I woke up with my head soaked with ice-cold water. I stared up at the smiling Arianne in front of me. She was carrying an empty bucket which was aimed right at me.
“Seriously?” I asked.
“I didn’t know how to wake you up.”
“So you thought that pouring a bucket of ice-cold water was a great idea?”
“You’re awake,” she commented, “that means I have achieved what I came here to do.”
“With that personality of yours, you’ll have a hard time getting a boyfriend.”
“I can strangle you to death now.”
“Forget I said anything,” I mumbled, “what brings you here this morning?”
“It’s time for your final trial. Harrison is already waiting for you downstairs.”
And with that, I was left alone in my room.
“You took your time,” Harrison said, as I walked down the stairs, “why is your hair wet?”
"I'd rather not discuss this,” I responded, “what is the third trial about?"
“Follow me,” Harrison said, as he led me outdoor.
We walked to the stable behind the inn and there, I saw a huge pile of haystacks.
“Don’t tell me I need to how many straws are in that file of hay.” I stared in disbelief.
Harrison laughed. “Who do you think I am?”
“Thank goodness, I almost had a heart attack.”
“Have you ever heard of the phrase finding a needle in a haystack?”
“That’s exactly what you’re going to do,” Harrison said cheerfully. “It’s very simple. You have an unlimited amount of time, but you lose the challenge if you eat or sleep.”
“This is practically impossible,” I complained, “who thought of this stupid challenge?”
“Me,” responded Harrison, "it's not that hard. It’s only a 5 by 5 by 5 meters haystack. Oh and one last thing, you can’t just set the whole stack of hay on fire. It might cause too much destruction to the neighborhood. That means you can only physically find the needle by yourself."
“You don’t want me to pass, do you?"
“Wow, you’re smarter than you look,” Harrison commented. “I hope you succeed. Don’t worry, Arianne would watch over you.”
“That’s just piling more problems onto me!”
“I can put you into eternal sleep if you want” Arianne’s voice suddenly appeared behind me, “I think that will remove all your stress.”
“I’m good, thank you.” I jumped away from Arianne.
“You guys have a good time,” Harrison said as he left.
And with that, I was left alone with Arianne and a pile of hay.
“When do I start?” I asked.
“You can start now.”
“Wait, I still haven’t had my breakfast. Can I start afterward?”
“If Harrison was here, you would be starting now. You should be grateful that I am a kind-hearted girl.”
I burst out laughing.
“Or, you could start now.”
“I’m sorry,” I forced myself to stop, “I’ll go eat.”
After eating my breakfast which was around three times what I ate normally, I waddled back to the stable.
“Took you long,” Arianne said, lying on the grass, “did you get lost?”
“I’ll start my trial.”
“Be my guest.”
I looked at the pile of hay wondering how to tackle the problem. I could probably last around thirty-six hours without sleeping or eating before I faint. I might be overestimating myself but starting positive never hurts. I need to take advantage of the first sixteen hours. That’ll be when my mind would be the clearest. I need to pile the hay I sorted out in a different location. I can’t afford to be careless and miss the spot where the needle might be.
You don’t need to join this resistance group.
You’re back? I thought you would continue to stay silent.
I prefer to observe rather than interfere with your personal life.
Why are you talking to me now?
I thought a reminder would be nice. The voice answered. Joining a resistance group won’t help you achieve your ideals. They might resist the government, but they won’t have enough power to change the world.
I know what I’m doing. They might not be able to change the world, but their purpose does not interfere with mine. I could use this chance to gather experience for my plans.
I will stop distracting you from your current problem. Seeing you suffer always provides me with a source of entertainment.
Thanks a lot.
I will have a very fun time finding a needle through all this hay.