Part 64: Level Three: This Place Is Rigged To BlowLevel Three: This Place Is Rigged To Blow
We're now in the southern portion of this maze, and it's just as Iggy said: There's no way forward but the Pyramid. Indeed, we'll never be turning back again; that ship sailed with the Floating City.
Those are NOT Insectidae. Zweigler must not have been paying attention.
"There it is," says Iggy. He seems a little subdued. "Certain death. Let's go."
Gosh, I wonder if that's one of the many, many traps we've been warned about. Don't suppose this place has a service entrance?
There isn't any.
I figured as much. Alright, let's examine the rods then. We can pull any number from one to nine... but what do we pull? Did we ever get a clue about this?
We actually have gotten a clue about a sequence of three numbers, multiple times, from The Lady: Nine, seven, one. Confusingly, however, that isn't the right answer here. The Sage Tsoriss also gave us a sequence of numbers (6-7-9), and that also is wrong.
There was one other person who gave us a hint, however.
The First Cause that the Insectidae worship could also be called the "Prime Mover," after all. But here we run into a teensy little problem: The writers apparently don't understand what prime numbers are. The idea behind the puzzle is that you need to pull three rods associated with prime numbers to pass. The correct answer is thus 3-5-7.
Mooko posted:"HOKAY," it says. "GOTCHA. TWO THINGS. REMEMBER GOOD. 'PULL THE PRIMES.' ALSO, 'ORANGE IS HUNGRY.'"
Except, even if you exclude 1 as a prime (which is I guess technically correct, it isn't), 2 is a prime, and pulling 2 won't work. So thanks a lot, Mooko. At any rate...
3 slides smoothly out and clicks into place. 5 clicks satisfyingly, too. There is a third click, and the side of the altar slides smoothly away to reveal a flight of stairs leading down into the bowels of the pyramid.
Onward and inward. We're not done with the puzzles yet, but those that remain will hopefully be a bit less... sketchy.
You climb the stairs -- and there is a click behind you. The altar has closed again. "Dandy," mutters Iggy, his eyes daring right and left. You shrug and continue downward. Suddenly...
I'd be way more surprised by this if we hadn't already been told it was here.
No doubt she's waiting on the Prime Mother's password. Which we don't have, because the Prime Mother never saw fit to tell us, because she had no intention of ever letting us come here. Fortunately, we know her sister Uktookuk.
"My sister!" says the mantis, throwing her limbs about you in sudden emotion. "How is she? You must tell me all about it."
You shudder at the insectile embrace, especially knowing how deadly those limbs can be. But you tell the mantis of your encounter with her sister, and provide as much news of the outside world as you can. At last, the mantis lets you continue deeper into the pyramid.
You see, Iggy? Sometimes it's not about what you know, and all about who you know. And we have some weird friends.
You wander through a maze of twisty little passages, until you come to a dead end. Or perhaps it is not a dead end. Set in the wall at the end of the corridor is a dial, a lever, and a series of buttons. Around the dial are illustrations of small animals, drawn in a bizarre style you can only assume originates with the Insectidae.
A confusing little mechanism. Any ideas, Iggy?
"Beats me, chief."
Any ideas, Talisman of Chugotai?
The Talisman is strangely silent.
All our friends are useless. Fortunately, we paid good money for a hint at the Floating City that tells us precisely how to solve this:
Floating City Bug Guy posted:"At one point in the Pyramid, you will come to a dead end. At the end is a console on which there is a dial, a lever, and several buttons. Turn the dial to the illustration of a rabbit, pull the lever to the vertical, and press the blue button."
There are six animals depicted on the dial (bunny rabbit, cockroack, doggie, little bear, pink elephant, pussy cat). Above the dial is a black arrow. To which animal do you turn?
There is a chime -- which dies away. What now?
We move the lever.
If you call upward "north" and downward "south," the lever is currently pointing north-east. To what position do you shift it?
I presume by "the vertical" the bug meant straight up, so north.
There is another chime. That just leaves the buttons. There are six, of different colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). Which do you press?
Could this have been the puzzle all those color clues was talking about? Weird that it'd just tell us the answer then. Blue, according to the Floaters.
There is a third chime. A hole rises open in the wall; beyond it, you can see the maze. You and Iggy eye each other with surmise, then walk through, into...
"Surmise" is a weird word to pick here, but it isn't technically wrong, assuming our exchanged glances indicated that we believed we had solved all the puzzles. Which we have, incidentally.
We're now in the easternmost segment of the pink maze. Just one way to go from here, to a ladder heading down.
Unlike the others on the floor, which just hit dead ends, this one allows for progress...
But progress to where, exactly? Doesn't really seem to be much of anything here. I guess we'll just pick a direction, and-
The Prime Mother posted:"Beyond the Pyramid lies the Invisible Maze; and beyond it, the Moon of Madness."
Time to, quite literally, bang our heads against a wall for an hour or two.
The Prime Mother posted:Invisible Maze
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
There are no alternate solutions to the Pyramid, as perhaps is to be expected. First, we can pull the wrong rod at the entrance:
There is a slight feeling of resistance as you pull out the rod. A shadow moves. You look up, and see the sculpture of the First Cause falling from its precarious perch. Then, it crushes you.
That trap must be a real pain to reinstall. At the mantis, every option other than mentioning her sister is fatal:
Kill It: You draw Valterre... Thud. Tumble. The mantis swipes off your head before you can get your sword out of its scabbard.
Use Talisman: You hold forth the Talisman of Chugotai... The mantis takes this for a hostile gesture. Your death is swift.
Plead For Your Life: "Please, ma'am," you say. "Don't kill us. We're just..." Your death is so swift you never see it coming.
Mention The Wrong Name: "Sorry," says the mantis to your bleeding, headless torso. "Never heard of her." Iggy screams and flees, but does not get far.
Lastly, doing anything out of sequence at the dead end makes it quite the dead end indeed.
Suddenly, it is hot. Very hot. Something has dumped molten lead into the space you currently occupy. Or occupied, as your body is rapidly ceasing to exist in any meaningful sense of the term.