“Here ya’ go,” said the old woman as she handed over the vial of shimmering red liquid. “I’m not responsible for what happens.” Michael paid with a wad of dirty bills. Now he had two of the three talismans he needed to win Vanessa’s heart. One of the earth, one of the sea, and one of the air. The crystal he obtained at Grolwyth was of the earth and this mystical potion was of the sea. All he needed now was something of the air. How would he ever find it?
The witch was reading his mind. “I can’t help you there, I’m afraid.”
“But I need . . .”
“You need a chimera.”
“A spirit of the ether. To guide you. Only you can create it, and it will live only in your imagination.”
“Some call them that.”
“But how . . .”
“It will come when your need grows extreme.”
But I will die without Vanessa!”
“So you will.”
“But I’m not a practitioner of the magic arts!”
“You don’t need to be. All you have to do is believe. Trust me.”
“But how can I believe if I can’t . . .”
“The magic will come.”
Michael thought he saw something flicker at the corner of his eye, but it was too fast to catch.
He looked around the small magic shop. There were potions and formulas stored on old, dusty shelves. The only light came from a hurricane lantern on the table where the wrinkled witch sat. Shadows flickered along the walls, seemingly hiding mysterious beings. If only he could believe, truly believe . . .
“Be on your way then,” implored the old woman.
“But I really do believe in Vanessa!”
“Leave, and your chimera may follow.”
Reluctantly he opened the door and stepped out. He did not notice the ethereal spectre following him.