Prose

The Remarkable Quests of Raddish and Quill: The Delightfully Wholesome Genie

5 March 2019

“AGHH, this won’t do!”

Quill banged their wings on the desk, their breath haggard and ragged. One would think they’d flown a marathon—a bird’s marathon that is: two days, six leagues and a third. Their leg wouldn’t stop quivering and their neck vein was right ready to burst.

Quill’s outburst caught the eye of their roommate, their best bud, Raddish. Raddish scampered over to Quill’s side and placed a paw on their shoulder.

“What’s wrong pal? You seem right ready to burst!”

Quill shrugged off the paw, their eyes still lost, their brain befuddled by a maze of squiggles and symbols.

“I’m fine, Raddish.”

“Doesn’t look like you’re fine.”

Quill took a moment to breathe (and then another).

“… If you really must know. I’m stressed about—”

“My friend, that’s easy to fix! We’re on break, SUMMER break! What better time to sit back, read a book, catch a fish? You can smile, you can sing, you can do everything! Especially here at the treehouse, on such a bright sunshiny day! And especially with a good friend like me! Why didn’t you say so? Come on, let’s go—”

“That’s the thing…” Quill turned their head away, their beak struggling to form the next words.

“… I can’t relax… To be perfectly honest, I’ve forgotten how.”

Raddish was at a loss for words. How could their best friend—their fellow adventurer—have forgotten how to relax? Then again, Quill was never the most easy-going of ravens. They would often be beak-deep in poem after poem, sometimes pulling all-nighter after all-nighter for the sake of their next anthology.

Raddish pouted; how could they help out with a predicament like this?

Suddenly, as if the heavens above had heard their plea, a light bulb went off in Raddish’s head. They grabbed Quill’s wing and pulled them right off their chair.

“Wha—Where are we going?” Quill asked.

“Why we’re going adventuring! To the kitchen!”

***

The rather pungent smell of rapidly boiling tea permeated through the treehouse. Quill slumped on the couch, trying with no avail to catch some z’s. Apparently Raddish’s idea of an adventure was boiling up some ancient nerve-soothing tea while Quill took a nap. Raddish was at the stove, staring at the teapot like it was some sort of ancient artifact, thousands of years old. Which it probably was; it had been found on one of their adventures to the tea fiefdom a while back. According to Raddish, the herbalist who’d sold them the teapot had called it a pure relic—“with a cryptic smile too!” Or so Raddish insisted.

God that simpleton is so easy to impress sometimes, thought Quill.

Still, it was nice that Raddish was going to such efforts to help them. That cat really did care, despite the funny way they showed it.

So then why was Quill so cold to them?

“Kettle’s ready,” said Raddish. “Also there’s a genie with us.”

Startled by this revelation, Quill hastily flew into the kitchen. And indeed Raddish was correct; emanating from the tip of the teapot was a magnificent goat spectre. Adorned with technicolour robes and the most stylish of goatee beards, the genie really was a most mesmerising sight to our two questers.

A moment (or seven) of silence later, the genie cleared their throat and grinned.

“Why hello there! I am ummm… now what was my name again?”

It would seem that a millennia or so of slumber had left quite a bit of rust on the poor genie’s memories.

“Can we call you Peppermint?” asked Raddish.

Seems the cat got over their shock, thought Quill. And are we seriously going to pick the genie’s na—

“Why yes of course! What a wonderful name!” The aptly named Peppermint then cleared their throat with a mighty bleat. “Now down to business. I’m a genie, as you may have guessed, and I grant wishes. Three of them in fact. However—” The genie raised their hoof very high, their expression growing more serious. “I am a different kind of genie; I’m what you mortals might call a wholesome genie. And so the wishes I grant must be suitably wholesome as well.”

Raddish gasped, their cheeks turning rosy with unbridled exhilaration.

“Define wholesomeness, Peppermint,” asked a bemused Quill.

“Why, generally kind, more or less selfless stuff.”

Quill groaned. Only the marvellous questers Raddish and Quill could stumble upon a genie with such specific guidelines. All Quill wanted was some gems to spice up the treehouse. Or the best poems to read. Or the ability to work on their anthologies without sleep. Or—

“I wish that Quill would relearn how to relax!”

Peppermint smiled. “And what a wholesome wish indeed. Doing something to help your bestie out, it warms my 5000-year-old heart.

“However, while wholesome, it sadly is beyond my powers. For a start, the art of relaxing is already quite a complicated and nuanced process, and each mortal has their own special way. Not to mention how… difficult your friend here found relaxing to begin with.”

“Awwwwww… how sad,” Raddish said, their head down. Quill’s head was also down, more so due to the immense wholesomeness of the wish.

“However, I’m willing to provide you with ways to relax. Like so.”

Moments later things of all kinds appeared: books, herbal teas, soap, video games and their respective consoles. But still, Quill sighed. All of these things they had tried. None had worked.

“What about world peace?” asked Raddish. “Maybe if the world was more peaceful, Quill could be too?”

Now it was Peppermint’s turn to sigh. “While that is a nice thought, it again is beyond my power. The idea of world peace means different things for different people; one’s idea of world peace could be another’s worst dystopia. It really is a headache, and a sad one at that.”

Quill slumped to the ground in despair. They didn’t even want to de-stress purely for themself anymore. They wanted to do it for Raddish.

And that was when the light bulb in Quill’s own brain shone out like one of the many suns they’d encountered on their adventures.

“Can you provide Raddish with the thing that will make them happiest?”

Peppermint mused for a little bit, twirling their hoof through their beard. Eventually they smiled. A click of a hoof later, Quill was on the ground fast asleep. Raddish beamed.

“Awww—thanks Peppermint. Quill is all nice and asleep. And look!” Indeed, in their sleep, Quill seemed to be oddly peaceful. It really was something, well, wholesome to behold.

“Now, your last wish dearies! And then I’ll be back in my teapot…” It was Peppermint’s head that slumped this time.

“Oh that—for your freedom of course!”

“…That’s one of the most wholesome wishes anyone has ever made… It’s up there with your friend’s just before.”

Peppermint attempted to wipe away their tears. However, their hooves did make doing a thorough job of it difficult. Seeing this, Raddish offered them a tissue.

“Why thank you. Now to spread wholesomeness wherever I go!” After a flurry of goodbyes, the genie departed their teapot and dispersed in peppermint green flashes of light.

Raddish, left with the sleeping Quill, carried them to their room, tucked them in, and turned on their favourite playlist of Beethoven and David Bowie. Taking a moment, Raddish smiled before collapsing to the floor. They had practically run marathons too after all—what with all the tea-making.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *