Note: I will be posting a chapter from The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle each day until the book has been fully posted. I am doing this as a way to entertain those who have been coping with the new life of social distancing, social isolation, and quarantine in the world right now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once complete, I will hold the book on in full on my site until 1/1/2021. On that day, it’ll no longer be accessible for free.
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If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook. Enjoy and I hope that you and your family are doing well!
The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle
by Jeremy C Kester
(c) Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved
“That is impossible!” Krag exclaimed.
“I’d not believe it myself, but it happened. She killed a demon without holding the blade,” Brandt explained as he continued to try and wrap his mind over what had happened.
Weapons of a Sentry couldn’t kill any spiritual power without being wielded, in physical contact, by the wielder. The fire demon died on the impact of the Hyde dagger when Agnes loosed it from her grip. Brandt stood in the white light, unable to process what he had seen. It should not have happened. But it had.
Once the pair had returned to Brandt’s home, Agnes resumed her place at Cadence’s bedside, both exhausted and still excited about her experience. Nothing could have prepared her for it. Now all she wanted was to tell Cadence about it whether she could listen or not.
“And she reshaped another’s realm?” Lef asked in equal disbelief.
Brandt poured a glass of whiskey and gulped it down. He normally kept his drinking light, but he was still shaken. The alcohol helped. “She became enraged, as though it was the very thing that had killed her parents. Her aura encompassed everything around us. The entire realm we were in began to crumble. I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t experienced it.”
“There is more to her we know not,” Krag observed nervously.
“What are you trolls going to do? This is way beyond normal Sentry workstuff. How can I possibly train her anything? She is more powerful at a few weeks training than I ever was.”
“Other lessons are needed. She cannot become an instrument of the dark. Patience is one,” stated Krag.
Lef added: “Control, another.”
Brandt sighed heavily while shaking his head. “The girl is too young for patience. I’ve never known a kid her age to have much for patience. You guys are kidding yourselves if you think that.” No warning was given before both conduits vanished. “Great!” Brandt throws his arms up in disgust.
Deciding not to worry about it anymore, he headed up to Cadence’s room. He found Agnes, sitting by the side of the bed, recounting all of the prior events. She was excited. The girl was steadily improving in Brandt’s eyes.
“Is she still asleep?” he asked.
“Yes,” Agnes answered. “But her wounds are much better.”
“That is good. It should be any day now.”
“What was that shield you were using in the other world?” Agnes suddenly asked, ignoring the current conversation suddenly.
Brandt rolled up his sleeve. About midway up his arm were two bracelets strapped tightly. Each was silvery in color, brightly polished.
“Shield of the dark prince,” Brandt explained. “It is a spiritual shield. Like a metal shield can stop a blade, this stops spiritual attacks. It was given to me by my mentor as he was dying. He died shortly after being attacked underwater.”
“What happened underwater?”
“There was a rift in the barrier that was down in the ocean coming from the mortal side. We dove down to find out what was causing it.” Brandt appeared somewhat apprehensive in letting that information out. He needed to help her understand though.
“What happened?” Agnes urged curiously.
“He won’t tell you,” a weak voice came from the side. Agnes turned excitedly to see Cadence waking. “He still hasn’t told me about that.”
Agnes swung over and hugged Cadence. Cadence grunted some, but smiled at the young girl’s embrace.
Brandt spoke as though he wasn’t surprised by his pupil’s awakening: “how are you feeling, Cadence?”
“Like I was stabbed through the heart by a sword,” she coughed bluntly.
“It was a nasty wound; we didn’t think that you’d make it.”
“How long was I out?”
“Few days,” Brandt replied, his voice unchanged “I was sure it would’ve been longer.”
Agnes had a tear fall from her eye. “I was afraid you’d die.”
“Don’t worry,” Cadence grunted. “I know I can’t leave you alone with our master.” She gave a faint smile to Brandt. He glared at her knowingly.
Brandt placed his hand on Cadence’s shoulder. “Glad to have you back,” he said in a polite tone as he then took his leave and walked out of the room.
Agnes released herself from hugging Cadence and slid down to sit next to her. “I was so scared when it happened,” she whispered to Cadence. “I didn’t know what was happening.”
Cadence grunted as she tried to sit up. She fell back down before Agnes noticed and helped her up. “It’s ok to be afraid,” she tried reassuring Agnes. “You are still young. I didn’t know anything of what I was to become at your age.”
“Do you still get scared?”
“I was scared to death when that thing attacked you.” She looked at Agnes trying to muster the bravest, most assuring face that she could. “I don’t plan on leaving you alone any time soon.”
Agnes smiled. Cadence only wished that it didn’t feel like a lie.
Cadence rejoined Agnes for the drills the next morning. She was sore from the healing, but it didn’t stop her. Agnes had been focusing her skills on use of the dagger, a skill Cadence was surprised by.
Brandt had not informed her of Agnes’ display in the spirit realm. He had still been trying to process exactly what had happened for himself. He felt that the conduits knew something as to what she was, because normal she was not.
“Excellent form, Agnes,” he commented as he watched Agnes spin and slash with the dagger.
Agnes smiled and then asked, “when can I learn to throw?”
Cadence cocked her head to the side. “Why would you want to learn to throw?” she asked curiously.
“You aren’t going to learn to throw. You don’t need to know how to throw,” Brandt interjected. He watched to see if Cadence left the remark alone.
“Did you take good care of Iliad while I was asleep?” Cadence asked as she drew the sword from its sheath. As the sword reached the tip and her arm was extended, she winced.
Agnes, not noticing, replied: “he is a beautiful spirit. I loved talking with him.”
Through the pain, Cadence was reminded of the pangs of jealousy that she had with the ease of Agnes’ communications with the weapons. Slowly, she raised Iliad into form.
Brandt asked, “Are you sure that you are up to this?”
“You’ll be fine, the wound didn’t touch your spirit.” a voice vibrated through Cadence’s body. The suddenness of it nearly shook the sword out of her hand.
“What was that?” she said aloud.
Neither Agnes nor Brandt appeared to notice. Agnes was repeating her move over and over trying to ensure perfection.
“Ahhh… so you hear me?” the voice commented.
“Yes, I hear you,” Cadence replied without speaking aloud.
The voice was smooth and calm. It reminded Cadence of the soft, gentle hum of a soothing jazz riff.
“Can you feel my voice through your hand?”
Stopping a moment, Cadence closed her eyes and began to focus on the sound of the voice. Realizing that she was not actually hearing the voice rather she was feeling it, she loosened her grip slightly on the handle of Iliad. The handle felt as though it were reverberating in her hand. It was the first time she felt the power of her weapon.
A smile emerged as the pain from the wound appeared to dissipate past the breakthrough. This is what they talk about she thought.
“My name is Cadence,” she told the voice.
“I am Iliad, my dear,” the voice replied.
Cadence’s smile grew wider. Unmoving, it was as though she were caught in a trance. Brandt was barking instructions to which Cadence didn’t even realize was occurring. “I thought I’d never get to do this,” she told Iliad excitedly.
“You’ve been afraid to listen, my dear,” the voice told her.
Cadence didn’t understand why she had never heard the voice before. This must have been what Agnes spoke of. The excitement of this new ability overwhelmed any feeling of pain for the moment.
It was short-lived as Brandt stepped right up to Cadence’s face. “You showed up, you listen. You forfeited your right to complain about the pain right now,” Brandt gritted his teeth.
Cadence hadn’t noticed that Agnes and Brandt had been arguing and Brandt had been trying to distract them both by getting Cadence’s attention.
Cadence lowered her head. “Sorry. I will try harder.”
“I need to throw Hyde!” Agnes yelled.
“What is she talking about? Agnes, we can’t let the weapon leave our hand –“ she tried explaining to the young girl before Agnes cut in. Brandt looked helplessly on as Agnes spoke.
“I threw my dagger and killed the fire demon! I don’t need to touch my weapons.”
Like Brandt, Cadence froze. “What? That’s impossible!”
“She is pure power,” the sword reverberated to Cadence. She ignored it.
“I don’t know how! I need to learn!”
Brandt interjected. “You do NOT learn throwing! We cannot teach you,” he yelled. “THIS DISCUSSION ENDS NOW!” Brandt’s face had grown a fierce shade of red. His breathing was labored and fast. Cadence had never seen her master in that state. She knew that he was prone to anger, but this had gone beyond normal.
Her head kept moving between Agnes and Brandt wondering who would win this ordeal. As Agnes became increasingly angry too, she could feel warmth beginning to emanate from her. It felt as though it were not entirely temperature, but a spiritual heat.
“We’re done for today,” Brandt inserted. It was apparent that he was beginning to feel it as well.
Agnes turned red, flushed with anger, as she turned and stormed off. Cadence ignored the young girl’s outburst and chose to focus on Brandt.
“I don’t know how to deal with her now, Cadence,” he admitted. “She is way beyond the strength and skill level of any Sentry that I have ever met or even heard about.” His voice was drained and almost held a sadness to it. “She needs to learn to remain calm and control herself. I am too impatient to deal with her at her age.”
Cadence wanted to laugh a little, but decided to simply ask, “why is she so insistent on throwing?”
Brandt paused for a moment and just stared at Cadence as though he was unsure how to formulate the words he was about to say. Finally, as Cadence was about to go on to another question, Brandt explained: “She can still project her powers through objects that are not in direct contact with her.”
Cadence’s eyes widened. “That’s not possible.”
“It shouldn’t be. But even more frightening was that she affected the realm while we were there. She changed it to her own. Not affecting it, changing it. No spirit can change any realm other than their own. She tore right through it and replaced it effortlessly.”
Questions swirled around Cadence’s head. “How can that be even possible? I don’t know of anything that can do that.”
“Nor do I,” offered Brandt bluntly.
“I don’t believe you,” stated Cadence plainly. She carefully sheathed Iliad letting the voices she so joyously heard moments ago go silent. “I just can’t believe it’s even possible.”
Brandt pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He only smoked when he was more than stressed. Cadence knew this. He lit it and breathed in deeply. “You said yourself that you saw her pushing back the same demon we struggled to even advance on. This is no ordinary Sentry that we have in that young girl. I am just afraid that the conduits may not even be sure of what that is. I am even more afraid that they know exactly what she is.”
“We can only try to guide her then,” Cadence said, slowly walking off to leave her master to worry over their next steps. Cadence didn’t have much time as she was again taking Agnes to school. It was a little early still, but she didn’t want to lose the opportunity to try and find out what was going through Agnes’ mind.
Cadence found Agnes hiding in her room throwing her blade angrily against a large wooden block she had somehow snuck into the house. The blade kept making a loud clang as it bounced off the wood and fell to the floor.
“Hyde doesn’t like that I keep doing this. It bothers him.” Agnes’ words were matter-of-factly as she saw Cadence enter the room.
In a plain tone, Cadence asked: “Why do you insist that you have to learn to throw?”
Agnes walked over and picked up her dagger for the 30th time. Not once was she able to stick the blade into the wood. “I killed the fire demon. I threw Hyde, and I killed it.”
Cadence shook her head. “I can’t believe that. You shouldn’t be able to transfer through your weapon if you aren’t holding it.”
“But I did. I could feel Hyde all the way. I felt the demon die.” Her tone turned to excitement. “I can throw!”
Cadence breathed deeply trying not to let the logic she felt outweigh the evidence that had been before her. She wanted to trust Agnes. “Let’s say that you can-“
“I can!” insisted Agnes.
“Ok,” Cadence relented. “How can Brandt ever teach you?”
Agnes froze. Suddenly she realized what Cadence was saying. Then she asked, “what about against mortals? Can’t we throw against the mortals?”
Cadence thought that it sounded valid, but she had never had reason. A Sentry always wanted to be connected to their weapons. Losing connection meant being without power. It meant being defenseless. “We just don’t ever let go of our weapons,” she finally answered.
“Well I can! And I want to learn!”
“I’ll try to help you then,” Cadence said. “I’ll learn on my own too. We can do it together.” She wasn’t entirely sure as to how or why she was giving in, but it seemed right. If Agnes could do what both Brandt and she claimed, the Cadence felt it her duty to make sure it was taught in a proper manner.
“We’ll start tomorrow.” Cadence said hoping that she wouldn’t come to regret her decision to help.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook.