Lance loved magic. He always had, ever since he was little when his mother had taken him to see a magic show and he had been selected to go on stage to help with a trick. From then on, he would read every book he could on how to do magic. He would save up all his pocket money to buy those magic kits you could get from stores and he would demand his family come and watch his shows. As he got older, Lance became more aware of the fact that actual magic was the biggest illusion of them all. It was all sleight of hand and distractions, but he didn’t let that knowledge chase away the joy he got from watching a show. Now, he would keep an eye on the magician’s hands and wait for the trick to occur so that he could see how it was done.
When he had been old enough to go to university, he had decided that he would study the performance arts. When asked why that course, he would simply reply that it was because he was meant for the stage. In truth, it was because he wanted to be the guy up there on the stage, performing in front of a crowd, making them watch one hand while he did the actual trick in the other. It was a hard struggle, the classes were difficult, and the students were highly strung, but Lance wouldn’t have it any other way.
Altea University was famous for many things; its prestigious professors, unique courses and it’s beautiful campus. Thousands of students would attend each year, hoping that this year would be the year that finals didn’t kill them. The faculty knew that this was a hard time for their student body and so a few years ago, created a festival the week after finals hell week to lift their spirits. They would invite performers of every kind to attend and showcase their skills at the lovingly named Revival Festival.
Lance loved the Revival Festival. He would walk through the winding paths, watching each performer, taking notes on how they entranced the crowd and what could work for him. His favourites, of course, were the magicians. He could watch them all day, doing trick after trick, some having a permanent assistant, while others performed solo. He had been wandering the Festival grounds for the past couple of hours, allowing the chaotic atmosphere to take his mind off the fact that he had almost failed one of his exams the week prior.
There was a crowd forming in front of him, the oohs and ahhs echoing out made Lance wonder what kind of performer was there. Pushing his way through to the front of the crowd he saw that it was a magician. The young man was doing a card trick, using his flashy moves to impress the gathered crowd. Lance could tell that he was a skilled magician, his sleight of hand was spot on with the way that he was able to move the cards into the order he wanted. He was impressive.
“For any newcomers who have joined us,” he said with a flourish of cards, “My name is Keith Kogane and I have been performing magic for over ten years. Magic is a secret art, passed down from generation to generation in my family. Each one ensuring that the true magic of the world is never forgotten. I am happy to be here today to share with you, something that I feel everyone should witness at least once in their lifetime.”
As he watched the magician continue to shuffle the cards, Lance spotting something on the ground near his foot. It was a card. The Seven of Spades to be exact. Being careful as to not draw attention to himself, he shifted his foot so that it was covering the card. Then, bending down as to look like he was tying his shoe, he lifted his foot slightly and took the card in hand and slipped it into his jacket sleeve. Once it was securely hidden, Lance stood upright again and waited for the magician to start his next trick.
“I am going to need a volunteer for my next trick!” Keith called out after he had finished shuffling the cards.
Lance, knowing this was the perfect chance to have some fun, put his hand up, making sure to school his face into something of an innocent yet enthusiastic smile. Catching the eye of the magician, Lance smiled at him and knew the moment he had been picked.
“How about the gentleman over here? What’s your name sir?”
“Lance,” he said, his insides vibrating with the rush he got when he was in front of a crowd.
“Alright Lance, I need you to pick a card at random and tell myself and the crowd what it is,” Keith said.
Lance smirked internally. “How about… The Seven of Spades?”
“The Seven of Spades? Ok, now watch the cards carefully,” he said as he started to flash the cards to the crowd, “I am going to make your card come to the top of the deck.”
Lance watched as he shuffled the deck again, while it looked flashy he could tell that it was a precise system, a way for the magician to ensure that the named card would end up on top. But what Keith didn’t know was that he didn’t even have the card. It was still sitting snugly in Lance’s jacket sleeve.
“And... Voila!” the magician said, and he took the top card off the deck and flashed it to Lance, “Is this your card?”
The card he was holding was the Ace of Hearts.
Lance chucked, “No.”
He could see Keith’s look of confusion as he twisted the card to check which card it was. But Lance wasn’t finished, he knew that the crowd was perfectly primed for the surprise twist to this act. “But this is,” he said as he slipped the card from out of his sleeve and held it up between two of his fingers and showed the gathered crowd.
The gasps of surprise and amazement were so, so satisfying. The deafening chorus of cheers erupted from all around him. Lance lapped it up, the cheers were for him, though he did feel bad for the magician, who had done most of the work for the act. Lance then placed the Seven of Spades on top of deck, still sitting limply in the magician’s hands, and walked away.
He had barely gotten fifteen feet away when a hand came from behind him, grabbing his arm and spinning him back around. It was Keith, his eyes wide with curiosity.
“How did you do that?” he asked frantically, “How did you make that card appear?”
Lance blinked comically, did a magician actually think he had performed real magic? Well, he could work with this. Straightening his back, Lance smiled before tapping his nose knowingly, “A magician never reveals his secrets.”