He was going to become the greatest witch in the world.
Was it true he had yet to ever actually cast a successful spell? Perhaps.
But Wheeler Trevil had no intention of letting something as trivial as lack of magical ability get in his way.
He burst into the halls of the Imperial Academy of Magic, an explosion of curls and freckles. The line of fellow kids snaked through the academy’s entrance hall, nearly reaching the massive oaken doors Wheeler had just entered through.
“This is it, Mister Pumpernickel,” Wheeler whispered. “All we have to do is ace the entrance exam and our hero's journey can finally begin.”
He was answered by a small croak from beneath the large pointed hat he wore, its massive brim nearly flopping down over his eyes.
Wheeler took a deep breath, taking a step forward with all the swagger and grace any hero beginning his story should exude. Unfortunately however, he didn’t notice his shoe had come untied and immediately proceeded to trip, landing hard on his face.
If that wasn't already bad enough, mid-fall his hat tumbled off, causing the large toad beneath it to leap forward in a panic, landing with a plop on the girl in front of them. She instantly let out an ear-splitting screech, a blur of pink frills and bows as she spun around, wildly trying to wrench the poor creature from her.
“Ew, ew, ewwwwww! Someone get this disgusting little beast off of me!” she wailed, ripping at her blonde curls where the toad had managed to squirm into.
Wheeler frantically scrambled to his feet. “Oh no! Miser Pumpernickel!”
He sprung forward to retrieve the toad only to find himself slamming directly into the girl instead. The force of the impact sent her falling forward, crashing into the boy in front of her. He, in return, knocked down the student before him. This started a domino effect that caused every student in the line to topple to the ground, one after the other in horrific succession.
Immediately following this bout of destruction, Mister Pumpernickel sprung from the girl’s hair and onto Wheeler’s shoulder. An innocent look rested on his toady face.
The muttered sounds of curses and grumbles echoed down the academy hall as the aspiring witches slowly rose to their feet once more, many shooting icy glares in Wheeler’s direction. Not knowing what to do, Wheeler awkwardly waved at them.
“I’m so sorry, miss,” Wheeler stammered, turning to the girl now. “Mister Pumpernickel doesn’t really understand personal space.”
The girl in return simply scowled at him, smoothing out the wrinkles in her frilly pink skirt. “The imperial magic exam is meant to separate promising witches from the riff raff. My only solace in this dreadful ordeal is that after today I won’t have to see you or your ugly little toad ever again.”
“Hey,” Wheeler shot back. “You can insult me, but don’t insult poor Mister Pumpernickel! He didn’t know he did anything wrong!”
The girl rolled her eyes, letting out a little huff before she turned her back on him.
Wheeler glared at her. “And I’ll have you know that Mister Pumpernickel is VERY handsome by toad beauty standards.”
The girl didn’t respond, making a clear point to ignore him.
Wheeler sighed, giving the toad a sympathetic pat on the head. “We really screwed up this time, didn’t we, Mister Pumpernickel?”
The toad replied with a sad sounding croak.
“Well,” Wheeler said, shooting him a small smile, “at least things can’t get any worse.”