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|This is a very short story, even for me, but the idea needed no more words than given to express itself.||
The man's voice struck the still air with outrage. "This is what a great conjurer does?"
"This is what a great conjurer does."
"This is what the destroyer of nations is reduced to? This is what has become of he who conquered the world? A mere farmer!"
"The world needs more farmers."
"I travelled the lands searching for the great one, the only man whom I could think able to teach me, and instead I find someone lower, someone who would not even provide a worthy opponent. Instead I find a man - no, less than a man, one who grubs in the dirt, who stains his clothes with earth and looks no better than had he been uprooted just a minute ago himself. Instead I find you, a farmer without a shred of magery claiming to have been a great sorcerer, a worm who has wasted my time. Power I have to spare, and time I do not; I shall use the former to punish you for the latter's loss."
The farmer looked up at this, with a smile bending the lines of his face into something kinder than it would otherwise have been, and then looked back to his roots. The man standing over him began to speak a word of power, but he did not finish it. The last syllable of that terrible word floated silent on the breeze. He stood as though struck senile, his eyes drifting upwards in an attempt to remember why he was reciting such a spell, while the farmer spoke.
"When I had conquered every realm on this earth and every king, queen and president had knelt before me, I came to a farm not unlike this one. I met there a farmer, a mere man, who would not bow to me. I took from him everything he had and broke him in every way a man could be, but still he would not bend. He told me that, of all things, 'the world needs more farmers.' I killed him, as you may expect."
When the farmer looked up again the same kind smile was there as before. "Fetch me the spade, will you? The red-handled one." The once-wizard looked at the farmer, eyes wide with incredulity, or horror, or both, and turned to honour the request. The world did, after all, need more farmers. "It's in the shed, over there."
|She Flew||Samis and the Pearl of Light|
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