Krista rushed through her morning routine and headed back out to the Square. She was sweaty and out of breath when she made it back to the tables where she had found the tarot card reader. And, of course, the woman wasn’t there.
After spending half the morning walking around, Krista was finally ready to give up her search when she heard, “Back already? I thought I’d have to track you down again.”
Krista turned and found Zenda lounging on a park bench. “You didn’t track me down the first time,” she said, exasperated already. “I stopped at your table.”
“If you say so,” Zenda said with a smirk. “Were you looking for me? What can I do for you?” she added, a little too innocently.
Krista gritted and replied, “I was hoping you could give me some more information.”
“Oh, really? Would you like me to finish your reading?”
“Cut the crap, old lady. You know exactly what I want. Are you going to help me or not?”
Zenda narrowed her eyes and stood. “You need to watch your tone, little girl.”
Krista took a deep breath. “Please.”
“Yes, I will help you. But only because you have too much power to be left untrained and clueless.”
Krista had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep her retort to herself. She couldn’t argue about not being clueless, but she still hated hearing it.
“We need to go somewhere we can speak without being overheard. We especially can’t talk here.” Zenda’s eyes darted back and forth as she spoke.
“Do we have to? Can’t we just sit here for a while? No one is listening.” Krista was tired and just wanted answers.
“Someone is always listening.” Zenda gave Krista a derisive look.
“Then speak quietly! I need answers.”
Zenda crossed her arms over her chest. “And I’ll give them when I’m ready and not a moment before.”
Krista sighed, tossing her hands in the air. “Fine.”
Zenda led her away from the Square until they found themselves in a quiet alcove. They sat at the small table. “Do you know why your memory was blocked?” she asked.
Krista was taken aback. “What? What do you mean?”
Zenda reached out, grabbing Krista’s arm. “Did something happen to you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Krista yelled, trying to yank her arm back.
“Okay. Calm down.” Zenda looked around as the wind picked up. “Close your eyes, and try to clear your mind.”
“But—” Krista started to argue.
“Just do it,” Zenda instructed.
Krista closed her eyes. Zenda leaned in close, placing her hands over Krista’s. They sat silently for several minutes before Zenda muttered a spell. A violent force slammed into Krista, sending her reeling back and tipping her chair over.
Krista lay stunned with the wind knocked out of her, groaning, “What the hell, bitch?”
Zenda stiffened. “You will watch yourself, little girl! I will not tolerate any more disrespect.”
“Maybe if you told me what you were going to do before you did it, I’d find my manners! What the hell did you do to me?” Krista demanded as she stood and righted the chair.
“Someone placed a blocking spell on you when you were very young. Without knowing more about it, I cannot simply remove it. So, instead, I cracked it. Think of it like an egg. You’re surrounded by a shell that never should have been there, but it’s been with you your whole life. You’ve grown into it when you should have grown out of it. I’ve weakened it so you can break free on your own. It is still dangerous, and there may be some…unpleasant side effects.” Zenda smiled when she added the last part.
“I want this spell broken now. I don’t want to wait!” Krista brushed at her arms as if she were trying to wipe the magic off of her skin.
“Well, we don’t all get what we want, now do we?” Zenda got up to leave. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a scrap of paper with a phone number scrawled across it and handed it to Krista. “Call me. We’ll begin our lessons next week.”
“Whatever.” Krista leaned her elbows on the small table and rubbed at her temples, the beginnings of a headache slowly creeping in.
Before leaving, Zenda leaned down and whispered a spell into Krista’s ear.
Krista slammed her hands on the table and exclaimed, “What the fudge is with all these spells!” Her eyes opened wide in shock. “Fudge! Mother flapper!” She stood quickly, growling, “What the fork did you do to me?”
Zenda ignored her and kept walking.
Krista screamed in anger, sending a throbbing pain through her head.
It had been three days of pure hell. Krista had tried calling and texting, but Zenda hadn’t answered or responded. Krista had found that she couldn’t even text swear words. Every time she tried, the words ended up as gibberish. And she really tried.
The headache had grown into the worst pain Krista had ever felt. It left her weak, curled in a ball in her bed, fading in and out of consciousness. That wasn’t the worst part, though. No, the worst part was the wild wind that had been whipping around her room nonstop for the last two days. She couldn’t do anything but pull the blankets over her head and hope it would end soon.
Gradually, the pain eased, and the wind slowed until it finally came to a complete stop. After everything was back to normal, Krista sent yet another text to Zenda, then got herself cleaned up.
She spent a few minutes looking through the mess of her apartment until she found her laptop. After pushing some papers off her desk, she started searching. She knew better than to trust what she found online, but at least she could learn something about what a sylph was, since she wasn’t getting the information from anywhere else.
An air elemental. That was pretty much the extent of the information she found online. There was also some fantastical stuff about being able to turn invisible, but she wasn’t stupid enough to believe that.
Krista wished she could get ahold of Zenda and debated trying to look for her again when her phone signaled an incoming text.
Time to begin your training.