The Cloud Castle – Page 26


Once free of the Zombull Pit, Jack meets and quickly slays a pair of Psi-Mechs.

Beyond this he enters the last chamber in this level of the castle. Here the floor is lower and a pair of Green Pipes project from the ceiling. Twin pools of lava on the floor flank a low pillar, on which languishes a maiden of the Lorikeet Guard. Beyond the lava pools stands another Green Pipe, evidently the exit from this level of the castle. Jack moves toward the Lorikeet maiden – and suddenly a pair of Giant Centipedes emerge from the Green Pipes in the ceiling.

Jack stops short, fingers clenching on the handle of his sword as the brutal venomous mandibles click shut near the head of the Lorikeet woman. Although she trembles, she does not flinch, even when a glistening gobbet of poison slime dribbles past her face.

Jack whips the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar from its sheath and flings it across the room, where it buries itself in the back of the Red Centipede’s head. The giant insect thrashes once or twice and slides partway from the shaft, dangles for a moment, and then slips quietly into the lava. Jack beckons the Dagger with a gesture as the Centipede falls, and quickly leaps across to the pillar, catching the Dagger in mid-flight.

Keeping his armored body and shield between the woman and the poison-spitting Green Centipede, Jack fights a defensive action, drawing the Centipede further and further from its burrow. When the insect monster is well within reach of his blade, Jack lunges forward, severing the foul head. The second body slumps into the lava, and Jack turns to face Ibtisam, warrior maiden of the Lorikeet Guard.

“Jack!” she cries, throwing herself in his arms. “Jack, I tried to rescue the Princess, but I couldn’t find the way to the upper level!”

“Have you seen the Giant?” asks Jack. “Do you know where he is?”

Ibtisam shakes her head no. “I’ve explored some of the castle, but there are two places I haven’t been – there is a Warp Portal in the ceiling of the Spike Room, and a narrow gap near the ceiling of the Hall of Lava – I think either way might lead you to the upper level, but the Portal in the Spike Room is capped with some kind of forcefield, and the other is too far away to reach by jumping. You’ll have to find a way to open the Portal, or else find a way to fly, Jack.”

Jack nods and squeezes her reassuringly. “I will find a way,” he says, and gives her a spare weapon from the Pouch.

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. Add the following: There is a Warp Portal in the Spike Room and a gap in the ceiling of the Hall of Lava. Either may lead to the upper level of the castle. The Warp Portal is covered with a forcefield, and I will need to fly to reach the gap.

While Ibtisam equips herself for her journey back to the entrance of the castle, Jack turns and examines the Green Pipes in the room. The two in the ceiling are dead ends, useful only as Centipede nests. The one in the corner contains a Warp Portal. As he thought, this is the way out of this level of the Castle.

“Jack, you’ve cleared the entire lower level, right?” asks Ibtisam. “Layla, Faiza, and Aamina were on that level – you found them all, right?” Her eagerness and concern are evident.

“Err,” begins Jack …

Consult Jack’s Journal. If Jack has not rescued all three Lorikeets from the lower level: Layla, Faiza, and Aamina, he should go back. Turn to 65.

If he has rescued all three, then there is no way to go but forward. Turn to 10.