I sat in the middle of the teahouse floor, surrounded by five empty teacups – pieces from the finest cast-iron set that I own.
It was dusk, the fading light indicative of my increase in power. Magic, it so happens, is always stronger in the dark, when it becomes possible to see reality without the handicap of vision.
First, I had washed the leaves in hot water, rinsing them thoroughly to remove any impurities. Then, I began the first steep. I let the tea steep for exactly three minutes and thirty-three seconds before dividing the water between the five teacups.
I repeated this process ten times, until I had eleven steeps and the cups were full to the brim, just shy of overflowing.
Now, one of the unique characteristics of this tea is that the tip of each leaf is gold in color. I selected five fresh leaves and placed them each in the five teacups, the golden tips pointed skywards.
And then, I waited.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long. A thick steam began to rise up from the cups, eventually clouding the room with fog, my skin burning from the heat. As the temperature continued to climb, I longed to run from my teahouse into the cool night air, into freedom, but I remained seated, waiting for an appearance.