Chapter 2 : When Ice Met Fire
The next week arrived and Ava couldn’t hold in her excitement. She kept talking about it all week to everyone she knew. This excitement was mostly centered around meeting this other student that Teros was talking about. She was already imagining what they might be like. Why did she decide to get a tutor? What were her interests? Where did she live? All of these questions were whirling around her mind. Eventually though, the time had come. Teros went by the estate to pick up Ava. She saw that he was by himself and asked, “Where’s the other student?”
He replied, “Oh, she’s already at the archives,” while clarifying, “Her father escorted her.” After that, they both went along their way to the archives. Ava couldn’t wait for it and was yammering about what she wanted to do there.
“What kind of books are there?” she asked.
“Well, almost anything you could think of. They have almost every genre of fiction and nonfiction, along with research done by scholars.”
After some walking, they managed to get to the Doxatos archives. It was a rectangular building made of limestone with marble columns that were surrounding it to uphold the roof. The roof was a triangular prism made out of marble with ornate embellishments carved into it. There was also a dome that looked to be in the center of the building. It was massively overshadowing the other buildings surrounding it. Inside, it was just as mesmerizing. It was incredibly spacious and the center of the building appeared to have a skylight that was on the dome. It was encircled by a beautiful mural depicting the starry night. They both took in the atmosphere while they were going to meet up with the other students
The student in question was in the magic section, immersed in a book. She looked up and saw them, “Hey! Over here.” They looked around and saw her. She was a pale girl with white-hair and maroon-eyes. Her hands were waving around, showing the also maroon sweater that she was wearing.
When they got to her, Teros told them to introduce each other, “Now girls, can you tell each other a bit about yourselves?”
The girl was up first, “Hi! My name’s Sayuki. I’m ten years old.” She was an energetic little girl, which excited Ava even more.
“Hi Sayuki!” Ava said, “I’m Ava and I’m going to be your new study partner.” Even though this declaration was pretty bold, Sayuki wasn’t bothered by it. In fact, she seemed to appreciate it.
“Nice to meet you Ava! I’m sure we’re gonna have a good time.”
They started reading through books, finding more tidbits about magic. One book read, “While an individual is capable of using multiple types of magic, they usually are only adept at one type of magic. This is usually decided at conception, a child is more likely to be adept at a type of magic that their parents are adept at. That doesn’t mean that children whose parents can’t use magic, don’t have the ability to use magic. It’s just less likely.”
This book got them asking about each other’s parents. Sayuki quizzed Ava on her parents, “So, can your parents use magic?”
“Oh. My mother can’t,” she exclaimed, “But I don't know about my father. I never really got a chance to ask him because he’s always out exploring the world.”
“Your father’s an explorer?!” Sayuki was surprised. “Then he must know some things about magic. He probably visited a lot of places that use magic.”
“Maybe. I’ll ask him the next time he gets home.” Ava then pivoted to asking about Sayuki’s parents, “Well then, what about your parents?”
“Oh.” Sayuki sighed a bit, “Well my parents aren’t as cool as yours. My father is an anthropologist.”
“Anthro…pologist?” Ava stuttered, “What’s that?”
“Oh. It’s someone who studies people. My father is a cultural anthropologist, so he studies different people’s cultures.”
“Huh that’s pretty cool. What are you talking about?”
“I guess it’s interesting, but he never really experiences any of these cultures. He just observes them, unlike your father.”
“Oh come one!” Ava pats Sayuki’s shoulder, “Your parents can’t be that boring, I mean what about your mother.”
“Hugggh…” she sighed, “What about her? I don’t even know where she is.”
“Wait,” Ava paused, “What do you mean?”
“Yeah. She disappeared when I was three and I've never heard from her since.”
“Oh…Uh…Sorry for bringing that up. Let’s–just move on from this topic.”
After that awkward conversation, they perused through the books and found an interesting one. It was a guidebook on how to become an official mage. It read, “To become an officially recognized mage, you need to first partake in an exam held by the International Mage Federation (IMF). After taking the exam, you will be assigned a rank based on how you did. Then—and only then—will you become an official mage.”
They were really excited to learn how to become an actual mage. In fact, they were so excited that they both went running to Teros and asked if they could take the exam right then and there. Of course, Teros had to chuckle, “You can’t take the exam yet. You guys are still learning the basics. Besides, you two aren’t even old enough to take the exam. You need to be at least seventeen years old to take the exam.”
And from that day forward, both Ava and Sayuki had made it their goal to take the exam and become great mages. They asked him if they could somehow bring the book with them for guidance. He obliged and bought two copies of the book with money out of his own pocket. He gave them each a copy and they were visibly shaking with excitement. They would spend the next seven years diligently studying magic to eventually ace the exam.
Through this process, they discovered strengths and weaknesses. Ava was very bookish, able to read through dense books with ease and meticulously absorb the information. On the other hand, Sayuki had trouble reading dense writing. Despite this though, she found out that she was much better at putting what she learned in practice than just reading about the theories. In fact, Sayuki had cast her first spell before Ava did.
She was struggling to understand the mechanisms of freezing water. She knew how water froze, she just didn’t know how to do it. Until, she remembered how heat worked. Heat is produced by moving particles in an object. If she could stop the water particles from moving using her own bodily energy, then the water’s heat would lower—thus freezing it. She wanted to give it a shot and picked up a bowl of water. She put her hand on the surface and concentrated on trying to stop the water particles from moving. Eventually, the palm of her hand started to feel cool. She kept going until eventually the water started freezing. The freezing was slow at first, but it ended up getting faster as more of the water got frozen. All of the water ended up freezing and Sayuki was overjoyed, but also felt a bit tired. This was because her body wasn’t used to magic yet and she would need to train more to control it.
In contrast, Ava was trying to light a candle. Like Sayuki, she also remembered how heat worked. All she needed to do was heat up the air surrounding the candle’s wick so that it would combust. But somehow, she had a more difficult time getting it to work than Sayuki. It could’ve been because she overthinked it. She was focusing on insignificant things like where to place her hand? Should she be holding the candle? What happens if she gets burnt by the flame? All these tiny little minute questions that weren’t really relevant to the task at hand, plagued her mind. This caused her to delay casting the spell. Eventually though, she was able to focus and finally light the candle. Although she is meticulous, she’s prone to overthinking simple problems.
Their ways of thinking would soon be put to the test. Later on in their journey through learning magic, Teros would have a plan to test their abilities.