The Cloud Castle – Page 156


While it is never entirely possible to know where or when a Warp Portal has carried you, Perilous Jack is certain he recognizes this space.

The steel walls and ceiling, the FloatSteel platforms, the floor of lava, the persistent thump and hum of machinery embedded in the walls … this can only be the Cloud Castle where he fought a Fire Giant and rescued Princess Vasilisa so long ago!

A pang of panic seizes him; will he be trapped here, so far in space and time from his quest? A hurried glance at the Warp Portal in the Red Pipe reassures him that his exit still stands open – for now.

Across the gap, a Lava Wyrm curls around a solitary block of FloatSteel and beyond that, a steel treasure chest beckons from another platform. There are no other features to the room and no doubt what Jack must do. Even as he reaches for his weapon, the Wyrm strikes! There is no safety on this Red Pipe – or anywhere else in the room for that matter – the Wyrm has tremendous reach! Only Jack’s agility saves him from a fiery bite.

The Lava Wyrm has length and speed on its side, but it is neither powerful nor tough. Jack lands on its back – carefully! Wyrms are covered with spikes! – and holds on to the writhing monster looking for a weak spot between the armor plates covering its segmented body. The Wyrm, sensing his motives, moves to dive into the lava covering the floor. Lava may be cozy to a creature like the Wyrm but Jack is certainly not interested in going for a swim. At the last second, as the Wyrm folds itself to slither down the Red Pipe, Jack spies an opening. He plunges in his blade, slipping neatly between armor plates and directly into the Wyrm’s brain. He leaps clear and (barely!) lands on the FloatSteel block just as the Wyrm’s body slides into the lava.

Jack pauses to catch his breath before he makes the next leap to investigate the treasure chest. Inside, he finds the only treasure durable enough to withstand the terrific heat of this space – a small handful of Rubies and a wicked-looking magical shield.

The shield is made of a light and powerful metal, likely either StarSteel or Mithril, and shaped like the snarling, fanged, horned head of demon. The mouth of the demon is slightly open and blackened with soot. Just inside the shield, a word is engraved in spiky runes. Jack cannot read the word but recognizes the script from peeking over Dark Simon’s shoulder at his diabolists’ spell books. Jack is certain that if he can learn to pronounce the word, the shield will spit fire. An exciting, if unsettling, find!

Add the Demon Shield to the Pouch of Ghrul and return to Perilous Jack and the Pale Guardian.

If Jack still possesses the Spell Book that he acquired from a Cloak Wizard in Perilous Jack and the Plateau of the Endless, he may be able to use the book to decipher the Diabolists’ Runes on the Demon Shield. Turn to 110.

If Jack does not have the Spell Book, he will have to wait for Dark Simon or another Cloak Wizard to help him decipher the Diabolists’ Runes. Turn to 23.