The Magic Beans – Page 14



As the Earth Elemental bears down on him, Perilous Jack suddenly recalls the words of his friend, the wizard Dark Simon.

“The Elements are perfectly balanced, one against the other, and they are perfectly opposed, as well. Wind tears at Earth, Water quenches Fire, and so on.” The use of the Paper Fan he found in the Snake Cave is suddenly apparent. He draws the Fan from his pouch and snaps it open.

Sensing the presence of its rival element, the Paper Fan literally leaps from Jack’s hand and launches itself toward the Elemental, waving furiously. A terrific wind howls through the chamber, tearing chunks of soil and stone from the body of the Elemental, which raises its arms in a feeble gesture of self-defense. It is no use; the power of the Fan is irresistible. In moments, the Elemental is torn apart, and the Fan folds itself again and falls into Jack’s outstretched hand.

As the Fan falls, Jack notices that one of the dragons adorning its surface is gone, only blank white paper remaining. Clearly the Fan may only be used so many times. Jack tucks the Fan away into his pouch and examines the CacheStone left undefended by the death of the Elemental.

He strikes the surface of the CacheStone with his StarSteel Hammer and it opens, revealing a triangular piece of alien steel, such as the Old Ones used to build their odd structures during the Emerald Dynasty. It is a shard only, having been broken – the gods only know how – off a larger piece, but it is heavily engraved with tiny, precise lines and circles. It could be a map, or a set of machine schematics, he does not know, but the fact of its great antiquity means it is considerably valuable.

If he already has another Shard like this one, he will discover that the two appear to connect, forming a larger part of a whole, although the exact mechanism of connecting the disks is not obvious.

If he has two Engraved Shards already, he will discover that the three appear to connect, forming a circular disk. All the pieces of the item are collected at this point, but Jack still cannot determine its purpose or how to connect the pieces.

Although the Engraved Shard is an exciting find, by virtue of its strangeness and antiquity, if for no other reason, it is not the reward he sought by taking this path – and now he must traverse this section of the cavern a second time, to return to the GreenShaft where he entered.

Add the Engraved Shard to the Pouch of Ghrul and make a note beside the Paper Fan that one less dragon remains.

Turn to 23.