Zing! And just like that, the evil Count Simon was turned into a newt. Albi brushed his hands off, nodding in approval of his fine work.
I’m sorry, you entered in the middle of me telling a story. Don’t you know it’s rude to interrupt someone when he’s speaking? What was that? You’d like to hear my tale? Well, I suppose I can back up and start again. The other listeners won’t be pleased, but they’ll just have to make the sacrifice for your sake. Okay. Here we go.
And that was how the kingdom was saved from the maleficent dragon for the third time by our story’s hero, Albi the wizard.
I didn’t back up far enough? Picky, picky. Fine. From the very beginning.
On the twelfth of November in the early 13th century, a beautiful baby boy was born to two happy peasant parents. They had wanted a child for years, but their wishes were never granted. When the mother learned she had a baby—she actually didn’t realize it until that very day—she could not contain her excitement. From her bed, she yelled to all her neighbors the good news. They were of course pleased for her, but they secretly wished she would keep her voice down. It was four in the morning, after all.
The first order of business for the new parents was to name their son. They did not know he was coming, so they had not taken the time to brainstorm. The father wanted to name him John, after the long male lineage of Johns in their family. The mother desired him to be called Chrysanthemum, after her favorite flower. They compromised and settled on Albert. They were a very agreeable couple that had no scuffles. After calling their baby son Albert a few times, they determined that his name was a mouthful, so they shortened it to Albi. They were agreeable but illogical.
Albi was a handful of a kid, not because of his magical powers, but because he was your standard, run-of-the-mill, obnoxious schoolboy. Take note of the magical powers part; it might be important later. Who am I kidding, it will be important later, so pay attention.
Anyway, Albi lived his life like a normal boy, going to school, roughhousing in the abandoned cornfield, role-playing that he was a wizard, you know, the usual. Except he wasn’t pretending he was a wizard, but he didn’t realize it at the time. No, he didn’t fully know he had magic infused in him until one fateful day during his thirteenth year of life.
That was the day the dragon first attacked Albi’s village.
The gigantic, fang-baring, fire-breathing, scale-wearing fiend swooped down without warning in the middle of the night. To make a sad story short, within five minutes there was almost nothing left in the town. Fortunately, most of the inhabitants survived, but they were now without homes, food, or livelihoods. Now how does this relate to Albi’s discovery of his magical powers? I’ll tell you.
When the dragon soared overhead, Albi subconsciously started spewing out nonsense words. It was a blur of consonants and vowels, somehow strung together in a logical enough pattern for something grand to happen. You might even say it was magical. Well, of course you would: it was magic. Out of his hands came little sparks, shooting in wild directions. For the first four minutes of the dragon’s attack, Albi was so engrossed in the ongoing destruction that he failed to realize what he was doing. During the final minute, he finally glanced down at his sparking hands, now glowing with enchanted forces. Now he couldn’t take his eyes off his digits, so he never saw the dragon finally leave. As a teenager, Albi had a one-track mind: once something commanded his attention, he was all there. And now his focus was fully on his newly discovered magic.
For the next ten years, Albi practiced daily, nightly, and everything in between to hone his powers. He progressed from harmless sparks to dangerous flames. From changing tadpoles to frogs (not that impressive), to transforming frogs to toads (which requires sufficient biological knowledge). From making potions that tasted funny, to creating concoctions that tasted funny but also gave the drinker unlimited wisdom for ten minutes. By the end of this montage-esque chronology, Albi had become quite the proficient magician. He could not be called a wizard yet; that requires validation from a king. So that’s what Albi sought out to get.
For seven days and four nights (he was learning to control time, too), the burgeoning magician trekked to the kingdom’s capital, where he planned to meet the king, show off his magic, and earn the title of wizard. And that is precisely what happened. What, you thought he was going to run into monsters and other obstacles along the way? Or that the king wouldn’t be there? What do you think this is, some sort of half rate fairy tale? No, when Albi demonstrated his magic to the king, he immediately appointed Albi as Head Wizard of the kingdom. Along with the title came one important task: slaying the dragon, which had been rampaging village after village for generations. Albi solemnly accepted.
Now, the dragon was not one to exclude others, so it didn’t limit its preying to Albi’s kingdom. That destruction only occupied half of the dragon’s time. The remaining portion was devoted to ransacking the neighboring kingdom. A kingdom where another person of magic resided.