The frog explosion wasn’t my fault. I followed all the instructions. One wisp of prairie smoke, two scoops of moonwort, a pinch of baby’s breath. Add 3 carats of fire quartz and bring to boil.
That should’ve given me a memory-enhancing spell. It should’ve given me a cauldron of leaping blue liquid that I could scoop into a vial to give my next client.
It gave me frogs.
A room full of them.
I don’t know why my spells keep going wrong. I follow instructions to the letter. I do all my reading. I did, after all, get grades high enough for acceptance into the intern programme at Witch Doctors Incorporated. So why do I have a room full of frogs?
I should rewind. My name is Lily. I’m an intern at Witch Doctors Inc., a company that specialises in curing magical maladies. The name is tongue-in-cheek. We’re not really witches, of course. Witches aren’t real. I’m not one of those people who believe in the old legends. I don’t think there was ever a Dark Witch who stalked the earth. Magic comes from the fire quartz. It isn’t something that can be manipulated by a person’s thoughts.
I specialise in the science of magic. Magic is energy and its reactions are predictable. I’ve never found magical theory hard. People said I had a natural talent for it. I had a few disasters in the lab, but I mostly did well in school. Witch Doctors Inc. was always my end game. I loved the mystery of it. A client would turn up with a problem they couldn’t explain. A Witch Doctor would find the cause and cook up some medicine accordingly.
They saw curses, hexes, even fire quartz addiction. I expected to love every minute of my internship. Instead, I feel like I’m the one who’s cursed.
I’ve cleaned up the frogs. I’m in my quarters now, sulking. My cat Onyx is curled up on my bed.
So you messed up another spell.
“I did it right,” I grumble. “The fire quartz was bad.”
Fire quartz does not go bad.
“Then why is there frog goop all over the potions room floor?”
Onyx lifts one lazy eyelid. You have much to learn.
I’m the only one who can hear Onyx. Too bad for me, he never has anything useful to say.
I’m lying on my back on the rug in the centre of my room. The chandelier twinkles above me. This place is full of opportunities. It’s been my dream for so long. I’m just worried that I’ll never be good enough to be here.
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