Chapter 46: Growth
Dawn kind of wanted to show off her sprout, which quit growing once she’d stopped focusing so hard on it, but was a respectable several inches long. But Roe was still staring stubbornly at her sunflower seed, and the guy on the other side of her had a beanstalk growing and growing, so there wasn’t much to show off to him. Dawn leaned over and tried to see what Corrie was doing, and was concerned for a moment that she didn’t seem to have a sprout—but Corrie had both created and sprouted a bean on Monday, so she was probably okay.
She ended up waiting a couple of minutes for Professor Lal to come around to their area of the class, but when the professor did arrive, she smiled. Dawn quickly looked down at her acorn and held it up for inspection. Professor Lal took it, turned it around in her fingers, and pronounced it “Very good.”
“If I keep feeding it magic, will it grow into a real oak tree?” Dawn asked.
“It should, though at some point you would have to give it a pot of soil, if only to anchor its roots.”
“What if I planted it outside?”
“Well, it would certainly not grow now, and in fact it would die quite quickly. But I know what you meant.” She handed back the acorn. “If you kept it alive throughout the winter—and you would have to keep feeding it magic in order to do that, or else plant it and grow it normally with only a little bit of magic—and then planted it in the ground come spring, it should grow normally, into a full-sized oak tree. However, if you were to plant it on campus, the gardeners would certainly mow it down or pull it up, and if you planted it in the forest, someone would sense the taint of human magic on it and probably destroy it as well. So if you wish, you may keep it, but I would recommend taking it home to plant.”
Dawn looked at the tiny plant and shook her head. “I don’t think so. That sounds like an awful lot of effort.”
“Indeed. Well, if you wish, you may keep growing this plant, or attempt to create a crystal, or simply relax until the end of class. You have about half an hour left.”
“Okay. Thanks, Professor Lal.”
She did end up spending the rest of the class trying to get her tiny oak tree to grow some more. She did manage it, but it grew more slowly than it had when she had first started it; she figured that could have been either because she had used up some of her magic or because she’d broken her momentum. At least she wasn’t too tired.
When class had ended, she, Roe, and Corrie walked out together like usual. “What did you do during this class?” she asked Corrie.
“Oh, she wanted to give me a challenge, like usual. So I created a pot, then some soil to fill it, then some water to water my seed with, and grew my plant as high as I could in that time. I couldn’t get it very high, but that’s just because I didn’t have much time yet.”
“You actually created a whole pot?” Roe asked with surprise.
“Well…” Corrie grinned. “It’s kind of lumpy and misshapen. Or it was. Professor Lal made it disappear. Apparently, clay is easy to create but harder to control than crystals. But someday I should be able to make any kind of natural object I want. Here, look at this.” She paused on the path and held out her hand in front of her. Suddenly a small, bent twig appeared in her hand.
“Wow!” Dawn took the twig and looked it over. It certainly looked and felt like a natural piece of wood. “That’s really cool. I wonder if I could do that.”
“You’d probably have to practice a lot, but I bet you could do it,” said Corrie. “Or… maybe you’d have to use the trance magic. I don’t know. But a twig seems like it should be fairly simple, at least compared to making a plant grow.”
“I guess so.” Dawn handed the twig to Roe so she could look at it. When Roe handed it to Corrie, she tossed it off to the side of the path and they kept walking. “You could really do stuff with this someday.”
“Well, I’m not sure what use most of the things I’ve managed will be, unless I run a nursery or something and can force the plants to grow,” Corrie said. “But if I can learn to make real-looking, flawless diamonds, I would be totally set for life!”
They laughed all the way back to Gilkey.