The Cloud Castle – Page 76


The Hell Hounds, creatures of the fires of the Inferno, are every bit as dangerous as any Winter Wolf, though their powers are opposed.

Fighting two at once will be difficult indeed, unless he draws upon the resources in the Pouch of Ghrul. From traveler’s tales Jack has learned that the hunters of the Abyss have poor noses – perhaps a consequence of being continually immersed in the hot smoke and poisonous vapors of their nightmarish home – and thus rely almost exclusively on sight to stalk their prey. And herein lies a weakness Jack can exploit. Jack draws a Star Crystal from his pouch and presses it to his forehead, letting the magic of the crystal sink into his flesh. A moment later, his body fades from sight, and he dashes aside just as the first set of flaming jaws closes on thin air where he once stood.

Invisible now, thanks to the Star Crystal, and with the exceptional dexterity granted by the Seven League Boots, Jack is better equipped to confront the monsters of the Pit.

The monsters snap and snarl, scouring the air with their fiery breath in search of an elusive enemy they can hear and sense, but cannot see. Jack makes sport of the huge creatures, stabbing and slicing, driving the creatures to collide with each other and rake each other with mistimed swipes of their claws. In moments the Hell Hounds, clearly convinced that there is no enemy in sight but each other, fall into a tangled snarling heap, ignoring Perilous Jack. When the ferocious battle finally fades into quiet, one of the Hell Hounds is dead and the other badly wounded. Jack dispatches the survivor with ease, and as his blade strikes home the magic of the Star Crystal fades. Jack imagines he sees the truth reflected in the Hell Hound’s dying eyes – that it was slain by a simple trick. Jack finds the thought satisfying.

Remove a Star Crystal from the Pouch of Ghrul.

Jack considers his options. Over the partition and forward may lead to Pipe or ladder connecting to the next level of the castle. Or the Warp Portal may be a shortcut. Then again, the Warp Portal may lead to Hell itself …

If you think Jack should leap over the partition and continue further into the low hall, turn to 112.

If you think he should investigate the Warp Portal that brought the Hell Hounds, turn to 60.