I’ve been reading a lot of suggestions about Sophia’s magical education. Mine is a bit unconventional. How about a moral conundrum?
At some point in Sophia’s life, a a group of soldiers arrive in search of a thief, a student of the magical academy who’s stolen a rare magical artifact.
Sophia is put in the position to either out him to the authorities, earning a reward and the good will of the mages academy. Alternatively she can help the thief, earning his gratitude as an accomplished mage and thief, possibly gaining a connection to a seedy magical underworld.