Writing the outline for The Spirit Sorcerer was honestly the easiest outline I’ve ever written in my entire career as a writer. And I’ve written DOZENS of outlines of books for work.
Writing it was… incredible. The story just flowed out in a nearly complete form with just a snap of my fingers, like the fountain of knowledge was gushing out of my brain and into my fingers. Everything fell into place with ease, with only 1 or 2 points where I had to stop and think about a solution to a problem… that was usually solved within minutes of concentration!
And the book itself has been much the same so far. At the point of writing this, I’m almost done writing the first draft of the book completely. With only a few speedbumps along the way so far!
Thematically, while A Dragon Will Rise focused on the external perception of mental health, and Pool of Memories and Serpents focused on the internal evolution over time, I intend The Spirit Sorcerer to be the aftermath. The successful evolution, so to speak. In a way, that would make the novellas a trifecta in more ways than one, on top of positioning the three main characters in ideal positions to start the next series.
Masanori’s story takes place in a mixture of the physical and spiritual realms, including the Nightmare, the dark dimension that he’s come to call home over the last few years. So not only does Masanori’s story take an atmospheric change from Aihi and Hidekazu’s books, there’s also a distinct change in psyche.
Unlike Hidekazu, who is tormented by the damage done to his spirit and goes to great lengths to heal himself, Masanori has already completed that process–sort of. The Spirit Sorcerer unveils the direction Masanori’s newfound wholeness can take him with a bit of persuasion and motivation.
Aihi is growing into her position as shogun.
Hidekazu is… taking a questionable direction related to his blood and spiritual birthrights, but one that directly brings him back to Seiryuu to get involved in the main conflict.
And Masanori? He’s trickier because he’s not even in Seiryuu anymore, and having detached himself from many of his earthly tethers, he has few reasons to get involved in the main conflict again.
But in his novella, you’ll get a peek at what will drag him into the main conflict in the next big series, coming next year…
Thirty-six demons slain. And still, one eludes him…
Four years ago, Gensou Masanori accidentally released dozens of demons from the spirit realm into the real world. He’s spent as much time as possible hunting the demons and doing whatever necessary to set things right.
He cleanses their darkness if they let him.
If they refuse, he kills them.
Sending them back to the spirit realm where they belong.
But there’s one demon he’s spent the last four years chasing. The creature never fights back, but neither will he let Masanori purify his spirit.
So what does the demon want?
The Spirit Sorcerer is a fantasy tale filled with magic, monsters, and found family. This novella is a supplementary novella in the Yumihari World and can be enjoyed after reading the Yokai Calling series or on its own.
Tap that buy button and experience the adventure as soon as the book is ready!
Or… keep scrolling to read a sneak peek of the book!
Keep in mind, this is the first half of chapter 1 and is the first draft. I’ll post a cleaner version of the whole chapter closer to launch day. Enjoy!
Morning dew coated the grass and foliage on the mountainside, dampening Masanori’s hide leggings and cloak as he crept through the underbrush. He followed the line of fresh pointed tracks up past the crumbling stone skeleton of the ancient palace, an arrow hanging loose in his bow as he came closer to his prey.
A cracking branch sounded from ahead, and he raised his bow, aiming at the shadow for the moment he had a clear shot.
The figure came into view: a tiny red fox with gleaming green eyes and a shadow far too big for her size.
Masanori immediately relaxed his bow and pointed the lax arrow at the ground. “Ichika! How many times do I have to tell you to stop shapeshifting while we’re hunting? Do you want to get killed?”
The fox’s ears drooped, and then in a poof of white and red smoke, she shifted into a twelve-year-old girl with wide, curious eyes. Her dark hair was curled into a knot behind her face, besides a few untamed curls, and her lips were set in an adorable pout that Masanori had learned not to fall for years ago.
“But you wouldn’t hurt me, would you, napeyu?” She weaseled her way through the bushes to attach herself to Masanori’s leg, although she was far too big now to keep doing that.
He mussed her hair. “I would recognize you anywhere, in any shape or form, little one, but it’s not me I’m worried about. We aren’t the only ones who hunt out here.”
A gentle breeze teased the branches on the sparse trees standing sentry on the western side of the mountain. From this position, Masanori could turn and witness a view of all Seiryuu. The Skyfall to the south tumbled from the cosmos, creating the great crystalline river that split two nations. And beyond, the many forests, plains, and cities nestled between them within the land he’d once called home.
At sunrise, this peak bore witness to a view many would covet forever if they had the chance to witness it once. Masanori saw it every day that he bothered to travel to the Downworld to watch it, but today he had other priorities than watching the sun creep across the world.
Ichika wasn’t interested in the view, either. She crossed her arms. “I’m not little anymore.”
“I suppose you’re not.” A proud smile fell across Masanori’s lips. “A few more days, and you’ll be a young woman. All the more reason you should take this hunt seriously, hm? What are we going to eat at the celebration feast if we don’t return with a fresh kill?”
“Mist Falling is getting fat, juicy, and he’s a pain in my—”
Masanori struck the top of Ichika’s head with an arrow before she could finish the thought. “Ah-ah, what have I told you about threatening to eat Kira’s dragon? If she heard you again, you know what’ll happen. Besides, what kind of dragon rider are you, thinking of filling your belly with their meat?”
“It’s not all dragons! Mist Falling goes out of his way to eat my shoes, and last week he knocked me off his back while we were at thousand miles above the Channel of Stars! Can you believe that?”
“Maybe he wouldn’t drop you from so high if you were kinder to him. No one wants to become someone else’s next meal. Although, if he let you hit the water from that high, it might be Kira turning him into dinner, not you.” Masanori chuckled and continued hiking farther up the mountain. “You’ll have to learn how to work with the dragons’ different personalities if you want to make your mark as a dragon rider.”
Beside him, Ichika hiked up the mountain after the trail Masanori had been following. The towering remains of the Ryozan Palace spread around them like stone giants locked in place, their fingers crumbling away with age.
The top of the Konarerian Mountains around the Skyfall was supposed to be one of the most haunted places in Seiryuu, but most of the time, the spirits didn’t bother them. The Ishoki had a special pass in spirit-infested lands like this. Though not an Ishoki by blood, Masanori, Ichika, and Kira were accepted by the tribe, and the spirits of the land and the other realms, all the same.
Ichika was oddly quiet compared to her usual chatty self, and Masanori had an inkling as to why, so he let her extend the silence for as long as she needed to. He followed the trail of deer tracks around the stone walls. They had to be coming upon the beast soon, it seemed to be walking on forever.
“I don’t think I want to become a dragon rider,” Ichika said quietly. “I know it’s what I’ve been training for, and it’s what Kira wants for me, but—”
“What Kira wants doesn’t matter,” Masanori interrupted. “This is your life, your choice. You are the one who must live the path you choose. Do not allow yourself to linger on any regrets, like I have.”
“But I want to be a ki-engineer like you! You can’t tell me it’s not your passion, your life’s work, what you wish you could have spent your whole life doing. That’s what I want, napeyu. I want to create. I want to improve the world.”
“Invent. Iterate. Improve,” he recited.
“Exactly! I don’t want to… to…”
“To prepare for war?”
Ichika shook her head. At some point her fluffy fox ears had returned, and they flicked as a fly buzzed around her head. “I know I have what you always wanted when you were my age, but I’m not a warrior, that’s all. Kira wants me to be like her. I’m not her. I’m… me.”
Masanori had been expecting this outcome for some time, but even after turning the possibility of Ichika defecting from the dragon riders over in his head for months, he still wasn’t prepared to insert himself into the conflict that would erupt between the two women.
Although Kira and Masanori weren’t Ichika’s real parents, they had become her family. He considered her his daughter even though, being only eleven years older than her, he should have been more like a big brother. As she grew up, in a way, he became a bit of both where she allowed him to.
Now, he sensed, she was looking for more guidance than he could provide in either role.
“You’re perfect just as you are, my precious naguku. I wouldn’t change you for the world.” But, knowing that wouldn’t be enough for her, he added, “If you feel that ki-engineering is right for you, then that’s the decision you need to make. But you must also understand Kira’s perspective.”
Ichika was leading the way through the thicket now, as she’d picked up the deer’s trail again. Her ears twitched in concentration as she listened for signs of their target, but Masanori knew she was also listening to him.
“She worked hard to be accepted by the Ishoki, and to find her place amongst the dragon riders. I’m lucky. I’m grateful for everything she’s done for me. But …”
“But it’s not every day that someone who doesn’t want to be a dragon rider is picked by her very own pup,” Masanori said. “Aurora Borealis knew you would be her rider before she could open her eyes.”
“It’s not fair to her that I’m not sure what I want to do.” Ichika reached over her shoulder to unhook her bow, averting her eyes from Masanori. “Shouldn’t she belong with someone who wants to spend all their time in the sky with her? Not someone who spends half their time itching to be in a brightly lit workshop with enchanted rocks and metals?”
“I believe she chose you because she knows exactly who you are and who you will become. Dragons are far wiser than we are, after all. What if she just doesn’t plan on flying around as much as her brothers and sisters? You never know.”
Ichika didn’t seem to take him too seriously, but his silly comments at least earned a small smile from her. “You’re making it sound like she plans on being lazy when she grows up.”
“Are you going to let her be?”
“I can’t control a dragon, I’m—” Ichika let out a tiny gasp. “Look.”
Masanori swung his gaze to the buck she’d spotted just beyond the trees. The four points of his antlers stood tall and proud above its head, a mighty rack for the large, bulky creature that he was. He stared directly at Ichika as she raised her bow to take aim.
It was a challenge. An acceptance of his fate. As though he was telling her, I am prepared to take this final path in life—are you?
The buck didn’t acknowledge Masanori at all, and yet the deer had a weighty presence that made him shiver. Through all the natural spiritual energy winding through the bushes and trees in these sacred, haunted lands, Masanori had hardly noticed the eerie sense of being watched by a spirit that was familiar to him.
A subtle teal flicker flashed across the buck’s otherwise dark eyes. Masanori flung his arm out to stop Ichika from loosing her arrow. “Wait, don’t—”
But it was too late. Just before he grabbed the bow, Ichika released the arrow. It whizzed through the air, a nearly invisible streak of wood and feathers as it quickened toward the buck.
The animal didn’t move. When the arrow was only a foot away from his face, a burst of turquoise and black light erupted from the deer’s hide. Its antlers extended higher toward the sky as magnificent, ghostly appendages that Masanori had seen far too many times for comfort throughout the last few years.
The spiritual essence bleeding from the deer took the shape of a many-tooth maw, flitting up and away. A split second later, Ichika’s arrow thunked right into the deer’s eye, killing it instantly.
It slumped into the grass, its other eye glassy and absent.
“Spirits,” Ichika murmured. “Was that buck possessed?”
An excellent shot, Masanori would have told her, if he wasn’t already on the move. His feet strode in the direction the spirit had disappeared to, the buck all but forgotten as he hurried toward the ruins of another building.
“Napeyu?” she called after him. “Where are you going? Masa!”
“Just stay there, keep your eyes and ears open!” was all he offered Ichika before leaving her standing there without any more explanation than that.
You can pre-order the book to read it on launch day on October 14th…
…or… if you don’t mind reading the first draft of the book, you can read the first 4 chapters on Patreon right now! New chapters of the book post every 3 days or so and give you the chance to read the book sooner than everyone else. There are lots of other perks, too. 🙂
Just go here to check out the Patreon instead: https://www.patreon.com/WhiteRavenChronicles