Sometimes it’s Wise to Think Forward
The carriage ride was rather uneventful; mainly the Space Quest Historian kept making disparaging remarks about how “behind the times” things were at Sierra Planet. We soon arrived at New Tamir, a location that had been modeled after the original country from King’s Quest IV. “So, any idea where to find any clues?” the Historian asked.
“Unfortunately,” I replied, “New Tamir has all of the same hazards that the one from the game did, so we will definitely need to keep our distance from the Haunted Forest, the Ogre’s house, and especially the graveyard at night, unless one of you has a bunch of holy scarabs or something that can fend off the undead…”
“Why in the Earnon galaxy would you create a world with all that horrible stuff in it?” Estir asked.
“We used to have fun and roleplay here years ago,” Jessie explained. “It’s been a while since anyone’s been out in this area though, and as a result, it’s become a little overrun with some of the darker aspects of the game…”
“Well, we’re not getting closer to finding the Two Guys just standing around,” Serena said. “Let’s explore and see what we can find.”
We walked through the beautiful countryside, eventually coming across the peaceful ocean. “If we all wanted to go for a swim,” I said, “We could swim due west and end up at Genesta’s island.”
“No thanks,” the Historian said. “I don’t think Chrono here would do to well in salt water.”
“Hmm…touché…” I replied.
“Jessie,” Serena said. “Isn’t the fisherman’s hut up this way? Perhaps he’s seen it?”
“It is up there,” Jessie said, pointing to the north. “But I don’t think anyone still lives there. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, though, so I suppose it’s possible.”
“Well, only one way to find out!” Estir said.
We walked to the north, eventually coming across the house that Serena had mentioned. It was really more a log cabin than anything else, alongside a pier that stretched into the ocean. There was a large pile of wood next to the door and smoke rising from the chimney, which definitely indicated that it was occupied.
Serena walked to the door and knocked. A few moments later, the door was answered not by a fisherman or his wife, but instead by a small gnome.
“Well, well,” the gnome said. “I’ve been waitin’ for you lot. Better come on inside!”
“I’m sorry, what?” Serena asked, confused by the gnome’s knowledge of our arrival.
“I was told that a group of you would be coming my way and asking questions,” the gnome replied. “I’m ready to answer, but you’ve got to come inside first.”
Serena turned to our group. “Well, I suppose we should head in. Chrono, could you save our progress here, just in case?”
“Processing…” Chrono-2012 said. “Save complete.”
As we started to make our way into the hut, the gnome stopped Chrono from entering. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want any of those technical gadgets in my house. Your robot will have to wait outside.”
“He’s an android and he’s going to stay right here!” the Historian replied.
“Then you can all take your leave of my hospitality and information and make your way out the door right now!” the gnome replied.
“Whatever,” the Historian said. “We didn’t need your help anyways.”
“Historian, wait,” Serena said. “It’ll be okay. Chrono will be right outside. I think we should hear what our host has to say.”
The Historian rolled his eyes, but nodded his agreement. Chrono remained outside the door while the rest of us made our way into the gnome’s home.
“So, you said you had information for us, Sir?” Jessie asked.
“Aye, that I do,” the gnome replied. “But before I share anything, you must answer a question for me. A little game, if you will.”
“Of course!” I responded.
“Very well,” the gnome said. “I will give your group 3 chances to guess my name. If you succeed, I will tell you everything I know. If you don’t….”
“Let me guess,” the Historian interrupted. “You’re going to give us a key instead to go to Cloudland and find what we need to know there?”
“No, nothing that nice!” the gnome replied. “If you don’t, I will kill you, strange four-armed green pet.”
“Pet?!?!?!” The Historian responded. “Who are you calling a pet?!”
“Ooh, I know this, Historian!” I said with a smile. “It’ll be easy. We take your deal.”
“Wait, what?!” the Historian said. “You can’t do that!”
Before anything else could happen, the gnome opened a pouch on his belt and threw some powder over us. We soon found that our feet were frozen to the ground through some mysterious magic. Everyone started taking above one another.
“Hush!” Serena said, calming everyone down and turning to the gnome. “How do we know that you have any information to begin with?”
“You are searching for two aliens with pig snouts, right?” the gnome replied. “I saw them with their kidnapper here not that long ago. I can give you all of the information that I know.”
“Don’t worry, Historian, we’ve got this!” I said. “Nidoking inspired me to memorize his name. Your name, Sir Gnome, is Ifnkovhgroghprm.”
“Nice try, but wrong,” the gnome replied.
“What?!” I said. “No, that’s right. I checked the spelling twice myself!”
“And I’m telling you that’s wrong,” the gnome replied. “That was my grandfather’s name.”
“Oh great,” the Historian said. “’Don’t worry,’ he says. ‘It’ll be easy,’ he says…”
“Josh, are you sure you got all the backwards alphabet and everything correct?” Serena asked. “Wasn’t his name somewhat different in the remake?”
“You’re right, Serena! Of course!” I replied. “Your name is Nikstlitselpmur!”
“Wrong again!” the gnome replied. “That was my father’s name.”
“Oh great!” the Historian said. “I’m never even going to see SpaceVenture. Good bye, cruel world. What are the odds that in the entire universe, I would die in a land inspired by King’s Quest!”
Estir, Serena, Jessie, and I started arguing about where to go from here.
“This is our last chance! We can’t blow it!” Estir pointed out.
“But we’ve used both names for the gnome from the King’s Quest games!” I replied. “His name could be anything!”
“Well, we’ve got to do something,” Jessie pointed out, “Because we’re literally going nowhere fast.”
“Let’s just think this through calmly,” Serena said. “Can we think of any other gnomes from legends or King’s Quest games?”
“You lot seem to be a bit lost,” the gnome said with a smile.
“Well, how in Sam Hill are we supposed to know your name?!” I asked.
“What did you say?” responded the gnome with a look of shock.
“I said how are we supposed to know your name?” I told him.
“No, you said something else!” the gnome pointed out.
“Wait a second…” Serena said. “Sam Hill! Your name is Sam Hill!”
“Aw, you’ve gone and guessed it!” the gnome replied. “You guys are cleverer than I thought.” With a wave of his hand, we realized we could all move again.
“Wait, really?” I asked. “Your name is Sam Hill?!”
“That’s right!” the gnome replied.
“Man, was that ever a lucky break…” Jessie said quietly.
“Well, Mr. Hill, can you tell us about the Two Guys?” Serena asked.
“Ah yes, the pig nose guys. A human male had them in shackles. He was here not that long ago…”
“What did he look like?” I asked. “And where was he going?”
“Hmm….” The gnome responded. “He looked…..like a man.”
“Well, yes, we got that,” Serena replied. “Is there anything more you can tell us?”
“All of you humans look alike,” the gnome said with a shrug. “I wasn’t really paying too much attention.”
“So, we’re back to square one…” Estir said.
“Not necessarily,” I pointed out. “At least we know it’s a guy we’re after.”
“Well, THAT narrows it down significantly,” the Historian said, rolling his eyes.
“He did say about needing to stop somewhere to get a drink…” the gnome added.
Jessie’s eyes opened wide, turning towards me. “You don’t suppose…” she started.
I nodded in agreement. “The Crazy Comet Café.”