Chapter 7:

Searching for a needle

Conflicted Evil

I miscalculated. Who knew that searching through a one-meter block of hay would take around one hour to finish? That means searching through all the hay would take at least twenty-five hours, not calculating that the longer I take, the more tired I get. I looked at Arianne to see what she was doing and immediately regretted my action.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Can’t see what I’m doing?” Arianne asked back.

“I can see what you’re doing,” I responded, “I just don’t understand why you’re doing it.”

“I’m bored?”

“So you decide that it is a good idea to juggle around chickens?”

Arianne was juggling three chickens. The chickens looked uncomfortable and were confused about why a girl was throwing them around. Whenever they tried to escape, Arianne would just catch them and throw them up again.

“I know I’m all attractive and all that,” Arianne said, “but shouldn’t you be focusing on the task at hand?”

I blushed and returned to my task. As time moved on, I got more restless. Searching through piles of hay for five hours is not fun. The sun was blazing on my skin and I missed my lunchtime which was unfortunate.

“Am I allowed to drink water?” I asked, wiping sweat off my forehead. “I don’t think there was a rule saying I couldn’t drink water.”

“Do you think I’m nice?” Arianne returned a question.

“What’s the correct answer?”

“No for both,” Arianne answered.

“Good luck finding a boyfriend.”

I immediately hid before Arianne could murder me and went back to work.

After another six hours of work, hunger was already creeping up on me. I wasn’t even halfway done searching through the haystack. I was slowly getting tired and the efficiency of my search was getting diminished. Arianne on the other hand was happily eating her dinner while I suffered through this slow and painful torture.

“Are the trials the same for every newcomer?” I asked.

“Nope,” Arianne answered, “we always create brand new trials.”

“This trial is possible right?”

“It should be possible, but we never tested it out. You should be honored that you’re the first person to attempt it.

“I want to whack Harrison with a baseball bat right now.”

“Don’t worry about this trial,” Arianne reassured, “you’re almost at the halfway point. This should be a piece of cake”

“Easier said than done.”

I decided it would be a good idea to stop talking to her. I had a feeling that I would eventually receive internal injuries from being around her. After working another three hours, the sun was no longer visible.

“Here’s a flashlight,” Arianne said while handing me a flashlight, “you need to remember that you can always give up.”

“Thanks for the confidence,” I yawned, "it's always nice to have someone believing in you.”

“Keep up the positive attitude and you might be able to survive another day without food or sleep.”

Night began. The speed of searching through the hay halved. After searching for around twenty-four hours, I only searched through twenty stacks of hay.

“Four more hay to go,” I muttered.

“I see you’re still working,” Arianne said, waking up from her sleep. “You’re unlucky.”

I ignored her, too tired to respond. Time moved on in a blur and it took me around another nine hours to finish searching all the hay.

“No, it can’t be,” I panicked, “where is the needle?”

I scrambled to find the needle. I was sure that I had carefully searched each spot. How could I not find the needle? Fatigue swept up on me and I collapsed onto the floor. I then felt a prick of pain in my hand. It was the needle! I passed the trial. I saw Arianne walk up to me.

“I-” I tried to say something but immediately passed out before I could announce my accomplishment.

“Hey Harrison, Anthony passed the third trial”

“In the end, you decided to help him didn’t you?” Harrison said as he appeared behind Arianne.

“What are you talking about?”

“You threw the needle next to Anthony just when he collapsed.”

“I did not! He just found the needle just before he fainted”

“Funny,” amused Harrison, “I didn’t put a needle in the haystack in the first place.”

“You what?” Arianne exclaimed. “Then how was he suppose to pass?"

“If I’m completely honest,” Harrison explained, “I didn’t want him to pass, but you’ll be heartbroken if that happens. So for this trial, I wanted to test how long he could last.”

“I wouldn’t be heartbroken. So did he pass?”

“You need to start getting used to making decisions,” answered Harrison. “It’s all up to you.”

“What role will we give him once he joins?”

“You never listen to what I tell you,” Harrison sighed. “Let’s first bring Anthony back and decide what to do with him in the future.

And so, my fate was left with two maniacs.