Night of Thade: Part Three
The ghost of Thade materialized from the mirror. He started
looking at me up and down, then into my eyes. He clapped his paws together. "So,
this is my descendant. Elwmoce to my humble abode, great-nephew."
"G-great nephew!?" I was startled. So Donna was
right. Sharon, hearing the spectre's voice, rushed into the room, took one look,
and curtsied furiously.
"Oh, my stars, Mr. Thade! There are... two of you!"
The real Thade hovered until he was next to Sharon.
Before he could inquire what was going on, Sharon bowed down on one knee, grabbed
the ghost's hand, and kissed it as a sign of respect. Thade immediately grabbed
his hand away. "Who is this?"
"My maid, sir," I said, the emotions of Thade
getting the better of me. "And I would like it very much that you do not disrespect
her!" A split second of puzzlement came over Eliv Thade's face, then disappeared.
No mystery could stump the great puzzle-solver. "Ah, yes, the maid... that means..."
Donna galloped into the room and saw Thade's spirit hovering. She stared at
him in awe. Thade turned around to look at me.
"Young Garrett, you are very intelligent, a gift
which I have bestowed upon you. Here is a riddle for you. You are me, the Shoyru
is your maid; who is this Uni?" I looked at Donna, and Thade's mind flashed
back to the time before I had become insane... the day I had received the puzzle...
the face of the one who had given me the puzzle.
"You..." I growled, enraged. It seemed that Donna
had regained her past memory at that very second, for a look of realization
crossed her face, followed quickly by panic.
"No... Mr. Thade, please! Don't hurt me!" Donna
was in hysterics. To tell the truth, I didn't know what I would do; I was engulfed
in fury, but I was never to know the answer to the question. Thade held up a
paw to stop me. He clearly was no longer insane.
"Garrett, the whole thing was an accident. I
was never meant to solve the puzzle. The riddle was truly meant as a joke. There
was no answer. Revenge is not why I have called you here."
Thade floated near a window as I regained my
own sanity. I put a hand on Donna's trembling shoulder. I reassured her that
everything was alright. Thade, holding his hands behind his back, spoke again.
A look of excitement crossed Donna's face before Thade could speak.
"I have a past life! Kinda!" she shouted, ruining
the mood. Thade whirled around with fury in his eyes.
"Silence! The brain tree knows all... and that's
the problem," he mused. "I am worried for the safety of Neopia... Garret, I
have been slowly trickling myself into your body. Do you know why? It is because
the Brain Tree has knowledge and a body, whereas I possess only knowledge. I
need you to carry out my mission..."
"One hundred years ago, I discovered the Brain
Tree's plan. He was to gather all the knowledge in Neopia, then use a wave of
sheer intelligence to overthrow the planet. How he plans to do that is a riddle
nobody can solve. I do know, however, that it will work... unless..."
"Unless someone solves the riddle," Sharon finished,
the maid's look in her eyes. Thade nodded slowly. Sharon spoke again, "I remember
you telling... great grandmother... about the Brain Tree's plan. She offered to
help Mr. Thade... I mean, you... because the two of you were such good friends... which,"
Sharon put her hand on my shoulder, "is what I intend to do."
"Here, here!" Donna shouted, galloping next
to me, "I'm sorry about what my Great-aunt did to you, Eliv, but I will help
you... if there's gonna be a psychic war before Neopia's utter take-over, I wanna
be there anyway!" she laughed. Eliv Thade was obviously happy about this small
army of friends. We were a motley crew-Donna, the kooky supernatural pro, Sharon,
the loyal best friend, I, the clumsy young boy, and Thade-the ghost.
"Now, there is one more thing you must do...
the Brain Tree has no knowledge of my death. He expects to see I, Eliv Thade,
at his location. Therefore..." Thade pointed a finger at me and my new-found
army of friends with a crooked grin. "...some adjustments need to be made."
A vibrant lime green light shone from it for a second, then quickly turned to
a red beam of light which engulfed us. I felt a tingle spread throughout my
body, beginning at my feet. I knew that this was the final transformation.
When the transformation was finished, I looked
into the mirror at myself. I grinned. I looked exactly like Thade! My face was
stitched up, and there were several lumpy warts on my forehead. I held a dark,
black quill in my right hand and a sheet of paper in my left. I was wearing
no longer a bathrobe, but the clothing of Thade.
Sharon looked marvelous. She was standing in
the cute, black-and-white outfit of a maid; this time it was no costume. Her
eyes were chocolate brown, and gloves fit perfectly onto her hands. Her shoes
were black and dainty and she held a feather duster.
Donna's eyes had become a dark green, and she
was wearing an old-fashioned dress. She looked happier than ever as she admired
her reflection in the mirror. Her tail was also braided in an old-style fashion.
Donna beamed at me and Sharon.
"We are now most certainly passable as Thade,
Maid, and the one who betrayed," she giggled. I laughed too, but my happiness
did not last for long. I knew that it would be a dangerous journey up ahead.
Before embarking, I decided to stop in the library
to check a book I remembered seeing in one of Thade's memories. Thade cocked
his head as he looked at me. "Erm... what are you doing?"
"Checking on something," I rasped. I looked
down the line of books for a large, leather-bound read near the fireplace. "Ah,
here it is!" I pulled out the book from the shelf. It had on its binding a picture
of the Brain Tree, embroidered in gold thread. The title of the book was, "Brain
Busters! A Series of Riddles Written by the Biggest Brain in Neopia-the Brain
Tree!" As I opened the book Eliv Thade floated up to me.
"What is the hardest riddle in this book?" I
asked him. The specter guided me to page 109 where this riddle was inscribed.
"Cost is free, worth is priceless
Weighs nothing, yet it is timeless,
Unowned by numberings of only one
But two can share this before life is done."
"That's easy," I mused, hand on my chin. I closed
the book, a cloud of dust rising from the pages. As soon as the book was in
its place, I felt a sharp pain sear through my head. I knew it was the Brain
Tree. We didn't have much time left.
As Donna, Sharon, and I approached the Brain
Tree, I could see he had already assembled an army of Niptors at his feet. Meepits
were scurrying around his branches, meeping in praise for the mighty tree. The
Brain Tree boomed with laughter as he saw what appeared to be his old adversary.
"So, Eliv, you have shown up at last," he chuckled,
the forest floor rumbling with every word he breathed. "I suppose you haven't
forgotten our deal? If one solves the riddle... Neopia is free."
"Of course I remember the deal, you fool!" I
rasped, trying to sound as much like Thade as I could. "I have come for the
riddle at Neopia's 'final hour', as you said." The horrible tree laughed, a
terrible belly laugh, which made the trees in the forest sway. The wind was
already swirling violently around the brain tree, the sky was black with clouds,
thunder rumbled. The Brain Tree was already at full power.
"The hour is late, the time of Neopia's downfall
is upon us! But your brain is a tricky one, never being stumped before by my
questions... here is the hardest riddle I know.
"Cost is free, worth is priceless
Weighs nothing, yet is timeless,
Unowned by numberings of only one,
But two can share this before their life is done."
I was about to shout out the answer to this riddle,
to end this nightmare. I opened my mouth as the wind howled. Then the Brain
Tree pointed a crooked finger at Sharon.
"Not you... her..."
Sharon was trembling. Her mind was drawing a
blank. The Brain Tree cackled with glee. Roots from the Brain Tree wrapped themselves
around my small body and held me high in the air, 20 feet above the treetops
of the Haunted Woods. Donna galloped and tried to escape, but vines, controlled
by the tree's thoughts alone, blocked Donna's path. The hour was about to draw
to a close.
"Please, Sharon! Answer him!" Donna shouted,
her body slowly being squeezed by the vines. I was terrified of what would happen
if Sharon didn't answer correctly. Sweat was dripping from my forehead; my shoulders
were shaking, I felt like throwing up. Donna was near to crying. "SHAAAAROOOOONNNN!"
"F-friendship," Sharon muttered. The wind stopped
blowing. I was let slowly down to the ground. The Brain Tree moved closer to
my yellow Shoyru friend and squinted.
"What? What did you say?" the Tree hissed.
"FRIENDSHIP!" Sharon shouted. Everything stopped.
The vines, which were near to choking Donna, sunk slowly into the ground. Donna
shook a hoof to make sure she was really free. Sharon breathed a sigh of relief.
I patted Sharon on her back as the warm sunshine came out from behind the now-dissipating
"Good job," I breathed. The war was never to
be. We had won. As the sun came out, I realized that my friends' eyes had turned
to their normal colors once more. Their personalities were also restored.
"Souvenirs!" Donna cried. She was still wearing
the old fashioned dress. Sharon held up the Meepit mirror again as real meepits
encircled my feet. My face was back to normal. Sharon was taking off her maid's
uniform as she no longer needed it.
"Hey, Garrett! Aren't you gonna take off Thade's
clothes?" Sharon asked. I looked down at what I was wearing. Then I looked up
at the clear sky and smiled.
"No," I grinned, "I don't want to. Not just yet.
They're a sign of who I am, of what I stand for. And they're a sign of who helped
us." I looked at the castle of Eliv Thade. Then I grinned the grin of Thade.
"Uh-oh!" Donna grinned. "I don't think it's over
"What do you mean," I asked, thankful to hear
my own voice. Donna giggled.
"Oh... nothing! Nothing at all! It's just that
I don't think that our adventures are over."