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The Chosen One

Kimberly Smiley is a California girl who somehow ended up living in Mississippi with her husband, children, and two very spoiled dogs. She has a couple of pieces of paper that say she is a mechanical engineer but has decided not to let the practical choices of her youth define her. This is her first published story.

"Are you sure this is the one?" asked Drummer, eyeing the spilt level brick ranch. It looked exactly the same as every other house on the street.
"The Oracle said the hero will be found here. The records indicate that five boys live here and three of them are in the right age range," replied Kellam.
Drummer smoothed the hair around his pointed ears and then rang the doorbell with a shaky finger. He'd been on dozens of quests, but it was always exciting.
A few moments later, a woman in faded black leggings with a laundry basket expertly balanced on her hip opened the door. "Hello?"
"Good morning, ma'am. I'm Senior Knight Drummer and this is my scribe, Kellam. We would like to talk to you about your son."
She sighed. "Which one is in trouble this time?"
"Actually, we hope one of them can help us," said Drummer. Kellam held up a leather tome with the words Records of the Oracle written on the front.
The woman's eyebrows darted up. "A quest? Are you sure you have the right house? I mean, they're good boys, but they all slept through their alarms this morning. And you should see their rooms."
Drummer cleared his throat. "Everything the Oracle foretold points to this location. But the prediction didn't specify which boy is the Chosen One. We are hoping you can help us with that. Did any of them have an unusual birthmark? Or a mole that could be a mark of destiny?"
"No birthmarks. Ryder has freckles, but they look like my husband's."
"Is there a family heirloom, like a weapon perhaps, that only one of them can yield? Have any of them befriended any stray magical creatures?"
"No, nothing like that."
Drummer deflated as the air left his lungs. Identifying the Chosen One was usually so simple.
The woman smiled at him. "We'll figure it out. What kind of quest are you on?"
"The Oracle proclaimed that the ancient Sword of MacGuffin must be found."
Drummer froze. No one ever asked questions about a quest, they were simply happy to go on them. He certainly hadn't thought to ask for more details. Not willing to admit he didn't know the answer, he said "All will be revealed when the time is right."
She gave him a long look before asking "Did the Oracle give any more details? Anything that might help us narrow down who has been Chosen?"
"The first step is to locate a building with a winking eye, but I'm not sure that will help," said Drummer.
"Oh, I know where that is!" Drummer and Kellam locked eyes and then both turned to stare at the woman in surprise. The Quest Research Department had been working on the clue for two days without progress. The woman continued, "There is a chapel across the street from the Hearthstone soccer field with a funny-shaped window on the back that looks like it's winking."
"Does one of your son's play soccer there?" asked Drummer.
"They all do, so no help there figuring out which one it is." She checked the time on her phone. "I can't check out all the boys early since it would only be an excused absence for the one officially designated Chosen, but we have plenty of time to take a look at the window before school ends if you want."
The Sword of MacGuffin was neatly wrapped in a checkered picnic blanket as the minivan pulled back into the neighborhood, a full half hour before the school bus was expected.
Drummer still wasn't sure how the day had turned out so terrible.
It started out okay. The woman was right about the window. She quickly found a poem carved into the frame, which was fine if not ideal. But then she solved the clue after reading the poem aloud twice. Despite Drummer's suggestion that they head back to her house, she drove straight to Gold Goblin Cemetery. She hadn't even needed directions.
They were at the cemetery for less than five minutes before a ghost recited a riddle. Drummer was about to suggest, again, that they head back to the house when she answered the riddle. Just blurted it out. No consulting wizards or journeying to a lost library.
Things had gotten worse from there.
The low point was the stop at the Wood Witch's house. The last Chosen One sent there was turned into a tree. A magnificent weeping willow. Eventually the spell was broken, but it had taken three more quests. The tale had been Kellam's last best seller.
Today, however, not a single spell was cast. The woman simply knocked on the Wood Witch's door and introduced herself. After a brief conversation, involving an excruciating amount of cackling, the witch handed over the next clue along with her cell number.
The woman solved the rest of the clues so quickly Kellam barely had time to take notes. The quest hadn't even officially started, and it was over.
The day was an epic disaster.
"The Oracle has never been wrong before. We haven't even identified the Chosen One yet and we already have the sword," Drummer whispered to Kellam in the back seat of the minivan as the woman pulled into her driveway.
"I don't think it was wrong," said Kellam softly. He looked at the woman meaningfully and then back to Drummer.
Drummer opened his mouth to protest, but then closed it again. The woman had been at the location specified by the Oracle. He ran through the events of the day in his mind. Could this afternoon theoretically qualify as a quest? A quest couldn't possibility be that easy, could it? With teenagers, it was always hard.
But... technically, the woman lived in the right house, and she found the sword. Drummer's mouth abruptly went dry. He took a sip of the juice box the woman had given him, but it only helped a little.
"Let's never speak of this day again. We will burn your notes before we return to the castle." Kellam nodded in agreement as he nibbled a cracker shaped like a fish. "She is the worst Chosen One in all of history."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, October 10th, 2022

Author Comments

This story was inspired by a conversation with a friend about our mutual love for Mrs. Weasley. I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like if someone like her was a chosen one instead of the typical teenager.

- Kimberly Ann Smiley
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