“Would you like to learn real magic?” The boy snorts. “There’s no such thing.”
Excellent short story. As with the best of any genre, it is compact and forceful. Little fluff; lots of misdirection.
“The Guild is for magicians who feel the need to compete with each other. The Palace trains magicians who feel compelled to compete against themselves.” It’s perhaps the truest thing I’ll ever tell him.
Read it at one sitting; it’s short enough. Let yourself go to the power and flow of the narrator. It increases the final impact.
“Is magic only a trick I haven’t figured out yet?”