For the safety of the only crystal ball in the palace, Toadmila did not bring Patch to the wizard's tower. Kitty stayed behind too, to keep an eye on the puppy. Toadmila was glad she'd left them both in her rooms when Lefroy began his examination of the spells placed on Raven. He circled the bird a few times, studying him intently, then he began throwing light spells at him, testing the spells that kept him looking human. Every now and then, a spell would hit a vulnerable spot or a counter-spell, and sparks would fly about the room. Raven winced a few times, but he didn't complain.
“It's not the usual illusion,” Lefroy said, finishing his examination. “His body has been physically modified to be human. It must have been very painful.”
“Were there several attempts?” Lefroy asked.
Raven nodded again.
“Perhaps the first transformation was imperfect, and there were further changes made afterwards?” Lefroy tried.
Raven nodded again.
“I can't help you if you don't talk to me,” Lefroy said coldly. “If you want to be a raven again, you'll have to tell us everything. Do you remember the spells, how they were made?”
“Familiars are not allowed to use magic,” Raven answered.
“No, but they have excellent memories,” Lefroy said. “Do you remember the wand movements, or the words se used for the spell?”
Raven hesitated for a second. He looked at Toadmila as if to ask permission, and she gave him an encouraging smile. Finally, he nodded.
“Good!” Lefroy said, fumbling through the drawers of his desk. “I have pens and paper. Write down everything that you can remember. Draw the motions of the wand if you need to.”
“I don't want this done to anyone else,” Raven said. “I don't want the spells to be known.”
“Didn't your old master write them down?” Lefroy asked.
Raven shook his head.
“She thought she was going to remember them...” he said. “Until the day when she couldn't remember her spells anymore, when she couldn't even remember my name, when she couldn't remember that I haven''t always been human. And then she needed me to be human, to look after her. I couldn't have asked her to change me back.”
“This eternal youth spell you have on you,” Lefroy said, “couldn't she have used it on herself?”
“It's not an eternal youth spell,” Raven pointed out. “It stops time. It keeps you at the age you were when it was cast. She said she was too old already, when she invented it. She said she didn't want to stay an old woman forever.”
“Can you at least remember that spell?” Lefroy asked.
“I don't want it used on anyone,” Raven said, rasing his head a little higher. “People think immortality is such a good thing, but it's not. There'd be so many who'd want to try it, and so many to regret it.”
“It won't be a problem if we can find a way to undo the spell,” Lefroy pointed out.
“If,” Raven said. “And if you can't? If there'll be others trapped like me in this curse?”
“It's not a curse,” Toadmila interfered.
“It is a curse,” Raven insisted, knitting his eyebrows. “To see the ones you love grow old an die and to be unable to join them, to be left behind, to see the world change around you, to be trapped in this body for eternity...”
“She's talking out of a textbook,” Lefroy pointed out.
“It's not a curse,” Toadmila said, ignoring him. “A curse always has malice in it, and it can be broken by anti-curse spells. No matter how complicated the curse, all it takes is a powerful spell to break it. There's no need to understand how it was made, or to undo it step by step. But this is not a curse. There's no malice in it. Whoever cast this spell, did it out of love. There's nothing but good in it, nothing but the desire to do good. That's why it can't be broken like a curse. That's why we need to understand how it was done if we want to undo it. Even then, we might not succeed. It's a spell woven with love, and love is the strongest power there is.”
Raven covered his face with his hands and took a deep breath.
“You'll use it,” he said, after a moment's recollection.
“I would use it,” Lefroy said.
Raven let his hands fall slowly. His face was impenetrable.
“I cannot give you the spells,” he said. “They are not to be used. Even if I stay as I am, I will not let others go through what I've been through.”