My guess here is that Conjurer’s answer is incorrect due to one point: The combined might of all the heroes gathered outside is NOT considerable in the face of a god.
Also, it’s wrong because he is there to sate his own arrogance rather than save others.
Also, Conjurer is a flipping egomaniac whose true motive is self-aggrandizement. He wants to prove his supremacy over enemies, not save people.
No, I think the answer is truthful, or at least Conjurer sees it as the truth. There’s no point in purposefully lying and getting kicked out; he could just remain silent and let 84 answer it, and either get the both of them in or get kicked out herself. Then he could answer the next question frankly by himself, and get past the gate.
I think that is part of it but he is also after self glory and being the star with his magic. I think he will fail this one as well with that truthful but incomplete answer.
Also, he had to go and say ‘only’ in that last line. Even if that’s your main goal, using ‘only’ means you can’t want it for any other small secondary reason. And I’m not sure I even believe it’s the main reason, let alone the ‘only’ one.
he also used we which means he claims that all in the party share the same exact reasoning as him.
Notice how he said “we” rather then “I”?
He is including 84 in the answer. And she actally wants to save people.
1 person for whom the people are an afterthought + 1 person for whom they really matter = better chance to win this question.
I’ve done this kind of thing too many times as a DM. The “we” and “only” just sank him.
“If you say so”, says 84. She’s just overflowing with confidence in his abilities and judgment, isn’t she?
Seems an appropriate attitude to take. She learned from both Firedrake and Phlogiston by speaking with them. Neuronet and now Conjurer are teaching only by “don’t do this” example. Interesting lessons learned here, and a good reminder that 84 is still a student, and a good one.
The prospect of Veles teaching part time at PS238 (whether they want him or not) is starting to seem more plausible.
Methinks classroom instruction is not the style of Veles. He seems to prefer a more hands-on, in-the-field, teach-by-doing approach.
But definitely, most trickster gods are also gods of wisdom who like to teach when they can.
He’ll be a guest lecturer at best, but I bet we see 84 and her friends getting irregular “lessons” for years to come.
Beware, for Tricksters teach through pain…
Aye, Rock, but you gotta admit it’s a pretty effective method.
Or at least when they feel like it.
“Incorrect… although I would have accepted that answer from your companion. You persist because you have defined yourself as this era’s greatest practitioner of the magical arts, and this is a magical challenge; it would not matter if a city was at stake, or a child, or a single blade of grass. Your arrogance would not let you leave.”
I would pay to have the mist respond with this line.
Me too. That would not only be awesome, it would be oh-so-true.
Yep, ol’ buckethead’s about to turn into a scrap of parchment. It’s part of why he was supposed to answer the first question.
Conjurer is lucky that there probably aren’t any Cenobites in the PS238 ‘verse.
At which point the challenge is either to solve the puzzle while keeping the portal suppressed, or to figure out which end states have which effects. He doesn’t seem stupid, exactly, just a bit dismissive of others while dealing with what he sees as a magical problem.
Which also handily explains his attitude when dealing with Veles. If it was a future tech world like Argos, for example, he’d probably be very differential towards someone like Herschel. He’s just forgotten that the Wise Old Wizard is rarely more successful than the Polite And Cautious Child at dealing with a challenge like this.
In short, he’s forgotten the right brand of Genre Savvy for dealing with a G rated deathvault, and is substituting appropriate measures for a PG13 one. This was not his best idea.
Leave a long drawn out answer that could mean anything… Yep old bucket head is a (former) politician. Guess we found out who was the least honest.
Why do I feel like the answer to the first question will be part of the response to why the second answer is wrong?
Why do they persist? Conjuror’s response would be appropriate as to why they started. It is not why they persist. They do not like to lose. Its as simple as that.
“Let’s not discuss it right now” Just what ARE you hiding, Conjuror?
1 – He is not as powerful as he likes people to think. Clearly evident from the little bit of magic he has used.
2 – Possibly a former politician who is still wanted in all 50 states or caught doing something unethical.
3 – Someone who has to hide his identity which is why he wears the face obscuring helmet.
Another option he’s like Dr. Fate – ie, only the helmet, wearing a person to get things done. The “We” is the helmet speaking for “himself” and the host…but the host doesn’t want to regularly fight a god. He doesn’t want any of the things he’s forced to do now, he only put on the helmet because he wanted to work magic, and didn’t realize there were strings attached
He “forgot” about gaining the prestige of being a gods chosen worthy opponent.
He has not talked with anyone about himself other than to puff about his knowledge and power. All the others had talked candidly about themselves and things they feel insecure about. 84 that she didn’t really spear head and that she’s not really a leader. The other talkd to her, as a safe person, more safe than talking with the other adults. Fire’s afraid he’s only flash and no substance, and leaves in a brash flash. Misty is the advisor afraid of not being valued as leader…and used as fodder. They are continuing at least partly because of their fears. Helmet didn’t really talk at all, he is all mask.
And for the third question: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
OB_REF: African or European?
What’s your favorite color?
Blue. Wait, no… *POOF*
I’ve got that equation on the back of a shirt somewhere. let me go seek it.
11 meters per second or 24 miles per hour. Roughly.
To be fair, Conjurer might feel this is the proper time or place (in front of something potentially hostile) to discuss the subject, especially considering they have a time limit.
Or he might be hiding something, or just be a giant jerkweasel. That’s equally plausible.
NOT, NOT the proper time or place….
I vote for jerkweasel.
The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive. I suspect that his first thought was the second one but he would (reasonably) give the first if asked or if he had time to think.
Is… spellcasting part of answering a question?
Meh… He just likes to show off, methinks.
I’d point out that showing off would not serve any purpose. It’s not going to sway this gatekeeper. However, someone who likes to show off wouldn’t care for such; they’d do it anyway, and it fits what the story has strongly been implying of The Conjuror’s character.
That said, I strongly suspect the Conjuror is trying something, whether to bypass, cheat, or defeat the challenge. Not only would it move him closer to the goal of winning this contest, it may also allow him to avoid explaining how he’s the most guilty of hiding who he really is.
One lesson we haven’t seen yet is “cheaters never prosper” right?
I like the way you think, sir.
Maxim 31: Only cheaters prosper
It might be a way to vet his own words and make sure they’re truthful before he says them.
Yeah, the gate probably wouldn’t like that exploit.
Or he’s casting a version of Glibness and assuming/hoping his own caster power is greater than that of the gate.
“Does that mean one of us–”
Yes, that means the Conjuror is the one who should have answered the previous question about himself.
Well at least Firedrake took his loss with grace, a simple ‘oh, bummer’ and he was gone.
I imagine Conjurer is like House, while he may have been drafted for things he’s really doing it just to solve things and prove himself right so his answer isn’t why HE is persisting as he is. Only 84 is on the honest end of that answer.
Wow, I’ve actually grown to like Firedrake. He may have a big mouth, but his heart seems to be in the right place. ^^
You’re kidding, right? Conjuror just got outed as a coward who fears being exposed, and he’s questing for an object of godlike power. Why do you THINK he’s doing that?
It’s partly because he wants to justify his high opinion of himself. But mostly because he wants that power for himself, the way cowards always want power for themselves. He fears what might happen to him, or how he might be humiliated or defeated, without it. The threat to the city is merely justification for him.
Not necessarily. This could cause Julie to doubt herself once again. Where 84 might think it’s herself, it thus means she won’t be thinking of the Conjuror as the fraud between them two. Even worse if the Conjuror works on that doubt to keep her from suspecting him. Also, the gatekeeper has moved on to the next question.
That would, of course, further confirm what we readers now know about him being the most false here, but it’s not gonna be a pleasant sight. Julie’s self-doubt prior to accepting her number was painful enough. At the same time, this would move the Conjuror from vain, fake hero to likely villain territory.
Who said the object does have god-like power ? For all we know, the prize is a tennis ball with an iris drawn on in crayon. Getting the eye was a test. It doesn’t necessarily imply that the eye is valuable to anyone, regardless of what possibilities the wall mentions.
They each keep answering the question meant for another. I guess the last person by default get a question they can answer.
That would imply that given enough numbers of participants, the final gatekeeper is ultimately supposed to let someone pass. I don’t think so, where the point is to keep people out, period.
However, the gatekeeper can possibly be posing questions that cause the person answering to reveal truths about their character to the other people in the egg.
I think the gate is asking questions that will trip people up because they don’t have all the facts. Firedrake doesn’t have our outside view to know that Conjurer was the likely answer to that question, so he got bleeped.
However, I think Conjurer is getting bleeped HARD for this answer. His goal isn’t ‘only’ to save the people, he wants the glory. He’s projecting his false self out, as the gate says. And since he’s not answering the question correctly, poof, gone.
Of course, like with the previous question, because he said ‘We’. Once he gets bleeped, that’ll also cause 84 to doubt herself because she’s technically grouped within Conjurer’s statement, even though it’s him that has the non-noble intentions.
At the same time, the egg has been purported to weave narratives. If Julie, the last one standing, answers the question correctly, that’s a definite greater narrative arc.
I still love the framing of this though.
Interestingly each question seemed designed specifically for one person to answer. For one of the party to just forgo any discussion as they are absolutely certain of their answer and immediately go into a wrongful spiel.
This makes me very curious to know what the third question is going to be, since it will supposedly be designed specifically for 84 herself
A more prudent and team based approach would be to discuss possible answers and come up with a consensus (or at least a least disfavored answer) of who should try to answer and what they should say. (Since the questions have so far been about the group, not about individuals, it seems silly to not use communication in order to come up with a better answer.) They are (almost) all a bunch of ringleaders.
Firedrake, Phlo and 84 aren’t ringleaders by personality. Phlo willingly accepted a backseat role to help her team succeed popularly even though she’s right for the leadership role and knows the guy actually with the job is in an idiot. 84 didn’t start a movement as simply accept who she was.
Now, Firedrake… Think about his revelation to 84 and his fielding this question. It’s not just that he’s admitting that he’s sort of a fake to himself, to 84, and to everyone else- it’s that he thinks he’s the *worst* in the group by being the one to answer the question. Sure, it’s a group of 3 people, but that’s a lot of humility and honesty right there (even though it turned out he wasn’t the worst).
Furthermore, even if they had discussed things, he’d still have been the likeliest to answer and be banished for being incorrect. Why? What’s to stop the Conjuror from simply agreeing with Firedrake’s assessment of himself? Firedrake knew he was guilty- and by appearances, it’s not hard for him imagine he was the worst of the trio since he knew his place.
In this case, though, Conjuror let Firedrake simply be carried away by impulsive honesty.
the conjurer also strikes me as someone who won’t admit to himself that he is a big ol fake
He left out the part about becoming Veles’ new nemesis. If nothing else, he’s going to get booted for that omission…
That’s probably because that’s not why Conjurer is there, nor 84. While that’s what Veles sent them in for, to determine his future nemesis, that’s not why they went in or why they persist in going forward (after all the previous trial they moved forward because otherwise they’d be trapped in an endless Groundhog Day loop potentially forever).
I’m beginning to sense a twist to this quest.
The questioning here is a bit more ‘meta’ than the earlier challenges. Consider them an initial screening to separate casual questers from those with potentially the ability use the artifact wisely and well. What if Koschei set this pocket universe up as a means of making sure the artifact would only pass into the hands of someone who wouldn’t misuse it? Or perhaps, someone who would be willing and able to Not take it up once they understood what could be done with it, what the possible consequences could be?
And maybe this is the way Veles is trying to find someone who would be a truly worthy counter balance to his existence. It’s not just a quest to obtain a powerful magic artifact – it’s a test of character as well as ability.
I think Julie is going to get in on the basis of “I’m Ten I have no idea” being a true answer for her.
Well, we could get past all the complex analysis and just point out that it’s an ironclad rule in fairy tales that if three people are on a quest, the first two champions will fail miserably and it’s the meek and thoughtful little third one that will succeed.
That word “only”.
I missed this statement when I posted mine below yours. About how For Now has implications of future plans. But yes, “Only” is a bad statement as well, and in ways it ties into my comment about For Now.
I’m wondering if Conjurer purposely threw this round for some reason.
Or will later claim he did, in any event.
I think most of you that spotted “only” missed that the last statement started with “For NOW”, thus qualifying and temporizing that “only”.
Me, I’m betting on the fact that he is casting that spell in conjunction with the last statement.
Awww, why so cynical everyone? Sure, Conjurer is arrogant about his own powers, dismissive of the abilities of the others, and patronising towards 84. And he goes to battle wearing a bathrobe and a dorky helmet. None of which is endearing.
But none of which means he isn’t genuinely out to save the day. He is the leader of a group of heroes, after all. And throughout this, he has consistently taken the entire situation at face value, as a routine magic-land quest. From his perspective, that’s the scenario: solve the puzzles, defeat the opponents, pass the test=save the day.
Given he’s an arrogant, patronising dork, who’s easily gulled into taking things at face value, then if he were to really mean the stuff he says in the last panel, he would probably have acted and spoken in exactly the way he has. It’s far from obvious to me he’s not sincere.
However, and on the other hand, if the target of the first question really was meant to be the Conjurer, then it’s possible the second question was aimed at exactly the same target: forcing the Conjurer to reveal who he really is and what really motivates him. If that’s the case, sure, the Conjurer is out. And his response to Firedrake’s failure does seem to imply he has something he wants to hide. (Though I’m not yet convinced that, shock twist, 84 wasn’t the right answer to the first question!)
He doesn’t have to be horrible. But he does have to be hiding something (per the last question–Julie’s secret is out to far more people) And it is unlikely from his personality that he ONLY seeks what he says. He clearly is quite arrogant, and wants to WIN. If he didn’t want to WIN, there would be no reason not to let 84 answer. Either she gets it wrong and vanishes, or she gets it right and they both get the eye.
But if it’s all about his ego and he wants to win so bad (i.e. he gets to be the one to get the eye) surely he’s better off getting 84 to answer? After all, if she answers and gets it wrong, she gets kicked out and he’s the last contender. If she gets it right, they both go through and he still can try to claim the eye first. But by putting himself forward, he risks getting kicked out himself and 84 being the last contender.
His arrogance is that he just thinks he’s the best person to answer the question (just as he thought he was the best person to deal with Rastov), disregarding 84 (or any other option) completely. And that being the case, if he genuinely believes what he says, he would indeed push himself forward.
But, having said all that, clearly he does appear to want to hide something. And that may well have relevance to honesty of his answer. But let’s not forget he’s also shown himself as quite impatient (remember his reaction to the gatekeeper?) and is maybe just unwilling to bother dwelling on a question that is no longer relevant to solving the problem.
Oh, and there is also the possibility that his “Let’s not discuss it right now” is because deep down (hidden behind his lack of social skills) he is really noble and chivalrous, and has realised that if it wasn’t Firedrake it must be 84, and (being noble and chivalrous) he is deeply concerned that a vulnerable child shouldn’t be forced by some magic doohickey into facing some psychologically damaging truth about herself, for which she is not adequately prepared. So he quickly changes the subject….
Ermm, no, nope, nah. Even I’m not buying that one!!
“The pathe to Hell is paved with good intentions, and some evil ones, as well.” -Cardinal Richelieu
His last statement left a very open and dangerous comment.
This implies that he already has Plans for the Eye, and the only way he could enact such plans is if Veles does not get to keep the Eye.
Because saying “For Now” certainly gives the implication that “Later” is going to come in time.
That would also tie in with his being the one who’s obviously fronting a lie to everyone and how there’s a possible sixth person along implying that Conjurer is two beings in one and one of them at least not very heroic and only doing it to keep up appearances.
I took “For now” as referring back to the previous part of his statement. In other words, “For now, we only want to save our people by meeting Veles’ demands so he won’t carry out his threat, but if Veles tries to use the object for further evil, we will do more than that and stand against him.” Conjurer might just be thinking of that second part as highly likely, if not inevitable.
I’m also not worried that much about the “only” that much since it’s tied to “we”, and that likely is the only reason all five of them had in common.
However, that is not the reason they originally came looking for the eye, as they had already started the search for it before being informed (via Grigor) of Veles’ threat against Manhattan. It may be why they persist, currently, but it’s not why they were originally seeking the eye.
So – you could make a case for Conjurer’s answer being acceptable, or not, and either way is plausible depending on exactly how you parse the mist’s question and Conjurer’s answer. We’ll have to tune in for the next page to find out.
I think you guys are forgetting something we know about Conjurer’s character, and how he views the whole test. He said when they first got here that there were rules that you had to work withing while exploiting them. He sees the test as something to be exploited, meaning he thinks he can get away with saying what they want to hear.
I believe he’s casting a spell to temporarily make what he’s saying be 100% true. And I think he’ll be caught out on this technicality. His arrogance in thinking he could beat the test will be his undoing. As you guys say, he could have just let 84 answer, since the requirement is only that one of them gets an answer right. But he thinks he can beat the system.
From a meta perspective, I also don’t think that the setup for him being the most deceitful about who he is will go without a payoff, and his character hasn’t been fleshed out enough to expect him to keep showing up later. The revelation will need to come by the end of this arc, which is almost finished. This would be a good place for it.
(His deceit is probably why he’s so confident you can exploit the rules, too.)
I did just notice another part that could be what’s wrong, without Conjurer lying. It’s not what I suspect the issue is, because then the setup of how Conjurer is approaching this would be pointless, but it is a possibility.
But the other possibility is this: he claimed to know what Veles was going to do. Not what Veles claimed he would do, but what he actually would do. I suspect that, if no one is able to challenge him, he would leave and go somewhere else to try and find a challenger, not turn the city into chaos. That was just what he said to motivate people to try.
You have a very valid point. It is not enough for an answer to be honest, as demonstrated by Firedrake’s failure; the answer must be correct. Now, the rules governing the challenge might mandate that the question must be one that the group could collectively answer (no fair asking Julie what happened on the third-to-last Egyptian pharaoh’s third birthday), and it might accomplish that by having the question tied to them rather than to some outside person, thing, or occurrence – but the answer has to be right, not just true in the sense of honesty.
That said, if the answer is tied to them (in spite of the mist plainly knowing why they’re here rather than assuming they’re there to usurp Koschei, as Rastov and even the stone guardians seemed to think), it is also possible that what Veles may or will do is irrelevant. Besides, unless you start bringing in the Fates, the future is mutable, and there’s no such thing as a wrong answer (at least without going into the realm of the patently ludicrous). Improbable ones, yes, but they don’t have much reason to not assume Veles is as good as his word.
84 is the one hiding her shame. She likes beinga hero but her father doesn’t approve.
Okay, this is random, but does anyone else see “BUMMER” and immediately think of dying in Chip’s Challenge?
I haven’t thought about Chip’s Challenge in forever, so “No” is your answer technically, but damn am I excited to be thinking about it again.
Okay, am I missing something here? I could’ve sworn updates used to be MWF, but now it seems to be “when the stars align and the website feels like it”? Is there rhyme or reason to the update schedule? I tried looking on the author’s primary blog but a quick search revealed no answers.
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