Two Sides of the Same Picture

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Problems WIth Magic

Thwang. Thwack. Bulls-eye!

I looked at my shot, satisfied with where it ended up. Looking at the other 4 targets, I was determined to shoot my arrows and hit the bulls-eye for all of them. Taking a few steps back and judging the distance between me and my targets, I loaded an arrow, drew back, aimed, and fire. Load, drawback, aim, fire. Load, drawback, aim-

“Erica! Erica Oracle! Stop playing with that silly toy of yours this instant! You need to get ready to go to the Mage Building!” My mother squawked, sounding nervous and excited. “Your Test is today! Hurry up or you’re going to be late!”

Startled, my last arrow went crazy and flew really high up, falling down on the top of a redwood tree. One less arrow. I sighed. I was never getting that back.

Jogging to the targets, I grabbed the arrows that had made it, delighted to see all my shots had made it right in the center. Putting them back in my quiver, I ran to the house and up the stairs to my room. I hung my bow and quiver on the back of my door and changed into cleaner clothes. Grabbing my bag, I checked to make sure I had my phone, ID card, flashlight, locater that everyone who hadn’t taken their Test yet was required to have at all times when outside their homes, and my topaz, which is my birthstone. Everyone, magical or non-magical, always carries around their birthstone. Each birthstone has magical properties that can protect you.

Walking out, I nearly crashed into my sister, Ciela. Ciela is the only regular in my family so far and hates being one. She thinks it’s horrible, but I don’t see what’s so bad about it. You can still have talents if you’re regular; you just don’t have a magical talent.

“What are you still doing here? Get lost already,” Ciela said, glaring at me. Another reason she’s always grumpy is because I’m taller than her. She hates being the shortest in our family, especially since my brother, Drake, and I are younger.

“I was just leaving,” I replied, glaring back. Storming off, Ciela slammed the door to her room, which was right across the hall from mine.

“Hey Er, good luck on your Test. Don’t get too freaked out when you take it, okay?” Coming up the stairs was Drake. Drake was smiling mischieviously, swirling a flame in his hand like he usually did nowadays. Drake took his test four months ago and has already learned to control his ability. Fire is a pretty common power, but Drake’s is really powerful, especially since he has a lot of self control. Most of the time, your ability is linked to your personality. Drake can become angry in a flash, so you always need to be careful around him.

“Um, okay. Why should I though?” I asked, confused.

“Because you’ll get scared. It can be pretty scary, to a wimp,” a voice said. Turning around, I found Kane standing in the doorway of his room. Kane is the oldest and loves tormenting me. His power is visions, just like our parents. He can see shots of the future, of what important thing is going to happen. He’s never been able to master it, but he always claims he sees me dead, somehow or another.

“I’m not a wimp, Kane. And I won’t get scared,” I snapped, stomping down the stairs and away from my brothers’ humorous smiles. Cooling myself down at the bottom of the stairs, I walked toward the front door.

“Erica, are you leaving now? Good luck! I hope you do have magic,” my dad called from the kitchen. Both of my parents really want me to be magical. They claim it’s a ‘good sign,’ but it’s not like you’re cursed if you’re a regular.

“Oh, hello Er. Are you taking your Test now? Good luck. I think you’re magical. You seem like a special person,” my sister, Avaron, smiled. I love my oldest sister. Being the youngest out of five is pretty hard. However, Avaron is always nice to me. She is a gentle magician with the power of animation, so she can control anything, as long as it isn’t alive. I’m really glad she’s nice to me, otherwise I’d be toast.

“Oh, Erica! I can’t believe you’re already taking your Test,” my mom said, hugging me. She seemed to be over her excited/nervous state. “I can’t wait to see if you’re going to be magical or regular. But you’ll do fine. Don’t worry.” Uh-oh. My parents never say ‘don’t worry.’ When they do, it means something bad is gonna happen and you should worry.

“Yeah, ok. Uhh… I’m gonna go now. Don’t wanna be late,” I said, giving my mom a nervous laugh, and rushed out the door. My mom shouted something after me but I was going to fast and was too far down the street already. I ran and ran, slowing down only when I was at the bus stop, not sure what I was afraid of. Living on the edge of the city, I needed a bus to take me to City Center. Runes has three parts to it: the Outer Circle, where I live, the Middle, and the City Center. The Mage Building is located in the City Center, so that’s where I’m headed.

The Mage Building is the city’s building where children discovered whether or not they have magic. The testers would see if you are a natural born magician and if you are, you proceed to the next room, where you found out what magical ability you had. If you don’t, you just leave and go home. The population is split about half and half, so I have a 50% chance I’ll be a magician. I’m hoping it will help that both my parents are magicians, but it isn’t rare for two magicians to have a non-magic child. (like Ciela)

Thinking about my Test, I wondered what power I would have if I was magical. Since both my parents were magical, there was a good chance I would have their magical ability. It’s not a bad power, but I don’t really want the same power as my parents and Kane. I’m really hoping for something better.

Sitting at the bus stop, I racked my brain trying to think of anything I’d heard of about the Test. Everybody is supposed to keep quiet, but some things slip by every now and then. Hopefully, I could remember some rumors that have been going around about the Test.

“Hey Erica! You’re taking your mage test too right?” I turned and saw my best friend Lina running towards me. Lina and I have been best friends since we were young, and we live in the same neighborhood. We have a lot of things in common: same height, brown hair, love sports, especially magic sports, hate the cold, and we even have the same birthday.

“Yeah. I’m really nervous I’m not going to be magical. What about you?” I asked.

“I really want to be magical. I feel like if I was magical, life would be so much easier!” Lina said

“Not necessarily. I see regulars getting by just fine. Anyways, we’ll find out soon enough,” I told her as the bus arrived.

We boarded and showed the driver our ID cards, making our way to the back. We spent most of the ride in silence, thinking about what would happen during our Tests. Mostly, we wondered, hoped, and prayed that we were magical. I would be a little disappointed if I was a regular, but I would be fine. It was my parents I was worried about. They would be upset if another one of their children was regular and I didn’t want to sadden them.

Finally, we arrived at City Center. Standing in front of the Mage Building, we were awed and afraid at the same time by its magnificent size and dark, mysterious colors. Glancing at each other, we stayed rooted where we were. Staring at the building, we said nothing.

“Well… Here we are. Time to find out if we’re magical or not. Good luck to you,” I said, breaking our silence and taking deep breaths. Something about standing in front of the building made me scared. It could have been the fact that Tests were individual, so we wouldn’t be taking it together.

“Yeah. Here we are. Good luck to you too, Erica,” she replied and we hugged. “You go first?”


“Okay then. When we’re done, wait right here. Then we can take the bus back home to the Outer Circle,” Lina said.

Gulping down air as if I had just suffocated, I left my bag at the front and, taking only my birthstone, I stared at the building. Facing the giant oak doors, I suddenly had a bad feeling in my gut, telling me to go away. Shaking it off, I pushed the doors open and walked in.

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