Kahenan turned serious. His eyes fell into creased slits. With a voice that always reminded Turesobei of rushing water, Kahenan chanted. A tiny golden cloud condensed from the air and drifted down onto Turesobei's palm. The cloud felt like cool, dense fog on an autumn morning. Kahenan's tongue licked at the corner of his mouth as he focused the healing energies.
The blister disappeared and the skin healed. The pain faded to a dull ache, like a bruise. And it would feel like that for several days.
Kahenan stood and belted Yomifano, his legendary sword, to his waist. His emerald robe billowed out, and he drew his hands into its voluminous sleeves. “You may go now, but I expect you back early this evening.”
“I already told you: I’m quitting.”
“Yes, but I neglected to tell you that you cannot quit. I will never allow it, your parents will never allow it, and the King will never allow it. The clan's future depends on you.”
“I’m not the only one here who can do magic,” Turesobei said. There were other apprentices and four more wizards, too. But Kahenan spent very little time with them. All his efforts focused on Turesobei.
“None of them have even half your talent, Sobei. You know that. Besides, I have invested nine years of intensive training in you. I will be lucky if I live that many more. I cannot start over.” Kahenan smiled warmly at Turesobei. “And I would also like for my grandson to succeed me, just as I followed my grandfather.”
Turesobei muttered curses at his fate as Kahenan nodded toward the door. “Now, go. I have important rituals to conduct.”
Turesobei became interested in his apprenticeship again. “Um … Perhaps I could stay, after all … You may need my help.”
“Well, I had intended for you to stay. However, I think your punishment for impudence—this time—will be to go away and leave me in peace.”
Turesobei bowed sullenly then stalked toward the door. Outside, the soldiers continued to practice. “Haiyah!” Clack, thud, clatter!
“Oh, by the way, could you tell Arms Instructor Kilono to move elsewhere? All that noise is very distracting.”
Turesobei clenched his fists, restrained a yell, and began to storm out of the tower.
“Sobei,” Kahenan called.
He spun around. “What!?”
“You are forgetting your books.”
When he’d arrived for his studies, Turesobei had placed his spell books on a table beneath the open east window. He stomped over, swept the books into his arms, and rushed out. But without realizing it, he took one book too many, a book that wasn’t supposed to be there, a book that hadn’t been there until a few moments ago. It was, in fact, a book unknown to Lord Kahenan or any other living wizard.
Awake for the first time in centuries, the arcane runes embossed on the cover shimmered beneath Turesobei’s touch, and if not for his anger, he might have felt this subtle pulse of magic.
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