The Cloud Castle – Page 112


Leaving the bodies of the Hell Hounds to cool, Jack leaps to the top of the partition and surveys the next challenge.

Except for the ubiquitous Slimes, there are no monsters in sight – only seven Green Pipes, some projecting from the ceiling, some from the floor.

Jack starts forward, doubtless exercising less caution than he should, when suddenly a woman’s voice rings out from overhead, a wordless cry of warning. Hardly does Jack have time to leap aside, when suddenly all seven of the Green Pipes erupt in a flurry of activity. Amid a great rustling of leaves and tendrils, huge, fanged blossoms emerge from the Green Pipes, as deadly as they are beautiful and fragrant – they are Piranha Plants, and Jack nearly walked right into them.

But Piranha Plants are no great threat to a warrior of Jack’s caliber. Taking care to keep far away from the lashing tendrils, and not to breathe too deeply the intoxicating scent of the blossoms, he flings the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar. The magical dagger cuts its way through the first few Piranha Plants and Jack follows with the Rune Sword, finally uncovering a glimpse of the woman who warned him away. She is trapped on a Slime-slicked platform, surrounded by Piranha Plants who snap and snarl impotently at the morsel of flesh they can almost – but not quite – reach.

Jack leaps to the rescue with his blade singing in mid-air, slicing tough stems as easily as picking daisies. In moments he is on the platform beside another of the Lorikeet Guard. Her name is Faiza, and she is a Sergeant of the Guard. They embrace briefly, but Faiza quickly releases him.

“Jack,” she says urgently. “This wall behind us – there is a way through, near the top. Layla is there – I heard her voice – and she is in great danger.”

Jack nods and draws a weapon from his pouch to offer the woman. “Get yourself free. I will go after Layla.”

“Jack, beware of the red bird creatures. They look like Cockatrices, but the danger is not in their eyes – it is in their beaks. I saw one of the Dragon Men who serve the Giant pecked by the red birds – Jack, he burst into flames!”

“I will avoid their beaks,” he says with a smile. They embrace once more and Faiza takes up her weapon, departing with a final look back.

Remove a spare weapon from the Pouch of Ghrul. If he has Giant’s Bane or Storm Fist, he’ll need it to face the Giant – so don’t give it away!

Make sure to check off the rescued Lorikeet’s name on the list in Jack’s Journal.

If Jack has a Vial of Pheromone, he can try enticing the Piranha Plants from their burrows. Turn to 13.

Otherwise, he should climb over the back wall to rescue Layla. Turn to 63.