Crystal Clear

Creatures meeting in a fantasy Aak fictionspawn

Crystals. Nothing but crystals. He had been riding through the caves for days, and crystals he could not eat. He was hungry, and so was his bear.

He saw something move. Something living, an animal. He got his spear up from the sheath, rode closer.

It moved strangely, like it was floating between the half transparent crystals. Every time he came close, it seemed to disappear.

Suddenly it was standing in front of him. Or rather floating, levitating. It was no animal.

“What brings you here, stranger?” the creature said.

-I’m lost.

“Aren’t we all.”

It had no legs, and the arms seemed to be hidden under its cloth. Its face was old, diffuse, like it wasn’t really there. Mock was wondering if it could be eaten, but had a feeling it couldn’t even be killed. Not with his spear, at least.

-Do you know the way out?

The figure seemed to be looking straight through him, like if he wasn’t there.

“The tunnels are all like tar and resin,

like sailors’ knots and the spider’s spin

The exit is found at the stop of the top

as a stone tossed when gravity’s lost”

It disappeared in thin air, just as it had arrived. Mock stood there for a while, thinking. A smile emerged on his face.

-Let’s go, Beakbear. We’re on our way home. Then he rode off, sure to know how to get out.

How did Mock know the way?


  1. Knot’s can be untied. Webs can be “unspun” (spiders eat and recycle their webs and then build them over again) so that makes me wonder, did he just have to go back the way he came?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmmm, an interesting interpretation, but not what I had in mind.. Your conclusion isn’t really wrong, though, but it’s not complete. Any thoughts on the last two lines? I’d say that’s where the key is 😉


      1. With those last two lines I am thinking about the peak of a parabola. But is he supposed to launch or climb himself up and out of the tunnels? Maybe Mock needs to use the crystal to break through a barrier?

        I feel I may have gotten farther from the answer.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re adding too much information, I would say. As I told Chris further down, “up” depends on gravity. So when gravity’s gone, and you toss a stone…
          And with the shape of the parabola you are indeed onto something, but of a different use 😉


  2. I love the bear! I immediately thought of Iorek in Phillip Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials’ (I’m watching the brilliant BBC series at the moment).
    As to your riddle. Mmm. The only way is up??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One last shot at this. He goes back to where he started, where they fell in and activates some sort device that resembles a spinning top.

      When the top stops spinning it turns off gravity and allows him to float up to freedom.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, it sounds to me like to exit is up (the top, stone tossed up without gravity), and that there is sticky resin. I’d be like a spider and try to use the tar and resin to climb up the wall, but I doubt that’s right.

    Beyond that, this reminds me of that scene from the 90’s Pooh Movie where Pooh et al are lost in a crystal cavern. That section scared the poo out of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see the interpretation is quite reasonable, but it wasn’t what I had in mind. It seems many people have connected the lost gravity with up, but in reality there is no up at all without gravity. So the tossed stone will go…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It should go wherever it is tossed, then react to an impact with wall, ceiling, or floor somewhere between elastically or nonelastically. It will finally stop after all kinetic energy has been transferred to heat (since there is no potential energy without gravity). So that implies nearly random movement. I saw MJ Munoz’s guess about the spinning top, but I can’t figure out what is spinning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bingo! Random is the key word here. As goes the spinning top. And you’re absoluteley right, it would bounce when it meets something, but without obstacles it will move in a…


        1. When it stops it points in a random direction. Wherever it happens to stop. So this random point where Mock stops, he just needs to keep going straight ahead in the same direction?


        2. Congratulations, you’ve solved the riddle! Thank you, that made me happy 🙂 Bonus question: Knowing he would have to go straight ahead in any direction, what do you think the first two lines says?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Well, going off the spinning top reference – it requires friction, force and gravity. If the tunnels are like tar and resin, then they have a surface which creates friction as he travels along them. And sailor’s knots and spiders spin are the string to start it spinning? The tool we use to send poor Mock spinning wildly across the surface…

          Liked by 1 person

        4. At the start of the story he’s stuck in these tunnels (like in tar or resin). But as he goes on they loop round like a knot. So he can just keep walking on it like spider on a web and it will eventually bring him back the way he came in, no matter which direction he heads in..

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Another good idea 🙂
          Here’s the explanation: The sticky materials say the tunnels are stuck together, as in connected, like knots and spiderwebs. So if he follows the tunnels in any direction in an as straight line as possible, he’ll find his way out sooner or later.
          Yeah, yeah, I know, a bit far out. Gorman’s explanation with the straight up-conclusion might actually be better due to its simplicity, but well, so we learn… 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        6. How wonderful! This was so much fun, and very satisfying 🙂 Well done on a great piece. Although I did stay up a few hours past bedtime studying gyroscope physics to find an answer. Must say, I’m feeling bleary-eyed at work this morning 😀

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Haha! Good to know you liked it, Ekaterina! Happy to have kept you up at night 🙂 I had a great time with this myself, for sure. Maybe some day I’ll make another, now that I’ve got some experience with riddle-creations 😀 Thanks a lot for playing!

          Liked by 1 person

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