Krys Twinkle-Fingers was without a doubt the ugliest man in the world. He also happened to be the greatest luteist in the history of ever. Nobody knew how he became to be so good, not even Krys himself. Perhaps he been born with this talent, or maybe he'd made a deal with some form of demon, or Angel. Part of Krys remembered that he hadn't always been so good with the lute, but it was a hazy indistinct memory, like a dream whitewashed in time.
All Krys knew for certain was with his unearthly ability, he would never want for money or companionship. He was in fact so talented that he never bothered to save or keep a single coin he earned from his playing, always knowing that many more were only a strum away.
Today, Krys was playing in front of the entire kingdom of Bowland. Such a feat had never been attempted before, probably because getting 6,400,342 people into one place was, to say the least, very difficult. Nevertheless, Krys stood on a small platform, hemmed in a mile round and a mile high by people of every sort waiting to hear his amazing ability.
Krys smiled his crooked yellow smile and strummed the first chord. It was like a waterfall of ecstasy splashing down, the spray misting the faces of all those in attendance. Delight and wonder instantly filled the eyes of everyone. And Krys strummed again. The second chord was nothing less than a pure undulation of joy, distilled to its finer parts, and served in abundance.
He was about to strum his third chord when the world around him went black. The ooh’s and aah’s of the crowd disappeared, and Krys stood alone with his lute in silent darkness, not sure what to do next.
“Hello, Krys,” a voice said. It came from everywhere and nowhere, both from without and within. “Our agreement is made, the time is fulfilled.”
“What agreement?” Krys asked to the nothingness.
The disembodied voice laughed. “Were you so drunk you remember nothing? Very well, I shall recant the tale to you.”
“Krys, once upon a time you were the most handsome man to have ever lived. Your jaw was cut of granite, your muscle twice as hard and sharp as obsidian, your smile a meadow of flowers in the spring, your eyes never-ending pools to be lost in. But looks were all you had, for you had nothing else. Not one shred of talent, not one wit in your head. You were bereft of all but your stunning beauty. So you came to me, you stumbled into me and you asked and pleaded to trade looks for talent. I took pity and I heard you plea.”
“I don’t remember any of this…”
“Perhaps because your head was too empty and your memories lasted no more than an instant.”
“Well that makes sense…”
“I agreed to grant you this talent for five years, in exchange for your beauty. The time has come to return my gift, and to become beautiful once more. Return to your world Krys, return, and remember.”
The voice disappeared in a sharp tone, no lingering syllables or echoes of words, it was simply no more. Then light came back into the world, and the whole of Bowland sat around Krys as if nothing had happened. Indeed, Krys could remember nothing happening. He had a lute in his hands. Why a lute? He didn’t play the lute. And why was everyone staring at him.
A murmur went up in the crowd, a shockwave of wonder and confusion, no less or greater than the confusion Krys felt in his heart.
Women near him fainted upon looking at his face, men became jealous, though some shared the fiery lust of the women around them.
Nobody asked what had happened. Nobody seemed to care Krys had changed his talent for beauty. They were so in rapture, talent and beauty might have well been the same thing. Krys shrugged nervously and smiled to the crowd, unsure what else to do. And they cheered.
Krys Angel-Face went on his way. He lacked for neither coin nor companionship. He was in fact so attractive, that he never had the need to save a single coin or worry about the day ahead. Why, with one smile, he’d have whatever he wanted anyway. Well, he'd have anything but talent of course. But then again, he really only needed one or the other.