Page 95

"Good, good, now listen to the words as I speak them. Write them down forward and back if you must. I will not repeat myself and I certainly will not wait, time is part of your answer.”

The colorful gnome cracked his fingers before he began. Balamor held his pencil tight, and flipped to a new page in his notebook. Awkid twirled his veggie kabob over the fire as the gnome spoke.

“My name is nimble in the beginning and always at the center of this inanimate forest. You can see my name within unimaginable places, like an eye in between the ending of dawn and the beginning of midnight. You can find my name through the trees and under the bushes, in the midst of the animals. Now that you have heard my name, tell me Mr. Wisebeard — Who am I?”

Balamor scribbled down the strange gnomes words into his notebook. He studied them in silence, making sure he didn't overlook the small details. If he should have heard his name then it must be hidden within the riddle. Quickly he underlined specific words; inanimate, animal, unimaginable, nimble... There was something they all had in common. The small gnome stared at Balamor, his eyes squinted and his smirk drew up his left cheek. Who was this man? How did he come to be in such a place? All Balamor knew was that the eyes he felt lurking in the trees belonged to this man and his riddles suggest he is protecting something — something that is his.

"Nim!" Balamor yelled out as he poked the page with the back of his pencil.

"Like an eye between the ending of dawn and the beginning of midnight, N-I-M. Each found in the beginning of the word nimble. The center of the word inanimate. Amidst the word animal and within the word unimaginable. You are Nim, and this is your forest!"

"Congratulations! You are certainly correct Mr. Wisebeard. However, I have more questions for you — may they guide you to your destination."

Nim began to pace back and forth slowly, exaggerating his small steps as he continued.

"It does not breathe. It does not leave. It does not eat or even sleep. It sees through darkness above the trees. Above you, above our eyes, above all mortals and even I. It changes space in due time and in its place a pearl shines. One round the clock it goes away — one round more to show its face."

The End

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