Misha opened her palms and watched the black sparrow fly off into the morning sky. Its tiny wings, broken and barely usable months before, beat against the wind with strength and pride. In seconds, it rejoined its own flock.
Her teacher, Sorceress Ji, pat her on the shoulder. “Well done, kiddo. You’ve really got your healing magic down to a tee.”
Happiness, warm and light, filled Misha’s chest. “Miss Ji?”
“Why did you choose to train me? Out of all the people you could have tutored… I’m nothing like any of them.”
Ji lifted her hand from Misha’s shoulder. She sat on a nearby granite rock. “I didn’t teach you anything.”
Misha furrowed her brow. “What are you talking about? What were all those books you had me read? All those exercises you had me do?”
“You told me you’d read them before, but didn’t make any head way with them. You know why?”
Prickly dread pooled in Misha’s gut. Was her training not over? Was this just the beginning?
Ji chuckled. “Calm down, kiddo. Don’t give me that look. All I was going to say is that yes, you knew the knowledge coming in. But you didn’t have the confidence.” She snapped her fingers, sparking a ball of fire in her hand. “I don’t teach people magic. I teach people how to be people. And more importantly…” She waved her hand, dissipating the fireball. “I teach people how to be people by teaching them how to heal themselves.”
Misha blinked. So that was why she had her heal a bird first. But there was still something that puzzled her.
She straightened, glancing at the flock. “One more question.”
“Did you catch that bird and hurt it so I could heal it?”
Ji raised and eyebrow and smirked. She stood from the rock and stretched both her arms above her head.
Misha gathered the wind to her fist as Ji did the same.
“Lesson two,” said the sorceress. “Never trust a bird-crusher.”