The Magic Beans – Page 51



“I have the Universal Solvent.”

“And the Ice Wizard?” the Druid asks anxiously. “You’ve slain him, I presume?”

Jack shrugs. “I am no assassin. I have Universal Solvent and the Red Bead; our bargain included no other price.”

The Druid nods, but says nothing. Instead he draws a pouch from his belt and holds it up where Jack can see it. From this distance it appears to be bulging with fingertip-sized beans. “Magic Beans,” he says.

“Enough to reach the cloud castle of a Giant?” Jack asks. The Druid nods. Jack draws the vial of Universal Solvent and the Red Bead from his pouch and holds them up where the Druid can see. The Druid peers across the dim chamber and nods his satisfaction. He gestures, and the surface of the pool begins to bubble and froth. Great mats of vegetation rise from the floor of the pool, forming a series of solid-looking stepping stones across the surface.

The Druid crosses his pool on the mats of vegetation and joins Jack on the near side. He gestures behind them, toward the GreenShafts hanging from the ceiling of the cave.

“Come, I have something to show you,” he says.

He stops beneath the third GreenShaft and gestures, drawing forth the resident Piranha Plant with his magic. The plant creature releases its hold on the interior of the GreenShaft and drops to the earthen mound at their feet, slithering away like a snake. Inside the vacated GreenShaft Jack can see the faint gleam of a Warp Portal.

“Follow me,” the Druid says. Jack eyes him closely, but sees no duplicity. Still, to be safe he draws his sword and produces a Fire Flower from his pouch.

“The consequences of treachery,” he says, and gestures toward the Warp Portal. “Lead on.”

Turn to 53.