The Festival of Plenty. The most festive and bustling day of Enchancia, all the kingdom was congregated in the fairground, eager to enjoy the shows that would take place.
After three years without being able to celebrate properly their merriest day, the villagers were glowing with happiness.
Hidden behind the tents, a young sorcerer was racking his brains trying to remember all the spells he would have to perform in less than half an hour in front of the entire kingdom. And its king.
A shiver crossed him at the same time a bead of sweat seeped under his robe collar and went down through his back.
He grabbed his wand tightly, trying to breathe deeply. His mother had advised him to use the breath to calm himself down.
“Alright, Cedric. You can do it. You can. You are going to do it just fine… You have to do it…” he took a trembling hand to his mouth, obliging himself to breathe by the nose “That’s it. One, two, three…” he breathed deeply again.
After a few inhalations and exhalations, he was a bit more relaxed.
It was time for him to go to the royal box seat and wait in there. That was his place now. By the side of King Roland the Second.
Cedric sighed pitifully. Thinking of the monarch’s face banished away the few good vibrations he had accomplished to gather in his relaxation process.
Deciding that what he needed was to practice a little more the spells that he would perform later on, he extended the arm wielding his wand and prepared to cast the magic words. But the racket of the fireworks exploding behind distracted him from his task and startled him, dropping his wand backwards with such bad luck that it ended up in a small alley, behind one of the fences that split the artist zone from the public’s.
Cedric took his hands to his head with a panicked shriek.
“No-no-no-no… It can’t be…” babbled the wizard, completely shaken “My wand…”
He clung to the fences until spotting it and stretched his arm as much as he could, but it was far from his reach.
If his raven had been there, he could send him to fetch it, but the animal was already with his parents, waiting for his performance at the honour seats.
He tried to climb the iron bars to get to the other side, but he only managed to slip and stain his new leather, fingerless gloves before falling onto his bum.
“Merlin’s Mushrooms…!” he lamented.
Then he noticed the small silhouette staring at him from the other side of the fence with two blue eyes too big for her face.
The toddler approached walking tentatively over the ground, crouched and took in her hand the nice stick she just found.
Cedric shrieked at seeing her going away with his wand.
“NO. NO! HEY CHILD!!”
She turned over and stood still, looking at him attentively.
The sorcerer simpered and slipped a hand through the iron bars before flexing his index finger to himself.
“Come, little girl. Come here.” He used his most persuasive voice. The child approached a little, still no lowing her guard. “That’s right, sweetie, come closer… Now…” when the little one was closer enough, he stretched his arm quickly towards her. “GIVE ME MY WAND!!” he demanded raged. She dodged him fast and moved away walking backwards, clearly scared. “Give it to me, damn it! Don’t you understand what I’m saying? Can’t you talk?”
When her eyes become wet and her mouth turned in a pout, Cedric cursed himself out loud and sobbed in dread.
If someone found him in that situation his terrible reputation would pass at the next level of terrible. Cedric the Bungler making an innocent little girl cry… What kind of rumours would start to spread if that creature expressed to fear him?
“Oh, no…! No, please, don’t cry. No… Child, don’t start crying, please…” when she saw him begging so affected, she restrained the imminent crying. Cedric smiled hopeful, put a hand inside his robe and pulled out a candy. “Look what I have here. A candy! Do you want it? Here, for you.
She didn’t move, so he just threw the sweet to her feet, hoping to convince her of his good intentions.
But the result was quite the opposite, for her reaction was looking at him utterly shocked and fearful of him, as if he just had committed a terrible affront.
“Oh…! Oh, I see…” Cedric face was white as wax. “Someone must have warned you to not take candies from strangers, uh?” he said letting out a simper laugh to hide his sobs and then he clapped his hands lightly “Very good, sweetie! You’re very smart and cautious, I was only testing you!” he laughed again “You passed! Congratulations! Now, come here… Please!”
She was staring, frowning fixedly at him.
At that moment a couple of women bended one of the corners of the alley and neared to her, and Cedric had to crouch behind a bush to hide his presence.
“… yeah, it was about time that they re-enabled these festivities, truth be told. Especially for the kids, they deserve to have moments of distraction like these.”
“I know, but I do understand that the King wasn’t in the mood to celebrate lately…”
“Miranda, it’s been three years. One can’t do mourning forever and the man has two little children at his charge too. What happened with the Queen was a tragedy, but one should face the life as it come and pull its own through. Just as you do.”
“I guess you’re right…” the chestnut haired woman turned to the toddler “Honey, what are you doing all the time in front that fence?” she asked going near her.
With his heart in his throat and a hand silencing his hectic breath, Cedric begged for the little girl didn’t alert them of his presence.
At seen her with a stick in her hands, Miranda took a sigh of relief.
“Are you playing with that stick?” the little one noded up and down “do not hurt yourself, Helen and I are just there, alright?” she said, pointing at the corner of the alley.
The girl noded again and the woman gave a sad smile before walking away with her friend.
“Still not talking? Since...” Helen asked.
“Since her father's, yes” Miranda answered unhappy, but right away she changed her tone to a more cheerful one “Hey, back aboout the King, dind't you saw him more handsome than usual?”
The two women bended the corner again.
The moment the steps sounded far enough, the sorcerer put his cunning face out the bush.
They had finaly left, so annoying ladies, and the brat was still there, luckily. Now he might keeping his focus in what mattered most: getting back his wand before his perform. He had about fifteen minutes. He had to succeed whatever the cost.
“Hey! Little girl!” he whispered at her, at least he knew now she wasn't deaf “I need my wand back, it's very, very important. I need it to do magic, for the show, you see?”
That seemed to attract her attention and made her approach to him carefully.
Cedric smiled at seen her closer.
“Do you like magic? Yes? I'm a very powerful sorcerer, you know? I've been proclaimed the Royal Sorcerer! Impressive, isn't it?”
She got closer enough to the fence so he to try snaching the wand again, but this time Cedric decided to be more careful.
He pulled up a purple morning glory from the bush he just had hidden and show it to her.
“Look what a lovely flower. You like it? I'ts purple as your dress and pretty like you. Do you want it?”
He bowed with a flourish and offered the flower to her with a smile.
At the sight of her wide open eyes blinking at him in astonishment, not moving at all, Cedric knew that his way of being had turn creepy once again. A hint of sadness was drawn on his face at the same time that he chocked-up inside, seeing himself rejected even by the most innocent creature on Earth. Making it clear that, simply, he wasn't worthy of anyone's affections.
Wounded and resentful, the sorcerer snatched the wand in a swift motion, letting the flower down in the process.
“Yes!” he claimed victorious.
Triumphantly grining, he stood up and toke a sigh of relief. Determined to continue his way, he dusted himself down and smoohed his robe, turning his back on the fence. And yet, a pang on his chest made him look back again.
Thats when he saw the little girl picking up the purple flower of the ground and carefuly cleaning off the grains of sand embeded. And then he saw her smiling delighted, as if that were the most beautiful present.
Cedric kept stuned for a moment and then he came near the fence again with a sincere smile on his face.
“For being a good girl, you deserve a better reward than that” he resolved.
Murmuring some magical words and moving his wand, he made appear a wreath of purple morning glories over her cinnamon hair.
“There, you are the princess of the purple flowers now” he proclaimed amused.
She looked amazed at him, rosy cheeks and blue sky eyes. And then she made a clumsy curtsy that made the sorcerer giggle and deep bow back to her.
“My lady” he reached his arm out through the fence once again, offering his hand and she put hers on it.
When Cedric brushed with his lips her fingers, the blush on her plumpy cheeks was intensified.
Afer that, he rose and walk away, smiling and happy.
It was time for his performance. At least, all that oddysey had served to distract him of his nerves in his first public execution as the Royal Sorcerer.
The trumpets announced the performance start. On her mother shoulders, Sofia could see over the multiple heads she had in front of her. Her friend Rubi clapped and cheered at her side on Helen's shoulders.
At seeing the man with the strange white and black hair walking over the stage, Sofia clapped with true enthusiasm.
“Look, isn't he...” a bearded man in fron of her said.
“Yes, Goodwing's son. They say he's the new Royal Sorcerer” another man commented.
“Really? How is that even allowed? Isn't that young man the one who did that thing when he was a kid?”
“I know, right? Noblemen have poor judgment hiring sorcerers...”
“What was his name again?”
“Something like Rodric or... Sigfrid... No, wait, Sidric. That's it, Sidric the Bungler.”
The sorcerer stuttered at casting his spell. What was supposed to be a harmless fireworks show it became in a scene where the man had to dodge the aggressive sparks that were pursuing him all over the stage.
The crowd laughed at the comedic situation. Sofia didn't laughed, she just watched.
He didn't seemed happy at all. He looked sad. He looked so sad as he could cry.
Therefor, Sofia hollowed her hands on her mouth.
“MAKE FLOWERS!” she shoutted out in her high-pitched voice “WE WANT FLOWERS!”
Ruby looked at her and inmediatly imitated her.
Jade started shoutting at the top of her voice over her father's shoulders.
“WE WANT FLOWERS! WE WANT FLOWERS! WE WANT FLOWERS!”
In less then a minute, all little boys and girls in the public was crying out for flowers and the paraliced over the stage sorcerer reacted after a few instants, waving his wand in a large bow and casting a spell out loud, made sprout colorful flowers all over the ground at the feet of the people, fully filling the place with bright colours. A more than appropiate execution for an occasion such as The Festival of Plenty.
The crowd gave an standing and sustained ovation and a loud applause.
“The lad didn't do that badly, after all” the bearded man gossiped.
“No, he's a bit shy, but he can manage by himself. I can't imagine why they would give the poor kid such a cruel nickname, he was so young...” the other man answered.
“Just Sidric, from now on.”
The young sorcerer gave his audience a low bow.
Sofia saw his smile. Now he has happy. Now everything was alright.
Sofia felt her mother grabing her by the armpits to get her down from her shoulders. Once in the ground, she caressed the child's face with trembling hands.
“Sofia, sweety...” Miranda said tearfully “You speak again”
She just gave her mother a beaming smile.
“Mister Sidric is the best.” Sofia declared, smilling and utterly sure of her statement.