“Well? What do you think, Sebastian?”
The small bird, a brilliant splash of red, orange and green, glanced up at his oldest friend with twinkling black eyes. In front of them, the cauldron bubbled and spewed black sludge - made of the finest ingredients they’d been able to find in town.
“I think you make a better essay-writer than alchemist,” Sebastian, an awakened sun conure, noted. He added, kindly, “It’s the best muck I’ve ever seen, though.”
The wizard, Marlowe, known broadly as the ‘town eccentric’, let out a bellowing laugh. “Sebastian, you flatter me. But you must remember, tweety bird, flattery will get you nowhere.”
“And everywhere.” The sun conure trilled his own laugh. “I’ve learned from the best, old man.”
They had exchanged good-natured insults like this for the better part of three years, Sebastian providing input on the retired wizard’s doings, and Marlowe teaching him to become a caster in his own right. It was slow going, especially since everyone in the town thought it was a ventriloquist act.
“Well,” Marlowe sighed, “we’ll try again, tomorrow, with the other half of the ingredients. I’m hungry, now. Are you, Seb?”
“Yes, sir,” Sebastian agreed.
“Silly question,” the wizard chortled.