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In the 2003 video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the player can increase their maximum health by drinking from the "Magic Fountains", ten of which are scattered throughout the game:

The Magic Fountains

As a gameplay mechanic, they're pretty standard. In-universe, however, they're baffling:

  • The Prince finds them by going through holes in the wall, which lead to what appears to be a corridor in the Palace of Azad
  • The corridor looks the same every time, no matter where the Prince enters from; even when he's coming from a location where you wouldn't expect to find a palace corridor, like the underground water reservoirs
  • After drinking from the fountain, the Prince blacks out and wakes up outside the corridor, but the hole has vanished
  • On one occasion, Farah (the game's sidekick and love interest) is in the same room as the Prince when he enters the mysterious corridor; she comments on his departure, but when he re-emerges she's forgotten about it, and doesn't know he had ever left

I'd be willing to accept the notion that these are hallucinations, if not for Farah's reaction. So, my question: what (and where) are these Magic Fountains?

Note that I'm looking for canonical evidence only: statements from people involved in the game's creation, or from licensed materials.

  • this isn't an answer at all, but at the beginning of the game, before even getting to the dagger, the prince come across a room with some ruined "paintings" on the wall. Those paintings seem to describe a battle between to djinn like entities: based on the pictures one seems to be connected to the sand, but it is unclear what the other was meant to be. Perhaps the second one is the water? – Hitodama Jun 18 '16 at 18:22
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Unclear.

The game manual describes them as "Magic Fountains" (confirming their magical nature. It also notes that they might not actually be real...

The Prince can never be sure whether Magic Fountains are real or a figment of his imagination. One thing, however, is certain: Each time you drink from a Magic Fountain, it will permanently lengthen your life bar.

The official gameplay guide offers very little extra info other than confirming that they're mysterious and powerful and that their mystery is only exceeded by their power.

There are many baths and fountains throughout the palace that can be used to refill the Prince's Life Bar. However, none are as special as the Magical Fountains. To find one, always be on the lookout for something that just doesn't seem right. Perhaps it's a cracked wall or a ladder leading someplace out of the ordinary. Regardless, explore the mysterious hallways that lead off the beaten path, as they will lead across a series of rope bridges to a Magic Fountain. The Magic Fountain replenishes the Prince's Life Bar and extends it as well!

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