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Aug. 1 – An Old Riddle Revisited

Lisa, listening as Captain Hienrichs helped make the arrangements, sighed a little as she heard Canergak call for her. She quickly bade farewell to the others, and hurried to find him standing by the elevator. “Sir.”

“I wanted a report from you about what happened. Where was the fighting?”

“I believe it was just outside the gates, sir.” She paused. “Or maybe just inside. I didn’t see it happen.”

“And none thought to contact me for assistance?” he asked, his tone stern.

“Lilith was scared, sir.” Her eyes grew sad as she remembered the huddled form of Lilith in the corner of the hallway, trembling in fear that she would be taken away by her brothers. “I didn’t want to leave her.”

Her employer looked mollified at that. “Ah, fear has been known to rob even the wisest people of their wits and distracts even the able minded from their tasks to assist them. I find no fault in that.” He paused, and leveled his mechanical gaze keenly on her. “I had another question for you, one that I hope you have finally worked out the correct answer for. What was the true answer to my test with the diamonds?”

Lisa was surprised at this turn of the conversation, and had to rack her memory for that incident, which seemed a lifetime ago. “You said you were testing my greed.”

“That is what I said at the time – and in a way, it was true. You failed to act like a regular normal urchin, but had you taken some you would have also failed.”

“Yes, I remember that, sir.” She also remembered her anger at being set up for failure.

“There was in fact only one real answer that would not have failed you. Have you figured out yet what it is?” He watched her keenly.

Lisa frowned in thought. “There were only two choices, weren’t there? To take, or not to take?”

“Of course there was another choice,” he replied, careful patience in his voice, “but one you would simply have never considered.”

“Umm… not to look at all?”

“That would have meant you never even started the test. While you would have proven that you could keep your curiosity in check, I had little doubt you would take the opportunity to spy.”

Lisa sighed a little, trying to keep her frustration in check. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t understand.”

“The answer is much simpler than you are thinking. Or it would be, if you were to think as a Dwemer.”

“A… what?” Lisa stared at him in confusion. He made no answer, though, but simply pushed the button and rode the elevator car down. She stared down after it for a moment, then shrugged and returned to her duties, trying to puzzle out what he’d been saying.

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