William led Stefan to a bigger rock- large enough to be called a boulder. Even he wouldn’t be able to lift it, and he would need an exceptionally strong stick to use as a lever, if the soft dirt below would even allow for the possibility. “So then, what if I told you to move this boulder from here to over there?”
Stefan immediately took his stick and proceeded to try to move the boulder. What resulted was the stick sinking into the ground with no effect on the boulder, as predicted. “I can’t do it.”
William wondered whether he should just say what he wanted to, but he really liked the visualization he had planned. In the end, he just made sure to add a disclaimer. “I’m going to show you another method. Just like the stick, it will work for some things, and not for other things. In this case, we just want the boulder to be over there, no matter what.” William placed his hand on the boulder, and began a chant. It wasn’t a great chant, but William was improvising. “O’ earth, just as the passage of time crumbles mountains, so too crumble this rock!” As he finished, there was a cracking sound, and a small chunk of the boulder separated. William had learned by accident that it was quite easy to break rocks at particular lines. That didn’t mean he could separate things into straight lines and sizes he wanted… but if he didn’t care about exactly how or where it happened, breaking rocks into smaller pieces was simple. William took the smaller piece and handed it to Stefan. “Take this over there.”
Stefan brought the rock the dozen steps to where William indicated, and by the time he got back William had another piece for him. He carried that piece, and then another, and another, and eventually there was a pile of rocks that was the former boulder.
“See that Stefan? You moved that giant boulder!” William grinned. “Now, this technique won’t work for everything. Do you know why?”
“Not everything is a rock.”
“Hmm, okay… why else?”
“… It’s broken.”
“That’s right. Some things can be taken apart and put back together, and some things can’t. If you wanted to move a big table or a house, you wouldn’t do it this way, because it wouldn’t be any good when you got there. Still, it does work for things that you just have to move, if it’s okay that they are broken.” William brought Stefan back to where they had been working with the soil, just to change to a different environment. “Now, I want you to try to move the dirt again.”
Lines appeared on Stefan’s face as he concentrated, then started slowly chanting, “O’ earth, heed my call. Change thine form to nourish the plants of the earth, and to hold them in your care.” This time, he moved the dirt… though just a small patch. Stefan did it again, and then again, before finally he had moved a patch about the same size as William had. William was glad to see he got the actual point of the lesson, and didn’t think it was just about rocks. “I did it, Josef, I did it!”
“You sure did, I saw you move the dirt!” When they dug down to see how Stefan had done, while it wasn’t exactly the same as William’s, he didn’t expect that. It was good enough for a first- and second, third, and fourth try. Beyond that it showed that Stefan could, in fact, use that spell.
“Big Brother Josef… why is your light spell different from mommy and daddy’s?”
“Hmm? What do you mean?” William didn’t think he normally created a light particularly stronger or weaker than his parents.
“Well, theirs looks like the sun, but yours is white.”
“Ah… well…” William had never noticed, but he could easily guess what caused that. When his parents imagined light, it made sense to think of the sun and its somewhat yellowish tint. Meanwhile, when William thought of creating light, he thought of things like lightbulbs. While some of those created yellowish light as well, many of them created a white light. In William’s mind, that was the most pure form of light… which he supposed was backed scientifically as well. “It’s just the way I think about it. If you imagine, you can make different kinds of colors.”
“Oh. I didn’t know that.”
William stared at a piece of bread that was covered in mold. He nodded in satisfaction. Contrary to what he thought, making a piece of bread moldy wasn’t easy. At least, not in a way that proved to him that he made it that way. Next to it was another piece of bread that was perfectly normal… as well as a third piece that was just starting to mold. This was the more important part, because the mold wasn’t his actual goal. However, it wasn’t really possible to observe the lack of mold on a bread and conclude that he caused that, at least not without some proof that he could do anything with mold at all. He supposed a single result as he expected wasn’t exactly scientifically rigorous… but it had already taken him a long time to get to this point.
He hadn’t remained idle while waiting to see if his various generations of bread slices would mold. He had been working on theorizing different ways to make a magical formation that could accomplish the results he wanted. Unfortunately, he didn’t know every magical material’s possible functions, and he also didn’t know what their name was in the gevai language. He was mostly limited to the materials he could recognize by sight, or describe to shopkeepers- those who would talk to a child of almost twelve years old. He had still managed to make progress on some of the basic design with some cheaper things he thought he would need. William hadn’t realized how hard it was to design something for proper use without abundant materials and information available… but he was coming to appreciate it.