Writing Every Day in March: Day 7

“But first, be thee aware that perhaps everything I say is a lie.”

I like it concept of this one, subverting the whole “Two Guys; One Always Lies, One Never Lies” logic puzzle.

Which, to be fair, I don’t actually understand well enough to be able to play straight…

But I don’t think this is the best context to get the most humour out of the scene. I think I need more than 500 words to adequately present Dunstana annoying the two guys into giving up.

Kat, Dunstana, and Lena soon find themselves staring up at two ragged, bearded, wind-scarred and sun-beaten old men in threadbare robes seated on rocks flanking each side of the road.

“Seek ye the sword of Kevin the Arch-Sage?” the one of the left asks.

Kat sheepishly scratches the back of her neck. “Yeah,” she mutters. “I, uh, need it to slay, like, an ancient demon, or something?”

She glances down at Dunstana.

“Because,” Kat continues, “somebody read from the Unutterable Malediction from the Unspeakable Apocrypha from the Forbidden Iron-Bound Tome of Evilarius.”

“It was an accident!” Dunstana protests.

“Very well!” the hermit on the right says. “Be ye prepared to face the test of the Two Hermits?”

“Let’s get this over with,” Kat mutters. She glances to Lena. “You take the one of the left, I’ll take the one on the right.”

Silence!” the hermit on the left cries. “The test of the Two Hermits is a test not of might, but of wisdom!”

“Bears!” Dunstana exclaims. “The Prince of Porthaven! Greybeard! The Houou Mochizuki! Empress Anath!”

The hermit blinks up in bewilderment at her. “A-are you just naming things?”

Dunstana nods. “Yeah. I’m saying everything I know in case that’s the answer to your test thing,” she answers.

The two hermits exchange a look.

“To prove thyselves worthy of the sword of Kevin,” the hermit on the left declares,”Ye must answer unto us these questions three.”

“Bears!” Dunstana says again.

“But first, be thee aware that perhaps everything I say is a lie,” the hermit continues.

“Or perhaps nothing I don’t say isn’t a lie,” the one on the right says.

“Perhaps neither of us always never doesn’t not lie,” the one on the left continues. “And that’s exactly what we want you to think?”

“Question the first: If I were to declare that he who was once King of all the Isles: of Middelmere, Morfilod, Carog, and Makeland, did once sup upon roast boar one Wintermorn night —”

“Question,” Dunstana says, shoving her hand into the air.

The hermit on the left rolls his eyes. “Yes?”

“Can you explain the one of you always lies and the other one never lies thing, again?” she asks.

“Perhaps everything I say is a lie,” the hermit says.

“I know you are, but what am I?” Dunstana counters.

“Everything I say is a lie,” the hermit repeats.

“Waaaaaaait a minute,” Lena mutters, noting the obvious with that.

“Oh,” Dunstana says. “I know you are, but what am I?”

And so it goes. On and on and on like that, until at least Dunstana decisively declares “Takes one to know one!”

The hermit throws up his hands in exasperation.

“Fine!” he cries. “If you want the sword, go get it. I quit!” He glowers down at Dunstana. “Are you happy, you little maniac?”

“Hey!” Kat says indignantly. “Don’t talk to my sister like that!”

Now, it’s true that Dunstana is a little maniac, but some crazy old hermit doesn’t have the right to say it. That’s the kind of thing that only her big sister is allowed to say!

“I did not renounce all worldly attachments to be made a fool of!” the old man continues raving. “Why do I even bother?”

Kat, Dunstana, and Lena watch him leave.

“It’s only the sword of Kevin the Arch-Sage,” he mutters as he storms off. “It’s not that deserves a riddle contest. It’s not like five thousand generations of hermits have guarded the sword with riddle contests!”

“So, uh,” the other hermit says, pushing himself off his rock. “The sword’s over this way.”

Yeah. I still don’t get the puzzle…

Isn’t the solution just to ask something with an obvious correct answer like “Am I a bear?”

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