Back in the cafe, Cae and Sal (the owner of the establishment)
were in disagreement on how, exactly, to handle what Rimas had done.

Cae and Sal (an otter) argue behind the counter. Cae has an expression of exasperation, and Sal has an expression of calm wisdom.
Who are you calling a bitch?
You watch your language, that's my niece you're talking about.

Sal, your niece is about to burn down the goddamn building.
I think this warrants calling her a bitch!

Oh, I'm sure it's not that serious.
Why, her father and I were more or less brothers.
That's why I call her my niece, you know.
Can't believe it's been 23 years since old Sammy boy passed.
Did I ever tell you the story of what happened the day he died?

Yes, only about fifty times, give or take.
But sure, one more couldn't hurt.

Well, you see, the doctors couldn't say for sure what he was sick with.
They tried saying it was cancer, but all the biopsies came back negative!
Tried saying it was organ failure, but they couldn't find a cause.
It's like his body just up and decided to fall apart.
I tell ya, to say I was furious with those quacks would be an understatement.
I walked up to one of em, and I said, hey, you got my brother in there.
Now, you take a kidney from me, blood, whatever he needs. Don't you let him die.
Take my liver too if he needs it!
Hell, the poor bastard was only forty. He had no business up and dying on us.

Cae reaches under the counter, touching a shotgun for a moment before lifting his hand and reaching further back into the shadows.

Sal, for the last time, move this gun someplace safer!
Like, oh, I dunno, a safe??
This is just irresponsible, I almost grabbed the damn thing.

Oh, you gen Y kids are just afraid of guns.

I am a veteran, Sal!
... Ah, there it is. This should really be in front of the gun.

Anyway, where was I...


Oh, right. So they told me, well, we can't just take your liver.
They told me they still had no idea what exactly was wrong with him.
It's the doctor's job to figure that out, and Sammy's life was on the line!
I just about up and slugged that doctor. But I didn't.
Sammy, he was a pacifist. He wouldn't have been happy if I did.

So that was the only thing stopping you?
You oughtn't punch a doctor, especially not in a hospital.

Audrey, an owl, looks out from the kitchen window, her big eyes open wide.
Forget doctors, girlie's on fire over there!
Shouldn't we... Y'know... call the fire department??

Nah, no reason to go to all that trouble. I got this.

That bravado a' yours is gonna hurt somebody.
I got my finger on the emergency number, so be quick!

Doesn't get any less sad no matter how many times I tell it.
I had no choice but to let my best friend go.
Can you imagine what that's like? How that feels?
We sure as hell weren't kids, no sir.
But we weren't old men neither! He shouldn't have died!

Sal, a younger man with red hair, pulls his cap down to cover his face. In the hospital room, Rimas sleeps on her father's leg as he slowly closes his eyes.
Sure, I put on a tough guy face. Sure I do. I'm a man.
But, damn it, sometimes a man's gotta cry.
You lose your best friend, especially when you weren't ready...
Who am I kidding, no one's ever ready for that.
I still remember standing outside his waiting room.
Rimas's older sister and her mother were asleep on a bench.
It was late at night, you know. I might well have been the only one awake.
There was a loud bang. Like a firework went off.
A bright flash of light lit that whole hallway. And I knew what it meant.
I heard the heartrate monitor flatline. I had been giving Rimas her privacy.
But that sound, and what followed. I rushed in there.
And it was the darndest thing. It was like a light from nowhere.
Rimas was glowing for a moment. But she woke up and she looked at Sam and she knew.
The poor dear was just seven, Cae. Imagine losing your dad that young.
But, young as she was, she knew her dad was gone. I went back out into the hallway.
I woke Francine, her mother, and I told her what had happened.
She got Theresa, Rimas's older sister, to wake up.
And we all went in there together, and we said goodbye.
I just know his spirit was hanging around to hear us out. I know it.

Rimas holds a fire in her hands. A tear falls down her cheek as she looks up and smiles. Marcel smiles back at her, but turns to the right, grimacing. The view changes to one from across the dining area, showing Marcel looking at the camera as he grimaces, with Rimas still looking up at him and smiling. Cae holds up a fire extinguisher as Sal looks over his shoulder, and as Audrey looks on from the kitchen. The view zooms in on Cae, and he winks as he holds up the fire extinguisher.

Marcel... I did it. I did it!
I finally figured out how to do my dad's fire trick!
He used to flick his thumb and a flame would appear on top of it.
He always said it was a lighter... But I knew. I knew there was no lighter.
He was using magic. He always was. And now... now... so can I!
Isn't this amazing? It took me two decades! Twenty-three long years...

Whoo! That's... That's great, Reem!
Look at you go!

Marcel turned to Cae from across the cafe with a desperate expression.

Do something. Please do something. Now.

Oh I'll do something alright.

Wait, what? Oh no! Rimas is on fire! Lawrence, do something!

I've been telling you that!

Rimas looks off to her left as the nozzle of a fire extinguisher slides into view. Her smile fades moments before the fire extinguisher douses her with cold foam.
No smoking.




Rimas's iced latte was, of course, ruined. Marcel had covered his coffee.
Rimas did not yet know it, but this was the first step on a long road for her.
She would, one day, become one of the greatest mages the world had ever seen.
This was the first spell cast by the one who would one day be hailed as Archmagus.
But, across the city, Cae's younger sibling had seen another first step.