The Cloud Castle – Page 01


Perilous Jack steps from the Beanstalk onto the cap of TowaShroom and pauses for a moment, marveling. He has arrived in the Cloud Kingdom!

Beyond the grove of giant mushrooms, a huge staircase of steel blocks leads up to a broad Green Pipe, the only entrance he can see to the vast shining structure the Cloud Giant calls home. But the way is not so easy. Standing atop neighboring TowaShrooms, guarding the approach to the Green Pipe, is an Ogre Mage and four Winter Wolves.

Jack eyes the Ogre carefully as the huge creature examines him in return. The Ogre looks familiar somehow. At last, the Ogre Mage vents a mighty bellow of laughter.

“You again!” he cries. “Then it was you who killed my brother! Long have I pondered this riddle!”

Warily, Jack replies, “I knew no brother of yours.”

“Oh, aye, that you did, manling. A tasty morsel of Fairy flesh we took, and you – more fool, you! – thought to interfere! I left Ghal-rolfli to deal with your wretched hide, as I had other work to be about, and when next I called upon him, he was dead! In truth, I thought The Cloak had done the work, as I’d run afoul of a mage of theirs not far from our lair. But you’ve seen our humble home, and you must have seen the Nightcrystal too, else you’d not be here. Thus, I know you for my brother’s murderer!”

Jack has no time to ponder how the Ogre Mage may know of the Nightcrystal or of what he has seen – for the Ogre suddenly snarls to the Winter Wolves in their own speech, and the huge ice-white Wolves bound forward, their frost-feathered fangs bared for the kill.

“Murder?” cries Jack. “Ha! I killed your brother in fair fight! At least he was no coward, to surround himself with allies against a single man!”

At this, the Ogre Mage suddenly snarls again at the Winter Wolves, and they halt in confusion. The Ogre issues a deep, wrathful rumble from his chest. “I am Ghal-lul the Great, and no man calls me coward!” the Ogre bellows.

He gnashes his tusks and falls silent, considering a moment. “Very well, warrior. I give you leave to choose your fate – either die at the fangs of my dogs or pit your steel against my magic. Choose!”

If you think Perilous Jack should fight the Winter Wolves . . .

. . . and if he had Fearghal the Dwarf forge the Dragon Scale Shield for him, turn to 34.

. . . but he does not have the Dragon Scale Shield, turn to 147.

If you think Perilous Jack should fight Ghal-lul the Great . . .

. . . and if he had Fearghal the Dwarf forge the Shield of Balance for him, turn to 38.

. . . but he does not have the Shield of Balance, turn to 51.