Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Mind over Matter

"Try not to focus too intently - you'll pop a synapse."

The neophyte didn't acknowledge her senpai, daring not to spare even a glance. The object - her object - floated in front of her as a partially filled balloon. She struggled to control it. Her eyes burned as she tried to manipulate it; tried to push it left, right, up, or down. She was barely aware of the tears running down her cheeks or the blood in her palms from her fingernails squeezing into her skin.

A melodramatic approximation of a cough filled the small room and echoed off the walls. Startled by the sudden eruption, the student lost control and the object 'blipped' out of existence. Now it was gray walls, gray tunics, and an accusatory stare.

"I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?" The older of the two asked through a smile.

"Fuck you."

"You were about to pop! I should have brought an end to all this earlier."

"I have the gift and you know it. I just need a little practice is all."

The older practitioner paused fr a moment, not willing to vocalize 'a lot of practice' at this particular moment. Another smile formed as a new thought made its way past the lips.

"Gift or no gift, I'd prefer my students to keep their brains in one piece! You were about to turn your skull into a fragmentation grenade with me in the blast radius. My dear, we've got to turn down your anxiety and amplify what you already control."

"I was in control!"

"A half-hearted protest - you could barely focus on the task at hand, let alone pay attention to my directions. I think we're done for today."

With her chin buried in her chest, the neophyte stormed back to her quarters, stopping only to pick up a book before throwing herself into bed.
'I know what I'm doing,' she grumbled to herself, mostly trying to bring her spirits up after the perceived failure. 'I know I can control that which is conjured.'

Eventually, however, reality set in as she flipped through the pages of her textbook. Few people were able to fully control the conjured - she had been lucky to even bring the conjured into the physical realm. If she were one of the lucky few, it would take years - perhaps decades - of study and practice to be able to manipulate matter beyond the abilities of most people and - perhaps - put her name in the books as a Controller.

Her eyelids felt heavy and eventually took control as she played at studying her book. A sharp knock on her bunk startled her back into the world of the conscious.

"Congrats! I can't believe you did it!"

"Did what?" she asked, still adjusting to the bunk, the drool-stained book, and her roommate's face.

"You passed the practicum!"

"I passed? The professor nearly kicked me out"
"You got the highest score of our cohort - what did you do?"

"I didn't do anything! The conjured just sat there, still and silent."

With that handwave, the roommate just sat there, eyeing the neophyte suspiciously. The two looked at each other for a good long while, one calculating and the other aghast. Finally, the roommate spoke.

"You were able to summon the conjured?"

"Wasn't everyone?"

"... no girl. No."

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