them. “That old man had a lot of heavy shit on him,” one of the men chortled in a heavy, French accent. “Must be feelin’ it gone now. Too bad he didn’t see us.”
The others laughed. Sam’s heart leapt in indignation. They had robbed a wizard. Sam hoped the muggers never found out what the hell they were really holding. Or worse, how to use them. A single one of those could be thrown in any direction and have the effect of a magical bomb. Another could let out a paralyzing fume made from flowers beyond this world. At least, that was what Sam could gather from her vantage point. Her father collected all sorts of strange magical contraptions, and the ones the muggers held looked like things she had seen in his study. She debated whether she should attack the muggers and get the trinkets away from them or if she should take the chance to slip away.
Too late. Their eyes strayed in her direction. “You there! What’re ya hidin’ for?” Before they could get a good look at Sam, she launched out from the shadows, both fists raised and ready to pummel. She swept one fist across the first young man’s face, and he staggered back, clutching at it and hissing in pain. Alarmed sounds rang out from his companion. “I wasn’t hiding,” she snarled. “But if you try one thing with me, you’ll be hiding a few bruises tomorrow.”
“What was that for?” the one who had been punched said right before Sam ran, leapt, and kicked him in the stomach. He fell to the ground with no air in his lungs even to groan. The other was not having it. Growling, he rushed her, but Sam was ready. She spun to kick and followed it up with a punch. She only knocked his shoulder, though, and he came back at her and clocked her across the cheek. Stunned, Sam stumbled backward. The hood fell from her head.
The young man laughed. “Aw, it’s a little girl come to play. Let’s show her some real scrapping.” The one on the ground barely moved. The other glared at her with a heat in his eyes that could have melted through her clothes. Sam didn’t let him stare for long.
“It’s a shame not one of you can fight me alone. It takes both of you to beat up on a little girl?” Sam taunted before she vaulted across the space between them, now shadowed by the darkness of night. The sun was a straight line of red on the horizon, melting away rapidly. Sam was breathing hard. If she wanted this fight over, she was going to have to focus. She wished she could bring her mana out of her being in its true form, but it was too risky here in the sight of the humans. She was going to have to rely on her supernatural energy to make her movements more quick, precise, and strong than they would have been otherwise.
Her fists flew, and before the drunk man knew what had happened, she knocked him flat to the ground. When Sam looked up, she took a sharp intake of breath. A third man had appeared from the side alley. He gave her a heated stare. In his hand shone a knife. Was he with these muggers or on his own? It didn’t matter, because a second later he came at her without a word.
Sam ducked and spun. She kicked out her leg to trip him up, but he evaded her and struck out, slashing the knife toward her. He got part of her cloak and would have cut her arm if she did not lift it at the last second. Sam’s heart beat faster. She was beginning to find it difficult to keep going without using the full force of her magic. For a moment, Sam was tempted to do so. Who would believe this man’s story?
No, she told herself. They told me never to risk it. There were good reasons for that. Even getting into this fight was the opposite of what she was supposed to be doing. “Don’t draw attention to your magic among humans,” her father had warned her.
It was hard to heed such a warning when a knife came flashing out at her. The man launched out, his knife up and shining. Sam ducked to avoid it, but before he could lower his arm he crumpled to the cobblestones with a groan, dropping the knife to clatter beside him. Sam dove for it before registering how the young man had fallen. A stone lay on the ground and blood seeped from a wound in his head. His attacker had not hit him hard enough to do more than knock him unconscious.
A figure landed from a nearby roof into the alleyway with the grace and quiet of a cat. “Lil?” Sam called out, relieved.
Lily emerged. “I thought I’d lost you. Then I heard some struggle the next street over and I just knew you had gotten yourself into trouble.” She shook her head, grinning. “You’re lucky I caught up to you.”
“Thank you. I think in the end I could have handled it, but I was getting tired.”
Lily looked over her ruefully. “I can tell. You’re more winded than you need to be. You know what they have said about your magic, Sam. You’re being too flashy.”
Sam brushed off her cloak. “No such thing.”
“I’m being serious. Still, I am glad your father trained you to fight like that.”
Sam nodded. She knew that if she had not had the lessons from her father growing up, she would not have been able to defend herself so well. “I know. Yeah. Sorry about being flashy. I will be more careful.”
When they were little and in Paris, Lily had pulled Sam out of a fight with a boy her own age over an apple. Not much had changed since then except Sam was better at fighting now than she was back then.
“Let’s go.” Lily turned to walk away. “I found another way to get to the port. A faster way.”
Sam was too busy searching the muggers. She found several magical trinkets, including amulets, bracelets, rings, and detonation devices that looked like music boxes. She picked up the other objects she had seen in their hands, too.
“What are those?” Lily asked.
Sam held them up. “They were talking about how they robbed someone. Must have been a wizard. There are so many things here though that I doubt they took them all off his person.”
“Out of a trunk or something?” Lily suggested.
“That’s what I was thinking.” Sam looked down at them. “We should try and find him. He has to be somewhere nearby. We can give them back.”
“We don’t have the time,” Lily reminded her.
Sam knew her friend was right. She stuffed the objects in her satchel, intent on examining them later. Perhaps with some disenchanting spell, she could discover the owner. She stood, facing her friend. “Where are we going?”
Lily glanced at the muggers, two of which were still conscious. “Wait until we’re out of earshot.” They left the young men there to groan, baffled about what had just happened.
That was a close call for Lily and Sam. Find out on May 30th if they are able to catch the boat, and what kind of trinkets they were able to recover. Until then, head over to Amazon and pre-order Le Paris Magic Académie Book 1: The Forbidden Incantations.