The following week, I'd been taken out of solitary and returned to the Rogue's gallery.
It wasn't exactly a cause for celebration. Firstly, it was the Rogues; the Joker, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, and, of course, Two-Face. I knew that he'd attacked Mina in his “Big Bad Harv” state, which wasn't exactly him,
per se, but I was afraid to see what would happen if I even mentioned her to anyone.
And secondly, if they ever heard that I was planning on reforming, I wasn't sure if I'd make it out of Arkham alive.
I tried to stay as quiet as possible about my own personal thoughts. If the topic ever turned to me, I'd turn it right back around to the other inmates. The great part is that psychotics love talking about themselves; the problem is that I do too.
However, within the rogue's gallery, there are a few people I can tolerate.
“Four men are escorting the queen to a ceremony,” The Riddler spoke across the room. “It begins to rain—when everyone reaches the grounds, all four men are soaking wet, but the queen remains dry. No one pulled out a hat or an umbrella. How did the queen stay dry, and what was the ceremony?”
“The men were transporting the queen in her coffin to the funeral grounds for her burial,” Jonathon Crane said tersely.
“Honestly, Edward, that's a famous riddle,” Tetch interrupted, poking at the food on his plate. “We've all heard the answer.”
“I'd like to see you do better!” Nygma retorted.
“If he begins asking, 'how is a raven like a writing desk,'
“I won't,” the Hatter replied, clearing his throat. “I live in a land of thirty men and two women. We are clad in black or white. Once someone moves, we begin to battle.”
“It's a game of chess,” I piped up from behind them. Nygma smiled once he saw me, while Jervis looked rather put out that I'd solved his riddle.
“Ah, Clemens, glad to see you back so soon! What was your most recent plan?”Well, it wasn't experimenting on people with fear toxins, battling wits, or stalking blonde women named Alice.
“Just trying to get back at Batman,” I said.
There was a scoff from the Scarecrow and a sincere apology from Tetch. Soon enough, I felt comfortable enough to sit down while they ate.
“What's that nasty device you've got?”
“Blocks out my hypnotism,” I shrugged. “I have to eat in solitary.”
“How can you last eight days without eating?” Edward asked.
I wondered how he knew that this was my eighth day in Arkham, but then I realized that he'd snuck a riddle in there.
“I eat at nighttime!” I smiled. No one saw my grin, due to the ghastly device at my mouth.
Crane took a bite of his apple, and the Riddler laughed at my response and asked another question.
“Three men met for dinner: Mr. Brown, Mr. Black, and Mr. White. When they got there, Brown noticed that no one was wearing a shirt that matched their names, The man in white added that the three colors still were represented—who was wearing which color?”
I calculated that in my head, but Jervis spoke first.
“Mr. Brown is in black, Mr. Black is in white, leaving Mr. White in brown.”
“Correct!” Nygma stated. “A man murdered his wife; he carefully made sure that there was no evidence that could lead to him. He cleaned the knife he used, he wore gloves, and made sure that he had a solid alibi. When the man got home from hiding his wife's body in an alleyway, the sheriff called and said the following. 'We've found your wife, and we suspect that she's been murdered. We'll need you to come right away.'
When the man reached the alley, he was arrested. How did the sheriff know that he was the killer?”
“...The man went directly to the crime scene,” Jonathon piped up. “The sheriff knew he was guilty, because he didn't tell him where the body was found.”
“A traveling band's bus is hit by lightning. One person died from electrocution; who was it?”
“The conductor,” I said immediately.
Edward tried his best to hide his grimace. “My word, Clemens, you've gotten sharp.”
“You're asking a musician and electrical engineer that
riddle?” I said. “I'm afraid your questions are falling a little flat.”
He missed my pun, but I smiled, knowing that from this point on, all of the riddles would be aimed at me.
“We are insects, and our first three letters reveal a single insect. We share our name with a group of famous musicians.”
I went through a list of bugs I knew but couldn't think of the answer. Instead, I focused on solving the musical aspect.
“I cannot be felt, seen, or touched, yet can be found in everybody,” Edward continued. “My existence is in debate, and a style of music is named for me.”
Jervis was at the edge of his seat, engrossed in the conversation. Jonathon was leaning back against the wall, fingers curled around his chin and mouth.
“...Soul,” I replied.
“What's the difference between a composer and a mailman?”
“One writes notes, and the other delivers them,” I smirk. “What else do you have?”
Nygma leaned forward onto the table between us, lips pursed.
A tense moment passed, and Tetch and Crane were analyzing the conversation; while the Mad Hatter had a broad smile on his face, the Scarecrow had a chilling, crooked grin marring his thin features.
“...There are three keys; one is labeled with an A, another with a C, and the last with a D. You need to unlock a door and pass through. Using one key will kill you with two arrows. Using another will kill you with two knives. The other is the right key. Which key should you use?”
“Is this from your game?” Crane asked.
I furrowed my brow. I'd never played The Riddle of the Minotaur,
and hadn't heard of this elsewhere.
It had to have something to do with music; Edward always made sure that the riddles were solvable by the people they were directed to. Jervis and Jonathon were also thinking as the Riddler smugly smirked.
I tried to not focus on the fact that I only had a few minutes left to solve this riddle before I had to go to solitary.
“The keys are labeled A, C, and D, right?” I asked.
“Correct,” Nygma stated.
I put my head in my hands; there had to be some connection.
When it finally struck me, I laughed. Just like when Mina and I were choosing her pseudonym, I had overthought.
“I think I have it!” I said through my snickering.
“Which key is it?”
I rested my hands against the table, collecting myself. “The key of A has two sharps, C has none, and D has two as well. The key labeled C must open the door.”
Riddler's eyes widened, and Jervis tried to contain his amusement. Crane, however, chuckled at Edward's face.
I felt a pair of arms pull me out of my seat.
“Until next time,” I called over my shoulder as the security guards yanked me away.