The Last Puzzle of Thade
"I got you the Neopedia you asked for."
"Huh?" I was startled for a moment from the sudden voice in the ever so quiet room. I finished reading the last lines of the book and faced my head towards Leo, who had his Uni mane covering his deep black eyes.
"The Neopedia. Remember, they finally added Eliv Thade to it," he stated, waving the thick book in front of my face. "I'm sure they must've found something we didn't know."
"Hopefully," I mumbled under my breath. I put the book aside, a purple puff of smoke splashing my face. I took the book out of Leo's grasp and placed it carefully on the table where my book once sat. "Thanks for bringing it to me."
"You're welcome," he said, the patter of his hooves getting closer until he was looming behind me, curious to what they have to say about the gifted yet easily angered Thade. It was the finalized version of the article; no further changes were planned to make on it. It was all the writers had to say about him.
With a deep breath, I placed my paw on the book and flipped through the pages. Unlike other books, I knew I could look back to it whenever I liked to, a fact I was ever so grateful for. I flipped past various famous (and infamous) neopets. I passed by pages dedicated to the Count Von Roo, the long passed King Coltzan III and many more. It was an infinite amount of articles and I finally decided the only way to find it was to look through the table of contents. Flipping back, I finally found the name "Eliv Thade" written sloppily. Next to it, it stated in a neater print, was the page number. I spoke aloud, "Page 800."
"That's a ton of Neopians in one book," Leo commented; a shake of my head was exchanged in return.
"Of course, only the most noteworthy of Neopians are placed in the Neopedia," I said as I found myself getting closer to the correct page. "Thankfully they found Eliv Thade noteworthy."
"Well, everyone in Neovia and the Woods was truly fascinated by him. Remember all the people coming just to ask him questions? It was entertaining to see him answer them all within seconds, laughing them away and asking them to simply return with a true challenge," Leo commented. "Do you remember that, Cecelia?"
"Of course I do," I answered back. A smile spread across my face when I found myself at the correct page number. Leo noticed this too, and I found the both of us reading the article silently to ourselves.
Unfortunately, it was nothing new that we never heard before. It was all obvious things we knew about him as his servants. Nothing new, nothing a shock to us. They didn't find out anything from the information we gave them. Nothing we did not catch while we went on our everyday life. With a deep sigh, I slumped in my seat. Leo was yet to be finished yet based on the dismal look on his face, he knew there was nothing to actually read.
"Well, I guess it will forever remain a mystery, won't it?" Leo gave up, flipping his head to attempt to get the hair out of his eyes. "Well, I like a good mystery. Don't you?"
"I don't," I mumbled to myself. I spoke louder, "Eliv Thade only liked mysteries if he was able to solve them."
Leo's yellow ears drooped in defeat. We were defeated from the truth. We were defeated from the fact no one will ever know the true mystery behind the big mystery to Eliv Thade's life that everyone wondered.
Everyone who knew I was Eliv Thade's servant asked me the same thing. Such as one neopet who asked me, "What exactly was the puzzle Eliv Thade was baffled over all these years? How could there possibly be someone who was possibly more intelligent than he was?"
I would always shrug my shoulders and walk away, Blumaroo tail following me wherever I went.
"Are you sure you don't know anything to the mystery?" Leo questioned me again.
"Don't you?" I questioned back like always.
"He wasn't much of an open book," Leo sighed. "Besides, I was much younger then. I didn't really realize anything. I just went upon my day without a care in the world."
"True," I said, peeking through the other pages of the Neopedia. "It is still the same answer from me."
"You must know something!" Leo said. Normally, he would shrug it off and look around the room, waiting for me to say something. Instead, today he was insistent for an answer. "Please tell me you know something."
"I don't, I promise you I don't!" I snapped, closing the book a tad too loudly. His eyes looked surprised at me, and I quickly said to distract him from my outburst, "I'm sorry, but I truly don't. Please understand."
"This stinks," Leo mumbled to himself. After several long moments of pure silence, of him just looking over my shoulder to read what I was reading, he made his way out of the library, down the hall to wherever he may roam.
I admit it, later that night I could have sworn there was some sort of hint to the events after he received the puzzle.
Before I fell to sleep, they all played across my head. All the memories of the past returned, the times when the castle was closed from all visitors wishing for a puzzle to be answered. The time when they were no longer allowed to ask questions to the Thade because he was too busy.
I wasn't so sure of this, no. That was part of the reason I didn't tell the writers when they asked me questions about his life. It wasn't that I didn't want them to know, I just didn't want to let them know lies. What if the information I gave them lead to something completely false? I wouldn't want to do that, would I?
Well, I guess this one time I could share it with someone. Or, in this case, something. I took out my journal which was hidden under piles of my drawings in the drawer. I fished the dusty book out, cleaned off the dust, and opened to the first empty space. Taking out the pencil on the nightstand, I began to write.
I never wrote this down thinking the writers would find my diary and use the info on the Neopedia article. The reason why was simply because I believed it may lead the public to false information. The reason was as simple as that, and I hope you understand.
Everyone asked me what was the puzzle dear Eliv Thade wondered over. What challenging anagram could possibly drew him to insanity?
Well, I don't believe I can possibly give a direct answer. However, I'm sure at least you, my journal, will know. Perhaps one day more people will know of this entry and maybe, just maybe they will find the true answer.
Let me start from the day this all began. The Thade was tired from the busy day. Many people asked him many complicated questions, and within seconds he snapped out a correct answer quicker than you could even think. He was truly gifted.
If you ask his sleepiness was from hard work, it was not. As he told me, he was simply bored from these easy things. I chuckled silently at this when he told me for some reason, and Eliv Thade gave me a quick look as if to ask why I laughed.
He was about to finish asking for a simple request when we heard the steps of Leo against the tile. Next to him was at first a silhouette which seemed to be a certain neopet that Eliv quickly realized.
"Eliv! Eliv, someone knocked on the door and wished to speak to you. He said he was a friend of yours," Leo spoke quickly, rather tired from his sprint down the halls.
Eliv Thade, his face still young and lively (nothing like how you normally see him to look), grinned kindly as he saw a figure of an Eyrie appear behind Leo.
The Eyrie was rather tall and dressed as they commonly do in Neovia. His top hat was crooked slightly on his head. He was dressed in a fancy tuxedo that appeared to be made out of some sort of velvet. He appeared to be quite wealthy like Eliv, the golden pocketwatch tucked in his pocket completely giving it away.
"Aidan!" Eliv greeted happily, reaching out his paw to shake hands. "What are you doing here? It's nearly midnight."
The Eyrie, who was apparently Aidan, shook the hand of Eliv Thade. With a grin also on his face, he answered him, "Oh, really? I'm sorry, I didn't expect the walk from Neovia to here to take so long. I should have figured, I left my work at the printing press later than normal."
I watched the conversation go back and forth as if they were playing a friendly game of tennis. One statement was quickly said then another. I figured it was a hint to walk away, yet when Aidan said this one statement, it really caught my attention. I believe it was the same for Leo, for his ears perked up slightly.
"I'm sure you are tired of those easy questions, aren't you, Thade?" Aidan spoke in a somewhat challenging voice. "I'll tell you what, if you answer my question correct, I'll give you half a million NP from my safe. How do you like that deal? Surely you can solve my question."
I immediately looked at Eliv Thade, who seemed rather interested in the offer. The sleep in his eyes faded as he seemed to be thinking of a response. After what seemed like forever, he turned to me and said, "Leo, Cecelia. You are free to leave now."
"Why now?" I asked, hoping Eliv will realize I was curious to what the question was.
"Do you know how late it is? Also, you know what I always say," Eliv Thade said in a more whispered tone to us, as if trying to be eerie. "It's dangerous to roam the woods at night."
"He's right," Leo frowned, fear in his voice as he looked outside, the dark seeping in and the moon gleaming inside. "Besides, aren't you tired?"
At that moment I yawned, which proved their point of us being tired. I could agree I was, it was an eventful day after all. I nodded my head quickly and gave in saying, "Alright, alright. I'm sure Leo would like someone to follow him home. I kind of do also, the full moon isn't exactly the best phase of the lunar cycle here in the woods."
"Good," Eliv Thade stated with a smile, waving his hand to leave.
As we opened the door to left, I questioned Leo with great curiosity. "Why do you think he wanted us to leave the second before he was given the question?"
"Maybe," Leo began to say, a gasp hidden inside his voice. "Maybe he doesn't trust one of us!"
"What do you mean?" I asked Leo, who simply shook his head in return.
After that statement, I didn't really ask Eliv Thade anything about the puzzle. Mostly because every time I was going to ask, he was so warped into answering his puzzle he wasn't even paying attention.
As I looked back, I realized why Leo said that. It was fairly obvious, actually. At the thought of half a million NP, greed overwhelmed Eliv Thade. Of course, he did not want us to know the answer to the question before he got a chance to. The greed was a large amount of the reason, yet I feel it was also because he didn't want us to use that amount of NP to quit our jobs and move out.
After that day, his insanity built up little by little. Every now and then, Aidan would pop in and ask, "Did you solve it yet?" Each time, Eliv Thade grew more and more angered with him when he asked so.
One night, he screamed so loud I could hear him from two rooms over where Leo and I were preparing a dinner. His voice was hard to understand, yet we both agreed we could understand these words, "Stop making me look like a fool. Stop making me look foolish because I can't figure out something about myself."
As the time went on, Aidan left in a fury, mumbling under his breath. Until one day, he left and he didn't bother coming back to visit. It seemed he was too furious with him to see him again.
"Eliv, you should give up on this puzzle. I doubt he is going to give you half a million NP now," I tried to reason with him, a bit of guilt forming in my stomach for some reason. Yet why did I feel guilt? It was the truth. Aidan must of been rather angered with him
Eliv said something under his breath I couldn't exactly understand.
"What was that?"
"I don't care!" he yelled, burying his face in his sleeves. His young face was tired and deprived of sleep.
It was at this point I was thinking very well of quitting this job, along with Leo. We talked about this idea every now and then. Yet I always brought up the sad truth, what other job could we find?
"I don't know," Leo said with great hope. "You're an artist, Cecelia. You can help illustrate the books at the printing press."
"What about you? I don't want you to work all by yourself here without me," I argued.
"Well, I'll find work also," he said with a smile. "I heard the tailor is looking for someone to run the register. Or, the furniture store. I could help sell the items."
"You do realize," I said in return. "Those jobs are taken faster than they are available."
"Yes," Leo said in melancholy. "Maybe I could take the job just in time, though."
I nodded as if to say it was a plan. However, neither of us really got around to it. The day we did, though, the sign that said help was wanted was taken down and a new face stood behind the glass, talking to customers.
This was the same for the printing press. It was as if we were in some sort of trap.
The worst part was Eliv never truly gave up on solving the puzzle. One day, Leo said he asked what the puzzle possibly was. Maybe, just maybe Leo could help solve it. Yet Eliv Thade simple made a short, grunting noise and continued writing something down on paper.
I received a neomail one day from a passing Weewoo. Before I left to the castle, it was laying on my porch with the Weewoo next to it, beady eyes waiting for me to open the letter. When he saw me open the envelope, he scurried back to a Nimmo, who gave him another letter and walked down the road to the next house.
Opening it, it seemed it was from Aidan. He asked me if Eliv was any better.
In response, since I was out of paper, I wrote the word "no" on the back of the paper. In a hurry, I ran over to the Nimmo and asked him if he could deliver my response.
A week later, Eliv Thade completely vanished.
When I arrived to an empty castle, the first words that popped into my head was "Evil Death". I realized moments later I got it from his name, Eliv Thade. Was his name an anagram he was famous for solving? It seemed to be, yet why was he named that? Was it some sort of destined curse for him to receive the puzzle?
Perhaps that was the question? How was I supposed to know, it is simply a theory. Like I said earlier, I'd hate to spread lies.
Weeks later, Leo and Cecelia were told it was time to pack all of their stuff from the castle to see if anything belonged to them. It was strange to find all the stuff they accidently left at such a large place which seemed to be such a small adobe. Cecelia found an old, weary pencil that had her name engraved onto the side. Leo found his old jacket that now had the sleeves almost completely destroyed.
It was when Leo and Cecelia were looking for their stuff in the living room Leo noticed a box that Cecelia left on the table while searching for her one of her lost notebooks. The pattern of flowers were engraved on the box, various Petpets painted around the flowers. Thinking it could possibly hold something of his, he opened it and looked inside. He was instead greeted by Cecelia's journal, and figured it was the one she was looking for. Leo looked around the room for her, yet found she must of wandered off. Curiosity was strong as he opened the notebook, reading the last pages.
When Leo was almost done reading Cecelia walked in with her lost notebook in hands. Fortunately for her, it was in better shape, however a few pages were crumbled and the cover torn off. Still, better shape than anything else they found.
"Leo?" she asked curiously, looking at the notebook he held, soon realizing that it was hers.
"I'm sorry!" Leo quickly said, giving the notebook over to Cecelia.
"It's fine," Cecelia stated. "You read the last entry, didn't you?" It was as if Cecelia read his mind, or at least read his expression.
"Yes, was that your answer to my question?" Leo asked curiously.
"I guess," Cecelia shrugged. "Yet it's only my theory."
Something rather strange happened later. As they made their way out of the castle for the last time, Leo swore he saw the tail of a familiar Kacheek.
Then again, this story is only a theory.