In the seventh part of a regular series, Karen takes on Fantasy Life in a variety of 'lives' and documents her adventures.
Last week I investigated the potential causes of Reveria’s lack of cemeteries as an alchemist, and although I’m no closer to the answers I sought I did outfit myself with an embarrassment of good luck charms and a spiffing array of glasses. Finding myself suited to scholarly lives, I decided to continue my research as a magician, if for no better reason than to look convincing in my new tortoiseshell frames.
The magician’s school looks like an an unassuming cottage, which tells me that bad things are about to happen if those bedtime stories were to be believed. The two kids outside don't appear to be in the process of being fattened up and tell some decent jokes, but I still consider miners the Reverian pun masters. Going inside the cottage I see a young woman and a twin-tailed cat with a sumptuous mane. Preparing to introduce myself to the woman and ask about beginner magic lessons, she introduces herself as Hazel and explains that the cat, named Jinx, is the Life master and one of the most famous and capable magicians in Reveria; I suspect that I haven’t yet been shown how to mix purely recreational drinks as an alchemist. As Hazel explains that I'll be a first-class magician under Jinx's tutelage in no time, Jinx speaks up, drops a few decent but limited in scope cat-related puns, and presents me with a staff. Hazel and I set off to look for the spirits I'll need to power my staff in the woods as the boy and girl outside the school moan that they aren't old enough to go themselves yet. If Hazel wasn’t running ahead I'd regale them with a horrific tale of what happens to young children who go into the forest alone.
Hazel sends me into a clearing to find some spirits, which makes me wonder what happens to adults who wander into forest clearings alone while senior magic students wait outside. In the clearing I see a few bunnies, a pond and what looks like a spirit by the pond and another atop a huge tree stump. I'm not thirsty so I risk talking to the tree stump spirit, who is impressed that I can see him and agrees to lend me his power. This was a painless enough process so I also speak to the spirit by the lake, a spirit of water, who also decides to join me. I'm wondering if I can unleash some sort of unholy tree-stripping typhoon now.
Hazel tells me to connect with the spirits using the magic skill she taught me. As the spirits disappear into my staff I have the feeling that I could conjure a mildly intimidating water spout with a few twigs sticking out of it. Summoning a dummy, Hazel explains the processes of elemental selection and tells me to use my water magic, so I hurl icy snowballs at the dummy until it falls to the ground in undeniable submission. Hazel starts telling me about the earth spirit’s healing magic when a purple-haired boy comes over and admonishes us for being childish before making a juvenile display of his own power, setting several fire spirits loose. Following Hazel into the clearing, we round up the spirits with the boy protesting his innocence before running off. As I absorb one of the fire spirits into my staff Hazel explains that the young boy, Nox, is her little brother and something of a bratty showoff. I feign surprise.
Back at the magician’s school Hazel reports on my progress to Jinx, and we find Nox and Collinsworth, the choir master, there as well. Apparently Collinsworth is troubled by a spook outside the choir hall at night and is having trouble sleeping because of it. Jinx tells me that wrangling ghosts is one of the services Castele's magicians offer, but doesn't issue me a personal unlicenced nuclear accelerator. Hazel is clearly afraid of ghosts, but Jinx talks her into helping me and we head out for the choir hall to wait for dusk. When Hazel and I arrive Collinsworth has fallen asleep where he stands again, but wakes with a start. Bravely asserting that he'll take care of the spook, Nox dismisses me as an amateur before running off. Collinsworth explains that a travelling magician gave him some advice and suggests I speak to her as well before night falls. I find the senior magician by the airship dock and she suggests that I ambush the spook, tells me that Hazel needs my help, and vanishes into thin air. I make a mental note to learn all of those tricks if possible.
On returning to the choir hall, Nox is a bit more humble because he needs me to find Hazel, who ran off when she felt a strange presence. Searching the area I find an anxious Hazel down on the nearby farm, just as the spook appears. Nox runs up and mouths off at the spook for scaring his sister, his plans for heroism foiled by the magic-binding spell that Jinx placed on him earlier for being naughty, leaving him unable to use magic for any type of beans. Seeing this, Hazel decides to be brave and asks me to help her fight the spook as I'm savouring Nox's salty, delicious tears. After Hazel and I dispatch the spook with a minimum of fuss and panic Collinsworth and Nox appear, with Nox quickly running off to give Jinx a piece of his mind as Collinsworth thanks us for fixing his problem — I'm just worried that once Hazel and I report back to Jinx we'll have to avoid stepping on a Nox-shaped toad. When we get back to Hazel's Nox is indignant but looks like his old self, and when he tries to complain Jinx points out that he's just learned a major life lesson about humility just before she confers on me the status of full-fledgling magician.
Now that I know how to harness the power of the elements I go to the grassy plains and try out my new abilities. From my time as a tailor I have a full complement of element-enhancing robes and hoods with me, and from last week’s adventure in alchemy I have so many potions, dusts, and super serums I may as well be immortal and full of high-grade caffeine. My first tasks as a harbinger of elemental doom involve dispensing justice to the frogs of the West Grassy Plains, which makes me think I may be an unwitting pawn in a turf war. To keep some company and show off my spectacular new attacks, I scare up my friend Blue Cap and get my cat Salt, whom I feel kind of weird about subjugating in this way now. We scorch grass all the way to Port Puerto, Reveria’s home of sun, surf, and a mild zombie infestation to punch some trees at Jinx’s request and find that the port is largely ignorant of the magical arts. However, the neighbouring kingdom of Al Maajik is the place to be for magicians as it’s the home of Esmerelda, a grandmother figure in Reverian sorcery and the wandering magician who gave me advice about defeating the spook at the start of my new Life. Esmerelda runs the most prestigious magic school in all Reveria, isn’t easily impressed, and has an unsettling tendency to call me ‘my pretty.’
After a full day of subduing the local wildlife and non-living creatures alike by summoning elemental fireworks, I’ve discovered that Jinx really wasn’t kidding about magicians’ role in spirit control. I've had to defeat just about every known spook, wraith, specter, and free-roaming vapour as an acting representative of Reveria’s magicians. Despite the further evidence of undead I’ve decided to abandon my thanatological research for now, as one earth spirit I spoke to seemed to like the idea of me being a woodcutter. While I can’t deny that I enjoy my time spent in the Reverian outdoors I don’t know if this will make me an unwitting pawn in yet another turf war.
Rank achieved: Hero
Useful for: Summoning death from above, party tricks
Quality of Life: Elemental
Additional comments: The incantation is the most important part of the soup