A congregation of sphinxes (Intergalactic Sphinx Brotherhood Local 167) has made it apparent that nobody will live to finish this particular quiz they’ve concocted–the most difficult sequence of riddles ever devised. An arrangement such as this can only have been composed as a way to appease the in-crowd (you know, the ones who can never have a riddle too tough, therefore devoting their livelihoods to crafting questions that have answers unknown to all but them).

A subset of these puzzling desert denizens can’t help but take pity on the doomed mortals that will inevitably come across this death trap. There have been rumblings for some time amongst a few concerned members, and these conscientious few have agreed to let Rolphus (the notoriously outspoken one of the bunch) have a go at playing the role of public defender and devil’s advocate wrapped in one.

“Brothers, you know that nobody will escape with their lives if they come across this latest amalgamation–doesn’t that irk you at all? We sphinxes aren’t just killing machines. We should at least give our potential victims a chance. Now, that doesn’t mean that every riddle has to be easy. Plenty of people are still going to die, but the rate of death can be something like 99.2%, rather than the appalling 100.0% that’s currently in place. Just give that some thought, brothers, so the history books will record a more just reflection of who we are and the art that we have thanklessly produced for millennia.”

This plea is met with a few seconds of stuffy silence before the meeting proceeds just as it had before. The quiz is not amended, and every human to come across it dies unceremoniously. Less than a year afterwards, tourism on the Sphinx planet Egregion ceases entirely.

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