He looked around. The surrounding mountains certainly seemed high; some of them were capped in snow. He knew, however, that the mountains ahead were higher yet. The scenery was rugged, yet beautiful.
He looked ahead. The master, The Ancient, and The Ancient's friend were walking along the dirt road. The thin air did not seem to cause a problem for any of them, even though they were all older than Wayne. The master and The Ancient's friend were probably twice Wayne's age, and The Ancient... well, he was ancient.
As if sensing eyes upon him, The Ancient looked back at Wayne, and smiled. Wayne returned the smile, then The Ancient looked ahead again at the road.
Wayne glanced back at the mountains. There, off to the left, was a cloud sneaking around one peak. It seemed close enough to touch.
Wayne thought back to the conversation he had had with the master in the last village as they rested.
"The man we are going to see is an old friend of The Ancient," the master had begun. "He is a priest. You should address him as 'Venerable Father' and remember to kiss his hand upon arrival, and again upon departure."
Wayne looked at the master. "Addressing him as 'Venerable Father' kind of makes sense, but why would I kiss his hand?"
"Because his hands have touched the sun, Mr. Wayne."
Wayne now looked again at the sun, as he had when he first heard those words in the last village. The sun certainly seemed close-by, but how could an old man in the mountains of Asia have touched it?
Bruce Wayne looked intently at Alfred.
"What do you mean that I have two riddlers?"
"Well, look. Here are the first three riddles."
Wayne read the riddles:
What used to be gold, these days is green;
If you have too much, count by machine.
Now it comes in plastic, and moves quickly by wire;
Have plenty of this in order to retire.
Bought new and thrown out unread,
What once was news is trash instead.
Found by another and read for good measure,
One man's trash is another man's treasure.
I'm widely loved, despite being green;
In order to get me, even friends can be mean.
I corrupt, because I mean power;
Many use me to build their towers.
These towers rise very high from the ground;
In order to get me, two were brought down.
When Wayne looked up from the riddles, Alfred explained, "They are short and to-the-point. They were submitted electronically, or via a printed medium that did not utilize handwriting. They address money and the destruction of the Gotham Towers."
Alfred paused, as Wayne studied the riddles again.
"Now, look at the other three."
Wayne looked at the next three riddles:
Detectives listened to an illegal bug,
But didn't report the criminal plan.
Crime covers up crime, swept under the rug,
All merely for wont of an honest man.
The truth is hidden by towers of lies,
But the crime of the towers is exposed in riddles.
What really happened is quite a surprise!
Dirty cops, a deal with the devil... the man in the middle.
Judging by the tap,
The judge foolishly ruled,
But judging by its wrap,
The judge had been fooled.
A bad tap may violate the rules,
But fooling a judge is a game for fools.
Crime can come in many wraps,
And crime can be exposed by many taps.
The real criminal here is the tapper,
But none suspect because of his wrapper.
The day will come when the judge sees the fools:
Interesting to see how the judge rules!
Harsh is the verdict for fooling a judge,
And only a fool thinks that verdict will budge.
Riddle me this, riddle me that;
Who's afraid of the big, black bat?
"All three of these riddles were submitted on greeting cards. Each time, the greeting card featured a cat; each time, the riddle was neatly printed in feminine-looking handwriting."
Wayne continued studying the three newer riddles, occasionally glancing back at the older three.
"Two of the newer riddles are much longer than the first three; they are also very playful, and deal with corrupt law enforcement officials and abuse of wiretaps," Alfred continued speaking, as Bruce Wayne continued studying the riddles. "The last riddle, the third of the second series, is the shortest of all, but it is also the most playful of them all. The greeting card has a picture of a cat playing with some yarn. Again, while short, the whole form of the last riddle coincides with that of the previous two: playful rhymes with a feline theme."
Alfred paused, as Wayne looked at the riddles.
"The first series is simply trying to communicate something; the second series is doing that, but is toying with you, as well."
"Like a cat with its prey," commented Wayne.
"Exactly," agreed Alfred.
"And, the first series is leading me up to the attack on the Gotham Towers. That is its culmination," Wayne began, looking up at Alfred.
"Yes, but the second series uses the attack on the Gotham Towers as a departure point, taking you back in time," finished Alfred.
"One points out the motivation behind the attack, money," Wayne began again.
"And the other addresses corruption in law enforcement that enabled the attack," finished Alfred again.
"One series is from the riddler...."
"...And the other is from your cat-woman."