Part 10: Level One: Beauty & A BeastLevel One: Beauty & A Beast
We're leaving the tournament behind us at last, and with that comes a new maze!
Gray walls and nighttime. We're actually not many mazes from the end (of this level, that is), and we're back to the optional and mandatory PoP pattern that governs most mazes. This one's nefarious, because it's comparatively much easier to run into the PoP we must visit before finding the one we merely can visit.
Another bit of art I think works really well given the limitations of the formatting.
The maze opens onto a night forest; and in the forest lies a clearing. Above, the moon shines with silver clarity; the creatures of the night make quiet noise about you. The moment is still, serene, and beautiful. The sky shimmers; you see what seems to be a mist, but resolves into the face of the Lady: she who has dominion over nature, who brings the rebirth and the harvest. Her face is terrible in its anger.
I hope that's just an expression and she's not angry with us for some reason. Unfortunately...
"What mortal dares defile my holy place?" cries a voice that is both as quiet and distant as the hoot of an owl and as brazen and penetrating as a trumpet's call. You shiver. Are the other gods in league with the Mad One? The Lady is depicted as being good at heart, but terrible in her wrath.
Whether in league with the Mad One or not, a god's a god. Better get some proper prostratin' going on right here and hope she accepts our worship as an apology (you can not do this, but she'll just be slightly upset as you flee).
Gradually, her face softens. "What do you wish of me?" she asks.
Well, we've got this quest and everything, and frankly it's a bit out of our league, your Ladyness, so-
She listens for a moment, and then interrupts you. "I understand," she says gently.
...I'm just gonna assume that's a clue. A clue to what, I'm not sure, but definitely a clue of some sort, and the only one we appear to be getting. On, then!
I figured it wouldn't be long before we encountered some peril once more. Or worse... a puzzle.
A sabertooth tiger crouches over its prey. Before you can respond, it bounds over to you, knocks you to the ground, and leans over you. Its carnivorous breath is harsh in your nostrils. "Good day," says the creature. "I've already caught lunch, and you'll be dessert unless you answer me a question."
I swear, we've been asked more riddles by random animals than by human beings at this point.
Quickly, you agree to answer a question. The tiger clears his throat, and begins to recite:
They say a tiger can't change his stripes,
But I know that that isn't true.
Not only can he change his coat,
He's usually seen to be blue.
Except on alternate Tuesdays,
When he's a glorious shade of green,
And the second Thursday of every month,
When his coat has a reddish sheen.
And the first and third of months ending in R,
When his pelt is most often yellow,
And on Easter, Christmas, and St. Swithin's Day,
When it's frequently purple (poor fellow).
But on the solstice and equinox,
It turns darkest black, I hear;
And when the moon is its fullest extent,
It turns orange from his tail to his rear.
So the question I ask is a simple one,
But answer it please, I pray:
Given the date and the moon and such,
What color am I today?
If it helps, MadMaze-II seems to think the date is roughly 7/15/2011.