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Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born

Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born

Author: Brandon Mull and Scholastic Multi-Platform

Publisher: Scholastic Inc


Publish Date: September 10, 2013

ISBN-10: 0545522439

Pages: 208

File Type: azw3,pdf,rtf,epub,lit,lrf,mobi,fb2,pdb,txt,htmlz

Language: English

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Book Preface

GIVEN A CHOICE, CONOR WOULD NOT HAVE PICKED TO SPEND the most important birthday of his life helping Devin Trunswick get dressed. In all honesty, he would not have volunteered to help Devin Trunswick do anything, ever.

But Devin was the eldest son of Eric, the Earl of Trunswick, and Conor was the third son of Fenray, Herder of Sheep. Fenray had incurred debts to the earl, and Conor was helping to work them off as a servant to Devin. The arrangement had begun over a year ago, and was set to last at least two more.

Conor had to hook each fiddly clasp on the back of Devin’s coat correctly or the folds would hang crooked, and he would hear about it for weeks. The fine material was more decorative than practical. If caught in a storm, Conor knew that Devin would wish for a simpler, more durable coat. One without clasps. One that might actually keep him warm.

“Are you done fussing around back there?” Devin asked in exasperation.

“Sorry for the delay, milord,” Conor replied. “There are forty-eight clasps. I’m just now linking the fortieth.”

“How many more days will this take? I’m about to die of old age! Are you just inventing numbers?”

Conor resisted a sharp reply. Having grown up counting sheep, he probably knew his numbers better than Devin. But arguing with a noble caused more trouble than it was worth. Sometimes Devin seemed to deliberately tempt him. “It’s my best guess.”

The door flew open and Dawson, Devin’s younger brother, burst into the room. “Are you still getting dressed, Devin?”

“Don’t blame me,” Devin protested. “Conor keeps napping.”

Conor only gave Dawson a brief glance. The sooner he finished the clasps, the sooner he could get himself ready.

“How could Conor fall asleep?” Dawson called, giggling. “Everything you say, brother, is so interesting.”

Conor resisted a grin. Dawson seldom stopped talking. He often got annoying, but he could sometimes be pretty funny. “I’m awake.”

“Aren’t you done yet?” Devin complained. “How many are left?”

Conor wanted to say twenty. “Five.”

“Think you’ll summon a spirit animal, Devin?” Dawson asked.

“I don’t see why not,” Devin replied. “Grandfather called a mongoose. Father produced a lynx.”

Today was the Trunswick Nectar Ceremony. In less than an hour, the local children who turned eleven this month would each try to call a spirit animal. Conor knew that some families tended to form bestial bonds more regularly than others. Even so, calling a spirit animal was never guaranteed, no matter what your family name. There were only three kids scheduled to drink the Nectar, and the odds were against any of them succeeding. It was certainly nothing to boast about before it happened.

“What animal do you think you’ll get?” Dawson wondered.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Devin said. “What do you expect?”

“A chipmunk,” Dawson predicted.

Devin lunged at his brother, who scampered away, giggling. Dawson was not dressed as formally as his older brother, which allowed him freer movement. Still, Devin soon caught him and tackled him to the floor, pinning him down.

“A bear would be more likely,” Devin said, grinding his elbow into his brother’s chest. “Or a wildcat, like Father. First thing I’ll do is have it taste you.”

Conor tried to wait patiently. It wasn’t his place to intervene.

“You might get nothing,” Dawson said bravely.

“Then all I’ll be is Earl of Trunswick, and your master.”

“Not if Father outlives you.”

“I’d mind my tongue, second son.”

“I’m glad I’m not you!”

Devin twisted Dawson’s nose until he yelped, then stood up, brushing off his trousers. “At least my nose isn’t sore.”

“Conor will drink the Nectar too!” Dawson cried. “Maybe he’ll be the one to call a spirit animal.”

Conor tried to look invisible. Did he hope to summon a spirit animal? Of course! Who wouldn’t? You couldn’t help hoping. Just because nobody in his family had done it since some obscure great-granduncle decades ago didn’t make it impossible……………

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