It was a stone lion, like those found outside of old buildings. It looked strange though. Like it was from a drawing made by a child. It was...deformed.
I closed the door and tried not to look at it as I walked past. Instead, I tried to think of the answer to A's riddle. "Joe wants to go home but he cannot. The Man in the Mask is waiting for him." It sounds like a trailer for a new detective film.
After a few minutes of walking along a stone path, I found myself in front of a tunnel.
I could see that beyond the tunnel were stairs, but...it seemed as if tunnel was leading going to lead me somewhere else. Somewhere I hadn't been in this city. So I walked through the darkened tunnel and when I came out the other end, the stairs had vanished. Instead, there was a dirt footpath that led to a pond.
It was one of the most beautiful ponds I'd seen, but it looked...too real. Too vivid. The colors were too colorful. The ducks...they were real ducks, but they didn't make any sounds. They moved and flapped their wings and I'm sure had I brought some bread, they would have eaten it, but they didn't make a sound.
The sky began to darken and the air felt like it was filled with static electricity. I closed my eyes and there was a thrumming sound and when I opened them, it was night and the pond wasn't there anymore.
Instead, there was a fountain.
Bright jets of water colored in green lights fell into the rippling water. The air felt heavy. My fingertips tingled. And the answer came to me.
"Joe wants to go home but he cannot. The Man in the Mask is waiting for him." The Man in the Mask is the catcher. Joe is playing baseball.
For some reason, I can't help but think that the city gave me this answer. That being here, in front of this fountain, I was able to think of it and it led me here just for that purpose. But that's stupid. Just as stupid as a riddle about baseball.
I walked back along the path, through the tunnel, and back to my room. There was the lion again, but it had changed. It no longer looked like it was made by a child. It looked...refined.
I looked into its eyes, then closed my eyes and opened them again. The lion didn't change. It looked like it had been petrified. Like it had seen the eyes of a basilisk and been turned to stone.
I turned away from it and went back inside.