The wizard's apprentice scratched his head, staring at the beetle in consternation. It was greatly deformed as though it were mocking him. Its body was flipped over with its head at an impossible and queer angle and its arms and legs were up in the air.
It looked disgusting.
He thought it had a sarcastic and proud air about it; but it was a beetle and it couldn't possibly have such an air to it, he noted to himself.
The apprentice went by the name 'Nozo' owing to his massive nose which he never forgave his parents for and which his friends or rather apprentice mates and rivals said that he looked like a human being sprouting out of a nose.
The beetle was not meant to look like that. The high Wizard had given him the task of performing a spell-and-potion combination, the highest level of magic but things didn't seem to be going very well.
The experiment did not seem to be going as planned in fact the whole room did not seem to be going as planned. Everything was in shambles. Some of the books and stools were on the floor, all the open books lying about were not of any help and Nozo was now more lost and nervous than when the High Wizard had called his name earlier.
Performing tasks for the High Wizard was an honour; an honour he seemed to have greatly dishonoured.
He wasn't sure where he had gone wrong but he was a fair bit sure that the spell went something like:
"Tiny Beetle Betty
turn into cake and confetti!"
- Or wasn't it?
He couldn't be sure and with the little time he had left, he was beginning to consider turning himself into a beetle and suffer being accidentally squashed in the near future. Especially since he was going to get figuratively squashed by his rivals in the nearer future.
Nozo inhaled deeply through his massive nose. He looked down at the beetle again and felt his inhumanely-sized nose was getting in his way.
"OK beetle! Here's the deal. You need to become a form of food and as much as I would have liked to transform you, I have failed. And as much as I would have liked to cook food in the kitchen, I would fail beyond anything you and I can imagine. So here's the deal: You need to impress the High Wizard. I don't care what you do, just do it or die trying!" Nozo held his wand and instructed the poor creature lying on its back.
It didn't respond – as though he thought it would.
At that moment, the door opened and the High Wizard entered, his blue-and-purple robes flowing behind him.
He looked at the room. It was a mess – as he had expected. But so were all the other apprentices' work rooms.
There was however a strange and almost desperate look on the High Wizard's face.
"I'm working as fast as I can, your grace!" Nozo mouthed quickly.
"Work all you want Nozo. I know failure when I see it." The Wizard said sadly.
"But… Why? I did everything by the book – I think," Nozo started mumbling.
"I can see that. You did, however, miss one valuable point," the Wizard said and sighed.
Nozo looked at his teacher questioningly.
"The beetle is a male. You needed a female beetle for the spell to work! Bozo!"