I rubbed the mirror with the piece of cloth it came with to try to get rid of the cloudiness. It was more difficult that I had anticipated. I used my cantus, imagining the dirt falling off of the mirror, and gradually the bronze regained its pinkish-gold luster.
Ever since I found the mirror, I had been thinking that it was a magic mirror.
Magic mirrors are a kind of mirror created using a technique that has existed since the ancient times. You can’t see anything by simply looking at it, but if you direct the light of the sun hitting it onto a surface, words or pictures appear in the projection. It worked by scattering light from micron-thin variations in thickness of the bronze. The projections only show up in sunlight; candles, torches, and phosphorescent lights have no effect.
In the past, the bronze first had to be ground down to the proper thinness, then the design was painstakingly scratched into the bronze and polished until it was invisible to the naked eye. But it was the subject of one of our first practical lessons at Sage Academy. In order to master the delicate touch needed to control our cantus, we all had to create a magic mirror. I remember completing mine in just one lesson. It said “Saki” and had arabesque designs on it. I thought I had done a splendid job.
I tracked the sun with the mirror and directed it at the wall of a building near the dock.
The letters that appeared in the circle of light were so clumsy that they seemed more like messy sketches. Still, they clearly spelled “Yoshimi”.
When I entered the classroom, Ryou was chatting and laughing with his friends, as usual. Most of them were from team two.
“Hey, I’m counting on you today,” Ryou said when he spotted me, smiling with perfect confidence.
“I need to talk to you.”
“Sure, where should we go?”
“Doesn’t matter, it won’t take long.”
I stood up and left the classroom. Ryou, aware that his friends were watching, put on an air of self-possessed calm and followed. I stopped in the middle of the hallway that led to the inner courtyard.
“There are a few things I want to ask you.”