“I must first tell you my name,” said the old man/ghost. “I was once Aelvyn, and so this is a suitable name for you to use to address me.” Anna nodded, although his imperial air was a little bit annoying.
“Now, let me see what you can do.”
“I’m sorry?” said Anna. She was not at all certain whether any of the things she could do were related to her fairy blood, or whether they were just the result of too much free time.
“You seem to have an affinity with fire. Perhaps you could show me this, a bit?” Aelvyn explained. He sat back on thin air and watched with interest as Anna concentrated.
She took a lighter from her desk and was about to demonstrate how she could use it to light extremely inflammable materials when Aelvyn interrupted.
“No, no! Try to do it … without the lighter.” She frowned.
“I can’t!” Beads of sweat formed on her brow as she tried to make the fire light, and she felt Aelvyn’s ghostly hand on her shoulder.
“What makes a fire start?” he said. She thought.
“Heat, or friction, oxygen, fuel…” Anna replied.
“Exactly! There is plenty of oxygen, and you can produce the heat and fuel with your magic!” he crowed triumphantly. Anna was startled.
“Do you mean that this is magic?” He laughed, and answered in the positive. Deliriously happy, although she was not at all sure why, Anna started to focus her power. She searched her brain for the magic. Where was it?
Ah. A small nub of power drew her attention. Could this be it? She probed deeper, investigating this unknown. It was!
Her magic flowed through her, and a small fire appeared to light in mid-air. Although it had seemed long to Anna, it had actually only taken about twenty seconds.
“Good! Good!” said Aelvyn, who was much encouraged by this. “You have a strong talent, that’s for sure.” Anna beamed at his praise.
“Thanks. What next?” She had forgotten her previous displeasure at the idea of having to learn how to use these ‘powers’ and was now desperate to get going. Aelvyn smiled.
“Now? We will learn patience. Sit there and count to one thousand.” Anna’s dismay must have shown on her face.
“Do I have to?” she whined, greatly miserable. Aelvyn laughed.
“I was only joking, but it’s important anyway, so get on with it.” Anna’s mouth turned down in the corners but nevertheless she folded her legs and started to count.
“One, two, three…”
“Not aloud, child!” Aelvyn sighed. “Do you have no common sense?” Anna bowed her head, laughing.
“Sorry.” The thought of her parents stopped her laughter at once, and she focused once more, knowing that to rescue them she had to learn these things. After barely fifteen minutes she had finished.
“Done!” she exclaimed, extremely relieved. After all, fifteen minutes in the general scheme of things might not matter too much.
“Okay.” Anna sat in silence for a moment, waiting for Aelvyn to say something more. She was about to ask him what they would be doing next, and then it occurred to her that this might be part of her training.
“Good. You have learnt well,” said Aelvyn after ten minutes of silence. “Very well. Show me what you can do with water.” He pointed to a glass of the said liquid, which sat innocently on the desk.
Anna concentrated. With supreme effort, she could lift the water out of the glass and it would not spill, but it was hard work. Obviously her affinity with water was not as great as her affinity with fire. She let the water fall back into the glass with a sigh of relief, and turned to face Aelvyn.
“Not quite so good. You need to work on that - for a fairy to have one element that is weaker than the others will be a grave disadvantage to them.” Anna was disappointed. She had expected at least a little praise.
“Which element will we move onto now?” she said instead, trying to hide her disappointment and get on with things, because she knew this training was important.
“Earth.” Aelvyn’s ghost stood up. “But for this, we will need to go outside.”