by Gretchen B-L
Inside a little house, in a little town, by a little bay, connected to one of the many great seas, there was a boy. Now, this boy was small and thin, but he loved, more than anything, to draw. The boy was brilliant when it came to sketching the countryside where he lived, and amazing at coloring the eyes of the insects who wandered beneath the stone he sat on every morning to watch over the little town. Every day, he would sit on that stone and watch as acute girls and boys ran around obtuse men and women who merrily pranced around that oh so little town. And everyday, he would sketch something new in his tiny, leather bound notepad with its tiny orange jewel that shimmered in the warm sunlight.
He would sit and draw the waves as they crashed against the rocks of the bay, and he would imagine he was one of the rare ships that harbored in their little bay. Seeing all of the shapes in the starlit sky. Rectangles that became the tall buildings that his storybooks foretold, triangles that became pentagons that turned and twisted into shapes his mind could only dream of. They would sail on those big ships and calculate the kilometers it took to get from his little town to the rest of the world. He would actually use his lessons that he learned in school for once.
One day, as he was sitting on his stone, drawing the hypotenuse of the triangles in the building he was sketching, he spotted one of those rare ships. Their curves were complex and weren’t straight, like his geometrical shapes. The curves fascinated him almost as much as the unknown world beyond the bay. All he had heard from the ship’s crew were ‘Move Brat’, ‘Get out of my way!’, or, his favorite-
“Boy! Git yer big hed ou’ o’ those clous’ and gev up yer valubals!”
He couldn’t remember a day when the “rare ship” wasn’t pirates. He had only ever been called “Boy” and it was considered his name among the townspeople, whom always knew to avoid him. Boy looked towards the pirates that had climbed the rocks and glared.
“Why do you pirates always think a boy, no pun intended, who is dressed in rags has valuables?” Boy questioned, laughing at his own little joke. Pirates were cruel and rude…buccaneers, on the other hand.
“You fellows wouldn’t have happened to hear about the Mathaneer, have you?”
The pirates looked at each other, confused, before shaking their heads.
“Would you like me to tell you?”
Once, there was a dream. This dream was spectacular and new. It reached the self conscious’ of people whose ideas and minds were open to new possibilities, new structures, and new angles of perspective. This is the story…
…of the Mathaneer.
CLANG! BASH! CLANG!
Swords clashed on the mighty Abscissa of the fleet The Paired Order. Pirate and buccaneer going head to head. One, a tall, ugly man with crazed eyes, blond hair, an eye patch that everyone knew he didn’t need, and a maniacal laugh springing from his yellowed teeth. The other, was a shorter, more mysterious figure who seemed to know every move the man was going to make. The figure’s facial features were hidden with an emerald green scarf and a brown captain’s hat, the emblem of the fleet shining in a bright brass. The figure was dressed in regular captain’s garb and a forest green cloak with multiple cofactor matrix equations and problems littering the fabric.
The pirate and the buccaneer were both fighting for an important document that was supposed to be in the isle the ship was approaching, the ship getting closer and closer as the two fought. The buccaneer looked towards the isle while simultaneously blocking the pirate’s sword. The pirates now noticeable adam’s apple bobbed as he gulped before he was shoved into the Abscissa’s railing and tipped into the salty water, the figure not even turning their head away from the incoming isle.
A small red panda could be seen scurrying along the deck, it’s tail crooked at exactly 90”. It hopped onto the buccaneer’s shoulder before giving a yawn and a satisfied chirp. “I agree wit yah, lassie, tha’ was a borin’ figh’” said the buccaneer as it took off it’s hat to reveal another long, green scarf covering dark brown short hair, a small bang peaking out that was streaked with yellow. The red eyes of the buccaneer shone in the evening sun as it docked the Abscissa and fished a golden compass out of her pocket. The compass rose was in Norse letters and it had eight equal sides, quite the regular octagon.
The buccaneer turned northeast and started the long hike across the isle. Here, the buccaneer would find the book of legend, a text filled with knowledge on algebra, geometry, trigonometry, you name it, it would probably be in the book. The book was said to be protected by a geometrical dragon, a rage filled beast with huge wings and sharp claws.
It would only allow those who are worthy to enter the ruins of the temple where the book was said to be kept. Along with the dragon, there are multiple traps set by the indigenous people of the island that went extinct for unknown causes hundreds of years ago. The book would give the buccaneer the knowledge that they sought and then, the buccaneer would give that knowledge to the world.
The buccaneer was soon at the face of the temple, they could hear the dragon’s wings coming closer to the towering temple and quickly rushed inside, wary of the loose step at the first step. The buccaneer came to a screeching halt when they saw the puzzle floor. The tiles on the floor were colored red, white, and black and were oddly shaped, with slanted lines and straight lines and parallel lines and barnacles this was impossible. Then, the buccaneer heard the red panda with the crooked tail chirp once again. Of course! The buccaneer facepalmed before arranging the tiles to look like a red panda’s head. The floor sank a little bit, before the wall to the left slide open to reveal an old, wooden door with a golden handle. Above the door was a simple green curtain. The curtain was tied with brown rope that appeared to be filled with numbers. The buccaneer lifted the curtain where a simple riddle was set into the stone. “A player gains a point that equals one, crosses the boundary that equals two, and the boundary squares to equal three. What is the name that equals four?”
The buccaneer thought. ‘If a point equals one…volley? No. Wait, one, two, three, four…dimensions. The three dimensions are physical, what is the four-’
“TIME!! The answer is time!” cried the buccaneer.
The door opened with a small “click” before the entrance to the temple was engulfed in shadow. The buccaneer looked towards the entrance to see the towering figure of the dragon, it’s head just fitting through the door. The buccaneer smirked before strutting in through the door, the dragon slowly lifting its head out of the temple as the door shut. As soon as the door was closed, the dragon was engulfed in a blue glow, shifting into a geometrical figure with broad wings attached to its back and a dark cape fluttering in the wind, a small book sitting in a large hand with abnormally sharp nails. The book slowly faded to dust in the hands of the figure, the specs flowing into the temple, riding on the evening breeze.
The buccaneer landed on their hand and feet as they dodged (hopefully) the last trap in the golden-red brick hallway that made up the temple. They had just gotten through the cliche ‘darts and axes flying through the halls’ and ‘sudden death traps’. Finally, before them, was a single collumb, upon the collumb was the book, it’s title reading “Math Textbook-High School” and had an adhesive patch on it reading “$400”. Why that number was so important, the buccaneer didn’t care, they had the book to read and share with the world. And now, it would find a way to escape the temple.
Little did the buccaneer know, that there was a second book. A book with an even greater power. “Math Textbook-College”.
“…And there you have it. The Mathaneer.” said Boy, returning to his now almost-finished sketch. The two pirates were fascinated with the story, and asked the boy where the next book was.
“Who knows? No one has found the second book, not even the Mathaneer. But, there is a riddle. ‘He who is swift will surely prevail, to which the pages will be revealed, but, only with the amber stone’.” Boy said in an ominous tone. The pirates were a little creeped out, but they hurried back to their ship.
Boy chuckled to himself as he opened his brown sac where he stored his book and pencils. A thick book reading “College Math Textbook” was seen as the bag closed and Boy headed back into the little town.