Whit and Wisty Allgood have finally triumphed over the evil that has long overshadowed their world with their defeat of The One Who Is The One. Now they move on to their next mission: becoming members of a governing Council that will return the Overworld to a place of creativity, magic, and freedom from persecution.
But it isn't long before the city is threatened from inside and out. The adults on the Council want to control the use of magic in the city, and a fearsome Wizard King threatens war. As Wisty begins a new relationship with an intense and mysterious boy and the pressures of leading the city bear down on them, Whit and Wisty find themselves growing apart. Will they be able to come together to fight the mounting threats that could return their world to the hands of a tyrant?
James Patterson delivers what the fans have been asking for—the story of what happens next—with an epic fourth installment about the heroic teen witch and wizard that have captured our imaginations.
Book One | The First Truth: You Can't Trick the Inner Eye
WHERE IS SHE?
I watch the giant clock on the wall, the slow click of the seconds echoing in the vast chamber. My pencil mimics the beat—tap, tap, tap—on the long table.
Matthias Bloom, self-styled Speaker of these proceedings, clears his throat for the hundredth time. As I glance sheepishly around the wall of faces, I see that he’s not alone in his impatience.
She knows how important this day is.
The memory of last night resurfaces then, those horrible headaches and disturbing images, and for a moment I worry something’s happened to my sister. Maybe the vision was some sort of omen….
Come on, Wisty. Come on, I plead silently, thinking if my stare drills hard enough into the door, it might creak open.
Miraculously, after an eternity, it bangs open. My sister bursts through, a ball of flustered energy with red hair hanging in her face. “Sorry!” she shouts as she hops across the room, still struggling to pull on a shoe.
I shake my head, but I’m grinning anyway, because she’s here. There’s no bad omen, and everything’s cool, because Wisty’s got the papers in her hand—the ideas we spent weeks developing.
With those plans and this Council, the future of our City starts today.
“Now that our last esteemed member has arrived…” Bloom sighs heavily, and straightens his tie.
Always the smart aleck, Wisty curtsies in response, then finally plops into the seat at my side.
“May we begin?” Bloom finishes dryly.
“Great!” I stand, eager to address the group. “Since we’re reinventing this City now, and not just fixing what was broken, it’s important that we do it right this time.” I grab the plans off the table and glance at my notes. “We were thinking, start with the City’s biggest hope: kids. School should be about creativity and fun, so kids actually want to go.”
Looking around at the faces of my fellow Council members—war heroes, rogue journalists, a former film star who survived on roaches for two years underground—my enthusiasm grows. I’m not a natural speaker like Janine, but I’m more pumped about this cause than anything, and these are the people who can make it happen.
“We also need to build a major outdoor community center, so all citizens can tell us their concerns and ideas,” I continue. “We can use The One’s old compound, and it would be great for concerts, too.” Wisty gives me an encouraging wink. “Of course, first we’ll have to redesign the streets to make room for more parks….”
Bloom clears his throat again sharply, and it’s like a crack of thunder in the chamber. “Those ideas are all charming, Mr. Allgood,” he booms. “However, this is a Council, and all members will vote on its proceedings.”
I redden. “Right. I know, Mr. Bloom. We just thought—”
“We thought that as members of the Council—the members who freed the Overworld, if we’re getting into specifics—you might want to at least hear our ideas,” Wisty blurts out.
A couple of voices shout words of encouragement, particularly the youngest of the seventeen kids on the board, who totally idolize Wisty.
“General,” Bloom corrects. He straightens the white swath of hair atop his glistening forehead. “And who will fund these projects? Our bankrupt treasury?”
When Wisty and I are silent, he addresses the whole Council, pitching his voice across the room. “Unfortunately, we cannot just burn away the problems of the New Order as we did its flags. Along with a money shortage,” he drawls, fixing each member in turn with his gaze, “we’re facing a fuel shortage. A materials shortage. And a water shortage.”
“A sense-of-humor shortage,” Wisty quips.
But the rest of the room is silent, and I’m not laughing, either. How did we think it was going to be so easy?
“Okay,” I say quietly. “Where should we start, then?”
There’s a flicker of compassion on Bloom’s face, but his authoritative voice doesn’t budge when he replies, “I propose we stick to the agenda.”
“Agenda?” I look around. Everyone has a crisp, typed sheet of paper in front of them. Everyone but us. I sit back down with my hand-scrawled notes.
“First item,” Bloom reads. “Housing needs for displaced citizens.”
“There’s been violence in the Gutter lately,” says the kid from the streets whose parents were martyrs of the Resistance. “Families trying to build up their bombed houses, but others claiming their supplies.”
I think of little Pearl Neederman and her family’s basement home in the Gutter. They didn’t have much, but they definitely had kinship. “Maybe we could discuss ways to get the communities working together to rebuild neighborhoods, one house at a time,” I suggest.
Every eye in the room flicks to the man who seems to know about these things, but he shakes his snowy head dismissively. “The Council must decide how many stones each citizen is eligible to remove from rubble for rebuilding.”
“We’ll need to know how many stones each rubble pile contains, on average,” notes an eager Councilman beside Bloom.
“And what percentage of stones were lost in the bombing,” a droopy-eyed man across the chamber adds.
The woman to his right pipes in: “Shouldn’t we first vote on whether stones should be determined by size or weight or concentration of minerals…?”
Two hours later, my head is throbbing even harder than it was last night. “Is blood leaking out of my ears yet?” I whisper to my sister.
Wisty looks up at me with glazed eyes, her chin resting on the table. “I didn’t think this was actually possible, but governing just might be worse than going to school.”
“Before we adjourn, I don’t want to cause anyone to panic, but I fear we must address one last pressing issue….” Bloom announces, and the tone in his voice makes both of us sit up straight.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Read by Spencer Locke, Justin Long,
and Cassandra Morris