“Tonight we feast!” King Midas cheered as the kitchen staff herded a small group of pigs out of his throne room. Despite his proclamation, his court showed very little enthusiasm. The few lords and ladies present cheered politely.
“Again, yay…,” a well-dressed noble commented and earned giggles from those around him. King Midas did not hear the comment. He strode back to his throne.
“I wish to sit!” he commanded. Immediately four burly men ran into the throne room. They did not wear guardsman armor; their clothing, scars, and callouses were the uniforms of tradesmen. The king stood in front of his imposing stone throne. It was carved out of a solid boulder and decorated with gold and precious stones. He eased back and let himself fall on the soft, red velvet cushion.
A full moment after King Midas relaxed in his throne, a second throne materialized next to him. It was the same in every way, stones, gold, and jewels. With four heavy grunts, the workmen tilted the new throne back and up, then carried it out of the hall.
While the king watched the tradesmen leave, he noticed a black spot hovering in the air. Midas wasn’t a fool. He knew his gift was sorcerous, and he expected that other magic existed as well. He was staring at something he couldn’t explain and that meant danger.
“Guards!” the king called. He pointed at the black spot that was larger now. It looked like a black ball floating in the air, but empty somehow. 12 armored guards held up their shields in a circle around the growing black space and pointed their swords at it.
A woman stepped out of the black, then the darkness disappeared. The guards were slightly confused but held their ground.
“Who are you, witch!?” King Midas yelled. With her magic, she was obviously a witch. The king decided that without even taking her odd attire into consideration. She wore what resembled a formal coat with tails but it was crisp white. A red sun was embroidered on her left breast and it matched the red vest under her coat. “What business brings you to my court?”
“Whoa, hey,” she put her hands up and tried to find the center point furthest from all the blades. “Don’t mind me, I’m just here for a quick inspection; I’ll be outta your hair in a sec,” she said. After a moment of silence, she gave a half-curtsy and added. “uh… my lord.”
“What are you inspecting, witch?” King Midas asked. The woman sighed.
“Yeah, that’s gonna get old fast. My name’s Sol,” she said. Then, she shrugged. “You won’t understand it anyway. This server’s using a lot of extra resources, so I came to find out why.” After her explanation, Sol made a gesture with her hands and a smoky-grey slate of glass appeared before her. The guardsmen all took a step back but readied their swords. Something told King Midas that if the witch, Sol, was a danger, she would have been more overt about it.
“Are you a threat?” he asked.
“Nah,” Sol shook her head without looking up. “Like I said, I’ll be gone in a sec.” Midas dismissed his guards with a wave of his hand. They were quick to comply and almost ran out of the room in their hurry to escape the possibility of magical danger.
“You speak of resources,” Midas said. Sol felt the statement was directed at her. She looked up and saw the old king staring at her. “Do you have need of more resources?” he asked. “Perhaps we can barter; my resources for your magic. What needs have you?” he asked. Sol smiled at him but shook her head.
“Not those kinds of resources. It’s nothing you can do. But thanks, that’s a step up from calling me a witch.”
“But, Sol,” he stressed her name with a smile. “You don’t know what I can do; I have some magic of my own.” He sat up straighter and clapped his hands. “A pig!” he yelled. Sol guessed it would take a few minutes for the pig to be delivered. She rolled her eyes and focused on the slate again. Several minutes later a kitchen girl walked into the throne room carrying a piglet. She walked past Sol, knelt at the King’s throne, then presented the piglet. *ahem* Midas cleared his throat to get Sol’s attention again. She looked up.
“Whether you need money, harvest, or livestock…,” Midas leaned forward on his throne and placed his hand on the piglet. “My magic can duplicate anything you need.” A second piglet appeared under the first, in the girl’s lap. She scrambled up quickly to hold on to both of them, then carried them out of the room.
“Oh wow,” Sol grinned. She looked down at her slate, then nodded to herself. “Yep, that’s it. Midas, my lord, thank you!” She gave a more sincere curtsy. “I might not have caught the problem without your demonstration.”
“Problem?” Midas asked. Sol nodded.
“Yeah, you’re not supposed to be able to do that,” she said. Her fingers danced on the slate as she typed. “And, now you can’t. Fixed.”
“What?” Midas jumped to his feet. “What do you mean I can’t?”
“Uh..,” Sol typed some more on the slate, then an apple materialized on its surface. She picked up the apple and tossed it at Midas. “Catch,” she said.
He did. And no second apple appeared.
“All set. Bye now,” Sol waved. A black portal appeared and swallowed her before Midas had the presence of mind to call his guards to stop her.
“She stole my magic…,” he said quietly.
“Your highness! The apple!” one of the nobles yelled. Midas immediately looked down at the floor expecting to find the second apple. “In your hand!” a different one yelled. He lifted his hand and stared at the golden apple he was holding now. He tried biting it but didn’t get very far at all.
“Solid gold?” he pondered the apple while he sat down on his throne. The nobles in the hall gasped as it turned to gold before their eyes. Midas stood up again. He stared at the opulence before him and tears filled his eyes.
“What am I going to do with gold?”