Choices

“Let’s order the Chicken Wings. They’re great here.”

“Oh no. Jude hates chicken wings. We’ll have to go with something else”, came Amy’s reply.

“What are you talking about? Jude and I love the chicken wings here. It’s our favourite thing to order.” Jude’s new girlfriend clearly has a few things to learn, Sam thought to herself.

Amy laughed, “You’re kidding, right? Jude, tell Sam how much you hate chicken wings. She’s obviously got your tastes mixed up with someone else’s”.

“Um, no, it’s fine. We can order the chicken wings”. Jude was noticeably uncomfortable.

“What do you mean “we CAN order the wings”. You love the wings! Why is it “can”? It should be “should”!”, said Sam.

“Right, ok, I suppose it’s time to tell you.” For a guy who was about to tell her something, Jude couldn’t seem to meet Sam’s eyes. “So, the thing is, I don’t really like wings. I just order them ’cause you really like them. If I’d tell you I don’t like them, you wouldn’t order them for yourself ’cause you can’t finish them alone and then you’d miss out. Look, I don’t really care about what we eat. I mean, I don’t really prefer wings but you do, so that’s fine.”

Sam stared.

Amy looked at him strangely as well. Upon noticing, Jude immediately put his arm around her and pulled her closer. She eased.

The server came to take their order, Jude ordered the wings along with some other stuff and Sam jus continued to stare. She finally understood that it could’ve been her Jude put his arms around if she’d paid a little more attention. But seeing the way he held Amy now, that wasn’t an option anymore.

She couldn’t decide if she was sad or relieved.

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A short romance, by a romantic.

I was on the scenes of a Woody Allen movie. Well, not actually, of course, but I was in a quaint little hotel in the charming city of Jaipur, attending an evening party thrown by the eccentric, world-travelled, hotel owners, in the courtyard, sitting on a table for two with a bottle of dry red wine and a friend for company. Add to that the fact that we were two girls shortly travelling to Europe together and you can see why Woody Allen would be rushing to make this the beginning of a movie.

There was some sort of Spanish music playing on the speakers that was drowning out the sounds of the dragonflies buzzing about. The lighting was soft enough to make everyone look attractive and hour was late enough to make any joke seem funny. There was a French bloke at the table diagonally opposite ours who’d been making eyes at my Canadian friend, Stella, for most of the night. As midnight approached, he finally got the nerve to make his way over to our table and chat her up. She’d had enough wine to be an easy target and twenty minutes into their conversation, gave me an apologetic smile, and asked if it was ok that she left to “go on a walk” with him. I smiled, waved them away, and let out a sigh as soon as they were out of earshot, which was pretty soon since the music was quite loud.

I looked around—couples everywhere. I was just about to finish my glass of wine and head back, but since this is a story, that’s exactly when a tall, broad, thick black-haired Indian guy came to my table and asked if he could join me for a drink. I said yes, but only if he didn’t try to sleep with me. He laughed and said he wouldn’t dream of it. And I felt slightly insulted and silly that I’d already got myself into a position where he wouldn’t dream of sleeping with me.

He turned out to be a second generation US-Indian from New york who owned a small bohemian art gallery in Brooklyn and was travelling India trying to understand his heritage. How clichéd, I chided him. He laughed and said, just as clichéd as a beautiful Indian girl travelling to Europe to get a sense of independence. Touché.

“Why a stop in Jaipur?”, he asked.

“To get the best of the contrast in culture between here and Europe”, I replied. “Have you really come to learn about your heritage in India or are you just looking to buy beautiful art for cheap here and then sell it at a profit to your hipster friends in New York?” The wine had made me brazen.

“Ouch! That question’s loaded with prejudice, the worst one being accusing me of having hipster friends”, he replied with a gorgeous smile. He drained his wine, poured us both some more, and continued “I was dating this girl back home for three years and everything was going great till it wasn’t. She eventually broke up with me because she said I didn’t know what I wanted in life because I didn’t know who I was. She was right. So here I am.”

Ten minutes into the conversation and we’re already discussing his ex-girlfriend, I thought. It’s fine, not like I wanted to marry the guy… Did I? No. I didn’t know him. I would not marry him. Not yet, at least. Glad I sorted that out in my head.

“Your turn”, he said.

“What?”

“I told you something brimming with honesty, and now it’s your turn to do the same.”

“Fine”, I started. “I’m 27 and single because I haven’t found anyone remotely fascinating in the last six years and I’m going to Europe to be charmed by boys with an Indian fetish so I have some sort of assurance that some day, in the distant future, I will be enamoured by someone entirely fascinating and share a bed with him so I will no longer have to refrain from watching Doctor Who late at night for the fear of the weeping angles getting to me”, I paused for a breath. “Well, that’s not entirely true. I was for a brief period, sometime three years ago, crushing on a friend but I learned after ten years of knowing him that he’s a complete asshole. The rest of the ‘being fascinated and enamoured’ stuff I said is true.”

As I generally tend to do with people, I left him processing the excessive weirdness that had just exited my tongue. To his credit, he recovered faster than most though.

“That was honest. Slightly hard to follow, but honest.”

“Well, you asked for it.”

He smiled again, and I was aware of a stirring around my mid-riff.

“Listen though, I’m really not going to sleep with you. I don’t do that sort of thing. I’m still one of those few people who’s made sex to be some big deal in their heads, probably bigger than it is, and so I just can’t go around having one-night stands and things. I won’t.”

A tiny laugh escaped him and he continued smiling, “I promise you, I will not try to sleep with you tonight.”

“Good,” I replied, smiling back and feeling stupidly hurt again because he hadn’t tried harder to convince me to sleep with him. What was wrong with my brain?

We talked more. And since this is a story you can picture us talking late into the early hours of the morning, till we were the last people left in the courtyard and all the wine was over.

“What do we do now?” he asked, looking around at the empty yard. You could hear the dragonflies now. A few birds were even beginning to stir in the trees.

“Well,” I said, “if this was a movie, we’d hold hands and walk to a place where we could watch the sun rise at which point I’d turn to you, you’d look down at me, and we’d kiss.” I let the last word linger on my lips as I looked into his eyes. “But!”, I exclaimed, “it is not. So we shall instead walk to the pool, sit by it with our feet in the water, and continue talking .” With that, I got up and started walking towards the pool. He shook himself, possibly baffled at what had just happened, and followed after me.

We sat by the pool, and as we continued discussing everything from sliced bread and sport to Freud and Van Gogh, he slowly got up the courage to hold my hand, and I let him. The sun eventually stopped shirking its responsibilities and began to rise in the distant horizon. The sky flamed a gorgeous pink, the birds chirped as if their lives depended on it, and the veil of the night reluctantly began its retreat.

“Should we say goodbye now, before the spell is broken?”, I asked.

“What to do you mean?”, he asked in return.

“When the morning light fills up the sky, our spell will be broken. You will realise you have self discovery ahead of you and so will I. Our paths, as in all great stories, are star-crossed.”

“But in all great stories, everything eventually resolves itself and the boy gets the girl”, he said hopefully.

I smiled and turned to him, “What if George R.R. Martin wrote ours?”

“Then I would’ve been beheaded by now, and you’d be the captive of some bastard king. What if Woody Allen wrote ours?”, he asked.

“Then your ex-girlfriend would somehow end up here pregnant with another man’s baby, but claiming it to be yours, and I would secretly be a Hollywood actress in hiding after accidentally killing my director husband.” That got a laugh out of him.

“Whom would you want writing our story?”, he asked earnestly.

I noted the proper usage of “whom”, thought for a while, and replied, “My first instinct is to say Miss Austen, of course. But that would probably involve many years of being separated and wondering what could have been until eventually finding ourselves at an ideal later time. But I suppose that’s better than being written by one of those authors who wold have us go our separate paths and then meet years later to discover how perfectly matched we are but not be able to do anything about it since we were honourable people who didn’t want to hurt our spouses.”

“How about being written by an author who appreciated spontaneity, was a stickler for happy endings, and believed in romance?”

“In an ideal world, that would be perfect,” I sighed and rested my head upon his shoulder.

“Travel with me,” he said.

I raised my head, slightly annoyed at having to forgo comfort, “What?”

“Travel with me. Let’s forget about authors and write our own spontaneous story,” he said excitedly. “We could go anywhere you’d like, continue your trip to Europe, go on my holiday across India, or better yet, make a new plan and go somewhere entirely different.”

I laughed nervously, “We can’t do that. We barely know each other.”

“I’ve learned more about you in one night than I’ve learned about most of my friends in years”, came the retort.

“What about my friend? I can’t just leave her.”

“Oh, I’d forgotten about her”, he said but then continued with hope, “She could come with us, or I could come with you guys, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”

“That’s not what she signed up for. It wouldn’t be fair. Our author wrote us up as fair people.”

He sighed and looked into the water. I rested my head on his shoulder again wishing things were different, that they would miraculously work out. The sun was bright in the sky now and the hotel staff had begun their morning duties, someone was mowing the lawn, chairs were being pushed around, and there was generally noise around us. I tried to tune it out.

Image

Failing to tune out, I heard someone running towards me. I turned around to find Stella coming over in a bathrobe, looking excited. I roused Krish and asked Stella what the matter was.

“I have to go back home, immediately”, she answered.

“What? Why?”, I asked.

“There’s an emergency ship sailing to Greenland in a week and they’ve asked if I want to be the first officer. I know you’ll hate me for this, and I am being the worst friend ever, but this is all I’ve ever wanted! I get to be a part of a crew that goes after a whaling ship. It’s the opportunity of a life time. You must hate me right now, but please understand, this is all I’ve ever wanted!”, she pleaded.

For a second I was dumbfounded. I walked over to her, embraced her, and said, “Sail well”. She cried and burst out into “thank you”s.

I looked up at the sky, thanked my author, and turned back to look at Krish with his gorgeous smile. I was ready to be fascinated.

“If you want to impress me, compliment my mind” – a writer for Christina Yang

“I’ve told her she’s smart. I constantly tell her she’s the only funny girl I know. I go for art movies with her even though I think that stuff’s too pretentious. I listen to her ramble on about her favourite books and tv shows. I’m even nice to her overbearing mother! Yet, I get nothing!” Steve exasperated. “Her Facebook profile says her favourite quote is ‘If you want to impress me, compliment my brain’. Now, other than saying something daft like ‘I think you’re Einstein’, I don’t know in how many more ways I can tell her that she’s the smartest person I know!”

John nodded patiently as Steve went on, “She treats me like I’m one of her girlfriends, mate! She’ll tell me about the boys she’s mad at, she’ll point out the ones she fancies when we go out, and she’s always talking about that Joseph Gordon bloke! It’s like I’m some sort of asexual being to her.”

“Are you sure she’s not seriously into someone else?”, asked John.

“I don’t know. She’s got tonnes of guy friends but she doesn’t particularly talk of anyone she likes. I just don’t know.”

“Have you actually considered just asking her out?”

“What? And ruin what little we have going right now?”

“But what you have right now is clearly not working for you! Do you know that this is the third time you’ve gone on about this in the last week?”

“Hey!”

“Hey what?”

“Ugh, I don’t know. I have to go. I’m meeting her for coffee.”

“Dude, just tell her and get it over with. If she likes what she hears, hurrah, you can be an annoying happy prick, if not, we’ll go get smashed and get over it.”

Steve laughed, “Bye, John”.

He walked out of his apartment and made his way to the coffee shop. She was already sitting at their regular table by the window.

He walked up to her, slightly nervous. “Hey, Amy!”

She looked up from a book she was reading, “Oh, hey Steve! You know you’re late”.

He looked at his watch, “Just five minutes! That doesn’t count.”

“It would if there was a nuclear missile headed to destroy earth and you had to press a big red button to stop it but you didn’t because you were late and then we’d all be dead.”

He looked at her quizzically; Amy had a way of saying these things and then he didn’t know how to react. “Alright then, Amy, I’m sorry I’m late”.

Always best to apologise when in doubt, he thought.

She smiled, that gorgeous smile of hers which could light up any room, and said “It’s ok. I have some exciting news!”

“Oh, what’s up?”

“Jeremy asked me out!”, she squealed.

Steve was stunned, “What?”

“Jeremy! Remember? 6’2, handsome, a bit thick, but hey, nobody’s perfect”, she said grinning.

“Are you kidding me?”, Steve stood up and continued with a raised voice, “Are you seriously kidding me?”.

Amy looked around her in embarrassment, “Steve, what is wrong with you? Sit down!”

“I will not sit down. Jeremy? Really? Jeremy? The bloke you met five days ago, whom you compared to a male version of Marilyn Monroe, who thought you were called Annie for the first two days of knowing you, that Jeremy?”

“Steve, sit down! Why are you so offended?”

People were starting to look now.

“Why am I offended? Why? Oh, I don’t know, maybe because I’M INVISIBLE TO YOU!”, he bellowed.

Amy got up, took Steve by the arm and led him outside.

“What has gotten into you?”, she asked angrily.

“Amy, don’t you see! I’ve been nicest person in the world to you since the day I met you! I’ve done everything you wanted, I’ve even thought of the things you didn’t say you want, but I know you’d want, and done those! I’ve been nice, I’ve been as funny as I can be, I’ve laughed at all your jokes, I’ve listened to everything you’ve said, and I even complimented your beautiful brain—the one thing you say you want from a guy!”

Amy looked at her feet, took a deep breath, and looked back up. There were tears in her eyes. “You call my brain beautiful. You call my brain beautiful but you never, ever..” she was bawling now.

“Amy..”, he tried to hold her but she pushed him away.

“No. You never, you’ve never called me BEAUTIFUL!”, it was her turn to shout now. “You say it about every third girl you see! You tell me about how you find Sheila attractive, and Jane weirdly cute, and Anne, oh, you can’t stop going on about her eyes, but what about me? I get that I’m not conventionally pretty, I get that. And I’m not asking you to lie and say that I am, but at least have the courtesy to not tell me how every other girl in the world, other than me is beautiful, while I’m just smart! And I don’t need you to tell me I’m smart, I know I am! Every second person tells me I am!”

Steve was stunned, he didn’t know what to say. He tried putting his arms around her again but she just pushed him away again.

“Please don’t cry,” he implored “I.. I think you’re very beautiful. I think you’re one of the prettiest girls I know. But I don’t tell you that because I don’t want you to think that’s what I want from you. I.. I want you to know that I want you, all of you.”

Her sobbing began to slow down a bit.

“I say all those other girls are beautiful only when you’re talking about other guys. Think about it, I’ve never said it other than when you’re talking about other guys. It was just my way of dealing with my own jealousy. And, I’m.. I’m sorry.”

She looked at him for a while, trying to control her tears, “I like you too.”

“What?”

“I like you too”, she repeated.

“What about Jeremy?”

“I was just trying to move on from you.. I didn’t think you fancied me.”

“I..”

Amy didn’t let him finish, she pressed her body against his and just let him embrace her.

*This post was written for the Daily Prompt: Silver Screen— “Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!”

Misunderstandings

“I always thought you’d go for the intelligent one”

“Huh?”

“You know, when it came to dating, I thought you’d choose the intellectual-type, because, well, you’re the intellectual type. But I understand the fascination with aesthetic beauty, it bewitches us all. I suppose, it’s just that some of us are fixated temporarily whereas others are transfixed for longer.”

“You’re talking like you’re on Frasier again.”

I smile. “So how long has it been?”

“A few months now. Five months to be more specific.”

“Wow, that’s a long time. How come you didn’t tell me earlier?”

He looks down and hesitates.

“You thought I’d judge you.” I say.

“Well, see, that’s what you’re doing right now!”

“Judgement is a good thing. I still maintain that. For some reason, the unfortunate word is associated with negativity but I believe otherwise. Judgement is good. It helps us set parameters for our personal tastes in right or wrong, good or bad, and other such things.”

“Thank you for sharing your opinion, doctor.”

I smile. “Hey, as long as this is what you want, I’m happy for you.”

“I want to say thank you but I know you don’t mean that.”

“You make me out to be some sort of wench. I assure you, sir, I am no wench. I understand that people I am friends with can want and choose different things than me. Put simply – to each his own.”

“See, that really doesn’t sound like you’re happy for me. It just sounds like you think less of me for doing something you would never do. We can’t all be high and mighty like you, Jess, I’m sorry. Some of us are just human and we don’t want to over-think each and every thing. We allow ourselves to feel and follow those feelings.”

“I’m going to go.”

Inspired by Austen

“Stop. I must beg you to stop. I urge you to no longer continue paying me such attentions as would have once been so dear to my heart. Before your actions and indeed, mine as well, cause sincere pain to either of us, I must reveal to you my present heart.

I fear I must tell you that your affectations and countenance no longer determine the course of my happiness. For a while now, I have stopped thinking of you as the one man I could truly be happy with. In fact, I have stopped thinking of you almost entirely. I fear that certain incidents of consequence, and time, have worked at lessening the effects of your charm upon me.

In vain, I had suffered, it will not do. You must allow me to tell you how totally and completely I am no longer in love with you.”

An urge to write

It was a day to write. The uncontrollable urge to write had taken hold of Jane and refused to let go, much like an annoying girlfriend who wants to ‘talk’ when all you want to do is grab a beer, let your belly relax, and watch sports.

Jane knew she wouldn’t be able to rest unless she penned something down. But what? She was uninspired. She tried watching a movie, it barely touched her imagination. She listened to music but couldn’t focus on any of the lyrics. She read ten pages of a new book but couldn’t remember a single word afterwards. She went outside to take a walk, all the faces looked the same to her. She looked around to admire beautiful architecture but saw only monotone. She visited the park, the leaves looked dead. She sat at her favourite cafe, the coffee tasted weak.

Disappointed and still restless, she started to head back home. She was almost at her apartment when she spotted an adorable little kid walking towards her with an even more adorable tiny corgi pup in her hands. The kid was so little that she almost seemed to be the same size as the pup. Her mother (Jane assumed) was standing next to her talking to someone. It was an endearing sight – the pup kept trying to escape the little girl’s tiny hands and she kept hoisting it back up each time it succeeded. She giggled with glee at each attempt the pup made for freedom and with even more joy when she had him back in her chubby little arms. The pup seemed to be having the time of his life too, wagging his itsy tail ferociously.

Jane smiled. This was it. This was the reason she tried so hard to write even when she was uninspired. Muse kept evading her but it brought her pleasure to try. As she walked past the kid, Jane give her a quick wave. The little girl responded by sticking her tongue out. Jane continued smiling and made it home.

She sat at her desk and started on random ideas one by one. Most of them went into the trash can but a few stayed in the ‘work on it later’ pile. Jane smiled again. Perhaps her magnum opus wasn’t in today’s work but she could resolutely say she was a step closer. And that restless feeling? It was gone for now, but she really hoped it would find her again tomorrow.

Rigmarole – Final.

Continued from: Vol VIII

Mikros, Twerp, and Colorius (née Half Pint) mustered up all their courage and continued walking towards the castle. There, outside the main castle gate, the Wizard of Ounce was waiting for them. Draped in robes of stunning magenta, overflowing with stars, his powerful staff by his side, he made quite an impressive figure. A line of other wizards was standing at guard behind him.

“I have come to ask for your help…. father”, said Colorius, courage growing within him with every passing second.

“I banished you from this land, told you never to return. Did you not understand me?”, questioned the Wizard of Ounce.

Colorius looked down, shook his head, and sighed. “I request a private word with you, fa- oh great wizard.”

Twerp and Mikros watched as the Wizard of Ounce remained silent in thought for a long time.

“Alright”, came the answer. He made a gesture with his hand and the line of wizards turned away.

The Wizard and Colorius walked away from the rest.

“I know you’ve been waiting for me, you’ve been watching me, father. I knew the minute I reached the Impenetrable Circle. How else would you have the Wizard Council assembled by your side? I know they do not gather without prior indication. You’ve been watching me since I left the village. You’ve probably been watching me in the village as well. Am I not right, father?”

The great Wizard’s expressions softened, his shoulder’s fell, he sighed and said, “I am the most powerful wizard in this realm. I have magic enough to last not one but many life times. I have defeated armies, conquered kingdoms, created endless wealth but I have failed in one aspect. I have not been able to harden my heart against my wayward son. I had to banish you from the land, my child. It was expected of me after your behaviour. But I could not banish you from my heart. I have always kept a watch on you. I have always made sure no harm ever came to you.”

Colorius smiled but before he could say anything, the Wizard continued, “However much I love you son, I cannot show it in front of the Council. They will consider it a sign of weakness. It burdens me to say this, but I cannot let you back into the kingdom.”

“I have not come to ask for that, father. I am happy at my village. The quiet life there suits me. However, as your son, I have come to ask for a favour for one of my friends.”

“What is it that you need me to do?”

“You see that giant over there? His name is Mikros. He should rightfully be the next king of his land but due to his size, his father will not allow it. It is almost like a parody of our tale. However, even though ours cannot end in unity for now, I urge you to help Mikros by making him taller. That is the only way his father will accept him.”

Without a word, the Wizard made a small, almost invisible, hand gesture and a tiny vial of golden liquid appeared in his hands. He leaned in, put the vial in Colorius’ hands and whispered, “Make the giant drink this once you have left this town.”

Colorius looked at his father with gratitude, “Thank you father.”

“Do not thank me. I can never do enough to undo my disservice to you. I only pray you understand my position. And you forgive me.”

Colorius looked into his father’s eyes, no more words were necessary. He was about to turn around but stopped, “I have to ask..”

“I’m sorry son, she is married to someone else now. She has a family, she is happy.”

He smiled, turned around, and walked back to Mikros and Twerp. With the vial safely hidden in his pocket, he spoke in a loud voice, “I have tried to beg for my father’s forgiveness but he will not let me back into the land. Let us leave.” The Wizard Council, still with their backs turned, nodded in approval at this.

Before Mikros and Twerp could object, the Wizard cast a powerful spell and sent them just outside Mikros’ village.

Without wasting time, Half Pint explained the happenings to his friends and made Mikros drink the golden liquid. In an instant, he became twice his size.

“Well, they’ll have to give you a new name now”, said Half Pint with a grin. Twerp just smiled.

As you can imagine, the Giant King was very pleased to see his newly enlarged son. He sent one of his best rainbows off with Twerp and Half Pint. And Mikros? Well, he couldn’t express his gratitude enough.

With a rainbow above their heads, the journey back to the village didn’t take very long for our two heroes. As they approached the outskirts of the village, they could make out distant outlines of houses, cattle, and trees forming themselves.

“Look, the village is re-appearing”, said Half Pint. “Wait, Twerp, once we enter the village again, will you return to being, well….. incoherent?”

Twerp smile, “No, I don’t think me or anyone else in the village will have many problems now that we have a rainbow with us.”

“Good”, said Half Pint. “One more thing, you never told us about your father, Twerp. You met my father and saw how he wouldn’t accept me back. Is your situation similar?”

Twerp looked at Half Pint. Sometimes, when you take certain journeys with strangers, you emerge as not just friends but trust-worthy, long-lasting friends, and this was one of them. He told his friend, “My father refuses to acknowledge my existence. My mother called him ‘Pervertous Magnus’, but he’s better known as King Henry.”

Half Pint gasped, “Our King Henry? King Henry of the village in whose court I am housed?”

“Yes, him. My mother was a chambermaid at the castle many years ago and had a thoughtless affair with the King. When she tried to tell the King about her pregnancy, he refused to accept responsibility. He told my mother that if she could have an affair with a married man such as the King, who knows how many other affairs she was having and it could be any other man’s baby. My mother tried her best to plead with him but he denied her any help and threw her out of the castle. After that, she was left to fend for herself and me on her own. When I was really young and her shock was still fresh, she would take me to the castle walls and tell me of the many evils she had seen the King commit. She called him ‘Pervertous Magnus’ because that is what all the chambermaids would call him. Turned out, she wasn’t his first or only mistress. I still have nightmares of those stories but I don’t blame my mother, she was young and didn’t know any better. As time passed, she became more responsible and we stopped talking about him. So, that is my story.”

“Why don’t you tell him now? After we bring this rainbow back, he is sure to reward us handsomely and he might believe you”, suggested Half Pint.

“No, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be associated with the King. I still cannot forget how he treated my mother. I am content with knowing that I have served my village. I do not need any more reward.”

“Will you not even accompany me to the castle to deliver the rainbow?” Half Pint asked.

“No,” said a smiling Twerp, “I am sure you will do a good job of that on your own. Besides, I must get back to my house, we’ve been gone for a while, and there must be lots of cleaning up to do.”

Half Pint smiled and looked at him with admiration, “You are quite extraordinary, Twerp.”

By now the village had completely appeared before them. Twerp quietly slipped away to his small house. Initially, the villagers were confused but soon news spread that Half Pint had saved the day and he received a hero’s welcome from the villagers and the King. He was promoted to the King’s chief council and given gold beyond his desire. Over the next few months, he spent a lot of that gold in sending gifts to Twerp. He ensured to dine with him every week without fail.

And as luck would have it, Half Pint even fell in love with the King’s daughter, a fine young Princess with a big heart. Till now he had honoured Twerp’s wishes and never told anyone of his heroic deeds but he could not keep the secret from his Princess. And with the telling, she also started admiring Twerp just as Half Pint did. Many a times she sneaked out of the castle to join Twerp and Half Pint on their weekly dinners.

A few months passed and the King died in battle. And as it was always written in Half Pint’s destiny, he became King. Along with his fair Queen, he ruled his village justly. The Wizard of Ounce learned about his son’s new achievement and was able to use it as leverage to gain the Wizard Council’s trust. King Pint (yes, he liked to change names, and this one was better suited for a King anyway) and his Queen were warmly welcomed to the Kingdom of Ounce.

One day, news came that Mikros had taken a new bride. He sent another rainbow to the village to show his happiness and ever-lasting gratitude. The village prospered even more.

With time, King Pint finally even managed to convince Twerp to take up chambers within the castle. Twerp started spending time at the University within the grounds. He learned about history, arithmetic, astronomy, and everything else. But his strongest suite was philosophy, and he eventually went on to write a great many books on the subject and became one of the most respected philosophers of his generation.

All was well.