Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2200461
A novice mage buys a fiddle that makes skeletons flip and regrets the purchase.
Cork always enjoyed the traveling circus when it came around. His favorite act was a band of necromancers making skeletons do flips with magical fiddles. Cork was born with a natural proclivity for magic. He had been hoping to use his talents for a stage act for a long time. He put aside some money each day to go and buy a "skeleton flip fiddle". A nearby sorceress was selling one. When he finally acquired his fiddle, he dug up his dad's grave to test his new fiddle. The results were unsatisfactory, so he paid a visit to the sorceress.
"I want my money back, lady. Your damn fiddle isn't working!"
"Yes it is. It does everything I told you it could."
"Oh yeah? Well, I went through the trouble of digging up my da's grave and tried it out. I set him upright and started playing. At least I tried to start. As soon as I touched the string with the bow, my body involuntarily did a flip!"
"And your father?"
"His old bones tried to flip, but they fell apart as soon as his head touched the floor!"
"I see no issue here. The fiddle does what it is supposed to do. It makes skeletons flip."
"But I'm not a skeleton! Your damn fiddle made me do a flip!"
"You are not a skeleton, but you do have a skeleton beneath your flesh. The fiddle makes all skeletons flip regardless of whether they have muscles attached or not. Obviously, a bare skeleton would fall apart upon flipping as it is held by nothing but your weak necromantic powers."
"Don't insult me woman! What are you trying to say? I presumed that the fiddle would make resurrected bones flip, not living bodies!"
"It's a very simple enchantment. When the bow touches the strings any and all skeletons nearby are forced to do a flip."
"How do the circus mages do it then? They play the fiddle but they don't flip forward while their skeletons do."
"They have really really strong backs so they can resist the flip."
"You're kidding me..."
"I'm not. Why do you think circus mages are so fit while school mages are fat and slow? It's because circus mages work out to keep their backs strong while school mages can't be bothered to pick up a book with their own hands."
"You didn't mention any of this when you were selling me the fiddle!"
"I had no compulsion to mention anything. I was kind enough to answer any and all questions you had."
"How could I have known any of this!"
"Try doing some research before you try to meddle with arcana beyond your pointed hat. Now, if you're not going to buy anything, get out."
Cork stormed out of the store. The sorceress shouted after him as he stomped away.
"Try doing some pull-ups! It will make your back stronger!"