The La-Iin Series
“The Child Warlock–Part 2”
Sale-Dessu strained as he canted a spell under his breath. On the table in front of him, a tissue was starting to change its form. Its existence was being changed to that of a fruit. Sale-Dessu felt as if there was an immense physical pressure on him as he canted. He still wasn’t as good with spells like this. They caused a great strain.
Behind him, his Apeta watched. He wanted to prove to her that he was getting better, that eventually he could be a Warlock as powerful as her. He put his all into it as he started to cant the spell faster, hoping he wouldn’t trip over his words. Eventually, the spell came to an end, and it was up to Sale-Dessu’s own will to finish the rest of the deed.
He cleared his mind of any other thoughts he could focus on and instead focused on the image of a tissue turning into a fruit.
“You’re done,” his Apeta said. Sale-Dessu took a deep breath and stared at the fruit. Now a pear sat in place of the tissue. He smiled.
Apeta walked over to the pear and took a bite. Sale-Dessu froze. In the end, what mattered most was that the pear tasted like a pear. His Apeta’s expression gave nothing away as she swallowed.
“….this is the best one so far,” she said. “It’s a little bland, but it actually tastes like a pear.”
Sale-Dessu smiled wide. He had finally succeeded. “You did a good job, I suppose….however, I do still have some criticisms.”
“You’re straining too much while you cant the spell. You start doing better once you get past it, but straining is the sign of a weak mind. I do still strain with some spells. However, those are the ones that are truly a strain, such as reality warping.”
“You can reality warp?” Sale-Dessu asked. The idea of his Apeta being able to do such a thing filled him with awe.
“Not without some difficulty. But with how many spells you can perform now, you should be able to perform something such as this without straining.”
“I’m sorry, Apeta….”
“Don’t apologize!” She snapped. “You simply have to keep trying is all!”
Sale-Dessu nodded. “I will. Thank you for not giving up on me, Apeta.”
“Of course I wouldn’t,” she sighed. “I think you have potential. Any Witch or Warlock can reach a great status with lots of devotion to their craft, but it’s only a select few who can grow quickly. Your problem is that your mind is still weak. You care too much about strangers. I am not saying you should become a distant and cold person. But you should not care as much as you do about inconveniencing strangers.”
“I…is that true?”
Sale-Dessu glanced down at his feet. “So you don’t care about inconveniencing strangers, Apeta?”
“Of course I don’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be giving you such advice!” She cackled. She stroked Sale-Dessu’s head.
“Just how powerful are you, Apeta?”
His Apeta sucked in a breath through her nose. “Back in my birth town, I’m considered one of the greats.”
“Yes. I spent a significant part of my life training in Witchcraft. Us Witches and Warlocks are blessed with arguably the most powers of any species. With a lot of honing we are powerful assets. But that is also a dangerous thing. If you let all that go to your head, it will only end in death. Power is dangerous.”
“If it is, then why do we practice it so much?”
“Not everyone does. Some prefer to keep most of their talents hidden while others prefer to limit their talents to what they like to do. For instance, a Witch who loves to cook–she may only hone and utilize the powers of hers that assist in her dream of cooking. But you must remember what I said. I know how to warp reality in various ways. Some Witches or Warlocks may use that to their advantage to intentionally cause havoc. It’s why if you look in history books about World War I, you will notice that we are often considered evil because our powers proved that dangerous to the continued existence of other species.”
His Apeta sat down in her observation chair. “Come. Normally I wouldn’t allow it, but I suppose since I’m telling you a story, you can sit on my lap or whatever.”
Sale-Dessu ran over to her and sat down, holding tight to her to keep from falling off.
“I suppose I could have phrased my earlier statement slightly better–power is dangerous when in the wrong hands. But you can control who will be born good and who will be born evil about as much as you can control your infant being male or female–that is to say, not at all. Not even a Warlock can do that. Even our mind-control power is incomplete–the person will still retain their alignment, and they’ll certainly still retain their gender.”
“It allows us to control a person’s brain and tell it what to do. It does not allow us to control their consciousness, however, which is why I said they still retain their alignment. Even if you make them do something evil they may still be good. But that is not my point…you cannot control whether someone with vast power will use it for the greater good or to impede the world’s progress. It is impossible.”
“But that too was not my point. For most Witches and Warlocks, it requires years of honing in order to be as powerful as one of the greats. The greats themselves often will talk of years spent perfecting their talents. Only a select few of our species may prove to have it in them to learn fast enough to become talented within a short amount of time. If I am being honest, I believe you might be one of them, Sale-Dessu.”
“I couldn’t be!” He said. “I can’t even use V-Puppetry, and I still have problems with some simple spells.”
“Yes, but you are my grandson. I may not have been one of the ones with natural talent but I have spent so much time honing my powers that I am considered a powerful Witch. I believe you have the talent but you are locking it up yourself.”
“How could that be?”
“Think of it as a dam, Sale-Dessu. Blocked off the water goes nowhere. It stays still. But take down the dam and the water floods all around it. Do you remember how I said you need to think less of strangers?”
“I believe that is your dam. Remove it and you will shine.”
“Apeta….I’m not all that great.”
“You fool!” His Apeta yelled. She slammed a hand down on the top of his head. “Did you not hear me say that you are my grandson!? My only one at that! Or at least, only one I know of. I am one of the greats. You too shall be great. Believe me.”
“Really, Apeta? Do you really think that?”
“Well, if you continue to act in this way, perhaps your dam will stay up forever….”
“Hm…” Sale-Dessu couldn’t help but wonder if his Apeta’s confidence in him was the result of conceit. “Apeta, how much did you have to practice? How many hours did you put in?”
“Several. There were times when I was not that much older than you that I would spend nearly the whole day honing my abilities. For a time I kept myself closed off from my family slightly. It strained my relations with them. So after that I opted to try practicing with them more often. And on nights I couldn’t get to sleep, I’d practice then too. The best time was when I first got my own house. I was able to practice day and night on anything I wanted to. There were times I got burnt out. Those times I took breaks. If you use your powers too much, you can exhaust yourself, so always remember to take breaks when you get exhausted, even if that break is only a nap. My longest break from my powers was when I became a mother. I didn’t have nearly as much time to do things when Maie-Jussa and her sisters were babies. But you can guarantee that when they were old enough, I was teaching them much like I do you now.”
“Practicing is the key to becoming great at anything, not just powers. The expression ‘practice makes perfect’ is certainly true, and the person who came up with it smart indeed.”
“Then I will just have to keep practicing to become as good as you are, Apeta.”
“That’s for sure! We need to get you to stop straining, and to make more juicy pears. Would you like to get back to work now?”
“Yes, Apeta! There’s several things I want to try now!”
“Happy to hear it. But aside from transforming objects into fruit, I’ll be calling the shots on what you do. So you’d best be prepared for some hard spells.”
“I’ll take it on,” Sale-Dessu said.
“That’s a good boy. Now, let’s get to work!”
Sale-Dessu couldn’t help but think about his Apeta when he thought back on the name he had seen on the computer.
‘Today more than ever I miss you,’ he thought. ‘I wish you could be with me tomorrow.’
“Father? Are you alright?”
“Hm? Eul-Bok? Yes, just fine. Sorry about that. Let’s finish this transformation spell then. Would you like to see me transform cherries into a cherry pie, or something more complicated?”