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Диана Дуэйн «Games Wizards Play»

Читать онлайн «Games Wizards Play»

Автор Диана Дуэйн

Contents

Title Page

Contents

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Epigraphs

Time fix: Spring 2011

Hipparchus

Coney Island

Wellakh / Hempstead

Antarctica / Knox Coast

San Francisco

Mumbai

Hempstead / Elsewhere

Hempstead / Mumbai

Manhattan: Javits Center

Javits Center: The Cull

New York: The Losers’ Party

Mumbai / Shanghai / Elsewhere

Canberra

Canberra: The Post-Semis Mixer

Antarctica and Daedalus

Sol IIIa, Sol, Sol III

Read More from the Young Wizards Series

About the Author

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Duane

Could It Be from KIM POSSIBLE: THE MOVIE.

Words and music by Andrew Gabriel and Cory Lerois © 2005 by Wonderland Music Company, Inc. and Walt Disney Music Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Reprinted by permission of Hal Leonard Corporation.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file.

ISBN 978-0-547-41806-3

eISBN 978-0-544-63371-1

v1.0216

Dedicated to Colin Smythe

Publisher, editor, friend

(who knows where the bodies are buried)

Acknowledgments

Thanks also to John C. Welch, provider of technical assistance that has proved of inestimable value in the production of this book.

I . . . am about to embark upon a hazardous and technically unexplainable journey . . . to confer, converse, and otherwise hobnob with my brother wizards.

—Oz the Great, The Wizard of Oz

When moon and sun stand each in place

And your opponent takes the field,

Look past him to the one you’ll face

When all hid truths stand new-revealed.

When that time comes, your only shield

Will be the outward gaze toward space;

The cold will show what sword to wield

Against the fire’s and death’s embrace.

Still, though your oldest foe should yield,

Beware the last fall of the dice:

Though now an ancient sorrow’s healed,

Beware who pays the final price—

And do not miss, ’twixt fire and ice,

Your chance to make the sun rise twice.

—I Ching trigram 30, Fire over Fire: “Double Brightness”

I am not young enough to know everything.

—Oscar Wilde

Time fix:

Spring 2011

1

Hipparchus

KIT RODRIGUEZ LAY SPRAWLED in the gray dirt, staring in shock at the fire-blackened book that had just landed open side down in front of him. His stomach flip-flopped as he realized that very close by, another wizard lay dead.

Still smoking gently at its charred edges, the other wizard’s manual, a thick, beat-up paperback with a cracked spine, slowly started to vanish. Sheer horrified fascination made it hard for Kit to look away. Only when the manual had finished dissolving did he manage to swallow. His mouth was bone dry, not just because of all the dust flying around, and his heartbeat was hammering in his ears. It was amazing how loud your own heart sounded in these conditions, especially when it might shortly stop without warning.

Kit, you still with us? said a voice that sounded like it was speaking from inside his head.

“Uh, yeah,” Kit said under his breath. “Don’t think it’d be real smart to move right this minute. I’m pinned down.”

Lissa is too, said another voice.

. You’re below effective numbers now, Kit. We can pull you guys out of there—

“No chance,” Kit said. “Job’s not done yet! You think I’m leaving before we finish what Ritchie gave it all up for?”

The moment’s silence that followed was broken only by the shudder of the impacts hitting the ground around them. How many have we got moving now? said a voice from across the battlefield.

Nine of them, said another voice with a distinct twang to it. They’re right over the rim from you right now, so whatever you do, don’t—

A few hundred meters in front of him, an inward-arrowing glint of ferociously unfiltered sunlight flashed off the narrow shape of yet another of the nasty projectiles that had been making Kit’s life so interesting for the last ten minutes or so. Hurriedly Kit shoved his face down into the dirt again, and the incoming missile shot by right over his head, literally within a yard or so of his scalp. Under the circumstances he couldn’t feel it by air pressure, but its passage pushed his personal shield down harder onto his skull. This wasn’t the kind of sensation any wizard in his right mind took lightly, no matter how confident he was about his shielding—and Kit was a lot less confident about it than he’d been half an hour ago.

He held still, waiting for the explosion from behind him. For several long moments nothing happened. Then everything rocked. The ground beneath Kit rippled, shaking apart in chunks along spiderweb cracks as the blast wave from the missile’s explosion burst through it. In the wave’s wake, the air inside the larger bubble of Kit’s secondary shield instantly filled with kicked-up gray-white dust that obscured everything, as if he’d suddenly been teleported into the center of a frosted lightbulb. He concentrated on not breathing until the shaking stopped and the dust started to settle ...

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