The Pyramids: The Last Adventure of Mark Atilius
Last week, we held a forum contest which took players on a 5 day adventure to help our famous explorer Mark Atilius avoid death traps on his journey to the legendary pyramids. Every day there was a new logic puzzle to solve and players who answered correctly were awarded with gold! If you enjoy adventure stories and missed out on the contest, we’ve added each day’s story and riddle here in this blog. See how many puzzles you can solve! (answers are at the bottom).
Day 1 A Beautiful Egyptian
Mark Atilius had never felt so tired in his life. He was tired of idleness and the dream that had often been haunting him recently. Lucius and Tiberius were late, making final preparations for the planned expedition to the Egyptian pyramids. They were sending rare dispatches when they informed him about the whole plan and begged him not to leave their usual meeting point without them. Knowing how important this trip was for his friends, Mark didn’t even try to go elsewhere. But by the end of the second week, he didn’t know what else he could do here to avoid death by boredom. It was the most uninteresting place he had been in his life!
He was now spending some time in another tavern, entertaining himself by making guesses about the other patrons. A beautiful woman, who was silently sitting at the next table with a scroll in her hands, attracted his attention. Hmm… Mark was stumped. What could possibly bring such a majestic person to this dusty corner and why was she traveling alone? Her delicate features, up-swept hair, and the speed at which she was reading the scroll, all made it clear that this woman was used to a very different and far wealthier way of life. Almond eyes, sun-blessed complexion, and dark-brown hair revealed that she came from the south.An Egyptian woman? Here? Ever since the Emperor had opened the borders, Egyptian men were not such an uncommon sight in the Empire. They would be seen walking with their strange weapons, frightening the local population with their naked torsos, even during the cold winter. But Egyptian women, on the other hand, rarely left their homes. That is where they preferred to spend their time, waiting for their husbands to return from war.
The beautiful neighbour finally felt his interest and set her eyes upon Mark. What she did next though caught him by complete surprise. “If only my poor old grandmother knew that I would talk to a stranger in a dirty inn without being properly introduced, she would have died of outrage,” she said to him and smiled. “You are Mark Atilius, right? The famous explorer?”
Mark was so astonished that it even took him some time to respond. “Me?” he retorted, trying not to appear too surprised. He still couldn’t get used to his own glory. He made an awkward attempt at a joke: “More like the famous idler. But yes, that’s my name.”
“Perfect!” exclaimed the lady. “You’re exactly the person I’m looking for! My name is Nefertari, I am from Egypt. My grandmother asked me to give you this and tell you that she’s waiting for you right now, and that if you don’t come in time, your deal with her is over and she won’t give you whatever it is you’ve been looking for so long.”
She then passed him the parchment that she had just been reading.
Task: Find out the coordinates.
Day 2 The Priestess?
“Grandmother?!” even a few days later, Mark couldn’t accept the new information about the old witch, who had made his life miserable so many times. “Grandmother?!” he repeated again.
Nefertari giggled. Surprisingly, she turned out to be the ideal companion: almost tireless, witty in the way Mark liked most, and with a good sense of humor. After some time, Mark stop caring too much about whose relative his new friend was and just enjoyed the time he spent with her.
“I know, you somehow skipped that fact, but people sometimes meet each other, they get married, then they have children… And when those children become grown-ups, they can have their own children as well. This is how grandchildren come into being. Now you know!” she replied, teasing him.
Mark only sighed.
“You know perfectly well what I mean,” he smiled. “Just this old wit…” he swallowed the last word, “your elderly relative has nothing in common with pleasant old ladies who bring their grandchildren candy and knit endless socks for them, don’t you think?” He instinctively shivered, recalling that he barely got out alive from all his previous meetings with the old hag. He was almost sure that another death trap had already been prepared for him… and he was willingly traveling to it!
“I lost both my parents at the age of two. My grandmother had some other business that she had to continue, so she left me at the local temple where I received a classic education. I know you don’t like her, but she was always kind to me, and we talked a lot during her occasional visits. She’s also the Priestess of Sopdu,” Nefertari shrugged her shoulders. “They’re all quite like that.”
“Well, I always expect to be fooled by you due to your close relationship with her,” confessed Mark and Nefertari smiled again.
“Actually, my grandmother taught me that it’s not that hard to fool even the smartest person,” she said with a smirk. “Most people willingly allow themselves to be fooled. Like you just did.”
“Me? How do you mean?”
“You said you expect me to fool you. So, regardless of how I act, you’ll eventually be fooled. Either I will fool you, or I won’t. But since you expect this to happen, then even If I don’t, I’ll disappoint your expectations, and therefore you’ll be fooled, is that not true?”
“Hmm…” Mark pondered. “And now I’m starting to think that you could be the priestess of some Egyptian deity as well?” Mark said with a little chuckle.
“You love logical puzzles.” Nefertari laughed back. “Try to guess the answer to this one. I have three friends who I grew up with in the same place: Amizi, Bennu, and Phoeba.
• If Amizi is a priestess, so is Bennu.
• If Bennu is a priestess, then Phoeba either also serves a deity or Amizi is not a priestess.
• If I am not a priestess, then Amizi is a priestess, but not Phoeba.
• If Amizi is a priestess, so am I.
So, according to the puzzle, how many of us and which of us serve a deity? But remember,” she smiled again, “it’s just a puzzle. And not necessarily true.”
Task: Solve the logical puzzle. How many of the four friends are priestesses, and is Nefertari a priestess herself?
Day 3. The Meeting Point
As it turns out, no witch had been waiting for them at the meeting point. This was by no means a surprise. However, what caught him off-guard was Lucius and Tiberius’s presence. And they were angry! The former imperial architect, though, immediately hugged him. But Tiberius was still furious.
“It is just not acceptable to go on some adventure while your friends are waiting for you here – for two full weeks already!” His indignation knew no bounds. “Two weeks! And this scorching weather almost killed me! Let’s go to the pyramids already – maybe they’ll be at least a bit cooler inside!” he paced up and down the small room.
“But…” Mark looked at his friends, still feeling stuck, “but didn’t we agree to meet in Salona, where I had been sitting for two weeks? And, honestly, I also blamed you for the delay with the exact same words!”
A sudden thought made him look at his companion, who was standing to the side and seemed to be really interested in the white ceiling. Having felt his sight, the beautiful Egyptian gave him a guilty smile.
“Well, my grandmother didn’t want me to travel here alone,” she confessed. “That’s why she altered your plans and dispatches slightly.”
Mark, angry and ashamed at the same time, turned away. What could he possibly have expected from the witch’s flesh and blood? Honesty? How stupid! He felt his cheeks burning.
“I am sorry…” Nefertari still looked guilty, but not that much. “Let’s skip the part where you decide what to do with my head, and discuss our next steps. I need you, but you also need me. Help me walk through the pyramids, and for this, I’ll reveal you the secret of the Pharaoh’s belt and tell you where to find it. I’ll also explain why this belt is so important for our tribe. I don’t expect you to forgive me, but at least you’ll understand my reasons.
Mark, who had been avoiding her eyes all this time, finally turned back and his heart softened.
“Let’s go,” he sighed. “And be it as it may.”
Task: There are three doors to the pyramid’s chambers. One is made of gold, the other is made of silver, the third one is made of bronze. We know if someone opens the wrong door, a terrible death awaits them. According to ancient manuscripts, both statements on one of the doors are false, on another door both statements are true, and on the third door there is one true and one false statement. (But we don’t know on which doors these statements are.)
|GOLD DOOR||SILVER DOOR||BRONZE DOOR|
|This is not the safe path.||The gold door is not the safe path.||This is not the safe path.|
|The safe path is through the silver door.||The bronze door is the safe path.||The safe path is through the gold door.|
Which is the safe path into the pyramid?
Day 4. The Labyrinth of Death
“So, I promised to tell you the story about this belt,” Nefertari began talking as soon as all four of them successfully passed the first trap and were on their way to the next. “We do not know much about who created it. Some of us believe that Nefertum, the deity of healing, gave it to the first Pharaoh of Egypt, and inscribed on it the way to his sanctum. The clasp is used to unlock the labyrinth and return safely. Unfortunately, this treasure was stolen from our temple centuries ago, but priests never lost hope to find it again. All this time, many priests and priestesses of Sopdu secretly entered your lands in search of this lost artifact, including my grandmother, who traveled along the Roman roads disguised as a gypsy almost all her life. All was in vain, until finally the recent changes in the Empire’s diplomacy encouraged your friend to plan this adventure. He shared the secret with some of the researchers and that’s how my grandmother got on the trail. That’s the story.”
“That’s a really interesting and touching story,” mumbled Lucius, who seemed to be a little lost by the changing pace of events. He listened to Nefertari with all his attention. “But was it necessary to capture me, hold me as a prisoner and then steal the belt? Why not just ask?”
“So, we could have just come to you, and after hearing this story you would have simply given my grandmother the Pharaoh’s belt, ‘the greatest of your treasures’ and that would’ve been the end of it?” Nefertari smiled. “By the way, we’ve almost come to the place our manuscripts call the Labyrinth of Death and now, as I promised, I’ll tell you where the belt it.”
“Yes, that’s the real secret,” replied Mark, who slowly seemed to be gaining his usual adventurer’s spirit. “The belt was with you all this time, wasn’t it?”
“Of course,” replied Nefertari as she took a very familiar belt out of her travel bag.
Mark sighed again.
Task: The belt contains a code, which once deciphered, reveals the safe path to the sanctum. It is a labyrinth comprising 25 rooms with death traps.
Each room can be visited only once and only in the correct order. Decipher the map and show the correct path through the rooms (this can be done either by uploading the picture or simply as a text answer).
Day 5 The Inner Sanctum
Surprisingly, the Inner Sanctum was really small and – unlike other rooms – not decorated at all. An empty room with a central stone altar on which stood three bottles – one yellow, one red, and one blue – including some inscription. The statue of Nefertum – the man with the lotus – was guarding them.
“These are bottles of pure death.” Nefertari explained cautiously, and Mark, who was about to take the red bottle in order to read what was written on it, immediately snapped his hand away. “Try not to drop them. Two of the bottles contain deadly diseases so virulent that everyone who walks nearby would die in no time at all. There is still no cure for those diseases, but as long as they are locked in a bottle, they cannot infect people. The other bottle contains the cure to an existing disease. If we pour this cure into the Nile, we can neutralise it, and the river’s water will spread the cure around the world.
Bottles like these were only made by two of the high priests of Nefertum, Nil and Menes. We know that Nil always only put true statements on the bottles that he had made, and Menes inscribed false statements. We need to find the correct bottle with the cure.” Here is what was written on each bottle.
|Yellow bottle||Blue bottle||Red bottle|
|The cure is here.||The cure is here.||At least two of these bottles were made by Menes.|
Which bottle contains the cure?
Task: For this task, you need to find out where the cure is and PROVE it by posting your logical reasoning.
Mark and Nefertari were sitting by the Nile, enjoying the sunset. The job had been done, and, for the first time since a few years, Mark couldn’t imagine anywhere else he’d rather be. What’s more, to his surprise, he caught himself thinking that he actually didn’t want to go anywhere… without this woman.
“Nef…” he broke the silence. “Now that your task is done, what are you going to do?”
The beautiful Egyptian smiled.
“I will stay here for a while and then return to my home town,” she finally replied. “I am the priestess of Nefertum, a healer, and this is what I enjoy most in my life. To help people when they are in need.”
She fell silent for a short while and then continued:
“You know, I watched you for a while. With your logical mind, your experience in different areas of life, and determination to acquire knowledge, you could become a good healer too. Now that my grandmother’s quest is done, she can finally come home to the life she deserves and she can give you some lessons. You’ve put so much effort into chasing her across all the lands. I wouldn’t mind watching your battles from time to time. After all, you are the only two people I love in the whole world…”
She turned red and suddenly took something small out of her bag and gave it to him. It was a tarot card, and even without looking at it, Mark already knew which card it was. Death.
“By the way, I almost forgot. My grandmother also told me to give you this card and explain that this is actually a good card in tarot; it promises you a completely new life. She said you will know what she is talking about. Will you follow her advice?”
Mark didn’t hesitate.
That concludes this adventure of Mark, We hope you enjoyed it! Let us know if you would like more of these types of contests in the future.
Here are the answers:
Day 1: How to solve:
CC6+6=CBB (116+6 =122)
Then S, E, W, N = South, East, West, North. Meaning that they should go 57 fields to the South, then turn East and go another 73 fields etc.
(52|1) -> S57 (52|-56) -> E73 (125|-56) -> S47 (125|-103) -> E57 (182|-103) -> S43 (182|-146) -> W26 (156|-146) -> S18 (156|-164)
Day 2: All four women are priestesses. This means that Nefertari is also a priestess.
Day 3: If the safe path is through the gold door, that means, that both gold and silver doors each contain two false statements. If it’s through the silver door, then both silver and bronze doors have one true and one false statement. So, safe path is through the bronze door (and gold door contains one true and one false statement, silver both true, bronze both false).
Day 4: These are just mirrored numbers. So, basically, if we cover right part of each sign, it will be a simple equation.
Day 5: Suppose red bottle is made by Menes. It means that statement here is false, then that means that there should be at least 2 bottles made by Nil, and that should be yellow and blue bottles. But it’s impossible because according to the task, the cure is only in one bottle and it can’t be both in yellow and blue at the same time. So, that means that red bottle is made by Nil. That means that 2 other bottles are made by Menes, and both contain the virulent disease and not the cure. So, the cure must be in the red bottle.
How many did you get right?