fter a few days at Separation Point, reliving old times with your friends and mulling over the mysterious message from "LC", it's finally time to move on, but not before one more night with your companions. On this last evening, you huddle together around a campfire and talk about the future. Of all the turning points in your life, this one feels the most palpable. You and your companions raise mugs one last time, promise to keep in touch, and toast to future accomplishments. Finally, with the fire reduced to embers, you part ways for the last time.
Alexle rouses you the next morning, and you wake to find that the T-1 is already carrying your pack on its back and is ready to depart. You get dressed and step outside into the brisk morning air. When you get to the road, you look down its length and see that it continues over the horizon. You smile at the thought of an unknown future ready to be discovered. "What was meant by the gesture you shared with your friends last night?" Alexle asks, surprising you. "Which gesture?" "When you all raised your mugs and touched them to each other," Alexle clarifies. "That's called a toast," you explain. "Humans do that to honor…things." "Things?"
You think about the best way to explain to a machine before answering. "Things like moments in time, events that have special meaning. Toasts can be for the future as well, like our hopes for good outcomes in life." Alexle is quiet for a long time while it processes this information. "Thank you, Enchanter," Alexle finally says. "I am learning a lot from you." After a couple of days, you come across a small group of rough-looking people who have set up a small camp near the road. You decide it's best to avoid them, and you direct the T-1 to cut through the forest. Unfortunately, one of the people at the camp notices you. "Hey there!" the woman calls. "Are you a wizard?" Some men in her group stand up and eye you. It doesn't seem likely that you would survive a fight with them.
"I'm an Enchanter!" you yell back. "Excellent! Why don't you come over and warm yourself by our fire?" While the woman isn't being aggressive, she doesn't really sound like she's asking. You decide it's best to comply for now. You and the T-1 enter the woman's camp, and her people give you space to sit. You notice that the area is littered with adventurer gear – mostly items magic-users would use, like wands and staves. The woman notices the concern on your face. "Don't worry; we don't want anything from you," she says. "As you can see, we have all the treasure we need." "Then what is it you want?" you ask.
"My name is Sasha," the woman says. "My party of adventurers explores dungeons and tombs in search of valuables. We used to have a wizard traveling with us." Sasha looks away for a moment before continuing. "He was my husband. He died in the tomb located in the center of the forest behind us." "How does that concern me?" you ask. "In the center of the tomb is a sphinx that legend says asks an unsolvable riddle. The idea of a riddle that couldn't be solved is what drew my husband here. He was sure he could solve it and unlock the sphinx' treasure." Sasha pauses again. "Unfortunately, the tomb killed him." "I'm sorry," you say.
The T-1 studies you then turns to Sasha. "I'm sorry as well," Alexle says. "It's OK," Sasha replies. "It's been some time since he passed. I only share my story with you now, because I understand that Enchanters like you are very good at solving puzzles. And it would bring me some peace if the riddle were solved. But it's also very dangerous, and the decision has to be yours alone." The idea of solving a puzzle no one else has solved intrigues you, but you need more information before you agree to help. "If I'm going to help you, then I need to know how the tomb kills."
"As soon as the sphinx speaks the riddle, the entrance begins to close, and poison gas fills the tomb. My party barely got out in time, but my husband wasn't quick enough." "If the traps have already been spring, then how do I get inside with the entrance closed?" "The tomb resets every few days." Your eyes narrow as you realize where all the gear surrounding you came from. "And you and your party go back in and loot the dead magic-users who failed."
Sasha stands. She looks insulted. "We told them exactly what we told you. We didn't trick them or force them to try. But we also aren't going to just leave them in the tomb to rot. If you want to help me, then help. If you don't think you're smart enough to solve the riddle, then that's fine, too." She sits back down. You look back at the open road. It seems endless. And being the one to solve the unsolvable would set you apart from all other magic-users at university. You decide that the road will still be there in a few days when you get back, and you head into the forest to seek this tomb.