I am the Flying Man. My destiny is to help you.
We are a proud, honor-bound tribe of five. We believe that everyone has the right to continuous happiness.
The young boy Ninten wondered into our home last night, bewildered. My brothers and I could sense that he didn’t belong in Magicant, but we cared about him anyway. We could not wait to serve him.
We tended to his wounds and the boy went to sleep. Since there was one less bed, my brothers and I took turns watching over him all night until he recovered.
Ninten sat up with a look of fear. It quickly melted into sadness. Seeing his despair hurt my heart.
“What is wrong, young friend?” I asked. “Do you wish for me to get you food or drink?”
With great distress, the boy told of a land outside of Magicant, and the family he desperately wished to see again. He also asked for pancakes with sprinkles.
Though I had never heard of any world other than Magicant, nor pancakes, I told him that my brothers and I would do whatever we could to help him in his quest. The first step was to obtain an audience with Queen Mary and see if her wisdom could guide us. I could tell that Ninten was very grateful for our aid.
“What should I call you?” Ninten asked.
“I am T. Hawk.”
“What does the 'T' stand for?”
“And your brothers?”
“They are Eagle, Birdie and Raven. And fetching something for you to eat is Nightwolf.”
“But he’s a bird.”
“And his name is NightWOLF.”
Sometime later, we arrived at Queen Mary’s castle. Her guards smiled at us and let us through. Ninten’s eyes grew wide as he drank in the regal sights.
Her majesty sat upon a vibrant velvet throne. When she saw Ninten, she stepped down and looked into his eyes, like mother and son.
“Queen Mary, I am T. Hawk, and this is-”
She waved her hand knowingly.
“Welcome, Ninten,” she said. Her voice was calm and sweet. “Here in Magicant, everyone is your friend. Here, you can have as much as you want of whatever you want.”
“Then, why do you look so sad?” Ninten asked. Her Majesty cracked a crooked smile, and did not answer.
Ninten told her how he desired to go home. Queen Mary nodded. “You must travel through the Crystal Caverns. The answer lies there,” she said.
We thanked Queen Mary and turned to leave. Suddenly, Ninten stopped.
“Queen Mary, for some reason I think you should know this. I just can’t get this song out of my head,” he said. “Let me sing it for you: Take a melody, simple as can be. Give it some words and…”
Her Majesty fell to her knees. “Please! Don’t stop singing!”
“I’m sorry, Queen Mary. That’s all I know.”
“I beg you to learn the rest of that melody. It’s only a few more notes. When you learn them all, return and sing for me.” She stared off into the distance. “If only I could hear that song.”
Ninten nodded. “I promise.”
Queen Mary returned to the throne and closed her eyes.
“Ninten, it is time for us to leave,” I said. “Let us visit the magic fountain and pray for good luck on our journey.
He nodded solemnly.
The beautiful fountain has a calming effect on travelers. As Ninten and I relaxed for a few moments, the sun warmed our bodies and the rushing water soothed our ears.
A quiet voice roused us from our rest. “Did you call me up?”
An old man stood before us. It seemed like he had appeared from thin air. There was no need to ready ourselves for battle. I sensed in him only benevolence.
“I was just sitting here,” Ninten explained. “I didn’t say a word. I was just thinking about my great-grandfather.”
The old man nodded. “I heard your soulful cry. Do you need any money? Let’s see if grandpa has any money for the children.”
“I am as old as the wind,” I replied. “Besides, we have no need of currency. The land will provide for us.”
“I accept 20s and 50s,” said Ninten.
That was the only respite we would have. Moments later, our journey became violent.
“Foul demon! You scare even the nature spirits with your ways!” I exclaimed. The Woodoh grinned back, full of hate.
With a tremendous blow, Ninten destroyed the creature. The earth shook fiercely. I took the boy in my arms and shielded him from the heat and debris as the Woodoh turned itself to ashes.
We stopped by the town to heal our wounds. But before we could resume our quest to the Crystal Caverns, Ninten ran into a nearby shop. Hanging on the walls inside were an array of combat supplies.
“Wouldn’t this be easier if you had a weapon?” he asked me.
“The Flying Men fight with honor, not weapons.”
But Ninten was already waving a fistful of money at the clerk.
“Can you give T. Hawk a gun? Please? He really, really needs it!”
The boy and I climbed into the well that leads into the Crystal Caverns.
“Why do they call this the Crystal Caverns?” Ninten asked. “I can’t see a darn th-”
The boy's next step brought him through the hatch and into the caverns. They glistened blue and white. And though they appeared jagged, the walls were smooth as silk to the touch.
As we traveled, each step rang through the endless passages. This went on for quite some time. We turned yet another corner and I bumped into something soft and furry. It was the dreaded Raeb Yddet!
“We’ve got this!” Ninten exclaimed, readying his boomerang.
The Raeb Yddet summoned a Nipxur Yddet! Ninten’s expression went blank.
“Hi! My name is Nipxur Yddet! Can you and I be friends? I really enjoy talking to people. Let me tell you the story of when…”
“No… no! Leave me alone! You’re only friendly until your batteries start running out!”
Ninten sprinted around the Yddets, and past the mythical sleeping dragon, shrieking all the way. I could not keep up with him! I am not sure what scared him so, but the demons of his world must pale in comparison to those of Magicant.
I knew we were nearing our goal when I saw the Crystal Cave’s guardian, the golden flying fish.
“Ninten, we must be careful. The fish guardian is very dangerous.” As I said this, the beast spotted us. It charged at Ninten! I used my body to shield him from the blow. Pain shot though my wound.
The boy waved his fingers, and a shield appeared around us. As the fish tried to break through, Ninten swung his boomerang like a sword, sending him reeling. Another blow, and our enemy faded away, leaving only a treasure box.
Ninten opened it.
“What is this thing?”
“That is the Onyx Hook of legend,” I replied. “With it, you can visit Magicant any time you want.”
A man’s voice congratulated Ninten on a battle well fought. Until that moment, neither of us had noticed him standing in what was, we thought, a way out.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am a forgotten man,” he whispered. “You didn't have to notice me.... Please ignore me. I am a man who does not exist. I've been alone from the moment I was born. Why do you insist on talking to me? Are you a forgotten man, too?"
“No,” Ninten replied. “And I don’t think I could ever forget someone as weird as you.”
“Like, I knew you would remember me, man!”
He stepped out into light. “The hippie?” Ninten exclaimed in disbelief. “How did you even get here?”
“How did any of us get here, man? It’s all so cosmic.”
“Who is this man?” I asked. I received no answer. He turned and walked out the door.
Ninten shrugged and began to follow the strange man.
“Wait, Ninten. I am injured.”
“Hold on, I think I still have a magic herb. It’s not the best, but it should hold you over until we can get back to town.”
I shook my head. “No, Ninten. You must go on without me.”
“What do you mean?”
“You must remain strong, Ninten,” I said. “There is greatness in you. I do not know how, but the world – your world – needs you. “
Slowly, Ninten understood. I could sense great grief in him. His eyes became moist, and leaked tiny droplets into his shirt. The only other person I had ever seen do such a thing was Queen Mary. I believe she called it “crying.”
“Please, Ninten. Save your tears. There is no crying until the end.”
“I’ll never forget you, T. Wolf Birdie Eagle!”
The boy was stupid, but sincere.
He patted my head, and disappeared through the door in front of him. I closed my eyes and thought of my brothers. I was so thankful for my time with them, and with young Ninten. It was a pleasure serving them.
All the pain in my body faded away and I drifted off to sleep.
I am the Flying Man. My destiny is to help you.
We are a proud, honor-bound tribe of four. We believe that everyone has the right to continuous happiness, even at the cost of our own lives.