The Cloud Castle – Page 88


“Sela-Ffionath!” cries Perilous Jack.

The Emerald Guardian freezes in place, sudden uncertainty dawning in her huge features. The giantess withdraws toward the ceiling of the chamber, shaking her head as if to evade a cloud of buzzing flies.

“Sela-Ffionath,” Jack says again, more quietly. “A loyal warrior of your personal guard taught me your name. You have been changed, haven’t you? You have been warped by the magic of the Nightcrystal, Sela-Ffionath.”

“I – I know that name,” the Guardian mutters. She has descended a few feet from the ceiling, and it appears to Jack that she has grown somewhat smaller, as well. He leaps to a block in the center of the room, daring to put himself nearer to the diminishing Guardian.

“Sela-Ffionath,” he says again. “Is it truly your will to defend the Nightcrystal on behalf of these monsters?”

The giant woman pauses in her descent and stares at him wide-eyed and silent for a moment, as if he has said something quite astonishing. “Will?” she repeats.

Jack smiles at her softly. “Yes, Sela-Ffionath. You have a will of your own.”

The woman blinks, shudders, and cries out. Suddenly she seems to draw within herself, to collapse upon her own center. The scarlet mist shrouding her thickens, concealing her transformation from Jack’s eyes. The sun-serpents twining among her magic garment hiss their displeasure at Jack and flare away into blinding motes of light. Quite suddenly the transformation is complete. Sela-Ffionath, restored now to her true shape, stands before him.

Turn to 91.