Chapter 31

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“I’m sorry.” Lilly sighed. “I–I just can’t.”
“You did it before.” I shook my head. “Pretty sure you could do it again. You just… your mind isn’t willing.”
“I’m trying. It’s just…”
“I know…” I sighed.
We’d been at The Lab for four days, and Lilly had yet to repeat her initial success with her power. Seems as soon as she felt what it was like to give in to her ability, some part of her mind became totally unwilling to face it again.
“Look, this isn’t working.” I shook my head. “We have to go back to The Academy soon, and if you haven’t gained control by then…”
“I’m sorry. I–I know it’s important. If I have to risk losing control now to ensure I can stop myself when it really matters, then I’ll do it. But…”
“But your subconscious mind is still too afraid to face it.” Another sigh. “Until you break through that mental block, there’s no way for you to get the training you need.”
“I’ll try meditating a bit more,” Lilly suggested.
I nodded.
Those who haven’t tried magic often think it’s easy. That all you need to do is light some candles, recite a spell/prayer, and have everything go your way. It’s not. As a great man once said, “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” It’s all about determination. Willpower. In order to use it properly, you need a clear mind, without any doubt. Then, and only then, can you make some small part of the universe bend to your will.
Meditation helps remove the everyday distractions from your mind, but it has its limits. It reaches a deeper part of your mind, and if that part is screaming “I don’t want to do this”, it’s rather difficult to change that.
“May I offer a suggestion?” AIINACS said.
“Go ahead.” Lilly sighed. “At this point, I’m willing to consider anything.”
“It’s clear that you’re afraid to face the feeling–the ecstasy–that comes with using your power. Meditation does not seem to alleviate that fear, so I see little point in trying it any further.”
“Then what will remove my fear?”
“The proper motivation.”
“The proper motivation? I used mind control to convince a priest that we’re prophets, and I’d do anything to ensure that never happens again. If that’s not enough motivation, I don’t know what is.”
“A long-term, abstract goal. We require something immediate and concrete.” A pause. “You said you were willing to consider anything, correct?”
She nodded.
“In that case… I suggest we go the opposite route. Instead of trying to clear your mind, we should attempt to force you to lose control. If we succeed, then you may practice resisting the urge to use your power.”
“All I’m interested in is learning how to stop myself, so… that sounds a lot easier. Why didn’t we just do this from the beginning?”
“How exactly do we force her to use her power?” I asked, sensing I would not like the answer.
“That’s why I was hesitant to mention it, Lilly… I’ve been searching for a better method, but it seems there’s only one way: Someone would need to torture you, and not stop until you take control of their mind.”

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