A parable about the importance of having a wizard’s apprentice

“Hey, I made dinne–uhhhhhhh what did you do.”

The workshop, usually equipped with machines and materiel for the making of magical media, now also has a hole punched through reality. It’s seeping copious amounts of slime and that is definitely the worst thing a trans-dimensional doorway can do. Thematically, it’s the next logical step when it comes to Magicraft outfitting, but remember: the act of surprise is a more honest compass than the rational.

Amidst slime-time, perfectly acclimatised to the situation, is a goopy mess vaguely shaped like a person. The only thing which makes them stand out against the natural camouflage is the shimmering glass ball they’re holding. It beads beautifully, beading pristine reflections of every cubic centimeter of muck stuck to the bottega. Upon closer inspection, the orb reflects the surfaces covered by the slime, too, and the surfaces beneath those surfaces, everything outside of the studio, flower fields, cities days away; the world held hostage in a bauble. Perhaps because of this, it appears to be extremely fragile – whatever holds it together has to push back against pressures internal and external, constantly crammed between the weight of the world and that of resignation and doubt.

Suddenly, an elongated, dripping arm with way too many joints juts out of the portal, proceeding to scoop up slime, almost parent-like, including some of which covering the sorcerer.

“Soo… mind telling me what that was about? Also what is that?”
“Arm.”
“What about the portal?”
“Cast spell ‘Slime dimension portal.’.”
“There’s nothing there but, well, slime. What’s that thing?” The assistant expertly whacks the arm about to tear off the sorcerer’s face and instead wipes them gently with a towel. This is one of a triptych of tasks they’re most needed for.
“Glass orb. Nothing special.”

Before the assistant gets to comment further, the arm reappears. As if out of reprimand, it charges up and completes a powerful slapping combo inside the workshop before disappearing eternally. The damage is done: the cookie jar is destroyed, the medicine cabinet has lost its alphabetical arrangement, the sorcerer has got a nasty bump on their forehead.

Through a loud sniff the sorcerer says, “ow ow ow okay maybe a bit special. The arm gave it to me. It’s made from pleromic sands*, I think? You can only find that in Slime Dimension.”
“Why’s it called Slime Dimension if something that ineffable can be found there? Seems reductive.” The assistant performs their second-most requested task: applying a band-aid on one of the sorcerer’s frequent, variform injuries.
“Quantity over quality, I guess. To be fair, there is a lot of slime.”

(*: WIZARD’S NOTE: Whatever is reflected in the glass made from pleromic sands will capture its essence. As a result, once the vessel is shattered, this consequentially removes from existence whatever it is reflecting. Your dad, your dog, your dog’s dad. Nothing will remain! Exercise caution!)

A silent concern hangs between the two. The garishly-garbed magus, an awesome although slightly clichéd sight, pomfs back down on their seat, glass ball plucked between thumb and index finger. The metaphysically most important, most breakable object in the world right now is being rolled casually across fingers, four feet up from a hardwood floor. Their long sleeves and many rings do little to hide th escars, but maybe those will disappear once dropped. The assistant’s face is a steady waterfall of sweat, eyes pinned on orb.

The sadder one continues.

“Uh. So. I think I’m going to use it.”
“Use it?”
“Yeah! To destroy all life on earth, I mean.”
“Oh dear. May I ask why?”

“I’m world’s greatest sorcerer, who catalogued about fifty hitherto undiscovered magical creatures and invented 69 – heh – new spells. I froze time in someone’s brain while they slept so they could dream forever. Cast a glamour on the grains of a poor man’s farm so the bread would feel more filling to his kids. I turned husbands into beastmen for their wives and their lovers into wine (while covering my own eyes with one hand). These are, I’d say the least, proof of mastery and something for future troubadours to write lyricisms about. I know this, I try not to be vain about it. I don’t feel like I have anything to be vain about?”

“I haven’t been reaching deadlines because I can’t seem to magic my way out of bed most days. The men and queens and anything in-betweens are happy with my work. I can’t be happy with it or me. The, probably, mightiest sorcerer to have ever lived feels powerless and sad. So, I did the reasonable thing of requesting a world-ending orb from a capricious eldritch entity.”

“Speaking of things you did… did you forget your meds?”
“I, ah…”
“Yes?”
“…yes. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. You’re fine.”

The assistant releases a sigh out of a dry, wry mouth. They grab a pill bottle and a stray cookie off the floor, this is their third task, and hand them to their depressed friend, who requires both and needs their listening ear. They grab the most impractical-looking chair in the room, flip it around, and sit on it backwards. The resulting sound is either creaking wood or a slowly-breaking pelvis.

“I figured to just power through, make a living. I got stability but that turned to anxiety. Wrong kind of routines, definitely. Then I hired you and that was great. But that didn’t ‘esuna’ the mental illness.”
“That spell only works on status ailments, though.”
“Yes? I’d say this is pretty ailing.”
“No, like, poison is an ailment. This is just… brains?”
“Would be great if I had a better pair. One that goes ‘damn wizard, gnarly magic + excellent robes.’”
“Well, no one’s perfect. But no one’s alone either. And there’s some great robes out there.”

There does not exist any spell – yet? – capable of eclipsing the intensity of the stare the sorcerer just cast at their assistant.

“You trying to say my robes are bad?”
“I’m your assistant. This is assisting. Assisting your fashion choices.”

The two laugh, smile, and resign to the mutual support and care between them.

“Soooo… Do you still want to use that thing to destroy the universe?”
“Not really. But I also super can’t dispose of it now. Guess, uh, I’ll hold onto it. For safekeeping. Not as, like, ‘The Captor of Universality’ or ‘The Whimsy Destroyer’ or whatever. I’m over that doomsday now. More like… a guardian? Pretty cool mythos, the best sorcerer who protects the concept of existence. I can handle that. Like, as a hobby.”
“You out of your bender, then?”
“I guess I am. Sorry again. And thanks also.”

“Don’t mention it. Also thank god because this chair is killing my hips. Let’s go and clean up this slime.”

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