The Enigma of Friendship: Part Two
Con stared at the person before him. The other Neopet was quite obviously a Kacheek, with light green fur, but his features were horribly disfigured. He was in tattered purple clothing with bandages covering both of his hands and feet. His angry scowl showed crooked teeth as he glared at the Lenny who intruded into his home. The most notable thing about the Kacheek was the large red eye that didn’t match his other one, surrounded by a white patch that was tacked into his face by red stitches. Con stared at the Kacheek floating in front of him, realizing that the creature must be a ghost of some sort. “Owh radse?” he repeated, glowering deeply at the young Lenny and prompting an answer.
The young Lenny quivered in fear as he attempted to stutter a response. What was the Kacheek asking him? It wasn’t any language he spoke... He managed to calm his racing thoughts enough to realize something. Perhaps it WAS a language he spoke. “Is that... anagrams? Are you speaking in anagrams?” Con watched as the Kacheek tilted his head up at the question, but he made no moment or sound to indicate an answer. He frowned, but continued with his speculation. “If it is, then I would assume you’re asking ‘Who dares?’ since I doubt you would be asking ‘How reads?’ or any other combination of the four words...” He trailed off as the Kacheek glared harder at him. “S-Sorry...?” he stuttered, unsure of what else to say.
The ghost floated out of sight, into the darkness across from him and Con flinched as lightning flashed behind him, illuminating the room for a moment so he could see a hallway nearby him. “Wait!” he called after the ghost. “The door is stuck and I need help getting out!” The red Lenny paused a moment in hopes of a response, but only received the sound of thunder and rain pouring down. He glanced out the window and sighed at the gray and empty world on the other side. “Oh, I hope Lit’s alright...” He frowned further and resolved to follow after the ghost, slowly making his way through the darkened corridor after the mysterious Kacheek.
Carefully, he stepped through the shadows and felt around to ensure that he did not inadvertently tread into something and break it. After walking for a short time, he heard a low whispering. Con whipped his head around but could not see anything, nor detect where the whispering was coming from. “Nasien...” the voice of the Kacheek whispered. “Nasien...”
“Insane?” Con guessed quickly, receiving silence as a reply. He pondered what the ghost could have meant by that and continued walking in the darkness until he ran straight into a wall. “Ow!”
The Lenny muttered to himself about forgetting to be careful and rubbed his beak with one hand while using the other to feel around the wall until he happened upon a doorknob. He turned it and after some effort, he managed to open the heavy door and looked into the room on the other side. To his surprise, he found a small bedroom. Con slowly ventured in and looked around the room as he heard whispering once again. “Zelupz...”
“Puzzle...” he responded, looked for the Kacheek once more. Once again, the ghost was nowhere to be found, but instead Con found himself looking at a painting that was placed above the bed. In it was a Kacheek with the same green fur as the one he saw, but this one had yellow eyes of similar sizes and was not as disfigured as the ghost. Was it of the ghost when he was living? He wondered this as he looked around the rest of the room, past the wardrobe to the vanity with the broken mirror by the window with rain pounding against it. Lighting flashed again with thunder soon following, but as the room was brightened for the few seconds the lightning existed, Con saw it reflect on an object atop the vanity.
He picked up a gold and red amulet, examining it carefully before setting it back down. He didn’t want to take it with him, lest he be considered a thief. The Lenny thought he heard a quiet laughter to the right of him and saw another door leading out of the room. He went to the door and tried it, opening it and revealing another hallway on the other side.
Following the laughter, he stepped into the corridor and continued along the path. He ran quickly across some broken and loose tiles and onto solid floor. The floor seemed hollow under the broken tiles and he didn’t want to risk falling into an unknown abyss. The laughter quieted and ghost whispered again, seeming to be highly amused and trying to taunt him. “Fi oyu od otn cipk pu het semit, uyo nacont shanbi em!”
A confused frown formed on Con’s beak as he translated the Kacheek’s words in his mind. “I need that amulet to banish you? But why would I do that? I’m the one invading your home...” he asked aloud, searching for any sign of the ghost. He saw an equally confused glance from the ghost for a spilt second before he vanished once more. The Lenny waited for a second to see if anything else would occur but eventually decided it would be for the best for him to continue down the hall.
“Pratped...” the voice whispered again and Con quickly answered “trapped” before continuing on without a pause. He found another heavy wooden door and opened it carefully, now finding himself inside a large, cobweb-filled library. “Rovfere...”
“Forever...?” Con repeated at length. He looked around the library, searching for the ghost. “Trapped forever? What do you mean by that? I don’t even know where I am, much less who you are...” The young red Lenny did not see the ghost again so he stepped up to look at the collection of books lining the walls. All of the volumes were old and many of them were dusty, but a few were relatively clean, probably from being used recently. Con interestingly recognized a small amount of them as books he had read before in his spare time. He then stopped at a book with a gray cover and red symbols on the spine and a red “T” on the cover.
With his head slanted to one side in curiosity, he reached out and slid his feathered fingers across the cover of the book before slipping them into the pages and opening it to a random section. The yellowed pages were lined with row upon row of strange red symbols. The Lenny felt strangely enthralled by the enigma laid out before him and the question of what the symbols would translate to. However, rapid glances across the text led him to close the book at a speed rivaling that of his brother’s. Con was excited by the thought of a book of puzzles... But he knew quite well what his own limitations were.
He stepped back, away from the book, still staring at it and still pondering its mysteries. “...Whoever wrote that is genius beyond my abilities.” Con paused his quiet statement as he thought carefully about his next words. “I can tell that particular page can be coherently translated, but the work that would be required to do so... Amazing. If I could make puzzles that involved...”
The room seemed to get colder at his reflection and Con shivered as he glanced around. He felt slightly disappointed when he found that the ghost was still no where in sight. He was hoping to question what that book he glanced at was. He noticed a tapestry on the wall which matched the ones he saw in the bedroom. A letter “E” was monogrammed into the fabric and that same E appeared on a few of the book cases. Perhaps it was the first letter of the ghost’s name?
Tapping the side of his beak in thought, Con tried to remember what ghost stories he may have heard of a Haunted Woods resident with the initial “E.” He could think of none that Lit may have told him or that he may have read through on his own while perusing through libraries or the Neopedia. Perhaps he was forgetting something important... The Lenny snapped his fingers and smiled a little as an idea came to him. He pulled a random book off a shelf and opened the front cover.
“This book belongs to...” He muttered to himself as he read the words and smiled once more at the handwritten script below it. Eliv Thade. He was in the castle of Eliv Thade. Thunder struck and filled the room with a low rumble as he closed the book and slipped it back onto the shelf. Things were more frightening when the issue was unknown, but now that he had obtained knowledge of name of the ghost and owner of the manor he was in, he felt more confident.
Con stood from his place kneeling on the floor, turning to look upon the room once more. He suddenly grimaced and lost what suddenly bravery he had obtained as he saw what was carved into the wall above the entrance he took into the library.
“RATPEPD VOFERER NI YM IVLE AGEM”
He repeated it slowly, shaking and quivering as he realized how much trouble he was truly in. “Trapped forever in my evil- vile?- game...”
What illumination there was in the room rapidly faded to black as Con jumped and yelped in shock and fear from the cold hand that landed on his shoulder.
To be continued...