Gold matters

Ermos, the young alchemist, abandoned all hope the last 2 years. Nothing would save his profession. If you wanted to turn things into gold you’d better be a wizard or a fairy. From the beginning, alchemists were trying in vain. You could spend your whole life in chemistry, atoms, molecules and really explosive experiments but the outcome was never gold; or anything you could use anyway.

It all started hundreds of years ago when someone said he did it. Midas was the first alchemist in history. Then he became rich by making mountains of gold, destroyed the recipe and died without telling anyone how the hell he did it. They accused him of wizardry or fairyness or even of having secret agreements with aliens that helped him with advanced technology but he denied every accusation. And no one had proof to condemn him. If they could prove he was a wizard, the wizard's palace would turn him into a training broom with five seats or if they could find a fairy ancestor in his family he would be sent to Fairylands for unfree labour in their feather care salons. And if anyone saw him talking to aliens, that was the worst one, he would be sold to the Cyclops for a slave*.

Wizards, fairies and aliens could make gold out of anything but were not allowed to, after signing of the Fair Competition Agreement. If anyone left free to do his magical, genetic or technological stuff that easily, then there were going to be serious problems. Dwarfs would possess all diamonds and precious stones hidden underground, Pythia would foretell everything about the future causing complete chaos, boredom or depression, wizards would have absolute power over every living creature (without adding the problems arising from the increase of the frog population). Cyclops would definitely eat all humankind and what would that leave to fairies? Nothing at all. They would surely be left behind. And so would gods. What would a god do in a place where his godly powers were not only his? You can't punish someone with a thunder if he and his friends will answer with phasers…

Midas died in his 120 year birthday calling himself an alchemist and accusing everyone of not having an open mind. His last words were: “just because I don't want to share my secret scientific recipe to make gold, that doesn't mean I am a wizard, fairy or a friend of the aliens. I studied chemistry and science. If you want to accuse me of something you'd better find yourselves a good lawyer; a huge part of my fortune comes from winning all your demonic law suits”.

Nowadays all that was a joke. Choosing to be an alchemist was the most ridiculous thing you could do. During the first years he thought he would make it. Now he was just a poor beggar who studied chemistry, an unusual and totally unneeded science. Furthermore, once his house was blown up by the last explosion during his last experiment 2 years ago, he was homeless too.

A fairy went close by and threw a coin in his hat. She seemed compassionate and conversational. All fairies were like that when they saw humans. To them, all humans were ugly, poor and helpless creatures, let alone a beggar. That was why they never missed a chance to show compassion and mainly look compassionate to the other fairies flying by.
- What is your name, my poor boy?
- Ermos. Thank you.
- Oh, it’s nothing. Just a coin. What happened? Why have you ended up like this? At your age… you have all your life ahead of you, you know.
- No one will hire me. I studied chemistry.
- Oh.
- And it gets worse... to be an alchemist.
- Oh, dear!
The fairy could barely hide her laughs. An old wizard came closer. One's misfortune is everyone's entertainment. The old man didn't even search his pockets for a coin. He started his questions right away.
- No one ever told you that you can't legally make all the gold you like? And what about other alchemists? Have you met another alchemist succeed or have you met another alchemist at all? There is no one in history who accomplished it except that deceiving old fox who certainly wasn't a true alchemist! Didn't you know all that?
- I did.
Now, around him there were more twenty fairies, wizards and humans. They were laughing, criticizing and kept asking questions. And no coins in his hat.
- Then why have you chosen to waste your life like that?
- Yeah, why?
- Well, I wanted to keep an open mind...
- What does that mean?
- Open-mindedness is when you hear about stuff and you don't believe them but you choose to see the facts first and test them yourself just in case they are true. Well, to do that with alchemy, I found that you have to study chemistry first and then experiment. A lot. I've found out lots of things but all of them totally useless.
- What could one possibly find out from... chemistry?
- Lots of stupid and useless stuff...of course. Like, like I can make lips turn red forever and I accidentally found of a substance that can paint hair whatever colour one likes without having to fear of the rain or worry about dirty pillows. But who would be interested in changing the colour of his hair or skin, after all? And I've discovered a fabric that glistens in the dark just like fairies feathers. Or those nano glasses that could make one's eye colour black or green or violet. Totally nonsense. The most bizarre thing was a dust that if one inhales it, his body becomes 20 years younger. Hundreds of boring new things and none of them gold. I'm sorry, I shouldn't bother you with my chemistry stuff.
Their eyes started glistening like fairies feathers. Some touching their grey hair, others looking at their old skin and humans so happy and fearful the same time, just like if they saw Zeus himself.
- Oh god! Black hair? You can actually paint my grey hair, black?
- And my eyes? I can have violet eyes?
The wizard stepped forward and grabbed his hand.
- Well... I've always encouraged open-mindedness... come along, I have a huge house, let's start those experiments again... Leave the poor boy alone everyone. See, you try to make gold and I will clean all the mess. You know, those dusts and nano glasses and fabrics and substances that are absolutely worthless? I will help you.
- But...but...
Before he finished his sentence a spaceship above them, grabbed the boy and disappeared in seconds. In a few months the colour of your hair was according to what those alien fashion magazines thrown monthly by spaceships, dictated. Your eye colour and clothes too. Oh and your age.

His last words in his 120 year birthday were: “when you look for gold, you must always be open minded. For what you seek is almost never a stone, or yellow or glows. It could very well be a dozen won law suits, black eyes turned into blue or even an Anti Wrinkle Ermos Cream. Take an alchemist's word for that, believe me, I know matter”.

  • * Not a slave really. Cyclops ate all the humans they bought but called them slaves after taking legal advice from their demon attorneys. The law for Human rights was very strict. If you called a human being “food” you were sentenced to prison for life. But if you called him “slave” you couldn't be touched. And then afterwards, being your property, you could do anything you liked with him; breakfast, supper or lunch.

    Inspired by: cnet