Chapter I: The Way to the Wicked Witch
There once lived a knight of great renown who had vanquished the deadliest of dragons and the mightiest of mages, but this legendary hero harbored a harrowing secret. He was a complete and utter pussy. Nevertheless, his feats of bravery had earned him an audience with His Majesty Corwin the Conceited, King of Corwinia. Corwinia had originally been known as Wisconsin, but Corwin the Conceited had it changed soon after his coronation.
“Your Majesty, how may I be of service to you?” Asked the cowardly knight as he kneeled before King Corwin upon his throne.
“Sir Hecnick, I have a quest for you,” replied the king. “Deep in the Forest of Flames lives a most wicked witch who has cursed my name, and I task you with-”
“Slaying the wicked witch and lifting the curse?” Sir Hecnick asked, his eyes wide with fear.
King Corwin tilted his head, confused. “What? No. There is no curse that needs to be lifted. This witch called me a cunt! I demand you capture the witch alive and bring her to me so that she may face the King’s justice!”
Sir Hecnick rose to his feet, “Your wish is my command, Your Majesty! I shall set off in pursuit of this witch as soon as-”
“Oh, and Sir Hecnick,” The King interrupted, not paying particular attention to whatever it was that the knight had been saying, “Do be wary of the witch. Rumor has it that she can summon terrifying demons with a single word and turn men into frogs in the blink of an eye. She will be a most dangerous opponent.”
“Of course, Your Majesty. I shall set off in pursuit of this witch as soon as my stallion recovers from its fever.” The knight said, trembling in his armor.
“Nonsense! You shall take my swiftest steed to aid you in your quest!” King Corwin snapped his fingers, and a pair of servants arrived with a brilliant black mare in tow.
“Oh, that is very generous of you, Your Majesty, but I couldn’t possibly take away your finest horse from you.” Sir Hecnick slowly began to inch towards the door, “I think I’ll just wait until my stallion is healthy ag-”
“I insist you take my horse!” said the king. “This witch must be brought to justice as soon as humanly possible!”
Sir Hecnick sighed, “If you insist.”
And so the cowardly knight set off on his quest to capture the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames. Riding atop King Corwin’s black mare, Sir Hecnick arrived at the stables to find his squire, a young man named Jamal, attending to his stallion, which was completely healthy. “Sir Hecnick!” Jamal said, rising from his seat as the knight entered, “What was it that King Corwin wanted?”
Sir Hecnick gave a sigh as he looked down from his horse. “He wants me to bring him the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames.”
“The Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames!?” Jamal exclaimed with a gasp, “But rumor has it that she can summon terrifying demons with a single word and turn men into frogs in the blink of an eye! She will be a most dangerous opponent!”
Sir Hecnick’s voice quivered in fear, “Yes, so I’ve heard from-”
“But I’m sure that the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames will be no match for the Heroic Sir Hecnick!” said Jamal, mounting the saddle atop his own horse. “We must ride for the Forest of Flames at once!”
“Yes of course, at once…” The knight trotted off the castle bridge where he took a left upon a fork in the road to the squire’s confusion.
“Sir Hecnick, where are you going? The Forest of Flames is to the south, down the right path,” asked Jamal.
“I think we should go this way,” said the knight.
“But the Forest of Flames is less than a ten minute ride away from here. You’re heading north in the opposite direction.”
“Oh. Well, if we go this way, there will be a shortcut that will take us to the Wicked Witch even faster.”
“Of course, Sir Hecnick! How could I have ever questioned you? What a genius you are!” And with that the squire followed the lead of his knight. The two journeyed north for many hours under the blistering sun, and Jamal began to wonder if they really were taking a shortcut to the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames. They continued trekking north until they came upon a raging river with but a single narrow stone bridge to cross a ways down the water. However, as they reached the narrow stone bridge, an enormous, ferocious troll emerged from beneath the bridge’s shadows.
The troll was as tall as two men standing atop one another. His muscles bulged like boulders beneath a crackled hide of faded green leather. A pair of fangs as large as daggers rose from his lower jaw. He brandished a gargantuan iron mace the size of their horses. “I am The Troll that Lives Under the Bridge!” roared the troll, globs of spit flying into the faces of Sir Hecnick and Jamal, his breath reeking of the rancid odor of decaying human flesh.
Immediately the knight jumped off his horse and ran behind his squire. “Spare me! Please! Eat my squire instead- he’s much tastier!”
The troll stomped his massive feet and pounded his massive chest, “No one gets to cross my bridge unless they pay the toll! One gold coin!”
Jamal pulled out a single gold coin from his coin purse and handed it to the troll. The monster jumped back in bewilderment. No one had ever paid the toll. Everybody who came through this way usually just ran away or ended up getting eaten.
“Um… okay then.” The troll said, sticking the gold coin in its pocket. “You guys have a nice trip.” It gave a wave to Sir Hecnick and Jamal as it returned to its home beneath the bridge. Their path now clear, the knight and his squire made their way across the narrow stone pass atop their horses.
As they were traveling, however, Jamal was somewhat bothered by the fact that Sir Hecnick had been so willing to sacrifice his squire to save himself, but Jamal didn’t call Sir Hecnick out on that because Sir Hecnick never said anything when he walked in on Jamal masturbating that one time. And so they continued on their journey north, venturing farther and farther away from the Forest of Flames until they came upon a large oak tree.
This oak tree was home to a fearsome caterpillar named Jonathan, and Jonathan ate a dozen nuclear submarines every evening for breakfast because he thoroughly enjoyed the taste of Uranium. It reminded him of Chocolate Cream Pie, but nuclear submarines were very hard to find in the oak tree he lived in, especially in the 1300s. In fact, this caterpillar hadn’t eaten a nuclear submarine in its entire life. Jonathan was just a poser. Jonathan didn’t have any friends – but not because he was a poser. Jonathan didn’t have any friends because he was a caterpillar, and it is common knowledge that caterpillars are incapable of forming deep lasting relationships. The best they could ever hope for are acquaintances. Jonathan, however, didn’t have any acquaintances either – because he was a poser. This upset Jonathan greatly, and so he decided to embark on a quest to supply his nuclear submarine diet. Catching sight of the two men that were walking towards him, Jonathan called out to the knight and his squire.
Coincidentally, Jamal happened to be fluent in caterpillar and managed to understand Jonathan’s request. “Sir Hecnick! There is a caterpillar in that oak tree over there that is in need of our aid!” The squire said.
Sir Hecnick paused and gave the tree a curious look, “A caterpillar? What could it possibly need from us?”
“Apparently it needs our help to build a time machine that would propel it into the future.”
“How in the world would we go about doing that?” Sir Hecnick asked.
“I have no idea,” replied Jamal, “But as you always say, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’”
“I’m absolutely sure I’ve never said that,” Sir Hecnick said, but he figured such an endeavor would take a considerable amount of time. And he really didn’t want to deal with terrifying demons or get turned into a frog, so Sir Hecnick agreed to aid Jonathan in building a time machine.
After many years of research and experimentation, Sir Hecnick and Jamal finally discovered a means of breaking the barrier of lightspeed and propelling someone forward through time. With satisfied grins, Sir Hecnick and Jamal flicked on the switch. A pulsing blue glow emanated from the machine as it began to whir and hum to life. The crackle of electricity filled the air, and in an instant a blinding flash of light burst forth and Jonathan was gone. The knight and his squire clapped one another on the back as they basked in their success. Jonathan had finally made it to the future, where he could feast on all the nuclear submarines he could dream of, but they had forgotten one crucial detail. Unfortunately, all of them had failed to realize the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun. When he exited the time machine, Jonathan’s body imploded due to the absence of atmospheric pressure, and his mutilated remains instantaneously froze in the near absolute zero temperatures of space. Thus was the story of Jonathan.
However, Sir Hecnick and Jamal had no knowledge of Jonathan’s tragic fate whatsoever, and believing that they had helped another poor soul in need, the two continued on their hunt for the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames. For forty days and forty nights, they traveled in rain, snow, and shine, crossed vast deserts and open seas, trekked through high-reaching mountains and deep stretches of valleys until one day they came upon a unicorn.
This unicorn had fallen in love with an olive tree. The olive tree was very shy at first, but the unicorn thought that the olive tree was incredibly sexy. It had so many curves that the unicorn’s horn stood up straight as soon as it saw the olive tree. Educated people will note that a unicorn’s horn is always standing straight, but if they are so educated, have they ever even seen a unicorn with their own two eyes? No? Well then they’re arrogant, ignorant bigots who promote a stereotypical objectification of unicorns. People who have actually seen unicorns in person will testify that their horns are normally very floppy and often much shorter than expected. Unicorns will typically only display tall, sharp, pointy horns when they are very aroused. The reason why unicorns are depicted as such is because the first man to illustrate a unicorn was really into bestiality. Narwhals, on the other hand, have constantly sharp horns. This is because narwhals are whores.
The olive tree also found the unicorn attractive, but their love was forbidden because there was a massive war between the Unicorn Nation and the Olive Tree Kingdom. Sir Hecnick and Jamal were so moved by the bond between these forbidden lovers that they decided to help the unicorn and the olive tree elope to the one place in the world where they would be accepted for who they are, Portland, Oregon.
The unicorn and the olive tree would go on to campaign for interficticious animal and arboreal marriage equality rights, but they were struck down in the Supreme Court. They had a small ceremony in their neighbor’s backyard anyway, and Jamal was in attendance. (Sir Hecnick couldn’t make it though because he had promised his sister in-law that he would take his niblings to the monster truck rally that weekend.) Eventually the unicorn and the olive tree settled down and had children, little olive trees that sprouted tiny unicorns that tasted like Nature Valley Granola Bars. The two grew old together until a tragic surfing incident when the olive tree was bitten by a shark. The olive tree immediately fell in love with the shark and engaged in a lengthy affair that destroyed their marriage and devastated their children. Then the unicorn died of a broken heart. The olive tree showed up to the funeral, but this was only because the olive tree had been chopped down and used to make the unicorn’s casket. And that is why olives are an integral facet of Greek heritage.
By the time Sir Hecnick and Jamal remembered that they were on a quest to capture the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames, they had found themselves so completely far away from the Forest of Flames that they were on the other side of the planet – in China.
“Sir Hecnick, are you sure that this is a shortcut to the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames?” Jamal asked as they strolled past an Asian martial artist performing calculus and eating rice. The Asian also had a small penis, which Jamal knew because he had walked up to the Asian and cupped his genitals – for science.
“Of course this is a shortcut to the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames! Why would you ever think it isn’t?” The knight replied.
“Only because we’ve been traveling for three years, and the Forest of Flames is a mere ten minutes away from the castle of King Corwin the Conceited.”
“Not every shortcut is faster than the usual route.” The knight said with his arms crossed.
“But that’s the definition of a shortcut.” The squire pulled out a dictionary that he kept in his back pocket because Jamal was a total nerd, which is why he never got laid in college. “SHôrtˌkət. Noun. A shorter, quicker, or easier way to get to a place; a route more direct than the one ordinarily taken.”
Sir Hecnick rolled his eyes, “I see someone’s still a virgin.”
“I am not!”
“Inflatable sex dolls don’t count.”
“Oh…” Jamal looked down at his feet. “Still, I think you should ask for directions. We’re clearly lost.”
“You’re right.” The knight tapped on the shoulder of the nearest Chinese person, who was also a martial artist with a small penis performing calculus and eating rice, “你叫什麼名字?”
The Chinese person greeted Sir Hecnick with a bow. “我的名字是陰道.”
Sir Hecnick was clearly not as good at Chinese as he thought he was because the Chinese man named Pu See promptly roundhouse kicked the knight in the face.
The reason for this is what Sir Hecnick had said, which roughly translated to, “Go fuck yourself in the ass with a rusty tetanus infected rake before shoving it down your mother’s throat and churning her intestines into a meaty paste, you worthless, chink eyed sack of human filth.” In his defense, it was a fairly innocent mistake. The Chinese word for ‘directions’ and the Chinese phrase for ‘go fuck yourself in the ass with a rusty tetanus infected rake before shoving it down your mother’s throat and churning her intestines into a meaty paste, you worthless, chink eyed sack of human filth’ both sound very similar. Indistinguishable to foreigners, actually.
But when Sir Hecnick rose from the ground to respond to his assailant, the knight found that he could not find the Chinese person that had just kicked him. This was on account of the fact that all asians look exactly alike. And so, unable to find directions, Sir Hecnick and Jamal wandered to distant lands and faraway places until at last they came upon a sign.
WELCOME TO THE FOREST OF FLAMES, the sign read. ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES. SPONSORED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. Beyond the sign lay the vast woods that sheltered the Wicked Witch that lives in the Forest of Flames.
“Sir Hecnick! We’re here at the Forest of Flames!” Jamal exclaimed upon finally reaching their destination.
“But I see no fire. This looks like a completely normal forest. Why do they call it the Forest of Flames?”
Suddenly, a gathering of foreboding clouds appeared out of nowhere and blocked out the sun, casting an ominous darkness. In an instant a lightning bolt flashed across the sky and struck the forest as rolls of thunder rumbled in the distance. Immediately the Forest of Flames exploded like dynamite into a hellish inferno that engulfed every branch and twig.
“Probably because of that.” Jamal said.