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The alarm clock went off and started playing an awful tune. Tom opened his eyes and closed them back, squinting. He reopened one eye and stood up to stop the torture. The phone was on the desk, in the furthest spot from the bed. Although he changed his way of thinking, he preferred to stick to some of the habits that helped him to stand on the path of becoming a better version of himself.

And everything started with using only one alarm clock instead of ten. And the trick to doing that was simple in theory yet hard in practice. All he had to do was open his eyes and stand up within the first five seconds after waking up. And the key element here was to stay that way.

Regular morning practice, light breakfast and one hour later, Tom was entering his high school territory. He was strolling to his class, thinking about how he would return home and finally finish reading his new book. His eyes spotted something odd and signaled his brain. 

Tom stopped and looked around. Everything seemed normal: kids his age and younger were hurrying to their classes; two teachers leisurely walked past him, Mr. Leeman and Mr. Green. The janitor was sweeping dead leaves in front of the entrance. 

But something was off. Everything Tom had been doing lately was listening to what his body was trying to tell him. That was finally the case; now, he needed to decode what his intuition was referring to. 

Close your eyes and observe; close your ears and listen. Let go of everything that seems impossible. Tom remembered his favorite quote. He held his breath and tried to follow that advice.

When Tom opened his eyes, he noticed two people standing beside the gate with their backs to him. Both were tall, above seven feet. A man was waving his hands in front of him. He was bald and had a long red beard. The girl with long blond hair stood and watched her partner’s moves. They both were wearing ancient-looking green robes. 

The peculiar duo blurred when Tom started reflecting on what he was seeing. His head and eyes began to hurt. With every passing second, the intensity grew. Suddenly, the girl turned around and stared right at Tom. He couldn’t concentrate on any of her facial features except her bright purple eyes emanating dreadful power.

“Hey, bro, what’s up?” Tom received a light punch on his shoulder. He blinked. The blurred people beside the gate transformed into shadows. He blinked again, and the spot was empty.

“Hello, Earth to Tom. Come back to us.” A kid waved his hand in front of Tom’s eyes.

“Yeah… what’s up, Greg. Listen, did you see…” Tom’s voice trailed off when he pointed at an empty spot beside the gate.

“What?” Greg followed his finger but spotted nothing.

“Nothing, that’s just probably my imagination,” Tom mumbled. The incident was slowly erased from his memory. He remembered only shadows. Odd shadows on a cloudy day. But what if he actually saw something?

“Let’s go. I don’t want to be late.” Tom was brought back to reality by Greg’s voice. They quickly went inside. When Tom entered the building, all he could remember was that he was lost in thought in front of the school. Thoughts he didn’t remember either.

“Leemar, I think he might have noticed us,” the girl said uncertainly. 

“Who?” the tall man asked. He looked at the girl and stopped casting.

“That human child. I sensed a direct stare, and when I turned around, he looked right into my eyes,” the girl said with growing confidence. 

“Idreya, you know that humans lost magic long ago.” Leemar threw a glance at the two children, quickly walking away. 

“I am not stupid. I know what I have seen. He stared directly at me. How do you explain this?” Idreya stumped her foot.

“Ugh, why me?” Leemar exhaled and rubbed his eyes. “It is your first mission outside, am I right?”

“Yes, I am only sixty years old. You know that those old geezers don’t allow youngsters to contribute to the greater good,” the blond girl said, irritated. 

Yeah, like you’re not a youngster anymore. Leemar thought but remained silent on that matter. While his new partner was extremely young, she was a genius. 

“Okay, then, a quick lesson on human nature and history before we enter. Besides, the switch needs to accumulate enough protosoles.” 

“I know all of that. I graduated with a leaf of golden glory from the academy.” Idreya turned her nose up.

“Of course, you did.” The man made a face. He started regretting his hasty decision to accept such a young mage in his group. “The academy teaches the history of humans before the Division. When everything was different and humans were on top of the food chain and had the best mages. But after the Division, there are only a few sentences about them. To quote: ‘Humans lost all their magic and later stopped seeing anything related to it. They are not dangerous, with a few exceptions.’ Nothing less, nothing more.”

“Yes, I know all of that. And what if that boy is one of the exceptions? They are real. My uncle told me he had encountered a human mage before,” the blond girl said.

“No, Idreya, he was not an exception. He was just a regular child. Most likely, he doesn’t remember that he saw at least something. My guess is that he tried to keep his mind open and to follow his instincts. Young children often see or sense something that adults don’t. As they grow up, societal opinion sinks deeper and deeper. Until they completely disregard their thoughts. That particular child felt our presence but couldn’t find us. He broke the wall of prejudice and noticed two strangers. Then, his mind started resisting the new conceptions and built a new wall, higher and stronger. And erased all the memories. At first, people see something. A moment later, they persuade themselves that it was just their imagination. And later, they completely forget everything regarding that matter.”

“How do you know all of that? What if that child is a new human mage? We should report him, you know how powerful they become,” Idreya said.

Leemar glanced at a space in front of him, made a circle with his right hand and looked back at his young partner. “It’s not ready yet. Let’s educate you then. What would happen if a youngster broke any formation before he achieved initiation?”

“It will backfire, and a teacher or a construct would redirect it,” Idreya answered like she was back in the academy again. 

“What if a youngster tries it alone, without constructs and teachers?” Leemar continued.

“No one is doing it that way. It is extremely dangerous, and a youngster could be badly hurt.”

“Would you be able to achieve an initiation without ever breaking the construct and doing it all by yourself?” Leemar asked. He started smiling when he noticed hesitation on her face. Even a genius like her had no means to go through with it.

“Well, technically, I could achieve an initiation. It could be possible with magic theory, perfect stances, and a lot of calculation. Yet very dangerous. One small mistake and the backfire could knock me out for days. Maybe even weeks if you said that no one could help. Disregarding the pain, there still would be a limited number of mistakes that I could make before eventually damaging something permanently,” Idreya said with a thoughtful expression. She liked challenging tasks.

“The last question: would you be able to do everything without any magic theory whatsoever?” Leemar smirked when Idreya opened her eyes wide instead of answering. “Yes, that is how humans have to achieve initiation nowadays.”

“But why? Can’t we teach them? Or at least give them the theory,” Idreya questioned, the shocked expression on her face still present.

“Everything is not that simple,” Leemar said. “That is the part of human history the academy doesn’t teach.

“Since the Division, humans are born with a block. It prevents magic from entering their body and dulls their senses. And that is why their lifespan is so low. The block destroys them from the inside.

“That is why initiation would be a lot harder to achieve for any human than even for our most untalented youngster. And that is a speculation based solely on one factor. But there is a lot more to it. They have to achieve initiation by themselves. No teachers, no books on magic theory, nothing. Otherwise, the block inside would start growing rapidly and kill a human within a few days. No one knows why, but that is the fact. 

“Besides that, we could survive the backfire of a broken formation, but most humans would die from it. And a lot of them did. They tried to go through the block for centuries, and everyone but a few dozen failed. And a failure, in this case, always meant agonizing death.

“A resentment and fear towards magic slowly started building inside their heads. And then it transformed into collective blindness. Evolution took a step here by removing every magic-related phenomenon in any human’s life. Otherwise, the whole race would become extinct.

“After that, the population slowly started growing again. And now, the collective blindness is as strong as ever. They have science and physical laws that prevent them from going deeper.”

“But physical laws can be greatly bent. Or completely avoided if you are strong enough,” Idreya interjected.

“Can a youngster bend gravity before initiation without any tools for it?” Leemar asked.

“Yes,” Idreya answered immediately. Under her partner’s heavy stare, she added reluctantly, “Not by a great margin, but it is possible.”

“You’re missing the main point here.” Leemar shook his head. “It is indeed possible for a fresh youngster to bend physical laws. But only because he constantly observes everyone around doing it. The same collective unconscious that prevents humans from seeing magic will help us in attaining initiation.”

The two non-human individuals stood in silence. The girl was lost in thought, contemplating how little she knew about the world and how complicated magic was. The man was relaxed. His lifespan counted way beyond a dozen centuries. He stopped pondering about the world around him a long time ago. He was already convinced that the more he learned about anything, he realized how little he knew. But the nature of magic being that simple continually brought him back on track.

“So, what does it mean? How can a human nowadays actually go through the initiation? When they not only have no clues on how to do it, but they also have no idea that it is possible, and the completely different path exists?” Idreya finally broke the silence.

“They are still out there. People who try to achieve this complicated goal. They can still see, sense, hear and feel something out of the ordinary. It is not a lot, but it is enough for the start. All they have to do is not ignore it. Imagination is possible, but most of the time, all those bizarre events are real. The universe will eventually bring it on a silver platter to anyone who seeks it.”


Ukrainian guy, who moved to the United States because of the war. Have been reading fantasy books all my life. Decided to give it a go and write my own book. It is still in the process, getting closer to the end. In between my day job, reading, and writing my own book; I try to find time and inspiration for short stories with some interesting thoughts to leave a philosophical aftertaste.


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