The Cloud Castle – Page 109


Jack remembers from previous visits to Windflower Island that Samira is highly accomplished archer, able to put arrows through targets at unbelievable distance and to perform impossible-seeming trick shots.

He draws the WhipTail Bow and WrackDance Arrows from the Pouch of Ghrul and tosses them to Samira. The Lorikeet woman catches them deftly and, with a huge grin, fits the first arrow.

With the two of them working in tandem, clearing the room does not take long. Jack flings the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar to keep one Fire Gargoyle busy while he engages another. Meanwhile, Samira sends three arrows in quick succession toward her targets. She aims for the thinner skin of their wings rather than their tough hides, relying on the WrackDance poison to finish them. Her tactic works; even very lightly wounded Fire Gargoyles plunge into the lava far below, spasming in the grip of the terrible poison. The last of the Fire Gargoyles disengages and flees the warriors, leaving Jack and Samira alone in a suddenly much quieter Hall.

Samira moves to return the bow and arrows to Jack, but he demurs. “Keep them and use them to get yourself out of the castle. I need to continue and rescue Vasilisa.”

“Jack, Thamina is here, too. I heard her earlier – there on that shelf!”

Jack follows the direction of her urgently pointing finger. She points to the shelf of steel blocks projecting from the wall. A Green Pipe rises from the end of the shelf, forming a natural partition from the larger chamber. A flock of Perilisks wheels and fights among themselves near the entrance to the alcove. Jack and Samira advance to a platform near the alcove.

The Perilisks, seeing their approach, scream among themselves and prepare to dive. Samira takes out two with her arrows, while Jack flings the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar at the nearest and dodges a second. In this way, by picking them off one at a time from a place of shelter, Jack and Samira are again able to defeat a much larger force. With the Perilisks defeated, Jack sheathes the Dancing Dagger and draws the Rune Sword, preparing to leap for the Green Pipe that partitions the alcove. Suddenly Samira clutches his shoulder.

“Jack, be careful! The Green Pipe is an Inferno Shaft! It contains a creature of fire!” Even as he speaks a terrific roar like the voice of a blazing fire, echoes from the Green Pipe, and a pillar of flame leaps forth. The flame stabilizes and settles into the shape of a humanoid with hair of fire – a huge Fire Elemental!

Jack will have to defeat the Fire Elemental to proceed. Remove the WhipTail Bow and WrackDance arrows from the Pouch of Ghrul.

If he has the Dragon Scale Shield, turn to 5.

If he has the Shield of Balance, turn to 21.

If he has the Sooty Scimitar, turn to 48.

If he has a Barrel of Dirt, turn to 95.

If he has Alton’s Unknown Potion, turn to 162.

Otherwise, turn to 138.