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The Enigma of Friendship: Part Four

by amb403


“There are two Nimmos; one is blue and the other is green. The blue Nimmo points to the green one and says, ‘Brothers and sisters I have none, but this Nimmo's father is my father's son...’ What is the relation of the blue one to the green one?”

     “The blue Nimmo is the green Nimmo’s father,” Thade answered almost immediately. He scoffed and shook his head in disappointment. “Is that all you have? I expected better.”

     “Well... no...” Con rubbed the back of his neck nervously and sighed. “That’s one of my easier ones. Though it took Lit a little while to get it and he’s a fast thinker. Uh...” He cut himself off before he started to ramble again and searched his mind for a better puzzle. “While examining your wristwatch, you come across an old man who tells you about his unique invention. He gives you two strings and tells you that when you light one end of either string it will take an hour to burn completely. He goes on to say that the rate the strings burn is completely random as both strings are different. With no other knowledge about the strings, how do you measure out 45 minutes?”

     The ghost paused for a moment to think about the question. “I suppose that is a little better. Light both ends on the first string and one end of the second. Once the first string is burnt out completely, light the other end of the second string. When the second string has finished burning, it has been 45 minutes.”

     Con smiled a bit at the answer and chuckled softly in amusement. “Well, yes. That is right. However, my preferred answer would be to just use the wristwatch that I mentioned you have.”

     After narrowing his eyes for a second, the ghost then relaxed and gave a short laugh as well. “That is not so much as a riddle as a trick question. I’ll accept it, but you will have to improve if you want to pose a greater challenge to others.” Thade leaned back in his chair and said to the Lenny, “With practice, you could become an excellent puzzle maker.”

     Pondering the sentiment wordlessly Con stared at the table and glanced up when he found the necessity to vocalize once more. “Do you really think so?” he breathed out quietly, not sure whether to truly believe the ghostly Kacheek’s words. “But... Lit said... Would people actually like to try and solve my puzzles?”

     Amused, he chuckled in response and then smirked at his Lenny guest. “My dear boy, I am a much crueler person than you. Mind, I’m being nice to you, but you’re different. If so many people over so many years insist on coming into my home to hear me shout anagrams for them to solve, then who is to say that some of those same Neopets would or would not want to test their intelligence against your riddles? You just need to find the right audience, Con. Don’t listen to your brother about everything, because he does not seem to know much about what he is saying in that context.”

     The Lenny became unspoken once more and took this time to finish his cup of tea, setting it gently back down onto the table as Thade broke the stillness once more. “Remember, Con, people don’t like being outsmarted. But there are also a good number of people who enjoy a good intellectual challenge once it is presented for them. The Brain Tree, for instance. Perhaps I could take you to meet him once day and he could share pointers on how to improve your conundrums.” The Kacheek smiled as the young Lenny perked up and turned to him. “Conundrum. Is that what ‘Con’ developed from, per chance?”

     Nodding somewhat, Con let loose a smile in response. “Yes, it is. And... Was that an offer for me to actually spend time with you again? In public no less...”

     “Of course it was,” Thade replied curtly. “I would not have said it otherwise. Besides...” He looked at the younger Neopet, giving him a sincere smile instead of the smirking grin from before. “The whole reason you are here is because you needed to get out of your house more often. Having me as a friend would give you an excuse now, hmm?”

     Friend... The word echoed in Con’s mind as he attempted to register the fact that it was actually said and he was not just imagining it. He smiled wider at the prospect of actually having a genuine friend for the first time in his young life. Sure, it would be with a ghost with a passion for anagrams and that resided in the Haunted Woods, but any friend was better than the alternative. “That would... That would be wonderful. And... You would honestly consider associating with me, of all people, under such a title?”

     “Hmph.” He set his teacup down and crossed his arms, turning up his nose a bit. “Now you are just being insulting. Yes, I would. As I said before, you interest me and I would more than tolerate your presence. As long as you do not drag any unseemly types into my home, I will in fact be your friend.” The ghost smiled again at the Lenny, trying to comfort him. “You lack too much self-esteem. Don’t be so skeptical about others liking you, especially if it is your brother insisting that no one would.”

     “...” Con nodded after a moment’s pause, smiling warmly back at Thade. “Alright. I’ll try to be more confident from now on. And thank you, I appreciate this so much.” He looked to the window and saw that rain was no longer pounding against the panes. “Well... It seems to have stopped raining... Lit is probably worried. Is it fine if I leave now?”

     Thade nodded and stood up. “Of course. I’ll show you to the door.” He led the Lenny back to the front door, taking a moment to unlock it before looking to Con. “I am here most of the time, so feel free to stop by in an emergency. That said, try not to have an emergency. Could you stop by in the morning one week from now? I wish to help you improve on your conundrums.”

     Con beamed at the final word and proceeded to nod vigorously. “Yes, yes I will. Next week, I’ll be here. Again, thank you. For your hospitality and everything else.”

     The Kacheek gave him a nod and opened the door. “You’re welcome. Now hurry out. Your brother would worry more if he saw you exiting my mansion. Let’s keep our friendship a secret for now, alright?”

     “Yes, yes. Thank you. Good-bye.” Con waved slightly and stepped through the exit with the large door closing behind him. The red Lenny grinned to himself and hurried back to where he was supposed to meet his brother, surprisingly not tripping over anything or landing in any mud puddles for once. He made it back to their meeting place where he saw Lit pacing rapidly back and forth. His younger brother seemed worried, so he thought it best to approach quickly to ease Lit’s mind. “Lit! There you are!”

     Lit looked up at the sound of his voice and rushed up to Con. “Here I am? Where were you? And where is your sweater vest?”

     “Hmm?” The red Lenny looked down at his clothes. “Oh right, I forgot about that. I think I lost it when some bullies were chasing me earlier. Nothing to worry about though, I have more at home.”

     “You had bullies chasing you!” Lit repeated what he had just said as more of a statement than a question. “I knew I shouldn’t have left you alone, you always get into these kinds of messes! Are you alright at least? Did you get hurt too much? How did you stay dry during the rain? Why are you smiling like that?!”

     Con laughed a bit, realizing that it was Lit who was now rambling pointlessly. “I’m fine and I didn’t get hurt. And to answer your last two questions, I made a friend, believe it or not. They helped me out and I’ve made plans to see them next week. And that means, I think you will not have to worry as much about me staying home too frequently in the future.”

     The dark-colored Lenny glanced up at his brother before checking him over to make sure that he was in fact fine. When he was satisfied with what he saw, he and nodded and smiled kindly. “That’s great, Con! I’m glad you actually made a friend for once! Now let’s get home. Unlike you, I actually did get wet.”

     “Right.” Con nodded in agreement and let his younger brother lead him out of the forest. He glanced back once to look at the mansion he had been the entire day. Smiling, he turned back around to catch up with his brother. He just had to wait one week and then he could spend time with an actual friend...

The End

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Other Episodes

» The Enigma of Friendship: Part One
» The Enigma of Friendship: Part Two
» The Enigma of Friendship: Part Three

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