A Magical Panda Story

Some of you may remember a blog post I made a few years ago about a website called World of Potter. I had spent more than two years of my life on that website, dedicated to making it the best possible site available for fans and lovers of the Harry Potter universe. I recently finally stepped away from the website to focus all of my attention on my real life responsibilities. Throughout my time on the site, I was a Librarian, Chief Editor for the newspaper, Charms professor, and Headmaster. Early on during my tenure on the website, I wrote an entry for a competition to with the status of Animagus. I was part of the judging process, so I wasn’t allowed to win, but I wanted to write something fun for the other judges to read.

I recently found that story I wrote, and it made me laugh at how cheesy and borrowed the premise and story really was. I wanted to share that story with all of you.

For clarification: World of Potter is a roleplaying site based around writing that lets you design and create a character in J.K. Rowling’s universe of Harry Potter. I designed a character named Pirro Desmon, a gentleman with a prominent beard. The character is quirky and overly cheesy. He is an alcoholic, a writer, and rather proficient in Charms (a magical field of study and type of spell in the world of Harry Potter). An animagus is a person that has gone through a ritual and learned the ability to transform into an animal. I also borrowed heavily from Kung Fu Panda, a movie by Dreamworks, for some of the dialogue and fighting ideas.

Enjoy the story!

Lashing rains, driven by harsh biting winds from the sea, scour the land from the bleak salt marshes to the stunted scrub forest. Pirro scrunched his eyes against the wind and headed for the front drawbridge of the dark and looming castle. Years of studying Archaeology had prepared Pirro for the unyielding search of ancient artifacts. If anybody knew where they would be hidden, it was Pirro. 

Almost three years of reading books had led Pirro to believe that he knew the final resting place of Excalibur, the mythical sword of King Arthur. Champery, the local village near the Swiss Alps in Switzerland, would not allow him to enter the castle, regardless of how many times he had asked. According to the Recorded History of Switzerland, a book written by one of his favorite historical authors showed the castle dated all the way back to the early 1300’s. The castle, Château des épées, or Castle of Swords, had been a resting place and guardianship for people of importance. Ancient rumors say that ghosts and poltergeists roam the haunted tunnels, protecting whatever lies within its crypts. Supposedly, the tunnels were used for escape, and the ghosts were those that perished in an attempt to infiltrate the castle. 

In an instant, Pirro jerked awake, which consequently caused him to fall out of the recliner in his living room. With a yelp of pain, Pirro’s beard became entangled between the cushion of the chair and his slumped over body on the ground. Slowly, and with more effort than he thought, Pirro got himself to his feet and rubbed his eyes. After a long night of drinking and writing, Pirro had decided to sit down and watch a few Muggle movies. He searched through a local store and found three animated movies called “Kung Fu Panda” that instantly caught his eye. Even though Pirro had never really seen an animated movie, he was unequivocally drawn to the panda in the title and on the front of the disc’s case. 

Pirro had achieved his status as an Animagus after years and years of practice. Originally, he planned on becoming something useful with his animal form, however, his efforts only led to a panda. Although he wanted something useful, he embraced his panda form with grace and poise, and ended up transforming whenever he became bored or lazy. The animal form actually proved quite fruitful when Pirro needed to do some kind of heavy lifting without using magic. Thankfully, that situation was rather obsolete in Pirro’s life, but he did use the panda from time to time.

With a glance at his watch, Pirro let out a small, “Oh shit,” as he realized he was going to be late for work. Rising from the floor, he waddled into his bedroom and flicked his wand. Bits of emerald green clothing cascaded over the bed behind him as a large brush began weaving its way through his beard. It was then that Pirro realized that not only was it a Saturday, but it was also Halloween. Instantly, the clothes stopped moving, the brush fell to the floor, and Pirro felt his cheeks redden as the situation dawned on him. He was free to do as he wished.

Unfortunately, Pirro never really took to Halloween very well. Even though he enjoyed watching his daughters dress up, and his girlfriend become giddy over the thought of candy and costumes, he never really liked it. Pirro killed at least one spider in his house every day, thus, he did not need them popping up on strings as a decoration every time he turned a corner. He didn’t need skeletons, mythical witches, or goblins lining the walls of his house. He was perfectly happy to sit at a bar, drink, and hope for the night to come to a swift and relatively easy end. 

The only problem was that the castle from his dream weighed heavily on his mind. Why was it sitting there in his subconscious just waiting to be exposed? Why did he have such a hard time shaking the feeling that he should go to that castle? Pirro was never one to pass up an opportunity to do some writing, and what better inspiration than an old castle filled with supposed magic and mythical legend? But something kept slithering up through the back of Pirro’s mind that he could not shake.

Why did he choose to become a panda? Somewhere in the deeper recesses of his mind, a small piece of him had always wondered why he picked a panda. Pirro always thought of himself as a nice person, but he always imagined his Animagus as something a tad fiercer. He wanted nothing more than to be seen for who he truly was. There is a small part of Pirro’s psyche that houses a buried anger that he attempts to never show. He hated that he stuttered as a child. He hated that his parents did nothing to help fix the problem. He hated that he was unable to overcome his problem with anything other than alcohol. He hated that people resented him for his drinking. So much hatred filled Pirro’s mind that he had to keep it metaphorically bottled up inside his head.

When he first changed forms, he pictured a lion in his mind. He imagined every fiber of a lion’s being. The long, yet powerfully sinewy legs, the great mane to match his beard, the deep black eyes, the inexplicably sharp fangs, the swishing tail; all of those traits were burned deep into his mind as he thought of the lion. Unfortunately, when the transformation was complete, he looked down at his paws and noticed they were black and white. He had taken the form of a panda bear, and he never really understood its purpose. But, the time had come to find a reasoning for that black and white coat of fur. He was going to be the best damn kung fu fighting panda ever. There would finally be a purpose for its existence.

Pirro turned on the spot and appeared outside the castle from his dreams. Permission be damned, Pirro changed into his panda form and began slowing walking towards the castle. There would be no permission needed from the nearby village. He was going to enter that castle regardless of what anybody told him. 

As he walked through the gate, the first thing he noticed was an overly large graveyard filled with a sickly scent of sweat and death. The musty smell reminded him of concrete after a spring rainfall, and it caused him to turn his nose up in disgust. Without realizing it, his scent had increased tenfold in his panda form, and the rancid smell was almost too much for him. 

“No matter what, I’m not changing out of this panda. I will conquer my fears and find my damn purpose,” Pirro thought to himself. 

Even though it was Halloween, the air around him was filled with way too much humidity for comfort. His glistening black and white fur began showing signs of dampness from sweat and the coalescing fog that filled the graveyard. Ignoring the headstones, Pirro made his way to the front door of the castle and sized it up. The door stood about thirty feet tall with random notches cut into the skewed and ingrained wood. There were no handles, no latches, and it looked like a solid piece of mighty strong oak. 

Pirro’s first impulse was to pull out his wand and find a way through the door, but he needed to learn to overcome things as a panda. If he was going to make any kind of purposeful life with his Animagus form, obstacles like this would need to be overcome. Instead of changing from the panda back to human, Pirro decided to put his new weight into the door. With a resounding “THUNK”, Pirro broke through the door of the castle. 

A chilling darkness overlapped Pirros sight, and the smell of old stone and wet wood reached his nose. Again, he scrunched up his nose in disgust before reaching over to the wall next to him. Attached to the wall was a small lantern. Thankfully, Pirro’s panda form was able to grip things rather well, so he grabbed the lantern off the wall. As soon as his paw touched the lantern, a small flame flickered to life, almost like magic. The flames caused an enormous beam of light to touch the wall, thus a path of light was created for Pirro’s blind eyes. Dripping sounds of water rang out nearby. 

As Pirro made his way through the halls while trying to listen as carefully as possible, his hand suddenly came across an opening in the wall. He lifted the lantern closer to his face and a small door sat in the opening. Again, there was no handle, so Pirro crashed through the door with the grace of an elephant. Through the door sat a small table with a stack of plates and glasses sitting on top of it. Each piece of dishware was covered in dirt, blood, or some other repugnant substance. Shining the lantern’s light on the table, a loud crunching noise rang out on the floor below Pirro. 

“Oh, what the fuck is that?” Pirro thought to himself as his paw and arm began shaking. It was at that moment that Pirro realized just how badly he wanted to switch back to his human form and pull out his wand. Unfortunately, he refused to do anything of the sort. So, like an idiot, Pirro turned to leave the room to investigate the noise.

As soon as he turned his back to leave, a force lifted Pirro from the ground and slammed him into the opposite wall. Howling rage and pain escaped Pirro’s lips as he fell to the ground in a heap of bloody fur. Resounding laughter filled Pirro’s newly sensitive ears. Pirro frantically searched for the lantern he dropped when he was hit, but was having no luck as the light had gone out. It was then that Pirro realized his eyesight had actually adjusted rather well to the darkness in his new panda form. With a look of triumph, Pirro rose to his feet and put his paws in a fighting stance.

“Let them come! My fists of everlasting kung fu fury will destroy any in my path!” Pirro thought as he danced back and forth on his hind paws in an adrenaline soaked moment. A sweeping wave of powerful force flew towards Pirro, and thanks to the dust particles in the air, he saw it coming. Unfortunately, the dust shoots into his eyes, and he is hit with the full force of the gale and thrown across the room. Chilling spasms shoot down Pirro’s spine as he struggles to rise back to his feet. Cringing, Pirro finally lifts himself again, while his spine feels like it’s being pricked with thousands of needles at once. 

He backs against the wall and begins edging slowly towards the door. Finally, he finds a protruding piece of wood and grabs ahold of it. As soon as his paws touch the wood, a trapdoor opens beneath him and sends him plummeting into the darkness below. After a few seconds, Pirro lands on his ass as little birds begin dancing in front of his eyes. He imagined a small halo of birds flying above him as well, like in Muggle cartoons, and he rubbed his eyes to gain a better feel for his surroundings. 

Adorning the walls around him were swords, axes, scimitars, polearms, and scythes. In the middle of the room was a large case adorned in jewels. He felt his way around the case until he found a latch. Carefully lifting the latch, Pirro gazed into the case below, and sitting on a pad that looked like it was crafted the previous day, was a magnificent looking sword. The word “EXCALIBUR” was etched into the hilt and blade. Garnets, opals, emeralds, topaz, and sapphires lined the hilt in an intricate pattern. 

Pirro had done it. He had actually entered the castle and found the mythical sword of King Arthur. He reached his paw down and attempted to grasp the sword, but right before his paw could close around the hilt, the sword flew into the air and began swinging around wildly. Instincts took over and Pirro went to raise an invisible wand before he realized he was defenseless. Excalibur began swinging in wild arcs with dazzling lights and blinding speed. The sword blazed through the air and went straight for Pirro’s head. Out of more instinct, Pirro began dodging in blinding fast patterns while using his paws and feet to deflect the blade at every possible corner. 

“CAN’T HANDLE MY BLINDING SPEED OF DOOM!” Pirro thought as he continued to dodge. Eventually, he found his back against the wall, so he grabbed the nearest sword in his paw and began swinging back at it. Faster and faster Pirro parried the thrusts of the self-propelled blade.

“SWORD OF AWESOME ACTIVATE!” went through Pirro’s head in his best attempt at mimicking the words of Po from the movies he watched the previous night. However, Pirro was a large man as a human, and just as large as a panda. He began to tire during the fight, and he was barely able to hold onto the hilt for very long. His spine began burning again as his arms became weaker and weaker by the second.

He leapt up on a nearby table and began swinging his sword like a crazed panda. “TAKE. THAT. YOU. STUPID. SWORD. OF. STUPIDNESS!” Pirro kept thinking while he swung the sword. Parry. Dodge. Parry. Thrust. Parry. Parry. Thrust. Parry. Dodge. Dodge. DODGE.

Pirro finally started to gain an advantage, but before he could use it to its fullest, he was swept off of his feet and slammed into the wall again. Instant pain shoots through his leg as he feels it snap against the wall and shatter. The overpowering force keeps him pinned against the wall, but Pirro continues to fight against the weight. He thrashes wildly, the thought of switching back to human form becoming almost more than contemplation. 

Then he remembered the movies. “It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, it’s what is on the inside. Be who you are supposed to be. Take nothing for granted. The only thing holding you back is you. The power is always within you, but it’s up to you to take that power and fully grasp it. Become who you are meant to be. Embrace that power. Embrace love. Embrace hope. Embrace yourself.”

Pirro relaxed his entire body and let his mind become at one with itself. He embraced inner peace to the best of his ability, and the force finally let him go. Pirro crashed to the floor in a heap of blood, sweat, dirt, tears, and humiliation. But Pirro was fine with every aspect of himself. He didn’t care that he wasn’t a lion. He didn’t care that he was a subpar wizard. He didn’t care that he stuttered. He didn’t care that drinking seemed to be the only solution to his problems. Pirro was Pirro, and he could ask for nothing more. 

With much effort, Pirro finally raised himself from the ground. Putting almost no weight on his broken leg, Pirro closed his eyes, clasped his hands together, and took in a huge breath. Excalibur came flying at him, the blade dancing in mid-air like a ballerina. As soon as the blade came within an inch of Pirro’s face, his hands broke apart and he grabbed the blade while it was swinging at full speed. Closing his hands together, Pirro held the sword in place between the palms of his hands. He looked up at the blade, a small smirk forming on his lips. 

“SKADOOSH!” Pirro tried to yell, but it just came out as a tiny, innocent roar. Pirro’s eyes lit up with a green flame as the blade was broken in half. Green flames made their way down Pirro’s paws and body before he was entirely covered in the substance. With a wild arc, Pirro waved his arms in a “martial arts” way, and brought them back into a meditative stance. A gleam of victory shone through Pirro’s eyes. With another roar, he beat his chest with his paws and danced around on his good leg. It was finally over.

Pirro laid on his couch, his daughters standing beside him with frowns on their faces. A small smile crept up on Pirro’s lips.

“Girls, do I have quite the story to tell you about my Halloween last night…”

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