Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Importance of Regular Maintenance of Property

The president was waving an origami sword at me in a menacing fashion. Although he was left-handed, he was wielding the deadly weapon with his right hand; immediately, I understood that he was reserving his true power for a later moment, and that he was not yet being serious. There was still a chance for me to get out of here alive. 

"I will give you a chance to learn why you must die here," he said while moving his sword into an attack stance.

I could have performed a sudden sneak attack at this moment by flexing my legs and launching my shoes at the president, but it would most probably have failed. Because I had taken a shortcut through a muddy footpath on the way to the clubroom, my shoes were weighted with mud, and thus any attack made with my shoes, although more powerful due to the added weight, would also be too slow and easily blocked or deflected.

W-wait- did the president anticipate this, and chose this particular date and time to attack? But he could not have known that I would take the shortcut across the muddy footpath.

"You bastard!" the president spat, "It seems like you think you have done nothing wrong. It looks like there's simply no way we can coexist. I can't forgive anyone without a proper sense of time. "

I looked at my watch. What was he talking about? I had arrived five minutes in advance of my club meeting. Could my watch be wrong- oh no!

In the moment that I was glancing at my watch, he had started his attack sequence, and was now moving impossibly quickly towards me! I had made a fatal mistake! I tried to dodge, but it was too late to avoid his well-practiced strike!

The origami sword crumpled against my the pocket of my uniform, but the weapon had done its job and inflicted untold amounts of piercing damage to me. I collapsed to the floor. 

"There are only two times in life. Now, and too late. You can only blame yourself.

Time of death- 310pm. 310pm !?"

As my consciousness faded, my last thing I saw was the president staring at the clock mounted on the wall of the clubroom.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Secrets of Heaven are Not to be Revealed

Every day, the fortune teller peddled his trade in the same corner of the park square, right beside the fountain. His tools were but a worn pack of playing cards packed in a paper box that had long since lost its cover, and a cardboard sign propped up against the fountain edge that announced in a loud marker red, "$5 for a fortune."

As far as I knew, his readings were uncannily accurate. There was, however, a catch to this prescience. Before he would tell a fortune, the fortune teller would begin with a well practiced warning.

"The secrets of the diving are not to be learned, not without cost. Each time that I would read into a future, your fortunes would be correspondingly reduced."

It was a chilling statement that undoubtedly increased the sense of mysticism to his practice, but I could not help but think that he would have been more successful if he had adopted a different pitch, especially one that did not discourage repeated business. Once, I did mention this poor marketing decision to him, but he only shrugged in response.

"More business would be good, but that sentence is not something that I can afford to change. It's something that's necessary in this line of work, you know? Without it, who would suffer the price of leaking Heaven's secrets? Me. Which does makes the profession impractical as a business, right? Well, historically it was so, and most prophets and seers did tend to meet unfortunate ends.

But if the risks were transferred- if you think of it as a sort of mystical contract, not unlike a transfer of liabilities- then it becomes possible to deal in fortunes."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Guild to Save the World

At some point in history, humanity realized that there were too many threats to their continued survival. In a moment of collective enlightenment, an organization was formed, peopled by talents from each and every corner of the known world, and funded by all the human kingdoms in the realm.

Moved by such noble ideals, I entered The Guild to Save the World when I finally reached the minimum age for joining.

Unfortunately... I quickly learned that the number of humanity threatening crises that the Guild had resolved was... zero.

Surely you'll go, "What! This must be a mistake?", as I exclaimed many years ago when the Grand Custodian mentioned this fact.

With the impenetrably solid logic of a bath sponge, he explained that it was simply too difficult- impossible, in fact- to combat all crises at once. Attempting to do so was folly. Instead, by temporarily reassigning the least urgent threats to be addressed at a later date (and with more resources), all the resources could be focused to achieve greater results. In any case, it was impossible to predict the timing of world-threatening events, and each crises required a different set of measures to address. A demonic invasion could be fought off with an army, but would be useless against a magical plague. Simultaneously planning for all threats was logistically impossible.

The Grand Custodian then brilliantly extended this argument repeatedly, and by a clever process of induction, managed to save the Guild quite a bit of work.

He called it "the principle of maintaining maximum readiness and flexibility (soft mumble)by doing nothing(soft mumble)".

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wise Words of a Fee-losopher

You can do it. Not talking about me, I'm talking about you. Whatever you want to be, I believe you can do it.

It's true.

One caveat: You must choose to act.

Those were the words of wisdom taught to me by a fee-losopher. Unlike normal philosophers, fee-losophers charged dearly for their insights. You get what you pay for, and thus the advice of fee-losophers was held in higher regard than that of the amateurish philosophers. 

I did not initially believe the smooth-faced man before me. Belief alone was insufficient. I knew- I had tried many times believing, but no change was wrought. My goals were not being met. It was precisely this desperation that I had sought out the help of the fee-losophers.

"How do I become a ninja turtle?" I had asked the wise man. And he answered, though I was reluctant to trust him.

"Very well. I shall demonstrate," he spoke, sensing my hesitation. 

His preparations were meticulous, to say the least. Dabbing his face with generous globs of green camoflague cream, and then putting on a turtle shell costume, the fee-losopher quickly began to resemble a ninja turtle in appearance. 

"Now watch closely, as I will begin my demonstration."

It was a miracle. Before me no longer stood a human, but a ninja turtle performing all sorts of advanced martial acrobatics. 

And then he stopped, and once more became a green-faced man dressed in a funny suit.  

"H-how did you do this, MASTER!?"

He only grinned. 

"Did you not listen closely? One caveat: You must choose to act.

You must hone your acting skills!"

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Short Note on the Origin of Magic Power

Though exceptions exist, a person's attunement to magic appears to be largely inherited. The existence of the so-named mage families, not to mention the royal bloodlines, are strong proof that magic capacity is a factor inherently tied to blood.

At least, that is the understanding that is promulgated as absolute truth. I have my own doubts about the matter.

The greatest unresolved question in magic theory is that of the "unblooded prodigal"- a mage of exceptionally strong capability who does not have any ancestors of remotely notable magical power. The number of such individuals, while not large, is sufficient to hint at explanations of magic ability other than blood.

Allow me to indulge in a moment of heresy- perhaps it is that magic power is not actually inherited?

It is not a secret that the mage families are notoriously reticent. Most sons and daughters of famous mage bloodlines only attend magic academies after the age of 16 (if at all), at which point their magical abilities are already largely developed. Could it be that the key to their abilities is some method of special training during the formative years? If so, this would explain their reluctance to openly share the secrets to their fame and power.

Needless to say, these are dangerous speculations.