Jacob put down the Luminus book in satisfied exhaustion. He had been able to solve most of the problems in the book that evening, and it was only the approaching sunrise that deterred him from finishing it until tomorrow.
He had always been fond of puzzles, problems, conundrums, anything and everything that could exercize his logical and analytical mind. When in college he usually sent Christmas postcards to his friends with some new problem he had found in an obscure math book. Or a chess position. Even as a teacher, with his closest colleagues, he had kept the same habit.
He wondered if Ian had always liked it, if at times he would not have preferred a small poem or inspiring quote. Probably. But Jacob was *sure* that Ian would love some of the puzzles in the Luminus book.
The elegant simplicity of the book was that solving each problem did not require - and indeed, was impossible if one attempted - a rational mindset. Each problem was not solved by taking all its data and putting it into formal equations; that was impossible, although not apparently, to achieve. The solution was rather found by understanding the feelings, picturing the images, sounds and emotions which the book presented, not forgetting any of them, and letting the answer come *from within* with no logical demonstration other than "this is how it must be". Given its age, the book was of remarkably clever writing.
The answers to each problem also possessed a much deeper meaning, an uncanny paralelism to real life situations and human emotions. As he solved problem after problem, Jacob progressively saw his own life in much clearer images: what he was, what he wanted, what he feared.
"Does that mean you don't need me anymore, young cub? Are you ready to take on the world just from reading one simple book?"
The voice almost startled him, as Jacob had grown unnacustomed to it in the last few days. His silent mentor, all-present and all-knowing. Or was it?
"I don't need you so much, at least. I can make sense of things now. I know what I am, and what I do. I know what is important to me."
"Should I leave you be for some time? Would you risk facing the World of Darkness you now live in without my aid?"
"I would try."
"And if I said you would never be able to hear me again?"
Jacob was silent. In his mind, he saw the hair-mangled inscrutable face of the voice's figure sprout a pair of grinning fangs.
"He he he... Your self-induced safety only comes from knowing that I will *never* go away, that any time you need me I will come right back to guide you. Sad, Jacob. The cub must know how much it needs the wolf if it ever hopes to shake free from his protecting paw."
Jacob took one final glance at the Luminus book he had put down on the bedside table. The last puzzle had been about a pair of twins locked inside a castle who are doomed to relive, one each day and the other every night, what the other does and says to him, and forgetting the rest, locked forever in a string of alternating personalities.
"You are wrong" Jacob said.
He could see the figure in his mind raise his head in silent aprehension.
"I know you can not leave me forever, but I do not seek that you do. You are part of me, like my blood is, and if I try to cut you loose I will die a little more (or perhaps for good) in the process. But for now, as my life stands, with my father safe from harm, Erika as my newfound sister, and Rachel at my side, I do not need your advice. The rationality with which you face every aspect of life, the delicate scales upon which you weigh every emotion, those have served me well in the past - but now they would suffocate what I am seeking for myself."
Suddenly, Jacob recalled the answer to the problem of the twins - that they were *one and the same* person, but each was trapped in different sides of a mirror. In his mind, he reached his hand towards the figure and began to brush away the strands of hair that covered his face...
"We are the same", he heard himself say. "I am you and you are me. You are the voice that frames my fears into the rational pictures I have always kept in my life. You can never leave me."
The face now looked at Jacob, and he could see himself but with cold-stare eyes.
"Nor would I want you to. I have eternity before me, and one day your rationality may be all that keeps me from falling apart, but for now, I need the life I was stolen. I need the emotions and the feelings, the good and the bad."
The figure nodded, as if understanding, but its gaze was still as ice.
"I need you to step down." Jacob finally said.
In his mind he saw the figure turn and walk away until it faded in the distance. It seemed he had cracked a bigger problem than those presented in the Luminus book...
...too bad he would not remember it in the following night.