From: "Chet Weaver - YOUR HEAD A SPLODE" <nichirasu@hotmail.com> Subject: [PW!] The Tricked-Out Trick House Date: Saturday, January 24, 2004 9:49 PM The house seemed to be empty save for some furniture when Keiko Kamen enterred. A cursory glance told her that she and her Swablu were the only occupants, but what she heard about the place told her otherwise. Still, it didn't look like there were many places to hide. "Hello?" Keiko asked the seemingly empty room. "Swablu?" the cotton bird on her head echoed. "Think it's possible he's not here, Skyler?" Keiko asked her Pokemon. Skyler the Swablu just shrugged and said, "Swablu." Keiko continued, "If he is, he's very good at hiding." Keiko thought she heard someone stifle a chuckle. She couldn't tell where it came from, but it was enough to confirm that they weren't alone. She knelt down to check beneath a table while Skyler flew over to a nearby cabinet. The Swablu bounced off the cabinet's glass doors a couple times before Keiko finally walked over and opened it up. Skyler immediately began adjusting the contents. "It was my heavy breathing, wasn't it?" a voice suddenly said. Skyler almost dropped a ceramic figuring in surprise, but Keiko caught it before it hit the ground. "Oh!" Keiko exclaimed, also having been caught off guard. She peered in and saw a panel open in the back of cabinet, revealing the face of the house's owner. "It was more of a lucky guess, really." "You're being too modest," the man said. "Erm, actually, no, you're not. You know, most people just take off their shoes or their coat before enterring someone's house." "Oh, I go everywhere nude, when I can," Keiko explained. Skyler took the figuring from her hands and put it back in the cabinet. "Are you the Trick Master?" "Ah, my reputation precedes me," the man confirmed. "Indeed, I am the Trick Master, and this is the Trick House. Normally, I'd come out by now, but..." "I understand," Keiko interrupted. "Right. Anyway, the maze has already been set up. It's a devious puzzle designed to confound and confuse all who attempt it. If you think you're up to the challenge, the entrance is behind that scroll on the wall. I'll be waiting at the end with a prize, if you can make it there!" "You're on!" The Trick Master closed the panel, prohibiting further discussion. It didn't have the flash of the teleport he generally used, but it would have to do for the moment. Keiko walked over to the scroll on the wall and, sure enough, there was hole behind it. She stepped through and found herself in a rather plain hallway. Had she been wearing shoes, her footsteps might've echoed around her as she walked. She turned a corner and felt a tile underneath her foot give way slightly. A wall slid into place behind her, blocking the way she came. Ahead of her, another wall fell away to reveal another hallway. The sounds over other passageways opening and closing could be heard echoing from various other parts of the maze as well. "I guess we should watch our step," Keiko said. "Who knows what could happen if we step on the wrong thing." "Swablu," Skyler agreed. A little further down and a couple turns later, Keiko discovered a girl in a blue dress staring at one of the walls in contempt. "Right when you think you've got this maze down, someone has to step on another switch," the girl complained. "I'm sorry," Keiko apologized. "I didn't realize anyone else was in here." "That's all right," the girl said. She turned to Keiko, her eyes closed in disappointment. She shook her head and said, "You can't really expect a maze like this to..." The girl opened her eyes and immediately stopped in mid sentence. She quickly looked away from Keiko and shielded her eyes with her hand. "I'm sorry," the girl apologized. "I wasn't expecting you to be... naked." "It's no big deal," Keiko said. "I'm very comfortable the way I am. I don't feel the need to hide my body, so you can stop trying not to look at me." Keiko approached the girl and extended her hand. "My name's Keiko," she said. "And this is Skyler." "Swablu," Skyler greeted. The girl looked at Keiko again breifly and shook her hand. "I'm Dorothy," she said. "Nice to meet you, Dorothy," Keiko said. "You've been here long?" "I've been wandering around for a week now," Dorothy answered. "You've been stuck in here for an entire week!?" Keiko exclaimed. "The Trick Master comes in every once in a while to help people find a way back to the entrance," Dorothy explained. "But I've been coming here every day trying to figure this maze out. I think I've got it, but every time I'm about to make headway..." A wall slid into place behind Keiko and another slid away behind Dorothy. "I see what you mean," Keiko said. "Sometimes I think the Trick Master just does it to mess with me," Dorothy said. "And if just trying to find the end wasn't hard enough, you need to enter the secret code in order to get the door to open. The code is hidden elsewhere in the maze, but I've never been able to find both the end and the code." "Maybe we can help each other then. Or at least keep each other company." "Well, it has been kinda lonely in here. Everyone else I run into usually just wants a Pokemon match. Ah, why not? C'mon, I'll lead the way." Dorothy led Keiko down a twisting path through the maze. Doors opened and doors closed, a few times causing Dorothy to backtrack in order to change them back. Eventually, they came to a dead end. "This looks like where we met," Keiko said. "Then again, all these walls look the same." "It can't be," Dorothy said. "I've been leaving markers all over." For an example, Dorothy scribbled her insignia on a wall. When she stepped back to appraise it, Skyler flew over and started wiping it off. "Skyler! No!" Keiko said, pulling the Swablu away from the wall. "I'm sorry. You know how Swablu can be." "So I've heard," Dorothy said dejectedly. "It hasn't been doing that all over the maze, has it?" "I'm afraid so. I guess I should've been watching. I'm really, really sorry." "I guess it's no big deal. I'll just have to start all over again." "Let's make a map this time. I think I have some paper and pencil." "That sounds like a good idea. Let's go!" Keiko got the writing implements out of her belt pack and they set out yet again. Keiko kept track of every switch and wall found, marking each moving wall. Half an hour later, they found themselves facing a wall with Dorothy's half-erased insignia on it. "We're still lost, aren't we?" Dorothy asked. "Well, it's kinda hard to use a map without any landmarks," Keiko replied. Dorothy plopped onto the ground and held her head in her hands. "I'll never get to the end of this maze," Dorothy groaned. Keiko knelt down and put a hand on Dorothy's shoulder, saying, "Don't be so down on yourself. It's a very difficult maze." "No, it's not. Everyone else gets through this maze in less than a hour. I've been here a week, and I still don't know my way around! I'm so stupid!" Keiko sighed. She spread a towel on the floor and sat next to Dorothy. "You know, maybe we've been looking at it out of proportion," Keiko said after a minute's reflection. She showed her map to Dorothy. "See? We've been all around this maze so many times with the walls changing all around us, it seems bigger and more complex than it really is." "I see," Dorothy said. "If you look at it like that, it's not all that tough. You just have to know which the doors open and close when you hit a certain switch." "Yeah. But that may take a while to figure out." "Actually, I think I got it! Thanks, Keiko!" Dorothy hugged Keiko. She then got up and excitedly scampered down the hall. Keiko smiled to herself as she got up and folded up her towel. "Swablu?" Skyler asked. "We don't need to follow her," Keiko said. "I think I know where to go. Besides, I'd rather figure it out myself." Keiko waited for the sounds of moving walls to cease before moving out. Figuring it meant Dorothy had finally made it to the end, she began to weave her own path. About fifteen minutes later, she found Dorothy waiting by a door. "Sorry about not waiting for you," Dorothy said. "No problem," Keiko said. "I didn't want to slow you down, anyway." "Did you find the secret code?" "Yeah. Did you?" "Yep." "Well? What are you waiting for?" Dorothy quickly deciphered the password on the door and wrote the solution on it. She practically cheered when the door unlocked. Dorothy opened the door and they entered the next room to find the Trick Master waiting for them. "So you finally made it," the Trick Master said. "I almost thought you'd never get here, Dorothy." "So did I," Dorothy admitted. "Do we win the prize?" Keiko asked. "Yep," the Trick Master replied. He fished a couple wrapped candies from his pocket and handed one to each of the girls. "Here ya go." "Rare Candy?" Dorothy noted. "Hey, don't get too cocky," the Trick Master said. "It's much too early to think you've won, especially now that even Dorothy can solve this one! It took me weeks to get the wiring for the doors and buttons to work right. But I'll make new tricks to stump you, I will. You may mock me only when you're done. Come back for the next exciting installment!" With that, the Trick Master disappeared in a blinding flash of light associated with teleportation. That left Keiko and Dorothy with nothing to do but leave through a rather shoddy-looking doorway in the back of the room. After finding it led right back to the first room, the girls headed back towards Slateport. "You're kinda cool, you know?" Dorothy said. "Thanks," Keiko accepted. "You're cool, too." "Do you have a place to stay? 'Cause if you don't you could... oh..." "What?" "I can't believe I forgot about the whole naked thing. I don't think my parents would be so hip to that." "That's no problem. I brought plenty of clothes. But, this is the first city I've been to since starting out, so I thought I should get used to staying at Pokemon Centers." "Oh. Well, good luck on your journey, then." "You too, if you're going to be on one." "You know, I just might. And maybe I'll catch up to you so we could travel together." "Sounds like fun." "Yeah. See ya!" "Bye!" Keiko smiled as she watched her new friend run on ahead. Despite a somewhat shakey start, this was starting out to be a great journey. To be continued...? -- Chet "Tech" Weaver - Trying Newsgroups through Netscape AIM: PanGatomon MSN/E-mail: Nichirasu@hotmail.com Yahoo! Messenger: tech_weaver ICQ: 122744531 Webcomic: http://desperadocoyote.keenspace.com My Adventure Quest character: http://www.battleon.com/aq-chardetail.asp?temp=131213 You can play Adventure Quest at http://www.battleon.com "i didn't think ahead, im not exactly the brightest fork in the shed" "Wouldn't that be the sharpest fork in the shed?" -- Actual exchange from the Adventure Quest forums