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    [VJ-PAWS] EM-01 Unexpected Apprenticeship

    "Endless Magic" - A Political Alliance of Worlds Galaxy tale
    This is the story of a farming youngster's sudden adventure in learning magic after a wizard's apprentice tricks him into using magic and accepting a fake apprenticeship to learn more magic from the masters. This story takes place in the Political Alliance of Worlds Galaxy originating on an Earth-like world in the distant past.

    Raja (Tails) Orion, Red Fox Magic Ranger
    - a lower class farming serf of Mulberry Forest (teenaged human hero turned two-tailed fox)
    Cindy (Petal) Highborn, White Skunk Magic Ranger
    - an upper class courtly princess of Enchantorre Palace (teenaged human hero turned skunk)
    Piers (Recon) Cyril, Blue Raccoon Magic Ranger
    - a middle class docking warehouse assistant (teenaged human hero turned raccoon)

    Also Starring:
    Aurak (Wiley) Aurakezel
    - a snobby former apprentice; expelled (teenaged human prince; former weasel)

    Master Wyzall, Shadow Owl Magic Ranger
    - a wizard in charge of the magic academy of the Enchantorre Kingdom (adult anthro owl man)
    [VJ-PAWS] EM-01 Unexpected Apprenticeship
    By Veronica June (Artemis Archer)

    Chapter One - A Lesson in Humiliation.

    Mulberry Forest Farming Village; Aurakezel Kingdom; Late Summer.

    "I sometimes think the master is trying to humiliate my family by giving me a wand to focus my magical power through that seems to be keyed toward blocking my arcane abilities," said the humanoid teen aged male weasel wearing casual middle class clothing. My magic use without the wand is top notch as I proved when I got us out of the Master's fortress this morning. But this hunk of deadwood blocks all of my focusing abilities. I sometimes believe that a peasant farmer could use better magic than this stupid wand could."

    "We really should not be outside of the magical academy like this, Aurak," said the humanoid teen aged male raccoon also dressed in the garb of a middle class citizen. His wand was of the same make as the first youngster's wand but he had no problem using his wand. "The Master is going to find out."

    Aurak replied, "He probably has his nose in one of his magic books again, Recon. What is this village we have entered? I don't think I have ever been out this way before."

    Recon waved his wand at a nearby kingdom soldier in secrecy and stated, "The guard's mind says that this is the lower class farming village of Mulberrry Forest. Those who are too poor to live in the port town make their lives out here. They grow turnips."

    Aurak said, "Let's go find a farm boy so I can prove a theory."

    Recon went with the other student mainly to keep an eye on him. He had no idea what idea was in Aurak's head in why the weasel suddenly needed a farm boy.

    Carefully skirting the village, the two soon arrived near the backside of a farm that seemed as if it was not doing as well as the others in the area. There was a young human boy nearly their own age toiling away by himself pulling weeds out of the crop field. If the sandy blond turquoise eyed human was not so covered in dirt, he might have passed for a middle class youth. Aurak quietly remarked, "This boy will do, Recon. Just follow my lead as I role play this out to test my theory. If nothing happens, then no harm done." He then stepped out into the open near the back fence. "Young man. My colleague and I are traveling wizards and we have a debate that perhaps you could help us to resolve. My wand seems to be clogged and can no longer produce the magical sparks we use to entertain the poor. If you could assist me with unclogging my wand, we could gift you with an apprenticeship at our magic academy just south of the royal castle. Will you aid us in this dilemma?"

    The young human stepped over to the fence. "I really shouldn't stop working the field for fear of King Aurakezel's wrath. But I have unclogged props before and a wand should be simple to unclog."

    Aurak then said, "By what name do we call you, young lad, so that we will know what name to inscribe upon the apprenticeship?"

    The boy replied, "I am called Raja, son of Orion. My father is in the village square trading turnips for necessary farm tools. We have been battling weeds for months. They are so pesky; worse than a revolt. Let me see your wand and I will see about unclogging it."

    Aurak handed over the wand and said, "Hold it up in the air and while waving it, picture the effect you want to see happen and speak some nice words about the end result. We are wizards of our word, Raja."

    After receiving the wand, the young man did as instructed as he lifted the wand as well as his opposing hand into the air and said, "By the powers of good magic, if you please; I seek to remove all of the inedible weeds from my parents' crop field so that we can grow good crops for the betterment of our village." As he waved the wand, the effect in which Aurak could not duplicate earlier occurred as magical sparkles overtook the entire crop field and all of the weeds vanished out of the crop field never to be seen again.

    Aurak quickly retrieved his wand and he said, "A fine job of unclogging my wand, noble Raja. My colleague and I will return to the academy and prepare your apprenticeship. Someone will come around later to speak to your father about your good fortune. Come my friend, we have apprentices to see about."

    Recon wasn't too happy about the trick Aurak had performed on this farm boy. One thing he did know... lower class citizens were not supposed to be able to cast magic in this manner so easily. Only middle class or nobility were gifted to use magic in this capacity. Of course, he had never heard of a wizard invoking the powers of good magic, either. Once they were well away from the farming village, Recon said, "You lied to him, Aurak. If he is not apprenticed at the academy by this weekend, I am going to tell the master what we did today and of the results of your test."

    Aurak snidely remarked, "So you are going to get yourself in trouble at the same time. I didn't leave the academy by myself, Recon, you came with me. The Master will see this when he magically checks your aura; it is best if you just keep your muzzle shut. Now lets get back to the academy before old book-nose wakes up."

    And then without warning, a tall humanoid with the head and feathers of an owl wearing academy master robes was standing before the two. "So I keep my nose buried in books, do I? If your uncle, the king, had not come to the academy to ask me for an update on your progress, I would not have known that you had disobeyed my orders and left the academy. So who would like to be honest and tell old book-nose what has occurred out here today?"

    Aurak quickly started a lie that he had been rehearsing just in case about how a wand spell sent himself and Recon out to the village. But when he saw the fiery glare from the Master, he quickly shut up as if a hand was pulling his own tongue back into his own throat. Then Recon pulled the master to one side and he quietly told him the whole truth including Raja's involvement in easily getting the wand to work despite how Aurak had complained about the wand being set to make him fail. He also mentioned how Aurak had offered the farm boy an apprenticeship to the academy as if Aurak was a full blown master. The Owl master glared at Aurak once again. "Your uncle and YOU are imbeciles! An apprenticeship offer should be based on the truth and since this boy passed a magical test in the guise of being apprenticed to the academy, he will receive that apprenticeship, while you will be expelled!"

    End of Chapter One.
    "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
    ~~~~~ Artemis Archer

    Chapter Two - Hearing the Last of This.

    Aurak then found his voice when he heard that he was going to be expelled from the academy. "My uncle will have your head when he learns that you are going to teach magic to a country bumpkin serf's offspring; it is illegal! The lower class must never learn magic!"

    The Owl master replied, "What do you think your uncle will say when he learns that you offered an apprenticeship to the serf's offspring? I can have the word in his lap faster than you can run home. Your service in the academy was at your uncle's request. Unlike the other apprentices, you never had to be tested; the farm boy was given a test which he succeeded in performing and it is your fault. Recon chose to be honest to me which is why he will not be punished for keeping an eye on you. His new roommate will be the farm boy once we have him properly enrolled, that is. I wonder what his fur will look like once he is properly apprenticed to the academy?"

    Aurak growled, "It is still illegal to apprentice a lower class citizen, test or not. My uncle will not stand for it."

    The Owl Master reached into the folds of his robes and he pulled out a crystal ball. "Come in King Aurakezel. I found your nephew near the serf village of Mulberry Forest. He was pretending to be an Academy master and he offered an academy apprenticeship to a farmer's boy in exchange for performing a magic test. The farmer boy successfully completed the test and now your nephew is swearing that it is illegal to apprentice a lower class citizen yet he is the one who offered the apprenticeship. What are your thoughts on this matter?"

    Aurakezel's angry visage appeared in the crystal ball. "MY NEPHEW DID WHAT?!" After that outburst, the King was seen being calmed down by his adviser and his wife.

    Aurak exclaimed, "Uncle! Book-nose gave me a enspelled magic wand that would resist my commands and to test this theory, I lied to the farmer boy in order to get him to use the wand in a simple task! I hardly call removing weeds a magical test! I never intended to place the boy's name into the apprenticeship records! Book-nose is now saying that I have forfeited my apprenticeship and the farm boy will be taking my place!"

    The King calmly asked, "What is the serf's name, Nephew?"

    Aurak replied with a grin, "The serf's name is Orion; they grow turnips."

    The king was then heard saying toward his castle guards, "Guard! Take a troop of men and go to the Mulberry Forest Village to slay the entire family of the Serf known as Orion!"

    Aurak smirked. "I knew my Uncle would uphold his own laws. You cannot apprentice a dead man, Book-nose."

    The Owl Master put the crystal ball away and he pointed a feathered finger at Aurak. "EXPELLED!" Aurak vanished in a puff of smoke while his robes fell to the ground in front of the Owl and the Raccoon. "Pick up his gear, Recon. We have to save this village from the ignorance of the king."

    Recon picked up the apprentice gear and asked, "Where did you send him, Master?"

    The Owl Master slyly grinned. "I restored him to his nasty human form and applied Bitch in Heat scent all over his anus before dropping him stark naked on all fours in front of the Royal Kennel Alpha whom is currently in Rut. He cannot get out of the kennels until the alpha both ties and fills the rotten bitch entirely."

    Recon nodded his head. "My family lives in the port town, Master Wyzall. If you are going to save this village, I humbly ask that you also see it in your heart to save the families of the other apprentices currently under your care including my own."

    Wyzall smiled. "It will be done when I move all involved out of the Kingdom of Aurakezel and across the seas to my homeland of Enchantorre."

    Recon said, "I thought Enchantorre was locked behind a curtain of sheer magic."

    Wyzall grinned. "Who do you think controls the magic curtain, Recon? Now lets get going. We have many things to do."

    By the time the King's soldiers reached the forest farming village, all they found was a bare mark in the woods where the entire village had once stood. Even the crop fields were completely gone. Later, upon returning to the port town, most of the town and ships were also missing. And thirdly, the Magic Academy was also missing. The Kingdom of Aurakezel was now mostly a ghost continent. Save for those loyal to the king and the king himself, no one was within the kingdom at all in any capacity. Apparently when you anger a wizard, you pay the consequences. The king's nephew was found with anal injuries from what appeared to be a canine rape although the entire royal kennels as well as most of the royal horses and their royal stables were also missing as well.

    Aurak growled, "This is all Book-nose's fault! He will pay for humiliating my family! I will get revenge on Recon for ratting me out to Book-nose!"

    King Aurakezel said, "You will have to find where they went first, nephew. They teleported almost the entire kingdom minus ourselves to some far away place. Only those loyal to me remain on this continent. I have sent word to our allied nations to keep an eye open for Master Wyzall and his students. Taking my citizens is like robbing the royal treasury."

    Aurak then calmed himself and asked, "Uncle, how is it that the Orion farmers can even use magic at all? Are they not lower class citizens?"

    King Aurakezel took a slow breath and released it slowly. "They were prisoners from a strange ship of collectors who claimed to capture sentient beings from other worlds. The batch in which Orion came from had the claim that they originated from the mythical world of Gaia where people lived in the harmony of nature itself. They excelled at farming."

    End of Chapter Two.
    "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
    ~~~~~ Artemis Archer


      Chapter Three - The Apprenticeship Begins.

      Wyzall's Magic Academy; Enchantorre Kingdom; Early Autumn.

      With the other apprentices as witness to the officiation of the newest apprentice to the academy, the farm boy known as Raja stood before Master Wyzall awaiting the official moment he would be welcomed into the academy. Wyzall summoned his book of truths and opened it to a bookmarked section. "According to the laws of magic, young man... a promise made is a promise kept. You were offered an apprenticeship in this academy albeit from an unofficial source. We are a magic instituation established on truth, loyalty and dedication. You were given a test in which you succeeded in the exact instructions given. The student who pretended to be a master was expelled since he lied to you when he tricked you into using magic under the guise of unclogging a wand." He looked to the other apprentices at this point. "Yes, as silly as that sounds, go ahead and get any giggles out of your system. Aurak claimed that his wand was clogged and he asked this farm boy to unclog it." Since they had permission to laugh at how silly the claim sounded, this produced a few light-hearted snickers and quiet laughs. Master Wyzall then continued. "While you are under one of our apprenticeships, young man, you will wear the anthro animal form of a species that most closely reflects your inner personality and respected mannerisms. Aurak became a weasel and he certainly acted the part. I spoke to your father and he explained that good magic existed in your family's ancient past as did Druidism. This is why your family is so good at farming. Before your family's enslavement on Plant Orion and before you were born, of course, your ancestors were White Wizards and powerful Druids. Your social rank on your originating home world would have been between middle class and noble class. We do not have a ranking for that here on our world; but your father implied that the designation would sound something like upper class, yet just below royalty. Here on Alpha, your family kept a low profile while pretending to be lower class citizens until Aurak came to you with that silly story and had you demonstrate how good magic works. And now, we reveal your inner animal spirit..."

      Removing Raja's dirty clothes (including his worn leather shoes) and tossing them aside into a tub of cleansing detergents, Master Wyzall then annointed the young man with the acceptance oils for bringing out the inner animal spirit of tranquility. "Close your eyes tightly, Raja; this may sting for a moment as the inner spirit makes himself known. All in all, it is quite harmless." And the moment the young man tightly closed his eyes, Master Wyzall lifted his joining staff on high and shouted, "For this new apprentice, bring forth his inner spirit so that he may learn the magic of the ages!"

      A brilliant flash of red, white and green light occurred over Raja's human form which was then shrouded by a pale brown puff of smoke which smelled like ancient tree bark. The glowing light descended down to settle over the young man's feet while the smoke collapsed in upon the young man's body which then reshaped itself into that of a four foot nine inch tall light brown two-tailed fox which was wearing a native leather apron over his front section which was connected by a sturdy leather belt around his waist. upon his feet were what appeared to be dark red and white shoes which did not match the apron ensemble at all. There was a Celtic leaf insignia upon the apron and upon the top of the shoes on the toe regions. Upon his wrists were intricate leather bracers which also sported the Celtic leaf insignia.

      Master Wyzall had never seen an animal spirit make an appearance complete with its own trappings; although he had heard of such in his great-great Grandfather's time. Spirits with their own equipment often denoted a very powerful magic source. White Wizards and Druids indeed; Raja was a member of the Legendary lineage!

      "Are you okay, Raja?" asked the owlish master wizard.

      Raja replied, "I feel funny. May I open my eyes now?"

      Wyzall remarked, "I think you better. Now that your spirit has transformed your body we need to give you an academy nickname that you will answer to while in the academy itself. Any sugestions, Recon? He will be your roommate."

      The raccoon student approached the two-tailed fox and lightly rubbed over each tail. "With his permission, I think we should call him Tails. He did become a two-tailed fox and I have never seen the like of his kind anywhere on Alpha."

      Raja was then holding his tails in his fur-covered hands. "Why did I end up with two tails? The rest of you only have one tail." He then thought about what Recon had suggested. "Very well, you may call me Tails."

      Recon then said, "Master Wyzall, what did the colors imply that appeared around him just before he transformed?"

      Wyzall replied, "Red is a leadership quality. Green is a balancing signifier. White indicates the sheer goodness and purity of the soul. Brown is the color of solidity meaning strength of character and body. Spirits that come with their own garb are in the Legend class. Although I am not sure why Tails has a spirit like this himself as yet. But we will learn of his appearance at this time as a group. Make him feel welcome within our academy. Show him around and then take him to your quarters so he may get some rest. His classes begin tomorrow."

      Recon placed one arm around Tails and said, "Come with me and I will teach you the academy's layout; tomorrow you will receive your first lesson under Master Wyzall. Since we are going to be roommates, I will be there when you need to lean your head against someone's shoulder or if you want to do something a bit closer." The raccoon winked knowingly at the fox.

      Tails quietly asked, "So are students paired together just in case someone gets scared or lonely in the middle of the night?"

      Recon smiled. "That is the primary reason, yes. Although I may need you more than you will need me. Aurak wouldn't let me touch him at night. He claimed that a noble like him shouldn't sleep with a middle or lower class student like the rest of us. I am glad he got expelled so I could get a new roommate. Because of him, he was going to have his uncle, the king, kill off your entire home village simply to uphold his more than stupid law that lower class citizens should never learn magic. And now, here you are with us."

      Tails hugged Recon fondly. "Friends should always share space whenever spacing limitations are taking up the rest of the storage facilities. My bed is your bed, if you so desire."

      Recon hugged the fox in return and took a chance to kiss his muzzle. "I appreciate that offer, Tails. I promise not to make you uncomfortable while in our quarters."

      End of Chapter Three.
      "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
      ~~~~~ Artemis Archer


        Chapter Four - The Education Begins.

        Early the next morning, Recon and Tails were hard at work cleaning up a sticky situation they had accidentally caused all over their fur in bed. Tails was embarrassed over the ordeal since he had stopped bed wetting back before he hit puberty and this reminded him of those accidents except this was a lot more sticky than wet. Recon said, "It is a good thing we were getting up early anyway or else we might have been late getting to breakfast. Was last night your first time having male on male sex with someone?"

        Tails sheepishly nodded his muzzle. "Yes and I am so embarrassed. I didn't know we were going to make such a sticky mess all over our fur like that. Aren't you embarrassed over looking and smelling like we fell into a honey pot?"

        Recon shook his head. "I would do it again for you, Tails. There is a quick way we can get clean and smelling good before breakfast and before class. But don't be embarrassed over this; the other students have likely done a lot worse than we have this morning."

        Tails was stripping the sheets off of their bed. "Are we going to mention this to Wyzall? Will he be angry with us?"

        The raccoon smiled. "Being honest with him is what earns you better rewards in the academy. And now for a quick lesson that is very important to remember from now on. In private such as we are currently, it is okay to only use his real name. But around the other students, in front of himself or to other adults, you always say either Master Wyzall or simply his title... Master. Not mentioning his station is to disrespect him to non-wizards. You didn't know that this time, but knowing this will help keep you out of trouble. Now lets go get these sheets washed and get ourselves cleaned at the same time. We will then bring the sheets back and make the bed before we get into our apprenticeship robes and finally we will go to have breakfast with the other students. Please do not be embarrassed over what happened; as I said, I would do it again for you, Tails. You are a lot of fun to sleep with."

        An hour later, Recon and Tails wearing their apprenticeship robes walked into the dining chamber where they filled their trays with a selection of the morning breakfast foods and a bottle of clear fluids. They then joined other first year apprentices at their table to have their breakfast together. Polite inquiries were made to find out how Tails slept during his first night at the academy. And then the topic shifted over into a magical topic which a few of the others were having troubles succeeding at. One student showed Tails a leather bound ball and said, "I am supposed to magically make this ball float in mid air. But every time I use the exact words that Master Wyzall has instructed me to use, the ball simply rolls across the table top. I do not know what I am doing wrong. It is said you are a natural at magic which is why you were apprenticed here, Tails. Could you please show me how you would do it? I need to understand and succeed at this lesson."

        Tails accepted the leather ball as he got out of his seat and he walked over into an open space beyond the tables. While holding the leather bound ball of string he held his arms into the air over his head and with his muzzle tilted upward, he said, "By the powers of good magic, please make this ball float in the air." Releasing his hold on the ball, it lifted off from his hand and then something unusual occurred. Tails found himself floating in midair as if he had cast the spell upon himself. But instead of a vertical stance flotation, it appeared that Tails was hovering in midair by his tails which were spinning just above his rump. And to make matters more embarrassing, Master Wyzall walked into the dining chamber at that moment and when Tails saw the Master entering the chamber, he lost his focus and he slammed into the wooden floor with a resounding thud. The leather ball stopped floating at that moment and fell with a few bounces on the floor. The fox was moaning in pain as he lay on the floor muzzle down.

        Recon was up and at his side immediately. "I'm here, Tails. You were doing great before you fell; what made you lose the ability?"

        Tails was sobbing quietly. "I saw the Master enter and his presence embarrassed me that I was floating during breakfast. I guess he will expel me for this, won't he?"

        Recon gently lifted Tails up and held him close to his chest as he cleaned the fox's eyes and muzzle from the fall. "No, he was as surprised as you were that you made yourself float as you had with the ball. The ball was spinning the same as your tails were. If he expels you, I will quit the academy to become your personal tutor. I will help to explain what you were attempting so that he has a good understanding of what happened. This was just some sort of magical accident that you didn't mean to cause, that's all. I love you, Tails."

        Tails felt awful and he had a bruise on his forehead due to the collision with the floor.

        Recon sat there as he held Tails in his arms. Master Wyzall came over and knelt down to hug them both. "Despite what you think I may do, Tails, I overhear everything that gets said publicly within the academy. I know another student asked you to demonstrate how you would use your power to succeed with a spell he has been trying to complete for the last few days. Furthermore, your magic works differently from how our magic works. Although there are similarities in how you think a spell should work, you initiate your magic in a different manner. Why don't we doctor your forehead and finish our breakfast before heading out into the academy courtyard. It was a nice soft ground and a few apple trees. You like apples, don't you?"

        Tails was still quietly sobbing somewhat as he nodded his head. "Yes sir, Master Wyzall. It is going to be hard to get used to calling you Master all the time since in our family, utilizing someone's title too often is an implied insult. And I do not want to insult you in that manner."

        Wyzall then said, "Perhaps we will find a middle ground in our lessons together. I have never had either a White Wizard nor a Druid as a student in my academy. You are the first, Tails. Your magic works far differently from our own. But this is likely the ways of Orion which we of Alpha are simply not accustomed to."

        Another student brought in the healing salves where Wyzall doctored the fox's forehead injuries. "As long as you uphold the three virtues of this academy, I will never expel you. The three virtues are Truth, Loyalty and Dedication. As long as you uphold these virtues, you will last as long as Recon has. While you are permitted to lie to a non-wizard, you must always tell me the truth. Aurak was expelled for choosing to not only lie to me but to disrespect me with that derogatory nickname he made up. He was only dedicated to himself and his social station of misguided pride. His own parents would not let him wear his own crown in public. Yes, he was a pompous little spoiled prince who thought everyone only existed to serve him in this world. His uncle paid me to teach him the basics of wizardry; something the spoiled prince failed at enormously."

        Recon smiled. "So when you used more magic untrained than he could even begin to perform after one lesson, you humiliated him."

        End of Chapter Four.
        "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
        ~~~~~ Artemis Archer


          Chapter Five - Apples and Apple Sauce.

          The Kingdom of Aurakezel.

          An allied wizard from one of the other nations stood before the king and the snobby nephew as he gave his report. "That's what I said, sire. All apprentices allied to Master Wyzall were released from the academy and returned magically to their home kingdoms at the same time the old wizard took his belongings and departed. Those released were told that they could rejoin once their families dumped their loyalties to your kingdom. The former apprentices were restored to their normal human species and permitted to keep what magic powers they had learned if they so chose to practice further on their own and he would be watching to make sure they didn't get themselves in magical trouble. Loyalists were released, not expelled, and the farm boy received the promised apprenticeship. Apparently making a promise to the most powerful wizard on Alpha is supposed to mean something."

          Prince Aurak whom was standing nearby pompously inquired, "And where did old Book-Nose take the remaining students? Your report left out that information!"

          The allied wizard snapped his fingers and a gag appeared around the nephew's head to cover his mouth as he further stated. "Only real kings and real wizards should be heard during a report to the king himself. You are out of line, he whose animal spirit is a weasel whom could not even make magic on his own without Wyzall's teachings. How hard would it have been to watch how other students cast their spells and then simply copy their work? But ye whom are so much smarter than the most powerful wizard on Alpha couldn't even figure out how to do that simply feat. Your uncle would have been smart enough to figure that one out."

          King Aurakezel chuckled at the magic trick to shut the boy up. "In your own opinion, magical ally, for why did Aurak fail at learning magic? I am curious? I thought all nobles could use the magic of the ages."

          The allied wizard smiled as he stated. "Surely you already know the answer, my liege. Your nephew convinced himself that the fault lay in others and further, he convinced himself that he simply could not accomplish the task. Magic is all about the power of belief. If you do not believe in the ability then you learn nothing. Your nephew had been given everything and anything he desired on a silver platter and he simply expected others to do his tasks for him. Point in case, sire; Removing the magical gag can be magically done by the most unlearned apprentice at the worst magic schools across nine continents, yet your nephew struggles to get the gag off with physical force. It does not even require words; he is convincing himself that he cannot make the magic happen. He expects to be rescued."

          The ally then said, "Sire, humor me with a further test... focus a mere portion of your mind toward that unlit torch sconce on the wall and make it glow with light; not actual fire, but light itself. I know you learned that ability yourself back during the wars. Aurak... pay astute attention to how your uncle does this without physically touching the sconce."

          The king seemed to not even be looking at the sconce and then in a jerk of his head, every sconce in the throne room glowed at the same time but quickly dimmed until only the one sconce was left still glowing. "A simple task." And then he extinguished the light.

          The allied wizard said, "Done without a single word, prince." He then snapped his fingers and the gag vanished. "Now, prove yourself and do as your uncle has done. If you are able to do this weakest of magics, then my apology to you will be given. Otherwise, don't ever think about revenge on a Grand Master ever again."

          Aurak took a deep breath and released it slowly remembering back to when he would ask Recon to light lanterns and sconces for him since the magic never seemed to work for him. Then he thought about how his uncle performed the same trick and had overdone it at first before focusing on the one sconce. Aurak jerked his head to look at one sconce and... nothing happened. He looked away again. "I must not be doing it exactly as my uncle has done. He has had no magical training at all yet he succeeded. I should have the spark myself."

          The king said, "Think back over the entire conversation, nephew. That is the only clue I am legally allowed to give you."

          Aurak thought back to what the allied wizard had said. Magic is all about the power of belief. If you do not believe in the ability then you learn nothing. He took another breath and then placing the thought that the sconces were already lit but cloaked, he thought about the cloaks being removed to reveal the light itself. And then he sharply jerked his gaze toward the sconce and... it weakly glowed... proving that the prince did have the ability. The moment Aurak stopped focusing on the sconce, the light went out. "I... did... it..."

          The allied wizard remarked, "Master Wyzall did not lie when he told you that you never had to prove that you could use magic. Your uncle simply paid your way in. Now that you have proven that you can use magic, the world is open to you. I apologize for not believing that you had the spark within you. But now, one last test. Sire... you learned this trick in the wars when other wizards would not do this for you." He produced a juicy red apple. "Deflect the apple, sire!" And he threw the apple at the king.

          The prince's eyes went wide as he saw the allied wizard throw an apple at the king. But seconds before it would hit the king in the face, the apple bounced off of an unseen barrier and hit the floor some distance away.

          The allied wizard smiled. "Well done, sire. Exactly as I knew you could do it. Now for you, Aurak. This is to be your first lesson to practice with on your own with a guard or servant assisting you. Have the guard or servant toss an apple at you and deflect it exactly as your uncle has done. Succeed in this and I will speak to Master Wyzall on your behalf to see if he will lift the expulsion on you. No promises since you did choose to tell falsehoods at the academy. Lying to a Grand Master is not a healthy way to live to see another day." He then held up an apple from the same stock as the first one and he said, "Aurak, you know it is coming this time. Deflect it." And he tossed the apple at Aurak's face.

          Not wanting to sustain a bruise even from a delicious fruit, he steeled up and tried to believe and do exactly as his uncle had done except... the apple seemed to disintegrate as it passed through the magical shield he thought he was making and the snobby prince was doused in fresh apple sauce.

          The king stifled his reaction poorly and then he began laughing. "That reminds me of my first attempt to succeed at deflecting a piece of fruit. The soldiers were all laughing." The prince did not seem amused that even his uncle laughed at his failure. The king then said, "Our ally did say this was something weak to practice with, Aurak. Now go clean yourself."

          End of Chapter Five.
          "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
          ~~~~~ Artemis Archer


            Chapter Six - Treating Treants.

            Wyzall's Magic Academy; Enchantorre Kingdom; After Breakfast.

            Master Wyzall arrived in the orchard where he had the other apprentices and he seemed to be chuckling over some mirth that he was told before emerging from the main hall. "Apprentices, before we begin the lesson this morning, I want to share something amusing with you that a minor colleague of mine from the Kingdom of Crystalynthe told me in regards to former apprentice Aurak the Weasel. You might enjoy this, Recon. My colleague decided to give the snobby prince the two tests that I would have given him to see if he even had the spark. Aurak was barely able to make a torch sconce glow after my colleague had the king himself demonstrate the same ability. Then the first simple lesson for magical babies was given to the prince. Deflecting a piece of fruit. The king did so flawlessly but when Aurak went to perform his duplication of the trick, the apple disintegrated and became apple sauce which splattered all over Aurak's face. Instead of getting mad, he simply stood there in shock that his uncle was laughing at the result." He paused. "You have permission to laugh."

            The apprentices mostly chuckled and smiled since they all knew the experience. Recon knew how useless Aurak had been at magic before Tails came along.

            Tails on the other hand said, "Was he hurt, Master Wyzall? What may be amusing to a great wizard such as yourself may not be so funny if he sustained an injury."

            Master Wyzall replied, "That part was not told to me; although he may sustain an injury later if he practices with this simple spell. If he succeeds in mastering the Deflection spell, then I will reconsider his enrollment at the academy. I am keeping tabs on him regardless. My colleague told him that if he couldn't learn, then getting revenge would be pointless."

            That seemed to satisfy the two-tailed former human turned fox.

            Master Wyzall handed out fruit baskets to the apprentices. "Collect apples from the trees, my students; tonight they will be made into apple pies for our dinner dessert. Only the best for my students. And remember your lessons. Begin."

            Recon looked up at the master and he asked, "When will Tails receive his first wand? The rest of us had ours by the second day. I know this is his first day among us but I am curious since I do not wish for him to feel left out. I love him, Master Wyzall."

            Master Wyzall said to the raccoon apprentice. "Choosing a magic wand is a personal affair, as you were told when you were able to prove that you could do magic. I cannot just give him a wand; he must discover his own for himself. His powers are legendary. Choosing the wrong wand could have disastrous effects. The wand crafting class will assist him in choosing the correct one to work his magic with. You recall the folly of Aurak's choosing of a wand." He then mimicked the snobby prince. "Gimme that one; Its as good as any other, Book-Nose."

            Recon giggled as he headed off to team up with Tails whom at first was not findable, but looking up, he saw the two-tailed fox spinning his tails while holding the basket and he was carefully selecting apples off of the ripest tree in the orchard. Apparently to the legacy of a druid and a white wizard, this was easy. Recon headed toward a tree in the back of the orchard which seemed to have sickly rotted bark around its barrel and the fruit looked as if it had see better days. "What's wrong with this tree? I've never seen this one before."

            After handing his full basket over to Wyzall, Tails looked around and saw where Recon was standing. "Master Wyzall? Is that a sick treant in the back of the orchard?"

            The owl-headed master peered toward the back and nodded his head. "That was a good sighting, Tails; let us go over to him and see if we can offer healing to him."

            It was likely fortunate that the owl master and the fox reached the treant before the coon could decide to climb the tree which he didn't recognize. "Recon; Wait! That's not an apple tree!" exclaimed Tails as he reached the coon and then Master Wyzall reached the spot as he slowly examined the immobile treant. Tails quietly explained to his friend what this creature was and how some treants took offense toward being climbed without permission.

            Master Wyzall said, "Tails, make a poultice as if you were creating a fertilizer to heal a sick plant. This poor treant has been poisoned some time back and he used his strength to reach me here at the academy."

            Tails went into the out building and using a sterile bowl, he had Recon force himself to poop into the bowl. In the meantime, Tails went out and picked particular flowers which would be called weeds on any other world and then he returned and he pulverized the flowers and some pure water into the bowl as he used a wooden pestle to mix and stir the poultice fertilizer. "Clean yourself and then once you are decent, come back out and join the Master and I at the treant. I only hope that this poultice is good enough to help the poor treant. This is an old recipe my mother taught me for rescuing sick plants. It works wonders on flowers and normal trees, so it should do a miracle for a treant."

            When Tails returned to Master Wyzall, he said, "The fertilizing poultice, Master. I hope the treant will be okay. I've never seen one before but my parents told me stories about them."

            Sometime later, The treant had its eyes open and still weak was telling how the poisonous swamp overflowed and its waters saturated the grounds where the treants lived. He alone got out to seek help for the emergency. The poultice was indeed bringing his healthy colors back to normal. The treant was then moved over to a spot where he could receive unfiltered sun light as well as pure water from the local spring within the orchard itself.

            Master Wyzall spent time in the academy kitchens speaking to Tails and Recon in regards to the swamp and the treant lands. "The swamps don't overflow too often but when they do it is cause for alarm. And speaking of lessons, Tails. I want you to take a wand crafting class so you can learn what wood or other material works best for you so you can acquire your magic wand like most other apprentices have. Recon thought you might feel left out if you didn't have your wand like the others do."

            Tails then said to the surprise of the Master and Recon, "I will need some white birch shavings and powdered ivory along with a small amount of rubber tree sap for the ends of the wand in question. I will also need some zinc sulfide which will glow when charged by sunlight."

            End of Chapter Six.
            "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
            ~~~~~ Artemis Archer


              Chapter Seven - Kingdom Under Siege.

              Wyzall's Magic Academy; Enchantorre Kingdom; Early Autumn.

              The next morning, Tails carefully used a small ice pick to chip open his completed wand. The previous night, he had mixed the powdered birch shavings with the powdered ivory, then he saturated the wand shape in zinc sulfide before he had a fire student cast a broil spell on the project. Once that was done, the rubber tree sap was applied to both ends carefully which would hold the mixture together. The combination looked like a hot white wand with a red tint, he then had an ice student cast a deep freeze spell on the project which encased the entire wand in thick ice. Then he announced that they had to wait until morning to see the end product. It was an unusual method toward creating an academy wand. Normally, students simply chose a stick and sanded it down to form a rod shaped wand. Making a wand this way was unusual to say the least.

              Just as the last of the ice broke free and Tails was picking up the wand in his hand, a messenger arrived at the front gates of the magic academy. "Master Wyzall! The Orcs of Gormly Pass are attacking the port city! The Mayor asked me to see if you would lend aid in our time of need!"

              Master Wyzall whom had been planning on taking the students into the port city announced, "Students! Today's outing has been cancelled! Stay within the Academy! I will return shortly!" He then looked to the messenger. "Let's make haste back to the port city!" And the two left.

              Recon was looking at Tails' new wand which was glowing as if the student held a piece of the sun in his hand. "That's an amazing wand. Maybe some day, you will teach me how to make one like that. I love how it glows."

              Tails said, "I am worried about Master Wyzall and the port city. You once said that your parents lived there. I know the master told us to stay in the academy. But what kind of gardener would I be if I hid while others saved the day?" He then looked at the coon. "You want in on this?"

              The other academy students were beginning to head back inside the academy main building just as a pretty skunk girl emerged from the magical library. "Took me all night, but I finally got Master Wyzall's library organized. What's going on, Recon?"

              Tails looked at the girl with an examining eye as if Wyzall himself were looking at the young lady. "You remind me of the Skunks of Orion; and Recon represents the Coons of Alpha. And since I hail from Gaia, the time must be upon us. How would you two like to be Legendary Heroes?"

              The skunk girl, whose name was Petal, said, "Wyzall might expel us if he catches us outside the academy during an emergency... although the offer to be a Legendary Hero has a nice ring to it. I'll help."

              Recon made a face. "Just when I thought you might be saner than Aurak, you say this... but... like Petal... I don't want you to do this alone. Plus, I worry for my parents."

              Tails smiled. "Remember the three virtues that Master Wyzall respects in his magic academy? Truth, Loyalty and Dedication. As long as we uphold these virtues, he said he would not expel us. Therefore when we play hero at first, we never tell normal people we are the magic heroes; but we don't lie to Master Wyzall. We have to tell him that the heroes were us. He may not believe it at first; but he did say that my animal spirit was legendary. I am the only animal magic student at the academy with two tails. My magic operates differently from everyone elses. That is why it must be the time of the ages. And you are right, I cannot do this alone. Just as there are three virtues, it takes three students to create the initial heroes."

              He then held his hand out toward the center of his two friends. "I am Tails and I join the Time of Ages." He then looked to the others. "If you are in, then do as I have done." Petal placed her hand on top of Tails' hand. "I am Petal and I join the Time of Ages." Recon looked unsure; but then he placed his hand on top. "I am Recon and I join the Time of Ages."

              Tails now said, "Now touch our wands together, which we won't have to do next time. Nor will we have to touch each others hands. To return to normal later, we just say, Power Down. Repeat after me..."

              "Long AGO, When Magic Was King!" The two repeated what Tails was saying as they touched their wands to Tails' wand. In a flash of light, Tails' wand turned red, Recon's wand turned blue and Petal's wand turned white and all three were identical to the first wand. Tails then raised his wand on high above his head; this was repeated by Recon and Petal as well. "Legendary Ranger Power, Within Me Ring!" And the two students repeated those words as well and then it happened.

              Tails seemed to appear within a Henge of huge red crystals as his body glowed bright red from his neck down to his hands and feet. His legendary ranger uniform then appeared over his body along with a small tabard covering both front and back where as his tails hung free out the back of his uniform. His belt then appeared around his waist which had the symbol of the magic academy within the center of the buckle. His gloves and shoes appeared next and finally, his fox shaped helm appeared over his head without a visor before a dark mirror like visor window appeared in the visor space. He then reappeared in the courtyard and shouted, "Red Fox Magic Ranger!"

              Recon seemed to appear within a Henge of huge blue crystals as his body glowed bright blue from his neck down to his hands and feet. His legendary ranger uniform then appeared over his body along with a small tabard covering both front and back where as his tail hung free out the back of his uniform. His belt then appeared around his waist which had the symbol of the magic academy within the center of the buckle. His gloves and shoes appeared next and finally, his coon shaped helm appeared over his head without a visor before a dark mirror like visor window appeared in the visor space. He then reappeared in the courtyard and shouted, "Blue Raccoon Magic Ranger!"

              Petal seemed to appear within a Henge of huge white crystals as her body glowed bright white from her neck down to her hands and feet. Her legendary ranger uniform then appeared over her body along with a small tabard covering both front and back where as her tail hung free out the back of her uniform. Her belt then appeared around her waist which had the symbol of the magic academy within the center of the buckle. Her gloves and shoes appeared next and finally, her skunk shaped helm appeared over her head without a visor before a dark mirror like visor window appeared in the visor space. She then reappeared in the courtyard and shouted, "White Skunk Magic Ranger!"

              End of Chapter Seven.
              "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
              ~~~~~ Artemis Archer


                Chapter Eight - Wet Orcs Smell Bad.

                Port City of Mercantos; Enchantorre Kingdom; Early Autumn.

                Recon was looking over himself as well as Tails and Petal. "Oh wow, we look awesome! Now what happens?"

                Tails said, "When transformed, our magic skills climb exponentially. But not to surpass Master Wyzall. That is why we should continue to study magic so we became more learned in what we can do. For now, time to teleport to the port city and push back the orcs. I know you will both be nervous at first; but your uniforms will protect you from non-magical strikes. Here we go." And then he said, "To the Port City!"

                And all three transformed magic ranger students shot off through the sky in red, white and blue glows of light just before arriving in the port city where Orc laden chaos was unfolding all around them. Master Wyzall had not arrived as yet. So this gave the new rangers time to weed out the Orc grunts. Tails said, "Magic is the key toward helping the port people and remember: Orcs hate getting wet and this is a port city!"

                Just as Master Wyzall and the messenger were arriving, they both saw the magic rangers summoning water elementals out of the ocean and were sending them after the Orc grunts which was making the grunts run back toward the point of invasion where a huge Ogre Warrior stood guarding the destroyed South Gates. "Magic Rangers of Legend!" exclaimed Master Wyzall when he saw the heroes performing their magic to save lives. But then with his keen eye sight, he noted the belt buckles on each ranger and he seemed to guess what was happening. "I need to handle the Ogre Warrior; the Magic Rangers are not ready for that!" And he transported himself across the chaos to where the Ogre Warrior awaited a challenger. "So! Gormly sends Ogres to do the job of an Orc! I am here to send you back to your caverns!"

                The Ogre Warrior laughed at the unprotected owl sorcerer. "You puny owl! You no challenge!" Wyzall sent a magic attack toward the Ogre whom backhanded the incoming spell away as if it was nothing. "See? My bracer make me no affect by magic! Now you die!"

                Tails was chasing a few Orcs down the street and as he came around the corner, he saw that Master Wyzall was in trouble. he took careful aim with his wand and he cast the spell as he fired his wand at Master Wyzall as he shouted, "Long AGO, When Magic Was King! Legendary Ranger Power, Within Me Ring!"

                Master Wyzall seemed to appear within a Henge of huge shadowy crystals as his body was shrouded in a smoky mist from his neck down to his hands and feet. His legendary ranger uniform then appeared over his body along with a small tabard covering both front and back where as his tail hung free out the back of his uniform. His belt then appeared around his waist which had the symbol of the magic academy within the center of the buckle. His gloves and shoes appeared next and finally, his owl shaped helm appeared over his head without a visor before a dark mirror like visor window appeared in the visor space. He then reappeared in the courtyard and shouted, "Shadow Owl Magic Ranger!"

                As the Ogre saw the master reappear, a look of fear crossed his snout as Master Wyzall's academy staff transformed into the Battle Magic Staff of Ages! "You have power!"

                Master Wyzall grinned as he briefly checked himself out and then he leveled his gaze upon the Ogre. "What was that you said about being resistant to magic? You look scared now!"

                The Ogre was stepping back out of fear since he wasn't told that the owl could do this. "Master Gormly will have his way, Owl! Him hate you!" Then all of the fleeing Orcs barreled past where the Ogre was standing as the three magic rangers arrived just behind the Shadow Owl Magic Ranger.

                Tails said, "We can talk later, Shadow Owl! Finish this up so we can rebuild the South Gate! The Orcs were routed! Seems they don't like taking enforced baths!"

                Master Wyzall grinned again as he cast a spell not at the Ogre but at the cloudy sky above which caused all of the clouds to disperse revealing the light of the sun for all to see. When the sun made its appearance, the Ogre began retreating as fast as it could but it was too late as his body rapidly turned to stone in mid-run. Master Wyzall looked to the three Magic Rangers and he said, "You can be sure that we will talk once this gate is repaired and we leave to return to the academy." Then he whispered, "Um... how do I get out of this?" Tails replied in a like whisper, "Just say Power Down and mean to become your original self. This prevents a magic ranger from accidentally saying it and revealing himself to unworthy others." Master Wyzall nodded his head and he said, "Power Down!" And in a flash, he was back in his more recognizable wizardly trappings.

                After that, the team worked to repair and strengthen the South Gate. The port carpenters then arrived to add their effort into rebuilding the gate for the city. Using magic to heft the gate up and hold it in place for the hinges to reconnect the gate to the outer walls, the Magic Rangers were glad when the effort ended. "If the Orcs try this again, feel free to call us back and we will help you again!" exclaimed the Red Fox Magic Ranger. Then he gathered his team mates and they gathered around Master Wyzall and said, "To the Academy!"

                The colored lights activated once again but instead of arriving within the academy, they arrived along the road near the academy entrance. Tails said, "Time to be honest to the master, guys. Although I did have to give him the Legendary Power to be able to resist the Ogre's death strike, it was his fight and his alone." And then the three Magic Rangers all said, "Power Down!" And they returned to their normal student selves. Tails then said, "We disobeyed your orders to stay in the academy but we did uphold the virtues you respect while saving lives. And now for the rest of the story. If you still wish to punish us, then I am the one to blame. When I was enslaved from Gaia by the Orion Species hunters, I was a member of a special heroic force of Druidic Healers. The term on Gaia which is used is something Master Wyzall might have heard about. It is called Power Rangers. We were the Druidic Defenders. But here on Alpha, our new team would be something like Legendary Mages. This is an inborn power which I can share with worthy allies but initially, there had to be three magic students to make the miracle happen. Our ranger uniforms protect us from non-magical strikes. So when I saw you in trouble, Master Wyzall, I inducted you into the team so you would receive the protected uniform so you would live through the Ogre encounter. He sure got scared when he saw your battle Staff."

                Master Wyzall smiled. "So it wasn't just your animal spirit which was legendary. It is hereditary. I won't punish any of you for disobeying my orders this time. But there might be extra class room studies to assist you in becoming better magic users. I know Petal can barely make water bounce in a bowl. The legendary powers must increase her ability greatly to permit you to summon water elementals. Too bad you couldn't summon any soap. Wet Orcs smell bad. Really bad. Let us return to the academy now, my students."

                End of Chapter Eight.
                End of Episode One.

                Stay tuned for the next episode, To Forgive and Re-enroll.
                "With nerves of steel and laughing at danger..."
                ~~~~~ Artemis Archer