The Cloud Castle – Page 121


Vasilisa launches into her story again, for the benefit of the Elven sorceress.

The woman shakes her head in amazement as Vasilisa maintains a ceaseless exposition. At last, Sela-Ffionath gestures toward something above and behind Jack. The warrior turns and perceives a Beanstalk soaring up the wall of the chamber, toward the dark and distant ceiling. He turns the Princess around, still chattering.

“Vasilisa,” he says softly, stifling her excited storytelling with a finger across her lips. She falls silent and looks up into his eyes. “My work is not finished here,” he says. “I have freed your Guards – they wait for you outside the castle – but I have not freed the Eagles yet, neither have I slain the Giant. You understand? I must leave you for a time, but I will return. Sela-Ffionath will guide you from the castle, to rejoin your Guard.”

Vasilisa nods. “I understand.”

He hands her the Lorikeet Ribbon. “I believe this belongs to you.”

She takes the Ribbon with a gleeful squeal and affixes it to her collar.

Next, Jack passes her the Pouch of Ghrul. “Will you kindly fill this with the Giant’s treasure?” Jack asks. “I have a feeling I will not have leisure to do so on my way back down.”

Vasilisa sets about cheerfully ransacking the Giant’s treasure, stuffing the Pouch with Gold Coins, gems, weapons, armor, and potions a-plenty.

Jack and Sela-Ffionath draw together. “And the Cloud Giant?” asks Perilous Jack.

“On the roof of the castle,” replies the Elven sorceress, gesturing again toward the Beanstalk. “There he communes with the dark powers he serves and summons the lightning which powers his machine-castle. The Eagles of the Princess’s Royal Guard are caged upon the roof as well; you would be well-advised to rescue them before attempting to fight the Giant. Their aid will doubtless prove invaluable.”

“I will,” says Jack.

Remove the Lorikeet Ribbon from the Pouch of Ghrul.

“Jack, beware the Cloud Giant!” the sorceress cries suddenly. “He is an immensely powerful magician. Do you have a shield to defend you?”

If Jack has the Shield of Balance, turn to 135.

If Jack has the Dragon Scale Shield, Clay Shield, or Harlequin Shield, turn to 146.

If Jack does not have a shield, turn to 132.