The Magic Beans – Page 21

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magic-beans-21

Jack uncorks the Vial of Pheromone and gingerly waves the dauber in the air below the nearest Piranha Plant.

The result is immediate and shocking; he can barely get the bottle sealed and stowed away in the Pouch of Ghrul before the plant monster has detached itself from the inner surface of the GreenShaft and dropped to the mound. An instant later the Piranha Plant is upon him, jaws snapping and leaf-arms curling to embrace him. Jack dodges the monster’s embrace and severs the biting blossom-head from the sinuous body with a well-timed sweep of his sword. He has bought himself only a momentary reprieve; the other Piranha Plants are beginning to stir in their burrows as faint whiffs of the Pheromone drift down the plant-choked tunnel.

Overhead, Jack can see the dull sheen of the Warp Portal concealed the GreenShaft recently vacated by the Piranha Plant. He wastes no time passing through.

He emerges on a flat stone platform overlooking a small, roughly star-shaped chamber in the earth. Almost immediately the paralytic tentacles of a Roper lash toward his face. It is sheer luck that his sword is still in his hand from his conflict with the Piranha Plant; he raises the blade reflexively and severs the swinging tendrils before they can strike him. As he staggers back drawing his dagger, he glances up – and into the gaze of an Eye Fang. The hypnotic magic of the flower briefly captivates him, and his sword begins to slip from suddenly nerveless fingers. Ironically he is rescued by the Roper, which succeeds in striking him with its tentacles, snapping him from the Eye Fang’s trance. The paralytic poison begins to take hold. With arms suddenly heavy as lead weights, Jack drags an Antidote from the Pouch of Ghrul and pours it down a throat so stiff he can barely swallow.

The potion drives away the Roper’s poison and, with eyes firmly fixed to avoid the Eye Fang again, Jack flings the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar. While the dagger keeps the Roper occupied, Perilous Jack leaps to the platform in the center of the room and plunges his sword into the Roper’s body. The plant monster tumbles from the platform into a pool of water below – and into the embrace of two Neochus, who are more than happy to receive the meal.

From the corner of his eye Jack can see several more Eye Fangs and Dark Eyes sprouting from the ceiling of the chamber, their huge magical eyes turned attentively in his direction. He keeps his gaze low; as long as he does not look at them they are no threat.

On the platform recently vacated by the Roper are four treasure chests of moldering wood long gone gray in the humid environment of the cave. Inside is a motley assortment of treasure: great quantities of silver coins, an astonishing number of StarSteel, a few gems, and an odd weapon, no doubt greatly prized by the Druid: a Golden Sickle engraved with images of battling stag beetles. Jack stores the treasure in his pouch and returns to the previous chamber.

Add 2000 Silver, 70 StarSteel, 1 Ruby, 2 Diamonds, and the Golden Sickle to the Pouch of Ghrul. Remove the Vial of Pheromone.

If you think Perilous Jack should travel toward the left, turn to 23.

If you think he should travel to the right, turn to 37.