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Lenny Conundrum Land


by secant

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As a reporter’s assistant, I recently stumbled upon a fantastic adventure so incredible that I doubt you would believe the words I write. It was fascinating and mind riddling. I will try to the best of my extent to recount the exact events for your reading pleasure.

     It started when I was taking a walk along the streets of Neopia Central. I was an underpaid Usul desperate for news to jot down. Then, under the shade of the Money Tree, I found none other than a red Lenny in a wizard hat and starry robe.

     I approached him with caution, as hordes of Neopians around me were clamoring for goods from the Money Tree. Finally, I was safe beside the trunk of the tree, and I heard the Lenny speak to it.

     Lenny: “Come with me, and you will see a wondrous new life.

     Be careful not to be reckless, or there will be strife.”

     The Money Tree looked bored and was undoubtedly not listening. But I stepped forward and asked the curious Lenny, “What was that?”

     The Lenny looked at me with a thoughtful expression for the longest time. I was feeling uneasy and was debating to myself whether to leave or not when he said,

     “You look like a dabbler

     In writing, perhaps, or art.

     Would you like an adventure

     That really fulfills your heart?”

     Well, I needed a good piece of journalism for my boss, so I agreed hesitantly. The Lenny agreed and took out—believe this!—a wand. I suddenly feared he wanted to challenge me to a battle right then and there, but it was nothing of the sort. He flicked the wand, and a sparkling glitter of dancing Nova stars rained over our heads. I shut my eyes...

     ...and opened them again to find myself in an endless grassy meadow by myself. Where was the Lenny? I took out my notepad and scribbled down some notes—from which I am retelling you the story right now. Anyhow, I then decided to explore a bit, but there was nothing to explore: the open grassy meadow was plain green grass for miles and miles, as far as the Usul eye could see.

     Just when I thought I could never return to Neopia Central, I nearly tripped over a dark blob on the ground. It was a Shadow Gelert sleeping soundly. I tapped him awake, hoping he could assist me.

     As soon as I did, the scene around me evaporated. I was suddenly in the middle of a dark and menacing citadel. The Shadow Gelert was really a Darigan Gelert—who glared at me with no mercy.

     “Please sir, I do not know what is happening!” I pleaded.

     His response,

     “Behind me there are two doors.

     One leads to despair.

     The other leads to freedom.

     Which one of the pair?”

     Another rhyme! Was it Speak-In-A-Rhyme Day? That red Lenny definitely had something to do with it. I looked behind the Darigan Gelert to see two large wooden doors side-by-side. They were unmarked and identical. One led to freedom from this citadel, but the other... despair.

     “I have to choose only one? Can’t you give me a hint?” I asked the unmoving Gelert.

     “Speak to the two doors,

     They both thump yes or no.

     Two thumps yes, one no?

     Not necessarily so.

     You can ask two questions

     To one door at a time,

     But just one tells the truth

     Like an honest mime.

     The other door is quirky

     And only tells lies.

     Now hurry and pick your answer

     That’s my only advice.”

     This was troubling. I might be stuck in this awful place forever! What will my boss say? (Okay, okay, I wasn’t the best Usul at setting my priorities straight. Whatever.)

     So, one door led to freedom. The other led to despair—probably a locked dungeon with Meepits and eerie things. I can only ask two questions, and they can only be directed to one door at a time. They will answer yes or no by use of one or two thumps, but I did not know whether yes referred to one thump or two, nor did I know whether no referred to two thumps or one. One door will always tell the truth, the other door will always tell a lie.

     Luckily, I once was the champion at puzzle competitions. Anyone else would be confused, but not I.

     I bravely went up to the door on the left and asked, “Do both doors lead to freedom?”

     The door thumped once. Now, this could either refer to no or yes. Time for my second question: the question that would get me out of here.

     I went up to the door on the right and asked, “Do you lead to freedom?”

     Two thumps was the response.

     I turned to the Gelert and said, “I choose the door on the left.”

     The Darigan Gelert looked surprised. “How?” he stammered. “Very few have ever passed the Thumping Doors Riddle! I must inform King Skarl at once!”

     I would explain the process of how I solved it, but I am sure you are a very apt reader and can figure out this simple puzzle on your own (or drop me a neomail later). Now, my story: I opened the door on the left and stepped outside...

     ...to what appeared to be the middle of an ice land. Happy Valley, perhaps? I looked around, expecting to wake up under the Money Tree in Neopia Central any minute now with a sigh of, “Oh, it was just a dream!”

     Instead, I spotted the red Lenny wizard a few feet from me, wrapped in a large coat and enjoying a frozen treat. (Why did they eat cold foods outside in the cold?)

     “Sir, I command you return me to my home at once!” I told the Lenny.

     The Lenny just chuckled and said,

     “Down this valley, there is an event:

     An ice cream party! But there is discontent.

     What is ice at ten percent?

     Perhaps you can be a good gent.”

     I glanced towards the direction he pointed, and then quickly realized my mistake. The Lenny disappeared again! I took out my notepad and jotted down more details of my incredible day. Then I headed in the direction the red Lenny had pointed, for that was probably my only way of returning home.

     Sure enough, I soon stumbled upon a cluster of Bruces around an icy table topped with bowls of ice cream. So much ice cream! Vanilla, strawberry, checkered, tigersquash...

     No sooner did I join them than the head Bruce—a chubby green buddy, he was—stood up and growled,

     “There is no more room!

     Step back and avoid your doom!

     There is ice cream for three:

     Libby, James, and me

     So go back, go! Zoom, zoom!”

     I was quite offended, and believe me, we reporters can take in a lot of rudeness before we steam over. So I crossed my arms and demanded, “There is plenty of room! Now let me join.”

     The other Bruces chimed in this time:

     “There is no more room!

     Step back, Usul, or meet your doom!

     Your words do not speak

     For you are quite weak.

     So go away, go! Zoom, zoom!”

     I contemplated the whole mess. There were at least twenty bowls of ice cream at the table, and only three Bruces. Of course there was room. I shivered, realizing I was still wearing a short-sleeved shirt in the freezing snow. I needed to return to sunny Neopia Central—and more importantly, the Neopian Times Headquarters! Obviously I had to solve a puzzle to get out of here. But what was the puzzle?

     “Can you just tell me where to go?” I began, but was interrupted again by the Bruces:

     “Your words are useless to hear!

     They dissolve before they reach the ear!

     Your words do not speak

     For you are quite weak.

     So go away, go! Disappear!”

     The Bruces would not listen to anything I said. I remembered the Lenny’s words: what is ice at ten percent? Ice at ten percent...if it was ten percent ice, the rest must be melting! Water? Was that the answer?

     I tried the Bruces’ way of talking:

     “Bruces, hear me, I do think

     You are going off the brink.

     You need some fresh ice

     And new water will suffice.

     Perhaps... build an ice rink?”

     That was an awful limerick, I agree, but I was desperate to get out of the freezing cold. As expected, the Bruces finally listened and were murmuring to each other now. Finally, the head Bruce exclaimed,

     “We do need new water, you know!

     All we have is melting snow!

     We’ll build an ice rink

     And have fun on the brink.

     To go home, go through the hole!”

     I looked around for a hole in the snow-covered ground. There it was: a small Symol hole, precise and neat a few feet away. Wait, how did a Symol hole get here in this freezing valley?

     I blinked again and suddenly, I was no longer in the snowy valley. Cold no longer sliced through my shirt. Instead, I was now in the middle of a farm, my left foot right in a pile of dung.

     “This is not funny!” I shouted to nobody in particular.

     No one was around. Where, oh where, was that wretched Lenny? I needed to find my way home. I jotted down my encounter with the poetic Bruces and prepared for my next feat...

     - - -

     “Wake up!”

     I turned around to face a Wocky in shades, a skateboard under his arm.

     “Radical, dude! You want to count some taters?” he exclaimed.

     I was mildly surprised he did not speak in rhyme like everyone I had encountered today. “Sure,” I agreed, thinking it was my key to return home, or else another portal to a new land.

     “Okay. It’s going to rain potatoes here!” The Wocky reached into a sack, took out an armful of potatoes, and threw them into the air at once. “How many is that?” he shouted as potatoes pelted our heads.

     I ducked for cover. When the potatoes all settled, I began counting, but the Wocky interrupted.

     “No, no, no, no! You count them while they’re up in the air!” he instructed. “Try again!”

     I shook my head in disbelief. “I can’t do that! That is impossible! I’ll need extra eyes!”

     “Exactly how many more pairs?” asked the Wocky with a knowing smile.

     What is ice at ten percent? I realized with a jolt that this might be what the Lenny had been referring to. Eyes, not ice! Eyes at ten percent?

     “I have two eyes... so to make it ten percent, I need twenty eyes total. I need eighteen more, which means I need nine more pairs,” I calculated out loud.

     “Good, good.” The Wocky gave me a high-five. “You win, little dude!”

     “Can I just go home now?” I asked, even though I was pretty sure the Wocky had no idea how.

     “Sorry, little man, I can’t assist you there,” he replied. As soon as he finished, his blue fur turned red, his legs stretched high, and his face contorted. He morphed into the red Lenny right before my eyes.

     “Stop! Let me be!” I shouted. “I want to go home!”

     Lo and behold, the Lenny spoke in rhyme again,

     “You have done well, I can tell,

     But how all the mighty ones fell!

     Last riddle, it’s easy as peas.

     How many words can you make with: A B C D?”

     As a reporter, I was familiar with words, thankfully. “Let’s see... cab,” I said. “Dab. Bad. That’s it. Three.”

      “And how many numbers with 1 2 and 3?” sang the Lenny.

      “1, 2, 3, 123, 132, 213, 231, 312, 321... um...” I racked my brain. “12, 13, 21, 23, 31, 32... Fifteen?”

     The Lenny cheered. He took out his wand again, sprinkled stars over my head, and everything dissolved into a blur.

     I looked up to find myself under the Money Tree again. My notepad, rumpled but intact, was safely in my pocket. I jumped up for joy.

     “Oh, Tree, you do not know how happy I am!” I said.

     “Let me guess, you managed to swipe a rare item from beneath my leaves?” guessed the Money Tree.

     “No.” I paused and thought. “Actually, I did swipe a valuable story for the Neopian Times. Say, who was that wizard Lenny?”

     “That was the Lenny Conundrum guy!” laughed the Money Tree. “Did he grill you with questions and riddles?”

     “Lenny Conundrum?” I repeated.

     “Sure. He gives a new riddle every week and rewards those who solve it first. Did he give you anything?”

     Well, let me recount. I was nearly locked up in the Darigan citadel, lost in the middle of a freeze land, got pelted by rock-hard potatoes, and survived to tell the tale?

     “Yes, he did reward me,” I said at last. “He certainly did.”

The End

 
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