[three]

37 3 2

"Air is needed for all things. You could not have water, fire, or life itself without it. Feel the presence of all things on the air. Do you feel it?"

"Uh, no," I say slowly.

"Focus, Elaine!" Madam Mistaké scolds.

I groan. "I have! I have been focusing. But air is just air. There isn't any presence on it," I say, annoyed.

Madam Mistaké rolls her newspaper and hits me on the head. "Ow," I mumbled, rubbing my head.

"Go inside and take a break. Come back when you're ready to learn."

"Yes, Madam," I mumble.

I am ready! She told me the whole story, the elements and the purpose of them. It's been a week since the snake incident, and I've gotten nowhere.

I grumble and organize the tea on the shelves.

Someone clears their throat and I turn around.

"Cole!" I say, walking around the counter to meet him.

"Where have you been!" He says, enveloping me in a hug.

"We've all been so worried! You haven't been returning my calls and the snake attack on town makes matters worse," he says, letting go.

"I'm sorry. I've been super busy lately and I haven't had much time to do anything."

"Busy? You work at a tea shop that gets like two customers a day."

"I had three yesterday, actually."

He sighs. "Hang with us tonight? We've missed you."

"Yeah of course. Is seven okay?"

I hear a cough from the back room and I groan.

"I mean eight."

He laughs. "Yeah, we'll be here at eight. I thought your shifts ended at five?"

"I've been cleaning the shelves in the back. It takes a while," I say, hoping to convince him.

"Oh okay. Well, I'll see you at eight?"

"Yeah, see you then!" I say. He waves and exits the shop.

"The master of the earth. Nice boy, nicer than the one before him," Madam Mistaké says.

"You knew the original Masters?" I say.

She laughs. "Of course, I was one myself."

"Wait, which element?" I ask.

"Unimportant. What is in the past, is in the past. Now, how about more training on your mind?"

I follow her into the back once again. She burns incense on the opposite side of the room and motions for me to sit.

I cross my legs and she places a smallish box near the incense.

"We'll start with a strong scent, then gradually make the scents weaker and weaker until there is none."

I nod and close my eyes.

"Feel the air. Smell the incense that surrounds the open air. Feel the air around the flame. What does it feel like?"

"It's hot," I say. I could feel the warmth in my palms, my hands burning as if I was touching it.

"Good. Keep your eyes closed and imagine the candle in your head."

A small flame is pictured in my head, lighting up the darkness of my mind.

"Can you sense what is around the flame? Any pictures pop into your mind?"

feeling grey. [lloyd garmadon]Read this story for FREE!