The One about Lightmites: Part Two
I know not what came over me yesterday! I laugh even as I read my penning of my last entry. The servants could not be more inviting or benevolent in their acceptance of me. They speak not of my grandfather, 'tis true, but that is most understandable and I confess, I do not entertain ideas of even asking them!
The servants, I feel, desire descriptions: Gustav is the butler, a stately, weathered Kyrii with frayed gray hair, and equally such clothes. I asked if he desired for me to go and accommodate a fine suit or two for him, but he gave me such a distressing look, I dared not ask again. Gustav tends to the house, and can be said to be the official caretaker of the place and the surrounding grounds. The cook, Sally, is a withered, old blue Zafara whose mouth, I confess, looks as though she has bitten into a lemon. Her food, however, is divine as far as spooky foods can be. The two maids, twin red Acaras, are Ima and Ami, both of whom clean and do other such chores. All are older than myself, though as mentioned previously, I know not of their age. If I did not know better, I would assume they have been here forever as none seem to have seen the light of the sun in years.
I have taken up residence in the large library on the second floor. This begs an account of the house's layout, but as large the Mansion appears on the outside, there are very little rooms. Downstairs is the foyer, which in turns connects to the dining room and the kitchen. Upstairs is the library, the lavatories, the servants' bedrooms, one for each of the four, and the master suite which is, of course, now mine. I admit to feeling odd upon unpacking my things in what was once my grandfather's room. I know that there are ghosts in this world, especially in the Haunted Woods (of which I am sure contributed to its name), but I do not believe that any, least of all my grandfather, would haunt this house.
The library, which I had forgotten to describe previously, is fantastic. So many books! If my grandfather were alive, he and I should have gotten along famously. There are books on nearly every subject in Neopia, including, to my delight, the science of light. I have commissioned the local children to capturing Lightmite specimens for my research, which they were only too amused to do. There are also artifacts of all sorts - an archaeologist's dream to be sure - hanging upon the walls or perched on the tall shelves. While the nature of them eludes me, they are still fascinating to look at. What puzzles me is the vast amount of books on anagrams, all recently purchased if I am not mistaken. Many are scribbled in, in what I can only assume is my grandfather's writing. I confess to never having been interested in riddles, so while they entertain my senses whilst waiting for the children to return, I doubt that I shall ever gaze upon their pages again.
Lightmites are fascinating little creatures. I would love to be able to see inside their little bodies in order to obtain the knowledge of how they generate light, but my weak constitution and moral values forbid me from doing so. Still, I am content to study them in other ways.
One final note: Gustav seems much perturbed at my long hours studying the Lightmites. Perhaps he fears I am hurting the little creatures.
I confronted Gustav today in regards to his obvious discomfort over my work.
"Gustav, come hither," I commanded during the midday meal. The antiquated Kyrii obediently came forward.
"Gustav, pray tell me: Does my work here disturb you? I assure you that I do not harm the petpetpets, but am merely studying them from their glass confinements. They are well tended for, and seem to be content even as they cannot fly freely. They will be released periodically, if that also concerns you," I said, trying to be blunt and courteous simultaneously.
Gustav's expression did not change at my words. "Master, I do not fear that thee are a man who is uncivil to his lesser creatures. My concern has been solely for yourself."
"Yes, Master, I fear for thy health - being cooped up all of the day is certainly not good for a person of such tender youth. Do thee not desire to be outside?"
I was surprised and touched as his apprehension, and while the honest answer was that I much rather preferred indoors to out, I did not wish to call attention to his misgivings. As such, I went for a walk in the afternoon, around the gardens. Though I saw nothing that diverted my attention substantially, I confess to feeling a bit fresher upon my return.
A Lightmite was crushed today. Somehow it had burst out of its bottle, and, with alarming strength, crashed into a wall, knocking down a large Mystery Island mask which had been hanging there. The mask fell on top of the poor creature, extinguishing it permanently. I was much affected by this incident, but one good thing has come of it. A florescent liquid leaked out of the poor Lightmite, which I suspect to be the source of light the petpetpets generate. A chemical reaction, perchance? Much research is to be done!
I must tell Gustav to tightly secure the fixings of the artifacts in the room, lest another accident befall.
An interesting thing happened to me today. I was taking my now-daily walk, not only to please Gustav, but for my own benefit, when, lost in my musings, I went off the path and found myself deep in the Woods. Surprised that my brown study had caused me to stray so far, I was about to reverse my steps when a strange rustling fell upon my ears. Intrigued, I followed the sound to a large clearing, in which there were many plants of every conceivable nature; indeed, some I had never seen before with my eyes. At first glance, it was a higgledy-piggledy mess of greenery, but upon closer examination, it was apparent it was a garden of sorts, albeit with crooked rows and overgrowth of weeds. I was just coming to this conclusion when I was suddenly struck upon my back with a force of unbelievable strength. I flew through the air, landing nearly upside-down in a bush, and before I had the opportunity to free myself, I was being pulled out of the shrubbery with the same inexplicable force that had shoved me in the first place.
"Steal my ingredients, will you?" a commanding, feminine voice snarled.
I realized I was being held by the ankle by the owner of this voice, and I cried, "Release me, I beseech thee! I came upon this place by mere coincidence, not malice!"
With great suddenness, I was released, landing most unceremoniously on my tail upon the earth. I scrambled to my feet, flushed with being upside-down and also with chagrin, and faced my adversary. She was a vividly green Zafara, and if appearances were not wrong, a witch of sorts, down to the warts on her nose. I thought myself lucky that I had not been cursed on sight, instead of merely being shoved into a bush.
"Who are you?" she demanded, brushing stray leaves off her faded black cloak.
"I am Eliv Thade, of the Thade Mansion, and I -"
Interjecting, she said, "Eliv Thade? Thade has been dead for weeks."
A bit startled at her bluntness, I hesitantly replied, "Y-yes. I am Eliv Thade the III, his grandson. The estate has come into my possession and -"
"Never knew Thade had kids. Kept mostly to himself, didn't he?" she interrupted again.
I knew not if she was talking to herself or to me, so I said not anything, not particularly fond of being interrupted.
"I am Edna, Swamp Witch. I knew your grandfather - not well, but enough to know you are the spitting image of him." She eyed me critically.
I had not ever seen a picture of my grandfather, which reflecting upon the matter now, I suppose is a bit odd; not a single portrait exists in the Mansion that I know of. Edna must have noted my confusion, for she said:
"You don't even know what your grandfather looks like, do you? Kids these days!" With that jibe, she abruptly turned away from me and began walking through the trees.
I confess, the whole exchange left me a bit bewildered, and even more so when the witch beckoned for me to follow her. Not wanting to seem rude (though she had been as such to me), I acquiesced. Not one of us uttered a single syllable the whole journey to her destination, which proved itself to be her house - an enormous, gnarled tower of indeterminable origins, with various toadstools growing upon the crumbling stone.
"What's above?" I asked as I (with some trepidation) entered into a large room filled with cauldrons, bottles, and other such items.
"None of your business," Edna snapped, and, with a knobby finger, pointed to a nearby stone shelf that jutted from the wall.
Upon said protuberance, was a various array of pictures, some sketches, others painted. I remember naught but the one my eye was intended for: one of my grandfather. The old witch had not been false in remarking upon our similarities; the only vast difference was the startling white patch over his left eye (which itself was a vibrant red), and many bandages on his paws.
"Even I don't know what sort of misfortune fell upon him," Edna said, answering my unspoken question. "Came to visit me one day and that abomination had replaced his face."
I cast my eye over the picture once more before returning it to its rightful place. A question had been hovering over my tongue since I first met the old witch, and at last I ventured to ask:
"Pray, do you know how any infatuation he may have had regarding riddles?"
"Riddles?" Edna had lost interest in me already; she was sorting through a pile of bones on the floor. "What do you mean, riddles?"
"Anagrams, to be precise."
"Oh! Well, now that you mention it, that's what made the old coot go crazy! Obsessing over a stupid riddle. Funny what can unscrew a few bolts, eh?" she cackled, walking over to a large table.
Begging use of the old phrase, I was frozen with shock. Not once had I ever heard that my grandfather had been insane. Was that then, the true cause of his death? Surely such information of the wealthy owner of the grand Thade Mansion would have been known amongst the townfolk, and yet nothing had been spoken to me
"The townspeople don't much like talking about it," Edna spoke up, once again uncannily answering my silent query. "He was a great mastermind, your grandfather. Always knew the answer to any riddle you could pose to him.
"Then there was that One. The One riddle he couldn't figure out. I never saw it myself, but it must've been a doozy, for I believe it was obsessing over the darn thing that was the final blow - if you know what I mean."
I fancy I was silent for a near quarter hour before stirring, so full my brain was at this news.
"W-why was I not told this?" I managed to croak out of my parched throat.
"Oh, I s'pose they didn't want to worry you!" the Zafara replied easily. "After all, no one'd want to stay in a house with a crazy ghost!"
Needless to say, I left in a great hurry, not sorry at all to leave the crumbling Tower and its inhabitant behind.
I can still hear the cackling.
To be continued...