“I’ve run out of ink for my pen!” said the Great Magician in the Kingdom of Reynes, dumping his ink jar.
The Magician scratched his feather pen across the handmade paper, only to make a faded line.
“Where are you Ink Fairies?” he called out the window. “I need more ink. I have stories to write!”
He looked at his stacked manuscripts sitting in his bookshelf, neatly bound with leather and string.
Like all magicians, the Great Magician had a special gift that distinguished him in the kingdoms—his was storytelling.
In fact, whether or not people knew it, he was responsible for writing all the stories in every kingdom of the world.
After he wrote the masterpieces, the Ink Fairies took his work and put them in the Timeless Library, where all stories were saved despite space or time. Then, when an author or scribe needed a story, the Ink Fairies delivered the book to their beside at night. When they woke in the morning, the story had been inscribed in their memory through the Magician’s spell. Of course, only the Great Magician and the Ink Fairies knew this secret. If humans knew of the Magician’s power, they would be jealous and covet his magic, which they already thought was their own.
“Here I am, sir!” said Pherenice the Fairy, who had heavenly blue flowers on her wings. “We worked all night on making a new batch of ink for you,” she said, dropping the latest batch of fairy ink on his desk with a thump.
One after another the Great Magician checked off the names of the Ink Fairies as they delivered their full ink jars:
Blossom, Cherry, Dewdrop, Euclea, Flutter, Glimmer, Moonshadow, Songbird, Twinkle, Veil, and Wonderspell.
“Fabulous!” the Magician said. “I have enough ink for my work next week, and all is well with the world.”
“Well, all is well almost,” Moonshadow said, who was so bright that she always had a shadow behind her.
“What is it this time?” the Great Magician said. “Let me guess! The Ink Press is broken again!”
“No . . . not exactly,” Cherry said. “It’s more like the Evil Squid Ink sent us a letter on seaweed parchment.”
“What does he want now? Stay at the bottom of Lake Doom, and stop trying to steal my stories!” the Magician said.
“He’s always wanted your ink,” Blossom said, sitting on the Magician’s shoulder. “He can’t write stories like you!”
“I wouldn’t worry if I were you,” Dewdrop said, cleaning her ink bottle with her shiny wings.
“No, I would worry,” Euclea said. “The Evil Squid Ink is evil for reasons—he wants to take over the Ink Press.”
Flutter fluttered over to the Magician, handing him the threatening note on seaweed parchment, which he read aloud:
“Great Magician: I am coming for you! I will take your Ink Press for my own. I am the Evil Squid Ink, and you are only a half-rate Magician who comes up with fairy stories that have taken over the minds of children and their parents for far too long. My ink will now be known throughout generations! Your Ink Press and Timeless Library will be mine! This is war. Leave the Kingdom of Reynes before I force you out with my Squid Ink Army. I am the one with the Ink. You’ve never been anything other than a plagiarizing fool. Truly, The Evil Squid Ink”
“What shall we do now?” Glimmer said. “There must be a glimmer of hope somewhere. There always is . . .”
“We must secure the Ink Press,” Veil said. “And then we must prepare for a fierce and long battle.”
“I will call for the neighboring fairies to come to our defense,” Songbird sang, flying across the Magician’s office.
“None of that will defeat him!” the Magician said. “I must write what’s happening in a story, and it must get published in the human world, so they can know the lies of the Evil Squid Ink. It’s the only way to defeat him for good!”
“He’ll stay at the bottom of Lake Doom in hiding, fearful that the humans would destroy him,” Twinkle said, with a sparkle in her eye. “The story must make it to the Timeless Library by midnight of the last day of the month for it to be available to its author in this season. Otherwise, it has no chance to get published until next year.”
“This means that I have three days,” The Magician said. “I will need constant ink and no distractions! Then, you must deliver the story to the Timeless Library, and its author without delay! Telling this story is the only way to win.”
“Until you finish the greatest piece of fiction ever written, we’ll protect you!” Wonderspell said. “The Evil Squid Ink only wants to use the Ink Press and Timeless Library to promote his own meaningless and dark stories!”
“That will never happen, but we must deliver the story to an author who isn’t jealous of the Magician’s storytelling magic,” Pherenice said. “We’ll find the best author available and prepare to fight the Squid Ink Army.”
Day and night for the next three days, the Great Magician worked tirelessly on “The Story of the Evil Squid Ink.”
“More ink!” the Great Magician said, rubbing his sore wrist. “I must have more ink! Fairies! Where are you?”
In the meantime, the Evil Squid Ink descended on the Magician’s castle, throwing deadly ink bombs.
As Pherenice delivered the jars of ink, the other fairies defended the Kingdom of Reynes from the Squid Ink Army.
They sent fairy dust into the squid tentacles, causing confusion so they couldn’t throw the ink bombs.
Although the Squid Ink Army was relentless, the Ink Fairies didn’t back down, diffusing the ink bombs before they could detonate and sending them back to the slippery squids. The Ink Fairies’ cleverness enraged the Evil Squid Ink, who wanted to kill the Magician. “I’ll settle this myself,” he said, growling. “The world will know my stories!”
As he made his way to the Great Magician’s chambers, the fairies fought him until he arrived at his door.
“I must finish this story!” the Magician said, placing his feather pen behind his ear. “I’m on the last chapter.”
He scribbled and scrawled as quick as he could of the horrors of the Evil Squid Ink, ending the manuscript with this sentiment: “And so the horrendous creature hid at the bottom of Lake Doom for the rest of time, never to use words against humankind. Instead, stories were only used for the good of men and women alike. The End.”
“Quickly!” the Magician called to the Ink Fairies. “Take my manuscript to the Timeless Library. Register it among the Books of Time, and then deliver it to its author and scribe among humankind. Hurry! There is no time to waste.”
As Pherenice and a group of fairies from neighboring kingdoms flew through the window to pick up the masterpiece, the Evil Squid Ink blew open the front door of the Great Magician’s chambers with an especially potent ink bomb.
“Fly as fast as you can!” the Magician said, sending the fairies on their way to the Timeless Library.
While the fairies took off, the Evil Squid Ink wrestled the Great Magician on the chamber floors.
The Evil Squid Ink almost strangled the Magician with its tentacles until the Magician stabbed him with his feather pen.
“This pen is sharper than a knife!” the Magician said, as the varmint slithered into the hall, bleeding.
Of course, the beast crawled away before the Magician could kill him, and it shrank back into Lake Doom with his army.
“You got away!” the wizard said, stumbling into the hall. “I knew the only way to truly defeat you was to tell your story.” Meanwhile, Pherenice and the fairies expedited “The Story of the Evil Squid Ink” through the Timeless Library, registering it with a special code in a category all its own: “Stories that Save the Fate of Humankind and Their Children.”
Before the Evil Squid Ink could reorganize himself for another attack, Pherenice delivered the manuscript to the beside of Pen Jen, an American author who was well-known for her children’s magazine, Pen Jen’s Inkwell.
When she awoke in the morning, she scribbled notes on paper by her beside and made an outline during breakfast.
“I’ve come up with the best story yet,” she told her mother on the phone. “There’s this magician with a feather pen, and he has ink fairies who give him magic ink to write classic stories for all humanity, and a squid that is jealous of the magician’s enchanted stories. It’s going to be marvelous! I’ll let you read it for typos when I have the first draft.”
By the time the manuscript was a published best-seller in New York City, the Evil Squid Ink was so afraid the humans would kill him and his Squid Ink Army that he stayed at the bottom of Lake Doom for eternity, never to threaten the Great Magician again. And The Great Magician with the help of his Ink Fairies kept writing the stories that all humankind loved. His magic feather pen had never been so delightful!
Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters