I have to move the air.
I saw that I had to move the heat haze around the flame. The clear shimmering current of hot air.
I deepened my concentration.
Flow. Flow… Faster.
The movement of the heat haze sped up abruptly.
In the next instant the fire was whipping from side to side as if blown by gusts of wind.
I did it.
It was a brilliant moment of success.
I didn’t believe that I could do it. That I could move something at will, without using my hand.
I took a big breath and once again reached out to the flames with my consciousness.
“That’s enough. Stop.” A severe voice cut in.
My concentration collapsed like a house of cards, the image I had in my mind swallowed by darkness.
“Your last desire is your cantus.”
I wasn’t able to comprehend what that meant right away.
“Cast away all your desires. In order to be enlightened, they must be purged by the flames.”
I couldn’t believe it. I just got my cantus. Why did I have to give it up again?
“You must return to the gods the power granted to you by heaven. From now on, your cantus will be sealed in this human emblem.”
Disobedience was not allowed. A doll made of two pieces of folded paper was placed in front of me. On the head and torso were mysterious Sanskrit-looking characters.
“Control the emblem and make it stand.”
This task was considerably harder than the last. In addition, my heart was too conflicted for me to concentrate.
But eventually, the emblem fluttered and stood up.