Chapter 42: Feeding Magic
Corrie lifted the little bean with its tiny sprout, admiring her creation. At the same time, she released her magic. The plant began to droop almost immediately. Its little leaves shriveled, and the whole thing turned brown. Disappointed, she put it back down on her desk and looked around for Professor Lal. Unfortunately, the professor was helping someone else at the moment, so Corrie turned her attention back to her seed.
She tried sending more magic to it, willing it to grow, but nothing happened. She tried willing life into it, but that didn’t work, either. Her magic was still as vibrant as always, so that wasn’t the problem. Maybe she wasn’t thinking of it the right way. She tried making it green and waking it up, but neither of those did anything. So she tried growing another sprout from the same bean, but that didn’t work, either.
She was scowling at the bean, wondering if she should try creating another one just so she could do something successfully, when she looked up and saw Professor Lal moving around. She raised her hand, and in a few moments the professor was there with her.
“Did you create that, Corrie? Very impressive,” she said, looking down at the bean.
Corrie nodded, trying not to let the praise go to her head too much. “Well, I created the bean, then made it sprout.”
“Ah, an elegant solution. But you are wondering now why it has turned brown, correct?”
“Yeah, I got it growing, but then when I stopped, the plant died.”
“That is because you both created it and forced its growth by magic. Here, I will demonstrate, though I do not think you will be able to see the actual magical mechanisms.” Professor Lal put down a larger bean on Corrie’s desk, one she must have just created. “I have a bean. Now, if I force growth, all I have is a magically-created plant.” A sprout wriggled out from the bean, much more quickly than Corrie’s had grown, and split into several leaves at the end. “But I must constantly pour magic into it in order to keep it alive, because it requires magic for sustenance.” The sprout shriveled and turned brown.
“So there’s another way to do it?” Corrie asked.
“Indeed.” Professor Lal put another bean down on the desk. “To have a plant that lives under its own power, what you must do is find the dormant life within the seed, and wake it. Then, once it is growing on its own, you accelerate the growth.” Once again, a sprout appeared, green and living. “Now, when I stop feeding it magic, the accelerated growth stops, but its life does not.” The growing movement halted, and Professor Lal picked it up and handed it to Corrie. “Can you feel the difference?”
Corrie frowned, weighing the bean in her hand. She picked up her bean, the one with the dead sprout, and hefted them both together. The only thing that felt different was the weight. “I can’t feel anything.” Maybe if she was able to do trance magic, she would be able to sense the different magical potential in each bean, but she had no way of being sure.
“I am not surprised. When you have more practice with elemental magic, you will be able to sense the differences in both life and magic.” Professor Lal touched the bean she’d created with the dead sprout, and it vanished. “You are planning to major in magic, are you not, Corrie?”
“I think so,” Corrie said. “I guess I want to take more classes before I’m sure… or at least finish this semester and try the different kinds of magic. We will be learning different kinds of magic, won’t we?”
“Of course. Starting this Friday. But elemental magic is an excellent basis on which to begin your magical education, and I believe that it is the best way to judge a student’s aptitude. You could be a great magician one day.”
“Well… thanks, Professor Lal.” The professor nodded and walked away to help someone else. Corrie, of course, wasn’t sure about what she’d said. For one thing, there was her inability to use trance. For another, she was suspicious of Professor Lal’s motives in praising her so often. Was she praising everyone else, too, in hopes they would work as hard as they could? She should ask Roe and Dawn, if she could figure out a way to do so without being rude.
But she could also try again with trance. Maybe now that she had learned to do earth magic, she would have a greater connection with the earth and all the things that had magic in them—rocks and plants, she recalled now. Did trance have some inherent connection with the element of earth? Well, she may as well find out.