13 Studying for the exam
Two weeks have passed since Evlin started living with Dalla. While most of her routine could be summarized to laying in bed all day and letting Dalla take care of her, Dalla herself on the other hand had quite the busy routine. At morning she had to prepare breakfast for the two and put out the clothes to dry on the sun. The she would get a lunch ready for Evlin before leaving for work. It seems like Dalla worked as a servant cleaning what she described as a rather large house, which took hours to finish since she had to do it all by herself. It was rough but at least she could save costs for her lunch since the owner would provide the food for her.
Once the sun started to leave she would receive one coin of silver and 4 pieces of bread. She then would quickly return home to exchange Evlin's bandages and proceed to help her with using the bathroom, much to the little girl's complain. After that, they would proceed to eat dinner while talking about their days, not that Evlin had much to say about her amazing adventures of being stuck to a bed, and finally set themselves up for bed-time.
Evlin was extremely uncomfortable with the whole situation. She had been sick before and been forced to be taken care off by her family, but this time she couldn't help but feel bad for all the extra work she was giving Dalla considering that the poor lady was already in a dire situation.
Because of that, she started to come up with plans to repay for all the kindness she had received as soon as she could walk again. She asked Dalla if there was more she could explain about how magic works in that world. Dalla wasn't exactly an expert but even she could provide the basic knowledge.
Apparently what seemed like magic wasn't really magic and more some kind of conversion of energy. It seems like this world was somehow bathed on a especial form of energy that surrounded the people on a daily basis. With the use of a particular device you could channel that energy and release it with a shape of you desire.
Kids who are just starting to learn magic utilize small objects like wands to avoid running the risk of channeling too much energy, and once they grown up they can try making use of larger objects like staffs which are able to store greater levels of energy.
"Does it have to be either a wand or a staff?"
"There is a especial kind of tree that has the ability to absorb energy in it's roots. As long as the object is made from that tree's wood it can look like whatever you want."
While thinking about that, Evlin started to wonder if there was an object shape that could fit her better since she felt the staff from before felt very clunky to carry around.
"How do you give shape to the energy released?"
"You need to have a good grasp of the nature of the shape. Some people say they want to produce fire with magic, so they spend the whole day close to a strong source of heat. Other say they want to release magic that can change gravity so they spend long periods of time underwater to try and grasp the feeling. The idea is that you have to become one with what you want to do."
"I see... "
"There are easier was of course. The same way we have our especial tree, we also have especial crystals."
"Absorbing white crystals! You place them on top of the thing you want your magic to turn into and the crystal will absorb it's essence making it change color. Then you put the crystal on your staff or wand and when you release the energy, it will have the shape of the crystal. It's very popular and very expensive."
"I don't think the staff i broke had any crystal."
"Then you probably were just releasing pure raw energy with no shape."
Evlin then formulated her plan. She needed to get a new staff and try to master this form of energy channeling, which she would use to try to complete some kind of high payment job and help Dalla ease her money problems a bit.
"Hey Dalla... Do you have a wand or a staff...?"
"I used to but i was no good at it... Releasing energy and giving it shape was very hard for me. One day when i was returning home i was attacked by thieves and they took my wand from me."
Evlin had no idea how hard giving shape to energy could be but she was confident on her ability for releasing energy thanks to the incident on the castle.
"Where can one find this especial tree?"
"There is one in a forest close to the city of Emerald dawn, but it takes about a week to get from here to there if you go by horses and it takes even longer if going by foot. Aside from that the closest one is the one inside the castle guarded by the royal family."
"Of course... If this kind of wood was easy to find anyone would try to become a mage, and imagine that kind of power in the wrong hands."
"I can imagine... "
"Only the royal family can give you access to the tree of channeling."
Evlin really, really, really did not want to get closer to the castle or the royal family again, but she cared for Dalla more than she hated the prince.
"How does the royal family decides who gets a wand?"
"Well first you need to show that you are a responsible person who won't use magic for evil, they do this by making you answer a few questions while being connected to a device that can detect lies."
"Then they test if you have enough skill to protect yourself and avoid getting your wand or staff stolen so that it won't fall in the wrong hands. Sounds familiar?"
"You passed that test right?"
"Yes, but that was a long time ago... I'm not the woman i once was... "
"You still look like a great woman to me!"
"Why thank you! The final step is to see if you show promise. They will ask you to release an amount of energy in the shape of either of one of the four elements, water, air, fire and earth. If you can release a big enough amount of energy you are allowed to get a wand."
"So i just need to be a good girl that can defend herself that knows how to channel a lot of energy... Alright... Doesn't seem so hard..."
"You would be surprised. But if you can manage all that, you will receive a piece of the tree's root from the prince himself, and can give it any shape you want."
"Ugh... Why the prince... ?"
"It seems his parents are trying to motivate him to leave his room more often is what i heard."
"I see... "
Evlin was worried. To obtain the root she would need to complete all of these exams to show she was worthy of being a mage. Proving that she had no ill intentions would be easy enough, but how would she win in a test of self-defense? She has never been in a fight before and she never considered herself the athletic type, she spends her whole day reading books after all. Her escape from the castle was the most she had run in years. She was confident in being able to release great level of energy but she had no idea how the shaping process worked. To top it all, even if she did succeed, she would have to come face to face with the prince. She switched her clothes and cut her hair, but if he recognized her for even a second she would run the risk of being captured again. Even worse, she could end up getting Dalla in trouble too for helping her.
But then she started to think about how much she could do if she had access to magic power. She could help Dalla with her duties, she could go on quests and explore this world and perhaps find enough information on how to return home. It was a huge risk and she had a lot to lose but she also had a lot to gain.
"Dalla, when is the next exam?"
"You want to take the exam to be a mage? But your body still hasn't recovered..."
"It's alright now, the pain doesn't hurt as much and i can move my arms and legs again. As long as i don't have to run i should be able to do it."
"Sorry Evlin but i can't let you do that... I'm not helping you recover just so you can break yourself again."
"No "buts"! If you wanna take the test do it after being completely healed."
"... Understood... "
The conversation ended and the two ceased to talk to each other for the rest of the day. After the sun went down, Evlin sneaked out of the bed carefully not to awaken Dalla and left the cabin. The city was completely silent and she could see a bright shinning moon on the middle of the sky.
She started to move towards the castle that she had escaped from and started to circle it looking for the spot where she fell from. Doing so she couldn't help but notice how far Dalla's house was from the castle.
"Dalla carried me all the way to her house? That woman must have super-strength..."
She would often see a few knights circling around on patrol but her her body was so small that she could hide anywhere. She finally recognized the place she was looking for.
"This is it... This was where i fell... Figures someone would have taken it away... But if i am just lucky enough... "
Evlin started to search all over the grass. She would have preferred to do this during the day but she couldn't run the risk of being found. Luckily the bright moon was shinning enough light so she wasn't in complete darkness on that area.
"Come on... Come on!!!"
She kept looking and looking and looking. Twenty minutes had passed, then one hour had passed, then two. She started to lost track of how long she had been in that grass searching for it. Then, while walking back and forth she finally found it after stepping on it by accident.
"Ouch!! Son of a- Wait... Yes!!"
A small piece of the staff that had been destroyed. The piece was of the size of her finger. She was so happy that she almost shouted to the sky, bu covered her mouth in the last second to avoid alerting anyone around.
"Now i just need to heal myself... Dalla was talking about something like healing magic so if can figure this out... What kind of shape does "healing" have...? "
She started to think about anything related to healing she could think off. She started to think about being able to walk and run normally, a body free of pain, the feeling of recovering form being sick, drinking a cup of water to help ease a dry mouth.
"No, no, that's not healing, that's just relief... I don't want to ease the pain, i want to fix what's broken... "
Then she started to think about her whole body as if it was a broken vase that was slowly being put back together. Suddenly she noticed a green light coming from the piece of broken wood. She started to think harder and harder, thinking about even more pieces being put together, then after she was done she would imagine another broken vase being fixed, then another, then another. Finally all of the broken vases would start to combine themselves until they would form the shape of a completely fixed Evlin. She noticed that the light was even stronger than before and pointed it at herself.
"Now heal me!!"
She released as much energy as she could from the piece onto her body and proceeded to check if anything had changed.
"... My left hand is back to normal..."
Evlin then tried to repeat the process and released the energy in the shape of healing one more time.
"... Now my right hand is healed too... ... ... This will take a while... "
She continued to repeat the process more than twenty times until every part of her body was completely fixed. A regular-sized wand would probably be able to cover a larger area but that piece was so small that she had to fix her own body spot by spot.
"Arms, good... Legs, good... Head, under a lot of stress but good... Stomach, really hungry but otherwise good... Ok, I'm back to normal."
After confirming that there was no more pain or wounds on her body, Evlin decided to return to Dalla's cabin. She started to run he war back when suddenly she realized that her legs were moving at an amazing speed.
"Whaaaaa...!!! Stop! Stop!!"
She tried her hardest to stop running and almost hit a tree, running the risk of making all of her healing time wasted. Luckily she managed to extend her hands against the tree and stop herself at the last second. Unluckily her hands were carrying the small fragment from before and ended up smashed between the tree and Evlin's hand.
"Oh come on!!"
The small piece was reduced to even smaller pieces and became completely unusable. Evlin had reached the point of no return. She would need to win the Exam now or live the rest of her life being a burden do Dalla.
"What was that speed just now...? Did i... Did i over-healed myself...?"
She started to check her own body and proceeded to walk towards a heavy-looking rock that was half her size. She tried to pick it up with both arms and succeeded with ease.
"No way... "
Then she tried with one hand and once again, succeeded.
Next she tried to carry the rock with one finger, trying to focus to balance the object not to fall to one side or the other, and, for the third time, managed it with ease.
"No way!!!! I just got magic steroids!!"
As she said that... she started to feel the rock getting slightly heavier. She could still carry it but now needed two fingers to avoid letting it fall.
"Oh no... How long is this going to last...? "
She put down the rock and resolved herself.
"I need to take the exam tomorrow..."