Puzzle Master

The journey of a puzzlemaster into paradise.

Puzzle Master

Trent had been a puzzlemaster for a long time. Age had no meaning for him since Trent never kept track of the days. Trent couldn't have told you if it was a Saturday or a Thursday or what month it was. Years seemed to have flown by passing Trent like a river and he was unable to catch and hold any with his hands. Still Trent's work was simple easy enough to do. Trent sat in a bar in the middle of Krona. The largest city on Phobos the capital planet of the outer rim of the milky way. Trent had seen countless worlds and solved thousands of puzzles. The puzzles were the way people banked and hid treasures. The entire planet of Phobos was a large city buildings that were built taller every day so tall that the surface couldn't be seen from the tops of the buildings. The opposite was true as well, if you stood on the brick and asphalt streets you couldn't see the tops of the buildings.

Trent had become a puzzlemaster when he had stumbled on a puzzleboard when he had come to the outer rim looking for work. Trent had been hating life slaving away in a steel mill thinking of only how to get back home. Trent like all puzzlemasters before him had stumbled on his first puzzle by accident. Trent depressed had been thinking about leaving in the middle of his shift and during his break wandered to a part of the steel mill that was no longer used. Trent was going to eat his lunch slip out the back and find the cheapest ride back to the inner rims and his family's home. His family had cast Trent out to survive on his own and wouldn't have let him back in. Trent was going to sneak in and live hiding on the family estate until caught. Trent would then be homeless there on his home world. But it would be a better life than what Trent had found out here. That was until he found the glowing video screen in the corner. The screen was covered in dust and seemed powerless. Until Trent had touched the screen. The screen exploded in light and the dust helped protect Trent's eyes from the full brightness that would have been blinding to Trent down in the dim light. Trent found the puzzle to be a game in this case. One where Trent had to match three objects in a row. It was easy for his first time and only took Trent's entire lunch break to unlock the door. Once the puzzle was solved the screen shut off and disappeared back into the wall. the wall then split open revealing a small opening and a tiny sack of credits. But it was enough credits for Trent to get to the next town and food for a few days.

Once Trent was in the next town he found another puzzlemaster that took Trent in as an apprentice. The other puzzlemaster had explained that only puzzlemasters could make or see the puzzles. The Master also explained that this was a gift given to a very rare few by an ancient race of tricksters. The tricksters had been a jovial yet evil race who sought to merge their blood with humans and make themselves stronger. It had backfired and the human race absorbed them wholly. Now only certain members of humanity possessed their powers and could make or see their puzzles. The only drawback for the humans who posses this gift is that they aren't good at any other forms of work.

For Trent it now made sense as to why he didn't fit in with his family nor anything else he tried to do in his life. There wasn't much to be taught or learned. The puzzlemaster shared with Trent only the basics of the craft. The puzzlemaster showed Trent some of the different forms of puzzles that were out there. The puzzles were limitless though and the few forms that Trent was shown he didn't see one that was the same. Most were video game puzzles but they did find one that was a billiard table and the table played against the puzzlemaster in a game of 8 ball. The billiard puzzle had been too much for the pair as they couldn't beat the table. It was nice though as the puzzles carried a treasure every time. It allowed the puzzlemaster to share some food and shelter with Trent for a time but after a few weeks Trent was on his own again. One other thing the puzzlemaster shared with Trent before he left was a few of the puzzles were red puzzles. The red puzzles led to a personal paradise. Once you found and unlocked a red puzzle it would open into a different dimension. Once a puzzlemaster entered a red door he would start to unlock different rooms. Each puzzle you solved through the red door would open more rooms and more puzzles. The red rooms and doors would take care of all the needs of a puzzlemaster and anyone else that followed the puzzlemaster into the rooms. The puzzles would expand the rooms and make a mansion the puzzles would open into different landscapes and houses. Some of the houses would have no end and be infinite. Bedrooms, food, bathrooms, kitchens and any other type of room anyone had ever had were all in the red rooms. The people that found the red rooms would never age get sick or die. They would live in peace and contentment forever.

Since leaving his trainer Trent had gained a bit of fame as one of the best puzzlemasters in the galaxy. People often knew of treasure rooms in their houses and would pay Trent up front to crack into their treasure rooms. A few other people had paid Trent to design puzzles to keep their treasure safe. Once built if they needed to enter their own treasure rooms they would need to call Trent back or another puzzle master to access the room. Trent got paid every time he did one side of the job of the other. Trent even went back to the billiard table and was able to open the lock after a time as well. Once he went back home and sealed up a treasure room for his family. Trent had left shortly after that job and had never been back. Trent's family had treated him bad and he created a masterpiece of a puzzle and removed a large part of the family's fortune by doing this. As far as Trent knew no one had been able to open that puzzle.

Since then years had passed and Trent wandered out to the capital city of the outer rim of the galaxy. Trent and built a difficult puzzle to keep his own wealth in. Trent had also been looking for the red puzzles.

Trent sat in a different bar every night often just walking from one area to another. Trent would walk across walkways on the upper towers of buildings one day and through the streets the next. People stopped coming to him as he was difficult to find. Trent would now only solve puzzles when he needed more credits for a room at a hotel or inn. A lot of the time Trent would pass by puzzles looking only for a red puzzle. Trent knew he had to be careful as only a few puzzlemasters had ever found a red puzzle. Most puzzlemasters went mad before dying and never found one. Trent had a theory that each planet held a red puzzle somewhere on it and he hoped no puzzlemaster before him had found one here before. Trent would on rare occasion run into another puzzlemaster. Trent and the puzzlemaster would trade rumors and stories of places and puzzles they encountered. One of the puzzlemasters shared his theory of the red puzzles and had done some research and was able to tell Trent that no red puzzle had been found on this world anywhere. Trent redoubled his efforts trying to find the red puzzle. Places blurred together as the grey streets below became the multicolored building that stood tall enough to see the sun and back again. Peoples accents changed from time to time as he passed from one area of the city to the next. Sometimes rain fell and a few times snow trickled down onto Trent as he walked. Still Trent couldn't find the red. Time passed and Trent knew he was slowly slipping into madness. Trent thought that if he didn't stop searching for the red puzzles soon he would go mad and die. So Trent decided to stop for a few nights to think about about what he should do now.

Trent was at a bar sipping some very expensive Brandy. Thanking about how many times he must have walked the globe in his search when he heard a small voice.


Trent looked over to see a young woman in a cloak. "Hello." Trent said.

The woman was one of the tiger folk. Her striped face looked up and her dark blue eyes shone in the dim light of the dive bar.

"Are you Trent the puzzle master?" The young woman said again.

"Yes, what do you want?" Trent said finishing his brandy and setting it down a bit harder than he intended to.

"I need you to help me. My father is Senator here for the galactic senate. My father asked me to come and find the best puzzlemaster to come to our estate and open a vault so we can fund or work while we are here." She said.

"I don't do that anymore." Trent said his voice a bit harsher than he had intended.

"Can you make an exception this one time. The is a plague ravaging my world and unless we can by medical supplies many people on my home world shall die." She said.

"Look, whats your name again?" Trent asked.

"Trina." Trina said.

"Look, Trina I have my own problems and i am looking for something special. I have been looking for a long time and I am beginning to think I'll never find it. So please find someone else and leave me alone." Trent said.

"I can't find anyone else. The last puzzlemaster created a very difficult puzzle because he didn't like my people. The last one had a big fight with my father and said before he left 'I hope all your people die.'" Trina said and tears formed in her eyes.

"Alright, fine I'll do it. Please no more of the sob story." Trent said.

Trina smiled and said, "Thank you, I tried to find other puzzlemasters but you all seem to be an angry bunch. I think you're mad too but you're the first one that agreed to come and help us." then she hugged Trent.

Trent found it hard to breath and thought she was very strong despite looking so petite. Trina lead Trent to the ambassadorial estate. After which the ambassador was able to show Trent exactly where the Puzzle was. The ambassador couldn't see where the puzzle was exactly but he knew where the room was. The puzzle was in multiple parts and Trent knew this was a big job.

"I'll need a room for the next couple of nights and I'll need meals and breaks this is going to take a few days to open." Trent said.

"Everything you need shall be provided." The ambassador said. Then the ambassador called to some of the servants of the house and led Trent to his guest chambers.

The bedroom was more like an apartment. A large meal was provided for Trent a feast was left on the table in the living room area. Trent ate a sample of everything that was set before him. By the time he finished sampling everything he had eaten more than his share. Being so full Trent went to the bed, which was the biggest bed he had ever seen and he came from a wealthy family. Trent fell onto or rather into the bed. The bed was the softest bed Trent had ever laid upon. Trent fell into the bed and the softness enveloped him. The cool sheets felt so good on Trent's warm skin. Trent was asleep in moments.

Trent Woke up and it was still dark outside. Trent realized that he wasn't alone in the room.

"Good morning." Trina said.

"is it morning?" Trent asked.

"It is. But, it is just past midnight so it is morning." Trina said.

"Trina, go away and come back when the sun is up."

"Trent, if I do that you will be busy solving the lock. Beside we can talk by ourselves now. In the morning I wont be so free to speak."

"Fine, what do you want to know." Trent said.

"Where are you from?" Trina asked.

"I'm from Morel on the inner rim."

"Why did you, or how did you become a puzzlemaster?" Trina asked.

Trent eyed her sighing and realized he wasn't going to get any more sleep. Trent then relayed everything about how he became a puzzlemaster.

"Now can I go back to sleep?" Trent said.

"No, I want to know more. Like, what are you looking for? What is so important you don't take jobs any more?" Trina asked.

Trent was silent and more reserved. Then Trent said "That is a question I can answer but not many people know about the answer. For the most part the information isn't any good unless you are a puzzlemaster and can see the puzzles."

"Well what if I promise not to tell anyone. Really, who would I tell anyway. Just one thing I should tell you. I can see the puzzles too." Trina said.

Trent arched an eyebrow and said "So you're a puzzlemaster as well."

"I didn't know that until tonight. I thought everyone could see them." Trina said.

"If you are one then you should know about the red puzzles." Trent said and then told her everything he knew about the red puzzles.

"Sounds lonely, just you living forever in a giant gilded puzzle box. I don't know if I could go into one of those by myself." Trina said.

"I never thought about it that way before. Maybe I should have been looking for people or at least one person to go into there with me. We could have looked together." Trent said.

"We could look together if you like." Trina said.

"Let me think about it for a bit. I barely know you and you don't know me very well either." Trent said.

"But we are talking now and I know you care. You came to help not just my father and I but my entire home world. At first I thought all you puzzlemasters were mean but you're just people. Just like us. I can tell you're good. You should be able to tell at least that much about me too." Trina said.

"I do think you're good maybe just young." Trent said.

"You think I'm young? Thank you. I know we don't age like humans do but I am over seventy of your years and am considered middle age." Trina said blushing.

"Oh, well you do look good for your age." Trent said.

"Thanks again, see I knew you were nice." Trina said. Then said, "Now you can go back to sleep."

"Good night." Trent said.

"Good morning." Trina said.

After Trina left Trent tried to fall asleep but couldn't. Trent went out and started to work on the first layer of the puzzle. Soon Trina came and stood and watched Trent work on the puzzles until late in the day he solved the last one.

"It's late in the day do you think I could stay one more night in the room and have another meal before I'm on my way?" Trent said.

"You have helped us more than you can know. Feel free to stay as long as you like." The ambassador said.

After another meal and some rest Trent woke to Trina sitting by his bed again.

"Have you thought about it Trent?"

"About looking for the red puzzle with you?" Trent said.

"Yes." Trina said.

"You helped me out today. Not sure if you even realized you were making small comments. I would be honored to enter into the red puzzles with you. If we could ever find one." Trent said.

"I'm so glad you said that." Trina said smiling wide and then said. "The red puzzle is in my room. I didn't know what it was until you told me. If you want to take me then I want to take you.

Trent sat up and stood fully awake and ready to go. "Please take me to the puzzle Trina."

Trina led him to the puzzle and after a short time Trent solved it. The door behind opened to a space that was big enough to Trent to fit in.

"Don't let this door close or you will need to solve it again." Trent said and stepped in as Trina held the door.

Trent solved the next puzzle and the space stretched out and doubled in size. Trent stepped in and started on the third puzzle. Trent was followed by Trina who let the door close behind her.

fantasyfuturescience fiction
Adam McCaulley
Adam McCaulley
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Adam McCaulley

A writer who likes to write primarily sci-fi and fantasy. Sometimes I'll do a horror like a zombie apocalypse. The rest of the time I work in the IT helpdesk field. I live and work in Colorado with my wife.

See all posts by Adam McCaulley