The Magic Beans – Page 01



It is with a heavy heart that Perilous Jack watches Serra the True and Red Tom depart by way of the Moon’s Path.

Their company and counsel – not to mention their magic and sword arms – would be very welcome on the perilous journey ahead, but their duties lie elsewhere. For a moment Perilous Jack wonders if he has chosen the correct path – should he risk the future of all Malkat to rescue a single girl? But his resolve hardens. Princess Vasilisa is a unique creature, powerful in her own way, and her loss would be a loss for all of Malkat.

Thus reassured of his purpose, Perilous Jack tightens his grip on the Rune Sword and turns to leave. From the darkness more undead warriors emerge, their features highlighted by the flickering of the Will-O’Wisps. The fight is not over yet.

If Perilous Jack, intent on his swordplay, could guess what greater battle raged in the clouds overhead, he would give no further thought to the pitiful dead. The darkness of the Nightcrystal is spreading, and not only a common darkness that makes men grope with hands and feet, but a spiritual darkness as well, a welcoming haven for the monsters that dwell in the cold spaces beyond the air of Malkat. Already the Cosmic Horrors that stalk the vacuum have taken note of the blight spreading across the face of the Mushroom Kingdom.

And not only the good-hearted folk of Malkat have need to fear. Even as Perilous Jack trades sword strokes with the guardians of a long-dead Baron, the wizards of The Cloak, a dark and fearsome magical cabal, do desperate battle with a creature of the outer darkness. They had thought to summon something smaller, something more tractable, but the foul influence of the Nightcrystal has warped their magic to its own purposes. And so they fling their mightiest spells, hoping it will be enough.

Perilous Jack defeats his foes and travels on, unaware of the ghastly conflict overhead, and mercifully so, for the sight of such horror might well shake the courage of even so bold a hero.

Turn to 79.