The Magic Beans – Page 41



Like the entrance shaft, pipe number 5487-9010 leads first down, then horizontally, and then up again.

Perilous Jack finds himself in a vast hall lined with marble pillars. A trio of pipes stand nearby, and atop the highest stands the Ice Wizard, eyeing him with no evidence of surprise. Jack is astonished to note that the Ice Wizard in every way resembles the Druid, with the single exception of skin color, for while the Druid has the skin of an ordinary human, his double’s skin is icy blue.

“Hello, Jack. I have been expecting you,” the Ice Wizard says, and his voice is likewise identical to the Druid’s, although several degrees colder. “Yes, I know who you are and why you have come. My brother and I have been linked since birth; a curse I hope to relieve myself of some day when he summons the courage to attempt my murder again.”

Without waiting for a response, the Ice Wizard gestures, and a sheet of ruthlessly cold flames leap up in the space separating the pipes on which they stand. Jack recoils from the tremendous cold radiating from the blue-white flames, and the Ice Wizard wastes no time gesturing and chanting to perform his next spell.

Before Jack can move to interfere, the Ice Wizard’s spell is complete. He gestures, and a crackling shield of ice appears before him, which quickly erupts into billowing cold flames. The flames roar forth with the voice of a volcano and as they fly toward Jack, they take on the shape of a blue-white dragon, jaws gaping to freeze and swallow him whole.

Swiftly swallowing the Fire Flower, Jack flings a fireball toward the gaping maw, imagining that the fireball will sail down the ice dragon’s throat and detonate, destroying the magical construct entirely. Instead the dragon ducks its head and butts the fireball with the icy scales covering its nose. The fireball sails off course and detonates harmlessly against the ceiling.

The neck of the dragon reaches its limit, and now it snaps at Jack with bitterly cold fangs. The Ice Wizard remains concentrating on the sheet of ice from which his construct emerges – evidently it requires a steady influx of magical power.

As Jack dodges the snapping fangs and parries the butting head with his sword, he has a sudden inspiration. He leaps high into the air and flings a second fireball, this time angling his throw so that it strikes the field of blue-white energy surrounding the Ice Wizard. The field absorbs the blow and darkens in the area where the flame has damaged it.

Jack bares his teeth at the wizard and leaps again, casting a second fireball. Again the field of energy is damaged.

Thus begins a slow and difficult process, as Jack struggles to obtain a clear shot at the Ice Wizard’s magical aura, and the Ice Wizard maneuvers his construct to prevent him. But as the fight progresses, the Ice Wizard’s resources begin to fade, and the ice dragon he has created slowly withdraws into the field of blue-white energy. Now largely unopposed, Jack hurls fireball after fireball into the field until the magic of the Fire Flower is expended. The field collapses, revealing the Ice Wizard again, and the cold flames between them die away.

Howling in frustration, the Ice Wizard raises his staff for another assault, but Jack is already across the room. Before the first word of a spell can cross the Ice Wizard’s lips, Perilous Jack’s sword is at his throat.

Remove a Fire Flower from the Pouch of Ghrul.

If you think Jack should kill the Ice Wizard, turn to 33.

If you think he should bargain with him, turn to 19.