Within five steps, Jem and Sapphire were in a different world. The place Jem lived in was otherworldly–Sapphire recognized it as an illusion hidden in the midst of the city. Here was soft grass beneath her feet, a fountain in front of a modest-looking house, and a patch of flowers further off. Unlike the city, the broad sky could be seen. It was a quiet place, much more tranquil than the city and even the village Sapphire had come from.
“Why do you go out to the city when you have this place?” Sapphire asked.
Jem slowed and turned around, smiling sadly. “I was the only one here.”
“What about your wife and children? Siblings? Maids?” she asked.
“Nonexistent,” he answered. “I went to the city in search of an apprentice.”
“You have one now, Jem,” Sapphire said, beaming. “You won’t be alone anymore.”
Jem turned the knob of the house and entered, holding the door open for Sapphire as she followed. “I wonder how many men had heard you say that.”
“None,” she replied, “They say it to me.”
He led her past the common room and upstairs. They passed through a long corridor. “This is my room,” Jem gestured towards a closed door along the way. “And from now on, this one will be yours.” They stopped in front of a room at the end of the corridor.
Sapphire pushed the heavy wooden door open. There were three floor-length windows, with dark purple curtains on either side of each. The middle of the room was vacant, with a soft bed on one side and a table and closet on the other.
“The space here is for practicing,” Jem explained. “I designed it just a few moments ago. You can change it anytime.” He was talking about witchcraft and wizardry, of course. “You can practice outside too.”
Sapphire gave him a smile. “It looks nice.”
Jem nodded. “Now, let’s head out and you’ll show me what else you know. Just don’t use me as specimen.”