The Secret Diary Of WisdomBob and I, Roger were very close friends. We were standing in the railway station, waiting for the train that would take us to our boarding school. As the train rolled in, Bob noticed something odd about it, “Weren’t there only six coaches last year? Look, there is a new seventh one!” Looking to where his finger pointed, I replied, “Let’s sit in that one! It will certainly be much better than the boring older ones.”
We went into the last coach which certainly had a feeling of novelty compared to the others. Strangely enough, not a single person was seated. Usually, the train would be full from its stop at Auckland. Both of us took the last seats and waited for people to enter. After some time, Bob started wondering as to why no one had entered. He went to the coach door to check. As he opened it, he screamed, “OH MY! Roger, we are on a runaway coach. The rest of the train is not in sight,” he exclaimed,in shock. “And we are floating.” he added with even more apprehension.
I got up and ran towards the door, I saw that the coach had somehow floated over the water and we were now back on land. It seemed to be an island, I could see the coast of New Zealand as a line at the horizon. Suddenly, the coach stopped and we lurched forward. We got off on a barren land, only short hills and a stream were in sight.
Suddenly, a woman appeared from the valley between the hills. She was running towards us, and within a few moments she was in front of us, “You have arrived.” she said, breathing heavily, but still composed.“You are Bob and Roger, I presume. I am Heli, a member of the Diary Research Team. Our Seer had predicted that your arrival would soon lead to the discovery of ‘The Secret Diary Of Wisdom’. But, of course, you must be briefed. This is Vare, it is to the east of New Zealand. You are part of a quest in which you must retrieve a Secret Diary. This diary is that of King Cobalt’s who was the noblest king of Ancient Vare. It is said that one who reads it, will know all the secrets to succeed in life.” We weren’t given the chance to ask anything, and we were too shocked to do so anyway. We had no idea what nonsense she had blabbed.
She took us to a small town just beyond the hills and explained:
This was a small island called Vare, a little bit to the east of New Zealand. The island had its own dynasty of emperors in ancient times. They were a superstitious yet intelligent community. A greatly revered seer had predicted the arrival of two boys named Bob and Roger and we were to be the ones who would find the artefact that is the ‘Secret Diary of Wisdom.’
This diary was a notebook owned by the most wisest king of their land, a Solomon of Vare, Cobalt. King Cobalt had unified the small towns on the island to form a strong nation. His diary, people said contained all his secrets. His method to become the man he was. Hence, people longed to find this diary and learn all about its contents. Heli, the woman who had come running towards us was a part of the Diary Research Team. A man named Goldstein was the most contributing member.
She also mentioned how far they had reached in this quest till our arrival. The evidence of the existence of The Diary was mentioned in an edict and this was where Heli suggested we begin our search. After journeying for an hour, we finally reached our destination. The edict was carved under a sculpture of a majestic man sitting on a chair. He wore a wise beard and the sculpture was studded with gems and precious metals. The blue eyes were mature and learned. He seemed to be wearing a sort of diadem. Bob read out the edict aloud,-
‘Past the East, you will find the knowledge you crave,my Secret Diary in the Land Of New Life’ –Cobalt.“So,” I said, “Let’s go on to the East then!”
Heli replied in an obvious tone, “The problem is, there is no place further east than Vare that anybody knows of.”
“Wait,” said Bob, “Past the East on the Earth is the West!”
“That’s it!” Heli said, “But, they say dangerous monsters lurk in the west...”
“Oh, come on!” I said, “Becoming the most knowledgeable, has its perilous journey.” With this, we left the walled kingdom of Vare and sailed towards the East, or rather, to the West.
The sun was bright red and sinking below the horizon behind us when Heli cried out, “Ah! It’s a lizard!” We were back on land after we had crossed the International Date Line. “No, it’s not”, said Bob bending down, curiously, “It’s a newt. Oh my! I understood the meaning of the edict. ‘The Land of New Life’. n-e -w-t-s.”He spelt out stressing on the first three letters, “Newts were what Cobalt was talking about, newts hatch their eggs in freshwater as well, fresh, new they mean the same thing. We just need to find the home of this newt, and voila, we’ll be in the ‘Land of New Life’!”
The second he got the idea, we somehow knew it was right. So, we followed the newt, making sure we didn’t scare it away, and after an hour when the sun had gone down and the stars had begun to shine down, we finally reached a lake. We set up camp a little distance away because Heli was scared of the newts. We had our dinner and slept.
I woke up when Heli shrieked. It was a newt again. I went out of the tent and saw the sun was rising, and just below it, was the lake. There were thousands of newts everywhere, skittering about, several bigger than I’d ever seen before. I stepped forward cautiously so as not to disturb them and looked into the lake. This time I was the one who shrieked, loudly.
Heli and Bob came running out and I showed them the beast. It was certainly a newt, but it was huge, almost as large as three train coaches. It seemed to be eating all the fish that it could see, and we didn’t want to be newt breakfast. We had to find the Diary and leave before the newt realized that we were present. Then I looked beyond the lake and I saw something on the opposite shore which was about thirty metres away. There seemed to be several items lying on the ground, they looked man-made. I called to the others and we walked around the lake.
When we reached the other end, on the right, I could see what looked like bones. On the left, I saw several files lying everywhere- some on the ground, some being held by poles, some were on tables, some were pinned to the trees and so on. There was a piece of paper pinned onto the nearest tree, it read-
‘Choose the one which you know is right.Choose wrong, then face the monster’s fatal bite.’-CobaltWe pondered on this for several minutes, but we didn’t come up with a solution. Both Bob and I were puzzlers. I remembered when Bob and I had won the anagram contest back at school.Then suddenly, I had a brainwave, “The edict! ‘Past the East, you will find the knowledge you crave, my Secret Diary in the Land Of New Life.’ East is an anagram for seat and life for file. So a file on the seat.” I looked to the files and was crestfallen, there were seven seats. I sat back on the make-shift chair, crestfallen.
Then Bob spoke, “Roger, you’re right. It is one of the seats, but there is another clue. ‘New life’, so new file!” I ran to every seat and checked each one. On the sixth one there was a new file.”But, how?” said Heli, slightly perplexed, “Cobalt died two hundred years ago, he couldn’t possibly...”
But it didn’t matter, we had gone past all others who had ever tried! We opened the file together and we found no secrets. There was another riddle-
‘A mighty beast you have already seen.But, seek another, honest and much more mean.Wit is certainly in its role,And it is sure to pick out the mole.-Cobalt’From right behind me, I heard a voice, “So, you seem to have found the next clue.” “Goldstein?” said Heli surprised. The man smiled, “That’s right. I had thought you might have known it all by now.” He disappeared into the thick jungle, without another word. We couldn’t find him anywhere.
“Heli,” I asked, “Who is he?”
“He’s Goldstein”, replied Heli.
“Isn’t he the one who helped a lot in the quest of the diary?”
“Yes, he’s on the team to search for the diary, the most member one too. He discovered the edict and was the one who found out the most about Cobalt. I wonder how he came here and knew about this place...”
We tried to forget what had just happened and focused on the clue. “What can be meaner than the huge aquatic newt eating every animal in its sight? Pick out the mole? I don’t understand” I said, helpless.
We went back to the tent and decided to think it over. Bob spoke out after a while, slightly doubtful, “It does seem farfetched, but how about this...” He began writing on apiece of paper. “A-n-o-t-h-e-r, remove a and e and shuffle the letters, it becomes north and remove the b from beast and it is east. We have to go north-east.”
“If you’re right,” Heli said, “what’s left is a, b and e.”
“Abe.” I said, “Even the word honest is mentioned. Honest Abe, Abraham Lincoln!” “So go North-East to find Abraham Lincoln?” asked Heli. “Well, it’s rather far-fetched indeed but its our only guess.” I said.
We journeyed north-east for less than an hour and we reached a small zoo-like area. There were trapped animals in glass cages. Bob told, “Look! There is a banner of Abraham Lincoln!” Stretched above three of the cages was a banner of Abraham Lincoln. There were giant animals in the cages-a fox, an owl and a pig. I somehow knew it was one of the three animals which we wanted. Heli said, “It’s the fox. It’s witty and it hunts out moles.” I went to the fox and felt a bit stupid as I told, “O Fox, help us with the quest in search Secret Diary of Cobalt.” The fox walked ahead and caught a rat which was skittering in its cage, as it ripped the rat and ate it, it went to the base of a tree and picked something with its mouth. It glided towards Bob and threw a scroll which it had picked through one of the holes in the cage. Bob opened it and read it out: “You have finished your hunt. Go in and find what you want, But, will come out without.”
Just as I was going to say, “Go where?” a trapdoor opened up in the trunk of a tree and we climbed down. We ventured deep into the cave under the thick forest until finally we saw a light. It came from a roughly carved-out room with a candle standing on a table in the middle. On the other end of the table was an old flaky diary, it had ‘1674’ written on it in gold. I picked it up and slowly opened it, I held my breath. This was what it had all led down to...
Nothing... Nothing, at all. I turned the pages patiently one by one, but I found nothing. Finally, on the last page, a small piece of paper was kept. It blew down to the floor. Heli picked it up and read, “You already have the knowledge you crave, if not, you wouldn’t be here. Return with the secret and the treasure you find.”
Behind me I heard a familiar voice, “So, you found it,” said Goldstein, “I owe you an explanation. I am not a human. I am an automaton, built by another automaton, which was in turn built by another. This line of automata goes up to sixteen hundred and seventy four. The first automaton was built by Cobalt himself. It was a machine which served the purpose of keeping the diary’s quest alive and other duties such as replacing the file. It was programmed to build another one after twenty years, one which would be updated, modernized and would have a more humane character. The process went on till my creator, Automaton 11, decided to make me ‘discover’ the edict.”
One of the main motives of the quest of Cobalt’s Diary was to find an heir to his fortune. It may be difficult to take in, but the The Hawk Of Fortune is all yours now. It will be with you soon enough.”
Also, if you have yet not understood why the diary is blank, it is because you have to believe in yourself. It is because of your own knowledge that you have come so far. Now, I am of no use. I will self-destroy, I will be the last one. The last automaton”
With this, Goldstein bent down and his skin began to fall off showing metal. All the metal clinked together forming a perfect sphere. Before we could take in what was happening, the sphere cracked open and in its place, a large statue of a hawk appeared. A hawk which was made of platinum, genuine, chaste platinum, its beak was made of gold and its feathers were slivers of the precious stones I ever knew of: emerald, ruby, sapphire, diamond, opal, azure, jade and many more. Slowly, it started to move. It gently lifted me up, Bob and Heli grabbed on to its feet. It flew us out of the cave and as we were flying, I saw what its eyes were made of- Cobalt.