With that thought, he turned around to his garden to see what changes he could make in order to prevent people from becoming bored. Upon his very turning around, it lighted upon him a certain hideous creature with patchy hair, pale-greenish skin, and eight unsymmetrical eyes. It had a monocle only on its first and fifth eye looking from the left to the right. The monocles had two chains which joined together at an oversize pocket watch that one of his eight eyes was constantly fixed upon. His fingernails were long, jagged, and yellowing. He began to speak with a raspy voice which became even more unpleasant when intermingled with overwhelming halitosis, “Good day, sir. I am your unpaid personal assistant, Numbers.”
Mr. Magician’s heart took to sudden and rapid thumping at the sight of such a creature.
Mr. Magician: Did I mistakenly create you as well in the midst of this grandiose garden?
Numbers: It was no mistake.
Mr. Magician: Well, it must have been! I enacted no spell for you to be here.
Numbers: No matter. Three.
Mr. Magician: Three what?
Numbers: Three is all you have had enter here. That’s ridiculous. I have more eyes than that! Time is running out!
Mr. Magician: I can tell by the incessant ticking of your enormous clock. You could hear that from a day’s ride away.
Numbers: That is where you must ride if you truly want the amount of people that Evangelist has.
Mr. Magician: What are you saying?
Numbers: You think Evangelist just stays here in Destruction? Come off it! He travels to all the cities in this Accursed Province. If you really think you can out do him, you have to make your attractions province wide! Why settle for just one small campus? Just get enough people here to bring you enough money to expand, then you will have all the numbers you desire!
Mr. Magician: How exactly could I convince the poor folk of Destruction to enter my gate?
At that very question, a gentlemen came into view as often happens in dreams. Perhaps he was there the whole time. He was dressed in finer fashion than even Mr. Magician and had his hair slicked with some sort of oil. He carried himself in high stature and spoke with a voice more pleasant than angels. Mr. Magician thought he even saw a shine come from his oddly perfect teeth. He carried a cane with a crooked neck and gold tip.
Popularity: That’s a good question. This place… don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful. But I have no reason to come back. Once I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. What you need is some emotionally driven music. Pluck at the strings of a viol, lyre, or hurdy-gurdy, and you will pluck and the stings of a man’s heart and soul. You play it out long enough and you will melt his heart to obey any easy and reasonable command, such as to say the magical phrase.
Mr. Magician: Great! So, play some music and then preach repentance!
Numbers and Popularity (in unison): NO!
Numbers: What we mean to say is that repentance is a word that just turns people away. And we’re not about turning people away, are we?
Popularity: We need to target our efforts to a group of seekers who can easily be manipulated. That way we become the most well thought of!
Mr. Magician: What of those who do not seek?
Popularity: They are to be counted as dross, not needed. The easiest way to become undesirable is to preach a message no one wants to hear to the very people who don’t want to hear it.
Mr. Magician: But I was taught we should go to all peoples and nations (Mt. 28:19).
Numbers: Foolish magician! You do not know the enlightened way! To truly draw the crowd we must target those most easily susceptible to manipulation and give them what they want. Only then can you be the most well liked evangelist in all the province! And oh how many followers you will have!
Mr. Magician: So, I just give them a little of what they want and then, they give me a little what I want? Sounds fair.
Popularity: Indeed it is! Completely fair. In fact that is an excellent way to give them what they want: a fair. Let’s just start with the music here, perhaps we can build a fair in the town of Vanity. There’s a lot of vacant lots we could buy for cheap if we can convince the people here to surrender their money for this good evangelistic cause.
Mr. Magician: Wow! Thank you both so much, I must get to work on these ideas for my next show!
With that, Mr, Magician departed. Numbers turned to Popularity to let out a cackle of victory.
Numbers: That fool will surely give us thousands of souls to feed upon! And he thinks he’s doing it all for that so-called “good” King!
Popularity: We mustn’t allow Evangelist to stop this.
Numbers: Oh, come now, we will stop Evangelist with this! We won’t allow any souls slide through our fingers due to that wretched old man any more. This magician will keep us fed for centuries, perhaps more!