The sphinx lolled over like a big housecat, lazily examining its paws. “I’ll tell you what,” it said. “Since you’ve been rather amusing so far, and a good sport, I’ll give you a chance, if you want it.”

“I do,” said Nick. “You know where she is?”

“I do.” The sphinx smiled smugly. “And I’ll tell you. If you answer another riddle.”

“That’s it?”

“This is a super-riddle, the best and toughest one I have. Same rules as always: you get it right, you get what you want. You get it wrong, I gobble you up.”

“I’ll do it.”

“You sure, Nicky boy?” the sphinx said. “I’ll let you walk away now with your life if you want.”

“Yes, dammit!” Nick shouted.

Startled, the sphinx drew itself upright and hissed. “Very well, then. A man performs shadow puppets with the skill of a master. It is shadow puppetry performed in total darkness. Yet you percieve every motion and follow perfectly. How do you do this?”

“That’s easy,” Nick said. “The puppeteer is blind. It’s darkness just for him.”

“Wrong,” whispered the sphinx, licking its chops. “Maybe you’re the one who’s blind, eh?”

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