“There are two different generalized kinds of people who can do magic. One is called the Impossible - a rather obvious term, coined early on. The other is the Roth.”
“I know of the Roth,” I say. Roth are powerful - powerful enough to rule an entire kingdom of their own, one so shrouded in legend that no one actually knows where it is located. Despite this, they have a reputation of enslaving any normal human being unlucky enough to stumble across them. On the flipside, Saiopians have been enslaving the occasional magic-doer for centuries, so often that it can be easy to look past. Though the inhabitants of Dessely don’t condone the practice, most of the other villages - and certainly the capital - do, which is yet another reason in an ever-growing list not to tell anyone of my ability.
“Impossible are less common than Roth. Your father, Adrik, was one of them. He was a rarity of an Impossible - his power was immortality.”
“I thought immortal meant ‘inability to die,’” I say. “You just told me Adrik was dead.”
She shakes her head. “That is a common misconception. One who is immortal isn’t invulnerable to death. Being immortal only means that diseases and natural causes of death do not have an effect on a person. Rather than being aged by nature, they experience the opposite - becoming stronger over the years.”
“And Impossible can do…” - I motion to the ice mannequin - “that.”
“Not all of them. All Impossible are different.” The woman sighs, picking up a cookie. “It is a complicated matter. Even our kind do not understand why it is this way. Some of us have a way with battle - flawless instincts in a fight. Some can sense priceless gems and jewels, even if they are buried deep underground. Others have an affinity for nature, control over various living things.” She looks directly at me, her expression firm. “However, your powers are like nothing I have ever seen.”
I tilt my head back, curious.
“You enhance nature. You can control it, but you can also bring things to life, even things that are not living. Unfortunately… if you are not careful, that means that nature will control you.”
Although it makes sense, the words are chilling to hear aloud. “But how do I take that control back?”
I look up as she raises her hand in a claw-like motion; and the air in front of her palm ripples. In all of a second, the nearest mannequin bursts into flames. The flames disappear as quickly as they came.
She turns to me. Her face is flushed, but it is the sort of color that a person gets in their face after a hard run, not the flush of fever. “Try.”
I turn to the mannequin in front of me. The clay is rough-looking and cracked in places, and half of the mannequin's head is missing. I attempt to mimic her lion-claw gesture.
Nothing happens. I shrug, but Immar Cericii shakes her head. “Try again. This time, close your eyes. Let go. Just let the flames come.”
“I’m not going to let go of my control like that. That’s what got me in trouble last time.”
“You’ve got it all backward! Let go of your need for control. Let go of your thoughts. Take hold of your emotions.”
With a frustrated grunt, I turn to the mannequin and hold my hand out in Immar Saphire’s clawing motion. As before, nothing happens. The mannequin remains a mannequin.
I drop my hand. “This isn’t working,” I grind out.
“You’re trying too hard!” Lifting both hands out from her sides, she sets two glass mannequins on fire simultaneously. The maddened glimmer of her eyes returns.
I force my hand into the air one last time, frustrated. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, envisioning flames of orange and blue licking over the clay, scoring it black and eating it down to a stub.
When I open my eyes once more, there’s still nothing. “Nothing is happening!”
“One more time, Peter.” To my surprise, there’s a note of desperation in her voice, barely noticeable… but there nevertheless.
I turn to the mannequin and envision the heat in my palm.
“You’re trying too hard! Let go of your fear. If you want to protect the ones you love, you need to stop being afraid that you’ll hurt them!”
I drop my hands to my sides and close my eyes from the world, and then Saphire’s words are all I can think of. If you want to protect the ones you love. I’d never told her that that was why I was here, so how does she even know about that at all?
She’s been watching me.
The realization hits me like a huge gasp of wind. She has been watching me - she must have been. She knew who I was from the moment she saw my face. She’d even known the truth about my parents, a buried fragment of my past that even I had been blind to. So, of course, she knows about Azure, too.