The Magic Beans – Page 23



Perilous Jack lands on the first mound, almost in the root-arms of a Mandrake.

With the Rune Sword in one hand and dagger in the other, Jack dives furiously into the fray, slashing away root-arms and dangling Beanstalks alike with devastating sweeps of his arms. In moments he discovers an unforeseen advantage in his surroundings; the profusion of Beanstalks hampers his opponents as much as himself, and being rather slow plant-creatures rather than an agile warrior, they are often unable to avoid being caught up in the coils of a severed Beanstalk – or being dragged off the mound entirely, and into the pits on either side. Soon Jack has incorporated this technique, leaping up and slashing at Piranha Plants as they snatch at him from their GreenShaft homes, and cutting away Beanstalks to entangle and dislodge the Mandrakes below. The work is arduous, but Jack is winning.


In this manner he traverses three earthen mounds before coming to the end of the row of GreenShafts infested with Piranha Plants. Across the final pit, a much lower platform waits, occupied by a pair of Ropers. But Jack has no intention of facing even more combat, after the hard fight he has just won, especially knowing that the Druid awaits. He takes to the vines instead, clambering and swinging among the Beanstalks until he has passed over the heads of the Ropers. Only once does his grip falter, and he lands on a mound of soft soil directly at the feet of a Roper. The plant monster lashes at him with paralytic tendrils, but the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar is already loose in the air before Jack’s boots can sink into the humus. The Dagger severs the nearest pair of tendrils and Jack finishes the job with his sword.

Jack takes to the vines again, until the Beanstalks thin out and he sees a small pool ahead. Across the pool, standing calmly upon a hummock, waits the Druid.

Jack lands on the opposite bank, eyeing the surface of the pool warily, for he suspects a trap – Neochus, most likely.

“Do you have my Solvent?” the Druid asks.

If Jack has the Universal Solvent, turn to 51.

If he does not, turn to 39.