Here is the finale! If you want to read the first part, just skip down a story to avoid spoilers. Again, unedited. Sorry guys.
The Advisor coughed and read diligently, taking in every ingredient. Moments passed, and nothing was said, but the Advisor mumbled to himself every other word. Finally he placed it upon a table and, looking up at the two men, said, “This is most certainly beyond my abilities, a potion so prolific I can only stand in awe and pray to the One that you allow me to learn how to make it and allow me to drink it that I might gain your wisdom.”
The Wazir’s eyes went wide at the child’s stupidity, at his monstrous blunder. The poisons were common. Most women in the market would chide a man for buying these, as they have no other use. But the Advisor allowed it to go past him, for he had no understanding of alchemy or of poultices, and this would be the gleeful news the Wazir was awaiting.
Without hesitation, the Wazir bowed, and said, “By the One, the messengers you send should each be given one ingredient they are to retrieve. Also, do not tell them the use of the items, nor who will consume them. Surely your enemies are many, and if one were to find out, then they would tamper with this good and wholesome potion, so that it would affect your constitution and judgment, and bring upon you ruin.”
And the young Sultan and Advisor, thinking the Wazir was good in his wisdom and advise, unaware of their plots to kill him in secret, did as the Wazir said, and they sent out slaves which had no tongues or genitals, and the slaves came back in under a week’s time, delivering what was required. Some died in the desert from wyrms and bandits, though most returned unharmed due to the mamluk guarding them.
As soon as they returned, the Wazir went to work over his flasks, beakers, vials, and sands, distilling, pulling essence out of the leaves, and the reduction of fleshy animals, mostly lizards. He even took a dune runner’s poison gland and stirred it in with the Advisor watching.
The Advisor, at least mildly astute, asked, “What are you doing with that gland? What part of the dune runner is it?”
When the Wazir realized he was also a dolt in anatomy, he smiled pleasantly, and said, “The gall bladder, for that is where stress goes, and stress is what gives one wisdom.” The Advisor accepted this and the Wazir continued to go on his way.
After a week, the potion was done, and not a moment too soon. In the time it took to cook the poison, the young Sultan had defiled countless folk. Those who stole were executed. Women who were accused of whoring were brought out in public and shamed by man after man, acts not suitable to men. It was said the young Sultan took a variety of lovers, and many would end up in the streets, stoned to death.
The Wazir’s wife, the day the Wazir was to administer wisdom, said, “You are doing a good thing, my husband, but why call it an Elixir of Wisdom?”
And so the husband, frowning at the thought of strangling out a life, said, “Because there are two ways to obtain wisdom. The first is to spend your life striving for it. To struggle for it in all its forms and to always understand there is one more wise than you in at least one subject. These two have struggled to bury their heads into the sand, ignoring the wisdom of others, and so they subject the people to horrors not seen in three generations. If given eternity, the two would not strike out to see what the world was outside their palace of Fah Hazeeb.
“The second way to obtain wisdom is to die when wisdom is so far from your reach. It takes great wisdom to die when you are of no use, and when they drink this, they will never realize it was their wisest moment.”
So the Wazir went to the youths and put the two vials in front of them, small things with a green liquid in it. The smell was pleasant due to sugar and lavender he added, and in fact it would even taste pleasing, or so he deduced. In a few moments he would have enough time to ask them if it did indeed taste delightful. Only fools would accept a potion pleasing to the tongue.
The Advisor said, “My Sultan, to make sure it is of quality, let me taste it so you can be assured it is pleasing.” The young Sultan was about to speak, but then allowed the noble gesture. When the Advisor drank it, he said, “It tastes sweet upon the tongue, and my eyes feel like a layer was lifted from them. I can see things so clearly.”
This clarity was a lie, a part of the ingredients which would cause a golden haze to set in before death overtook. And the poison would take long enough that the young Sultan could take his time walking to the table with the vial, slowly uncork it, and allow a drip upon his tongue, yet the Advisor was still standing. The young Sultan exclaimed, “This is quite sweet, but I do not feel the effects.”
The Wazir was quick to say, for the time was passing and the Advisor would soon slump to the ground, “You must drink of it greedily, as your father and I drank greedily of life. In doing that, you can find wisdom unparalleled.”
So the young Sultan drank it down quickly, and with the final drop, he watched the Advisor drop to the ground, his skin white and cold as the midnight air. “You foul sorcerer, you tricked us with honey and lies. You killed your Sultan?”
“You are no Sultan. You are a fool which was raised poorly, though I could not see it and your father did not dare raise a hand against you. If you could not understand how to obtain wisdom, I would allow you the wisdom to step down from your throne.”
And so the young Sultan’s eyes rolled back and his eyes were white as his flesh, and he was cold.
The Wazir left and went to his wife, and she said, “You have done a great deed. The bells toll the death of the young fool, and the people rejoice. I have no doubt, they will see to it the man who delivered them from these imbeciles will be seated on the throne next, seen to as the Sultan of Hazeeb. You will have that honor, my husband, and your eldest son will sit at your right hand to be the heir.”
The Wazir mourned the death of the young Sultan for a month, then took the throne unwillingly. His eldest son was already a wise and good man. He taught his children the lessons of the Elixir of Wisdom, and so his children, and their children, and so forth, continued the legacy, and not once since that time did they lack for wisdom.
To this day, an ancestor of the Wazir who saved Fah Hazeeb from tyranny sits upon the throne, filled with wisdom.
...like butta' on your toast!
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