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It’s a dark and stormy night at the numbers mansion, and a whiiiiiirling, swiiiiirling wind
swoops SWISH! around the decimal trees, wolfs OOOOOOOWW! around the curving drive and smacks KNOCK! upon the mansion door. You knock on the door together.
“A tragedy has occurred!” yells a voice from inside. It’s X, master of the numbers mansion, and he opens the door with a grim expression crossed on his wrinkled face.
“A mystery at that,” you reply, as he stands facing you. “Namely one big bite has been taken out of Nine, correct?”
Who did it? That's what X has called you in to figure out.
Fellow comrades, letters numbers and various punctuation marks. I present to you. Who. Ate. Nine?
All of a sudden, you hear from farther in the house, “Seven did not eat Nine! Preposterous!”
Four appears from the backroom, and stands in the doorway panting.
“Why, Nine is alive and well right here!” she proclaims, dragging a sobbing Nine out of the shadows and into the great room with the other Numbers.
“A chunk of my head less well, I’d say!” Nine shrieks! Oh the terrible sounds Nine makes when she gets into a tizzy!
“They’ve taken oh so much of me- I’m practically Three!” she whines.
“Hey!” retorts the quiet Three, his feelings greatly injured.
“Enough!” shouts the world weary X. “A grave and serious crime has been committed today. You there! You’ll solve this mystery for us, won’t you? I won’t have this go down in history that Seven ate Nine without a proper investigation!”
“Me? But what can I possibly do?” you reply.
“What can you possibly do? What can you possibly do?!” Nine screeches, growing quite agitated.
“Now, now Nine we’ve called in just the one for the job,” X consoles her, “You’ve many wondrous talents perfect for solving a mystery such as this!”
You watch as X walks away from where you stand just at the threshold of the Numbers Mansion. He turns back towards you, “Well, aren’t you coming?”
“Here, this is all the evidence we’ve accumulated so far.”
X’s crosses to the back of his study, past bookshelves of all sorts and sizes and around tables of different shapes. He shuffles over to the grand fireplace along the back wall and pulls a secret lever hidden behind one of the books.
With a great cloud of dust and a CREEAAAAAAAAAKKKKKK and a BANG! the fireplace flips up revealing a secret compartment, filled with files of all kinds.
Out of the top most Top Secret drawer X pulls this:
“And the most top secret piece of it all…” X whispers as he places a page from the file into your hands.
“If you can solve that… then there might be some hope. Sadly, no one here has any idea how. I’m just a simple X, but all of the other numbers would rather fight about who’s more important than solve the problem on the note.”
Hmmmmm, you think. I might know just the tools for the job.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
“Oh, this is quite enough excitement for one day, thank you very much! I’ve never felt so off in my life!”
Just as you reach the door, it opens as if pushed by a strong wind. The crowd behind you gasps! Six figures stand in the doorway, aligned in a very particular order.
“You called? PEMDAS here, special service unit. Someone at the mansion said you’ve got a problem to solve?”
“I did! I called!” you exclaim.
“Hello, there friend!”
“We’ve not seen you in a…”
“Geometry told us….
“...that you’d forgotten all about us!”, they say, quite in pieces, Parentheses speaking first as always and the others following suit.
“I know! I’m sorry… but I need your help! There’s a note, and we need to solve it. I just knew you’d come!”
“Anything for you, my dear, now let’s see this note shall we?”
“But who goes first?” shouts Parentheses upon seeing the note.
“Why you of course,” you respond, at which he pushes ahead of the team. “And then Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction!”
“Me next! Me next!” yells Exponent, grabbing at the note.
“And us!” shout Multiplication and Division in unison, rushing forward to take a look.
“And us as well!” yells Addition, running forward, Subtraction lagging behind her.
“Hey,” you whisper to X, “What’s wrong with Subtraction? He’s looking awful suspicious over there behind Addition. His hands are shaking and he’s positively sweating!”
It’s true. Subtraction looks terrible.
“Alright team we’ve almost solved it out. Who did you say was next?”
“No it isn’t! I didn’t do it!”
“We mean it’s your turn, Subtraction! What’s gotten into you?”
“Oh, nothing, nothing, don’t mind me. I’m a little on edge as of late. I won’t even bother to look I’m sure I’d be of no help,” he muttered back.
X looks to Subtraction with a disappointed grimace, and then turns to you.
“Well, you’ll solve it for me won’t you?”
And from the back corner of the room, the quiet three whispers, “Yeah, you’ll solve it for X, right?”
“Well, I guess so. This can’t be all that hard if I really put my mind to it. Now let’s think, if I have Nine of one thing,” you say, gesturing to Nine to come to the front, still sniffling a bit, “and I take three away,” you say, as meek little three steps up to play his part, “... then the answer is _________!” you exclaim!
The whole room gasps! Six committed the crime?!
“It was not me! It was Seven, I swear! You’ve done the calculation wrong! Ask subtraction, he’ll tell you! Seven’s always been a little odd- so pompous and pretentious because of that one extra number. It wasn’t me! It couldn’t have been me! I’m the smallest perfect number!” Six cries, turning as he does to dash towards Subtraction.
“Oh, I can’t take it anymore!” yelps Subtraction. “It was us! Six and I! Six plotted it and I did it- he’s never liked the bigger numbers and I just love taking pieces of things away. O forgive us! Forgive us!” he shouts, falling to his knees. Six jumps away, and runs towards the door as fast as his little legs can carry him.
“Get Six!” X shouts, and you leap into action, barreling towards the door and cutting Six off just in time.
“Why, Subtraction... it was you all along?! But… but how could you?” stutters Addition.
“O, please forgive me, dear Addition. You are my greatest friend, but it’s in my nature! Oh, now I regret it terribly! I do wish there was something I could do,” Subtraction sighs.
“Let’s think, friends. We can sort this out,” you say. “Six! Give nine back her missing piece!”
“It wasn’t me! This isn’t fair! This isn’t even!” yells Six in return, scrambling in your hold.
“Quick, Subtraction, take it away!” you cry out. Hearing your words, Subtraction jumps into action, grabbing back from Six the piece he’d stolen.
“Nice work, Subtraction!” sings the very generous Addition, forgiving her friend for his mistake. “Give it here!....Almost done…There!” shouts Addition, “It’s perfect!”
“Oh, oh it’s just divine!” shrieks Nine, “That Subtraction, I never doubted him for a second, just like his father, I knew him well… Linus the Minus… grand old fellow...,” Nine’s shrill voice fades out as she heads off further into the house, congratulated by fellow numbers as she passes them.
You look back from Nine’s newly patched and retreating head to see X standing before you, a large grin upon his wrinkled face.
“Well done! Well done! Positively splendid work! See, I knew you could do it! I just knew it!”
“Well, I did have a bit of help...” you reply, shrugging your shoulders and raising your eyebrows.
“Even more the better!” X exclaims! “Asking for help is an entirely wonderful way to solve a problem-- it’s how I found you, after all! PEMDAS and you have done excellent work here, detective, and by the power vested in me as ruler of the Numbers Mansion, I grant you your official detective’s license!”
“Wow,” you reply, “I don’t even know what to say,”
“Ah!” X murmurs with a warm smile, “Sometimes, my friend, just sometimes.... words aren’t even necessary.”
is an aspiring writer of some unknown sort -- she'd prefer to let her stories choose that for her. She writes to appreciate a bit of fancy in the everyday.