Day 1 – The Head of Manticore
They were famous. Like, truly famous. It was hard to imagine a single peasant from any distant province who hadn't heard this name. Manticore. The deadly beast that comes to you in nightmares and steals your happy dreams.
A name that perfectly fit those four commanders.
What held them all together and made them fight on one side? Rumors conveyed multiple versions of the story, each one more fantastic than the last. But no one knew for sure how much truth (if any) could be found within them.
Some said that they were seeking revenge for what had been done to them in the past. The others proclaimed that they had no morals and simply slaughtered anyone for entertainment. A third group suggested that they were the mercenaries of some mighty alliance which hired them to fight where the alliance couldn't do so openly, due to certain diplomatic agreements. And finally, some believed that they were brought to this world by the gods of war to cast fear into the hearts of ordinary people.
Their real names were likewise unknown. Even among themselves, they referred to each other by their aliases.
Wings. A tall, well-built Roman whose hazelnut eyes contrasted with his black-and-gray hair, which was unusual given his rather young age. Born and educated in the Empire, he was a man of few words. He rarely spoke, but when he did, it was worth listening to. A master of swords and apologist of the war order, he maintained and supported strong discipline in his armies, which enabled them to break through any resistance without significant losses.
Scorpio Tail. Coming from the Horde, this eastern nomad seemed to have a natural ability to talk with the horses. His horse riders visited careless neighbors at night, bringing back valuable resources for development, at times launching lightning-fast attacks against sleepy garrisons. They caused devastating damage, even to elite armies. He was one of the rare people of his tribe who always followed the leader and was loyal up to a point of self-denial, ready to sacrifice his life for the well-being of his group.
Fangs. The very first glance at this handsome, blue-eyed Teuton, with his usual charming smile and silver laughter, revealed that he came from a very different background than the rest of his squad. A truly noble, wealthy background that only the Rebels could boast. The most easy-going out of the four, he seemed to be the easiest opponent to resist, but that was just an illusion. Charismatic, hard-working, and tireless, he was the one who always managed to gather the biggest armies under his command, which he was ready to sacrifice without remorse for a good cause.
And finally, Claws. No one could call this dark-haired Marauder woman with rugged features beautiful or even pretty. Cold and distant, she seemed to be indifferent to anything. Yet, wherever she appeared in her distinct northern outfit made from bear skin, she immediately drew in all eyes. Fast, graceful, and dangerous, she resembled a big wild cat, patiently waiting in ambush for her prey. She never ruled large armies, but had just enough people under her command to persuade nearby villages, with force, to join the required side. Hers, of course. She barely used siege equipment and preferred to stay in the shadow of the others. However, people unerringly felt that she was the real leader out of the four.
The Head of Manticore.
Task: The task below is one that the Manticore squad gives to those who wish to join their armies. Try solving it.
A chariot, operated by a driver, picks up workers every morning to bring them to the construction sites. At the first stop, five workers jump in. At the second, three workers jump in and one jumps out. How many people are in the chariot when it arrives at the third stop?