Kennedy nursed the back of her reddening hand and glared at Simon, daring him to laugh.
He said, undeterred amusement coloring his voice, “If you didn’t flail your wand around like you’re swatting flies, that wouldn’t happen.”
She transferred her glare to the offending twig she called her wand. Not much thicker than a reed, it had the tendency to whip back and strike her on the back of the hand if she got too enthusiastic with her casting.
“What’s the point of learning this, Simon? If a witch’s power is reflected in the size of her wand, then I’m useless.” She scowled at her wand again. “Less than useless, really. I’d be better off learning alchemy or something.”
“You know once your wand appears you have no choice but to become a witch. Why are we going over this again?”
“It gave me a welt this time!” She showed him the back of her hand.
“Learn some finesse. You can’t charge headlong into things and blast them with a wand like that. You need to think ahead, do some planning. Now let’s try again.” He held up the toad again. It sat calm in the palm of Simon’s hand, looking unconcerned to Kennedy.
Kennedy stuck her tongue out at it but jumped back when Simon lifted the amphibian as if give her a toady kiss. The stupid thing didn’t flinch.
“Eww. Ok ok. I’m going.”
She raised her wand, coming perilously close to ducklips as she concentrated. “Finesse,” she muttered. “I’ve got your finesse right here.” Eyes narrowed, she started a series of small controlled flicks with her wand. Every move flowed naturally into the next, forming an elaborate picture drawn with the end of her wand. Simon leaned forward, hope in his eyes. Maybe this time she’d get it right, she had a tight movement this time.
The toad twitched. Kennedy’s motions increased in speed. This was where she’d lost it last time, she’d gotten impatient and tried to bull her way to the end of the spell. She kept her control this time, speeding up without adding the emphasis that had earned her the welt.
“That’s it, Kennedy. You’re doing great.” His voice was soft but encouraging. He didn’t like seeing her fail over and over again.
The image she’d drawn with her wand flowed towards the toad and settled around it’s head, merging with it’s skin, turning it bright pink.
“I did it!”
She jumped at Simon and he caught her to his chest, smiling down at her. “Yes, you did. I knew you could.”