As the eve of the great Wizards' Summit approaches, wizards from all over Rockfall Mountain descend on the school at Shadow Tower to refine their craft. When professors start disappearing, it's up to magic-fearing monster sleuths Tank and Fizz to solve this spell-packed mystery and find the missing mages. Aleetha, their detective partner and a wizard-in-training, has dragged Tank and Fizz into the heart of the Shadow Tower, where libraries fly, spells fill the air, and an ancient army of darkness stirs, when she receives a mysterious message from her missing teacher. Using their detective skills, a pinch of magic and a trickle of technology, the friends stumble into a battle that's been brewing for decades. And what starts as a simple missing-persons case turns into a clash of light versus dark magic. Can Tank and Fizz overcome their fears and track down the missing mages before the black magic makes them disappear for good?
The Case of the Missing Mage is the third book in the Tank & Fizz series about two crime-solving monsters living under a mountain, following The Case of the Slime Stampede and The Case of the Battling Bots. Stay tuned for book four, coming spring 2018.
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Text copyright © 2017 Liam O’Donnell Illustrations copyright © 2017 Mike Deas
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
O’Donnell, Liam, 1970–, author Tank & Fizz : the case of the missing mage / by Liam O'Donnell; illustrated by Mike Deas.
Issued in print and electronic formats.ISBN 978-1-4598-1258-1 (paperback).—ISBN 978-1-4598-1259-8 (pdf).—ISBN 978-1-4598-1260-4 (epub)
I. Deas, Mike, 1982-, illustrator II. Title. III. Title: Tank and Fizz. IV. Title: Case of the missing mage.PS8579.D646T345 2017 jC813'.6C2016-904578-1C2016-904579-X
First published in the United States, 2017 Library of Congress Control Number: 2016950094
Summary: In this illustrated middle-grade novel and third book in the Tank and Fizz series, a goblin detective and technology-tinkering troll must mix magic and gadgetry to defeat the evil doom mages.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on Forest Stewardship Council®certified paper.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Design by Jenn Playford Illustrations and cover image by Mike Deas
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERSwww.orcabook.com
Printed and bound in Canada.
20 19 18 17 • 4 3 2 1
For Ail, an amazing sister and true friend. — Liam O’Donnell
For Faye — Mike Deas
CHAPTER ONE: A Case That Sparkles
CHAPTER TWO: Skull Surprise
CHAPTER THREE: Talking Tugs With Trolls
CHAPTER FOUR: Under the Cloak
CHAPTER FIVE: Into the Tower
CHAPTER SIX: Magic Vendors and Wood Elves
CHAPTER SEVEN: Flying Sofas and Mr. Lorof
CHAPTER EIGHT: Lost In Baldur’s Bailey
CHAPTER NINE: Shadow-Guard Showdown
CHAPTER TEN: Little Big Spaces
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Rock Robbers
CHAPTER TWELVE: Enter the Doom Master
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Ghost-Realm Refuge
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Ghost On the Run
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: How Not to Rescue a Goblin
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: A Treasure Trove for Tank
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Cloud-Riding Trouble
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Doom Mage Disaster
CHAPTER NINETEEN: The Loftiest Light Shines
CHAPTER TWENTY: Heroes of the Shadow Tower
The frigid waters of Fang Harbor churned below me. Screams filled the air.
“Reel me in, Tank!”
The screams were mine.
I was a tail’s width above Fang Harbor’s icy waves, hanging by my belt.
It was the second day of Fungi Break. A week off school. No classes, no books, no homework. This goblin was very happy about that. Yeah, I said goblin.
The name is Marlow. Fizz Marlow. I’m in the fourth grade, and I solve mysteries. I’m also a goblin. You know, green scales, big ears and a tail that my mom says is “cute.” You okay with green monsters and cute tails? Good. Because there’s a whole bunch of monsters in my hometown of Slick City, under Rockfall Mountain. Monsters like my best friend and detective partner, Tank. She’s a troll. No tail but lots of gadgets. Trolls like to tinker with technology, and Tank is no exception. Her tinkering can save the day or land us both in big trouble.
And right now, I was about to land in something very cold and wet.
Aleetha helped me to my feet. “Quit fooling around.”
I was too sore to yell at Tank. And she probably would have been too busy putting out the fire in her backpack to hear me anyway.
Aleetha helped me out of the harness. She was a wizard, but she unbuckled the straps with the speed of an engineer. Well, okay, she was a wizard-in-training. She had gone to our school until she left to learn magic at the Shadow Tower. Now she liked to surprise us with her tricks, as well as help us solve mysteries. The look on her face told me something was very wrong.
Aleetha unsnapped the last buckle and flopped onto a rock. She looked sadder than a goblin on the last day of summer vacation. That goblin being me.
Tank took the helmet from me and turned to Aleetha.
“My teacher is missing!” Aleetha sounded like she was going to cry.
“So what’s the problem?” I said. “If Mr. Mantle disappeared, I’d throw a party.”
“Fizz!” Tank said. “Old Tentacle-Face isn’t so bad.”
“Then why have I got a stack of math homework taller than me at home?”
“Maybe if you actually did the homework, it wouldn’t be a giant stack,” Aleetha said.
“An interesting concept. I’ll take it under consideration.”
“Seriously though,” Tank said. “Why are you worried about your teacher? She’s a grown wizard who can take care of herself.”
“True,” Aleetha said. “She went to the lava pits of Gornash to gather data for her research project on the fire lizards that live there. It’s hatching season, and she is counting their population.”
“Sounds like fun,” I said.
“I know!” Aleetha said, totally missing my sarcasm. I made a mental note to work on that. “She was supposed to be back yesterday, but she hasn’t returned.”
“I’m still waiting for the part where this becomes something to worry about,” I said.
Aleetha turned to me. “I know this is hard for you to grasp, Fizz, but some monsters actually like school. For them it is fun.”
“I’m not even going to try to grasp that.”
“The little guy does have a point, Aleetha,” Tank said. “Your teacher is a bit late returning from a research trip. What’s the big deal?”
“The big deal is the Wizards’ Summit,” Aleetha said. “It starts today. Wizards from all over Rockfall Mountain have come to the Shadow Tower. Professor Lasalan is supposed to be there.”
“Maybe she’s just late,” I said. “She’s still counting baby lizards or something.”
Aleetha shook her head slowly. “I don’t think so. Something isn’t right. Yesterday I got this in the mail.”
She pulled a small metal cylinder from her wizard’s robes. I ducked behind a rock. Mages like Aleetha can do strange stuff with the things they pull from their robes. Like turn goblins into rock slugs.
“It’s all right, Fizz,” Aleetha said with a chuckle. “It’s not a spell.”
I stepped out from behind the rock. “Then what is it?”
“I don’t know. It arrived yesterday with my name on it. It’s from Professor Lasalan.”
The cylinder was about as long as Aleetha’s hand, the color of muddy water and round at each end. The surface was completely smooth, with no markings or writing.
“Maybe it was a gift,” I said. “Some sort of magic present.”
“I don’t know what it is,” Aleetha said. “I’ve cast every spell I know to identify it, and I keep coming up with nothing.”
“That’s because it’s not magic.” Tank took the cylinder from Aleetha and looked at it closely. She smiled at both of us. “This is an example of high-quality troll engineering.”
Aleetha got to her feet and stepped back. “It’s technology?”
“Nothing but the finest,” Tank said. “It’s a Holographic Express Message Tube, or HEMT for short.”
“Message tube?” I said.
“It seems your teacher has a soft spot for trollish tech.” Tank wiggled her ears at Aleetha.
“A wizard use technology? Never!” Aleetha scowled.
“Okay, let’s not start another magic-versus-technology war,” I said. “Tank, what does your amazing HEMT do?”
“Stand back and I’ll show you.” Tank put the tube on the ground. “You just have to press the button on the end.”
“Button?” Aleetha said. “I didn’t see a button.”
“That’s because you’re not a troll.” Tank’s ears wiggled again.
“I knew she was in trouble!” Aleetha said.
“What are the black cloaks? And why are they returning?” I asked.
“I have no idea.” Aleetha stared at the tube with her eyes narrowed. “Play the message again, Tank.”
Black smoke began to stream up from the HEMT.
“That might be a problem.” Tank stepped away from the tube.
In seconds it was enveloped in a thick, dark cloud.
“It’s on fire!” Aleetha shrieked. “Stop it!”
“You’re the lava elf. Fire is your thing.” I coughed. Smoke billowed into the air around us.
Then the smoke stopped as quickly as it had begun. Tank stepped closer to the tube and waved away the remaining tendrils of dark smoke. The HEMT was now just a charred hunk of metal.
“It must have been programmed to self-destruct,” Tank said. “Your mentor didn’t want anyone else to hear her message.”
Aleetha didn’t take her eyes off the charred HEMT. “We need to talk to Mr. Lorof.”
“And where is he?” I asked.
“He runs a bookshop in the Mage District.” Aleetha tightened her robe. “If we hurry, we’ll catch him before he closes for the day.”
“Mage District?” I gulped. Suddenly I wished I was back dangling over Fang Harbor.
The streets smelled of magic.
But that’s what you get in the Mage District. You also get narrow streets lined with bookshops, potion vendors and wand-repair shops. The Mage District is the go-to place for spell ingredients, potion supplies and anything else that scares the scales off a goblin like me.
“Why does the air smell like a crowbar?” Tank asked.
“That is the scent of magic.” Aleetha breathed deep and stood watching the crowd of monsters mill around us. “Isn’t it wonderful?”
“It’s wonderful if you like sniffing nails.” Tank looked up from the screen on the gadget in her hands long enough to scowl at Aleetha. “At least with technology you get to hold the metal and not just smell it.”
“Tank, we’re guests here in the Mage District,” I said. “Can we please be polite to all the magic types around here? I’d like to reach fifth grade without being turned into a slugnat.”
Tank looked around. “I’d like to know why this place is so crowded.”
“You weren’t kidding,” said Tank.
“What is a wizards’ summit?” I asked.
Aleetha’s eyes lit up. “The Wizards’ Summit is a gathering of all the wisest wizards from Rockfall Mountain and beyond. They’re all meeting in the Shadow Tower this week to talk wizardy stuff.”
“Sounds terrifying,” Tank said.
“Depends on your views on magic.”
Aleetha hurried through the crowded street without another word. Tank gave me a worried look, and we fell into step behind her.
Monsters and magic don’t really get along. Unless you’re an elf like Aleetha. Elves can use magic and live to tell the tale. When goblins, trolls or ogres try to get their magic on, they usually end up as piles of dust, turned into rockgrubbers or banished to the planes of never-ending homework. Technology is a different story. Monsters love their tech like a snapfish loves to snap. From gadgets to gizmos, technology rules in Slick City—except in the Mage District.
We took a sharp turn down a narrow alley and emerged in a wide plaza with a fountain in its center. The fountain sparkled with the telltale sign of magic, but it wasn’t what caught my eye.
“We came to meet our friend, Mr. Lorof,” Aleetha said.
Detective Hordish glared at her like he was figuring out if she was telling the truth. Or maybe he was figuring out what to have for dinner. You can never tell with that old ogre. Hordish is okay as far as adults go. He doesn’t like us snooping around his investigations, though, especially when we solve them before he does.
“Mr. Lorof is not here,” he said eventually.
“Do you know where he might be?” I asked. “Or why the door to his shop is smashed in?”
“I’d like to know why you’re not in school,” Hordish said.
“It’s the Fungi Break! We’re off school for the whole week.”
“That so?” Hordish grunted. “Well, go find another crime scene to play in. This one is mine.”
A cloud of purple smoke appeared from nowhere near the middle of the plaza. The cloud churned and grew larger. A slender elf stepped from the cloud and stood beside the fountain.
Aleetha ducked behind Tank at the sight of the new arrival.
“Inquisitor Quantz,” she squealed. “Hide me!”
The clouds wisped away to nothing as Inquisitor Quantz marched straight for the crime scene. He carried a tall staff carved from a material I didn’t recognize. His robes were covered in intricate designs that changed color with each step. Just watching the mage’s robe made my stomach churn, like the time Tank’s mom took us around the harbor in her tugboat.
“Detective Hordish!” The inquisitor pulled back his hood to reveal a face sharp enough to cut rocks. “What is the meaning of this? What are you doing here?”
Hordish turned to meet the mage and sighed. “I’m investigating a robbery, Quantz.”
“You will do no such thing!” Quantz pulled himself to his full height and towered over the ogre. “This is Shadow Tower territory. The shadow guards will deal with this matter. Go back to your own neighborhood. I’m sure there’s a goblin stealing baked goods somewhere.”
“We’ve been over this, Quantz.” Detective Hordish unslouched himself and tried to meet the elf eye to eye. He managed eye to chest, but that’s what you get with those annoyingly tall elves. “Your troop of weirdos can investigate crimes that happen inside the Shadow Tower. The real police will take care of everything outside the tower. And that includes the Mage District. Unless you want Mayor Grimlock breathing down your neck, I suggest you return to your books and let us do our job.”
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