The Frost Potion – Page 41



Jack flings the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar, draws his sword, and leaps to the attack.

As the Minotaur rears back, roaring at the Dagger’s assault, Jack’s blade flickers in and delivers what should be a disemboweling thrust – but the blade hardly wounds the bull-man’s taut abdomen at all. The huge battle-axe swings, buffeting Jack aside and nearly over the edge of the FloatSteel platform. The blade chops down once, twice, and both times Jack rolls aside, narrowly avoiding the powerful blows. His sword flies free and sails off into the flames below. Jack rises in time to catch the Dancing Dagger and fling it once more, distracting the Minotaur long enough for him to regain his balance and his breath – but his sword is gone.

“Lady,” he whispers in supplication, wondering if he is meant to fail, even here in the realm of the Goddess Herself. Then, as the Dagger sails back into his fist, the answer comes to him. He sheathes the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar and draws the Black Horn from his pouch. The Black Horn transforms in Jack’s hands, becoming a wickedly curved sword shining with dark menace. Strength flows into his arms as if he had swallowed a PowaShroom. As the Minotaur charges, he grasps the Black Sword in both hands and attacks . . .

Remove the Long Sword from his equipment list and add the Black Sword to his right hand.

The Minotaur swings and Jack deflects the blow with the edge of the Black Sword. With his backswing, he rakes the Minotaur’s side, carving open a shallow cut over the monster’s ribs. He can feel strength pour from the Minotaur through the Black Sword, pouring into him like a magic potion. The Minotaur staggers slightly.

Twice more the Minotaur attacks, and both times Jack succeeds in dodging or deflecting the blow. The second time he whips the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar free again and flings it in the Minotaur’s face. With the monster briefly distracted Jack dashes forward and plunges the Black Sword deep into his enemy’s belly. This is no minor scratch, such as the Long Sword might have inflicted. The Black Sword strikes deep, drinking power from the wounded Minotaur and channeling it to Jack.

The monster shudders and begins to change. Before his eyes, the bovine features retreat and the body shrivels. In a moment, it is his own double that stands before him, impaled on the cruel weapon, black hate burning in his eyes. The battle-axe falls from nerveless fingers and skitters off the stone into the roaring flames below. Jack gazes an instant longer into the murderous eyes of his shadow and then rips the Black Sword free. The body of his dark double topples silently off the platform, the fire-bright blaze of his eyes fading into the dim haze of death.

Turn to 35.