TITLE: The Chef's Apprentice
GENRE: Fantasy, late MG
Ottili is approaching Polycure Castle, where she's supposed to get her unruly magic under control. She's just met Arnit, who works at the castle. (He scans her face for physical signs of magic.)
“Are you an apprentice?” Ottili asked the boy.
“Not yet,” he said, reddening a little.
“Don’t have your magic yet?”
He frowned and said nothing.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you Arnit. I’m Ottili.”
“I know. Nice to meet you Ottili.”
“Are there other apprentices?”
Ottili looked out the window.
“I’m not one of them, you know.”
Arnit looked at her sharply.
“What are you then?”
“I’ve dunno. My mother sent me here because my magic makes her embarrassed.” She could feel Arnit looking at her forehead.
“It’s on my neck,” she said helpfully.
“Actually, there’s only one other apprentice. She’s Gala.”
“Oh.” Ottili wondered if this was a bad sign. She hoped they weren’t expecting much of her.
“Is it true that you use magic to help the harvest?”
“I told you, I don’t have me magic.”
“Well, I meant you as in, you know, you people.”
“You people.” Arnit shook his head and looked out the window. “Yes, that’s right,” he said a little curtly. “We’re the bread basket, aren’t we. Not sure we’d manage it without magic.”
The coach rounded a corner and pulled through two tall stone gates.
Arnit flicked his head toward the window.
“We’re here. Better be ready to show your stuff, then.”
“Wolf. He’d be expecting you to get to work right away.”
“That’s not what I was told,” Ottili said, although in truth Vesna hadn’t actually told her anything.