Part 45: Level Three: Trouble BrewingLevel Three: Trouble Brewing
Curiously, leaving the Dream Serpent's PoP doesn't take us to the next maze, but going up the ladder immediately after it does. The wall then closes behind, so no going back down (not that there'd be any reason to).
This maze is pink. Very, very pink. Not the only new color we'll see, and probably the most garish, but at least it's distinctive. This map is especially odd because the overwhelming majority of it is completely pointless; get lost going westish and you'll be wandering around in a useless snarl of corridors for a while. We want to head for the first PoP so that we can get to the second.
We've seen this before, although long ago, back on the first level.
When he catches sight of you, he instantly drops to his belly. "O mighty knight," he pleads, grovelling in the mud, "please do not kill me. I am but a poor peasant. Everything I own is yours, only please don't kill me."
We... weren't really planning to, mister.
Let's cajole him first.
"Come, come," you say, "surely you know somewhat of the region about you, at the very least. Have you never ventured beyond these fields?"
"O please," whimpers the peasant, "I beg of you, do not kill me. I am but a simple peasant..."
He's really too pathetic to kill, so let's go with Plan B: Our effectively inexhaustible supply of cash.
You show the peasant a tiny silver coin. "I'll give you this if you'll tell me what you know," you say. His eyes go round as saucers. "Thank you, oh, thank you. I'll remember you forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you." It takes a little while to calm him down, then he tells you:
"You must cross five geysers, in all. Each has a name -- Spitoon, Old Irregular, and so on. But I don't remember the order, whether Spitoon is first or last, say. You must time your passage carefully. Before crossing each geyser, you must wait some number of minutes, from one to five. If you cross it before or after the appointed time, it will explode beneath you.
"Each geyser has a different waiting period; one of them requires a wait of one minute, another of two, and so on, up to five. No two geysers require the same wait. It's been so long since my pappy told me of them that I no longer remember precisely how long you must wait for each geyser. The first you encounter might require a one minute wait -- or a five minute one. I do not know.
"I do remember some of the things my pappy told me about the geysers; perhaps a brilliant soul such as yourself may deduce the correct timing. These are the things I remember:"
This guy speaks remarkably intelligently for a grovelling peasant. Anyway, on to the actual hints.
Fair enough. Here's that coin, pal.
He slobbers on your boots. "Oh, a million thanks. Never have I known such incredible benevolence. Thank you oh thank you oh thank you!" he sobs.
Ugh. Let's ride on before I start getting tempted to try some "alternate solutions." To the next PoP, which is probably...
Yes, this is the first new art for the third level! ...This.
Here there are numerous geysers, spouting irregularly and shooting boiling water and steam far into the air. You study it carefully, for you feel that a misstep will leave you parboiled in your armor. In the distance, you see the exit to the next maze. And between you and it are five ominous holes, from which geysers must roar. The one immediately before you is spouting now.
Alright then! We have five geysers to cross. At each, we must wait somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes, per the peasant's instructions. So how long do we wait at each, in sequence?
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
Rather than offer money, we can threaten the peasant with the death he seems so keen to avoid.
He will then tell us his story as before, surprisingly calm. Afterward, we can threaten him again for yet more information, but I have a sneaking suspicion it isn't terribly useful:
So then we can kill him.
You kill him. You explore this place, but find nothing other than a miserable hut with a tiny store of grain, a plow, and the ox that's hitched to it.
Then we can kill the ox.
You kill the ox, build a fire, and have a barbecue. The meat is tough and gamey.
Even the murder options are unsatisfying. Let us not speak of this worthless peasant again.