The Cloud Castle – Page 107


As he was taught, Jack brushes his fingertips across the three red feathers embroidered in the Lorikeet Ribbon.

Suddenly his body is as buoyant as if he were floating in water. He eases himself cautiously off the platform and into the air, half-believing that at any moment the magic will abruptly cease and plunge him into the lava below. Yet the Ribbon functions flawlessly, and Jack quickly finds that he can swim through the air as easily as he would in water. Remembering Hana’s warning that the Ribbon only functions for a few moments at a time, Jack does not indulge his wish to joyously explore his new power, but instead dives for the Green Pipe in the far wall.

Jack floats through the Pipe and enters a room unlike any other he has encountered in the Cloud Castle. The room is quite deep and split into two sections, the divide marked by a wide pit across the floor. It is stiflingly hot and very, very noisy.

The heat seems to radiate from the pit and the noise definitely comes from the back of the room, where a bewildering and terrifying-looking array of machinery assembles Psi-Mechs. Spike-lined panels smash together to shape raw metal into carapaces, while whirling arms tipped with claws, ratcheting drivers, and pneumatic hammers assemble the carapaces. As a final touch, jets squirt living brains into the humanoid shells to animate them into the semi-sentient shambling horrors. Jack has never seen anything so gruesome and inhuman.

In the front half of the room, three doors lead to side chambers. One appears to be made of silver, one of iron, and one of brass. Luridans and Delta Bugs guard the doors, but they will be little threat to Jack.

If Jack has the Silver Key, he may enter the Silver Door. Turn to 3.

If Jack has the Iron Key, he may enter the Iron Door. Turn to 29.

If Jack has the Brass Key, he may enter the Brass Door. Turn to 55.