The Magic Beans – Page 54



There is little point in attempting to escape while the Death Claw is behind him; the construct keeps Jack well within range of its grappling claws.

The machine-men lead Jack into what is clearly meant as an audience chamber. The chamber is vast and very dim; it suddenly dawns on Jack that he has seen no windows anywhere. The only light is from torches flickering in infrequent sconces.

Among the pillars of the chamber is a strange display: several unusual monsters frozen into blocks of ice, the blocks in turn stacked into an incomplete pyramid. The top space is empty.



Before Jack stands a tall pipe of silvery metal, from which a soft hiss emerges. A man rises up from the pipe, evidently propelled by some mechanism within. Jack is astonished to note that the man 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. His eyes glitter like chips of ice. The temperature in the chamber, already chilly, drops several degrees when the man appears. This phenomenon, coupled with the blocks of ice containing what can only be thought of as trophies, cement the likely profession of the man glaring down at him. He must be a wizard, likely specializing in the element of ice.

The Ice Wizard wastes no time on introductions or pleasantries. “Let me guess,” he intones in a frosty voice. “You are an assassin sent by that obnoxious Druid Nolurrag to kill me. Or else a thief sent by that obnoxious Druid Nolurrag to steal Universal Solvent from me. The chances are equal; which is it?”

Jack is suddenly, unpleasantly, aware of how near the constructs stand to him. He can hear their claws opening and closing. The PowaShroom is clenched in one hand; the Giant’s Knucklebones in the other. He is faced with a difficult choice.

If you think Jack should tell the Ice Wizard the truth, turn to 47.

If you think Jack should use the PowaShroom and try to fight his way out, turn to 56.

If you think he should rely on the magic of the Giant’s Knucklebones and lie to the Ice Wizard about his errand, turn to 4.