Illusen's Missing Piece
Illusen perched herself onto a stump outside her forest home. It was a misty morning, and as the sun had begun to shine through the various shades of green leaves, Illusen thought long and hard. Where had she put it? The crisp sheet of parchment that the Fire Faerie had given her was missing from her bag, and written on it was the remaining ingredients for her spell. Without it she couldn’t complete her magic that had taken her all night to conjure up!
On her stump she sat thoughtfully, trying to recall the last five ingredients written on the lost paper. Three pinches of gray dust, two pieces of redwood tree bark, a pinch of red pollen, some acorn shells, and.... What? What was the last ingredient? After a couple minutes of trying to recall, she leapt off the stump and walked into her cottage, found her wooden bookcase and fingered through the titles of her various books. The Wonderful World of Gardening... the Green Book... Nest Builders Manual... Ah ha! Common Spell Necessities, just what she needed! She slid the book out of its tightly packed spot, brought it to the table and opened it.
Flipping through the pages however, she noticed something odd. It seemed the pages had tiny holes in the paper, which grew larger with each turn of the page. Skipping towards the back of the book, she pulled a handful of pages over and jumped at what she saw! Lying perfectly still in a hole of a hundred pages or so was a worm.
But he didn’t look like a normal earth worm; he had a bright yellow color to him with black eyes and a little mouth that seemed to smile at her. He was also much more plump than a normal worm, and had tiny black spots on his underbelly which looked like someone had speckled paint on him. Intrigued, she closed the book up carefully and carried it to the stump outside her house. Leaning the book over the log, she opened it and the little worm fell onto the stump, waking him from his slumber.
“What are you, little guy? A bookworm perhaps?” Illusen asked, picking him up and placing him on her palm to examine him more closely. The little worm rolled over on his belly, lifted his head at her and blinked.
“Well, I hope you know that you’ve eaten half of my spell book, and now I have no chance of completing my spell!” Illusen said in disappointment. She pulled herself onto the stump once again and placed the worm on the side of the stump to free him.
“Urgh, I went all the way to the Fire Faerie just for that one paper and I can’t even find it...” she groaned to herself. Leaning her head against her hand, she turned to see if the worm had left the stump yet, but he was still there and was staring right at her. He then began to jump up and down at her. She studied his odd behavior for a little while, and when she did not react, the little worm began to tug on the fabric of her dress.
“You know where it is?” she asked.
The little worm nodded his head, jumped onto the ground, and scurried into the woods. Illusen hopped off the stump in excitement, and followed the worm into the forest.
Walking for a couple of hours, Illusen was worried that the little bookworm didn’t know where the parchment was. How could he anyway? He was digesting her book the whole time. Illusen eased her worries by remembering reading somewhere that bookworms have an incredible sense of smell, and perhaps he was able to smell the parchment this far away. But what if he was smelling the trees of the forest and confusing them for the smell of the paper? After the next mile or so she began to lose faith in the little bookworm.
They went past the oak trees and past the waterfall until they found a trail, the very same trail Illusen had traveled on to visit the Fire Faerie. Her heart sped up and she realized where she was! And when the little bookworm had guided her around a corner of the trail, she saw a little gleam of white, leaning up against a tree. The bookworm smiled.
“Oh, thank you, bookworm!” she cried with gratitude, running to collect the scroll. “I must have dropped it on my way back!”
The little worm nodded at her, and turned around to head into the forest.
“Wait! Before you go, I wanted to thank you with this!” she said, leaning down to tear a corner off the rolled up parchment. She handed it to the bookworm and he jumped in excitement, grabbed it with his mouth, and then gobbled it in front of her. His smile seemed to grow larger.
“Have fun in your new home, and thanks again!” She smiled. The bookworm nodded at her, and vanished in the green shrubberies of the dense forest.
Returning back to her cottage, Illusen was bursting with excitement to finish her new spell. However, she wanted it all to go perfectly, so when she arrived she took her time to eat her lunch, set up all her equipment, and feed some hungry forest animals before finally settling down to finish her spell. Everything was going perfectly!
Her long oak table now had potions of every kind, dusts of every color, pots of every size, which had been all laid out perfectly, completed with the white scroll of the fire faerie. Her large shelf of materials and ingredients towered over her on the walls, and she smiled, knowing that with such an extensive collection of reagents, she was sure to finish her spell by tonight!
Pulling up a chair to the table, Illusen exhaled a deep breath. For a brief second, she thought of the little bookworm and how he was now probably deep within the forest, perhaps in a tree, where he would eat and sleep without any worries what so ever. She wondered if she would ever see him again. She snapped out of her thought, and grabbed the scroll from the table.
“Finally, I’m almost done!” she said, ripping of the binding of the scroll and opening it up. Her eyes skimmed over the lines excitedly, looking for the forgotten ingredient. And there it was in her grasp, the last ingredient as clear as day.
-Three pinches of gray dust, two pieces of redwood tree bark, a pinch of red pollen, a handful of acorn shells, and one yellow bookworm (these are very hard to find, so expect to pay big prices if you really want this spell, Illusen).
Illusen sat there staring at the last two lines for a long time. She stiffly rolled the paper back up into a scroll and tossed it in her trash bin. Was it worth it? When the little bookworm had been so kind to her? She sighed while putting her forehead onto the table.
“I think it’s time I moved on to a new spell,” she said to herself, and then softly began to laugh.