The Magic Beans – Page 66



Jack and Tynplyt travel on through the Red Ghurka Territory, avoiding GreenShafts marked with the centipede medallion wherever they find them.

After another mile or two, they suddenly encounter a swarm of Goblins, evidently fleeing for their lives. The fierce little monsters pay no heed to the Death Claw, even dashing well within range of its claws in their efforts to escape whatever terror pursues them. Whatever it is, evidently it is worse than a massive construct with eight wicked claws.

Moments later, Perilous Jack and Tynplyt have occasion to learn what could be more terrifying to Goblins than a Death Claw. A massive bovine shape leaps to block their path, snorting with fury. A pair of tiny wings adorn the creature’s back, looking ridiculous and useless, but as the creature bounds forward to attack, the wings propel it along with astonishing speed. It is a Catoblepas, one of the most feared entries in any adventurer’s bestiary. In addition to its massive bulk, tearing horns, sharp hooves, serrated fangs, and power of flight – as if these advantages were not enough – the Catoblepas can also exhale a cloud of poisonous smoke capable of turning any who breath it into stone. Already a number of statues litter the countryside, testament to the fate of those wanderers who failed to flee the monster’s path in time.

The Catoblepas drives straight toward Tynplyt, and Jack wrenches levers inside the control center, eager to avoid coming to blows with this foe. Even a hero of his stature knows better than to tangle with so formidable a monster. But Tynplyt ignores his commands and fires off his grappling claws. The grapples tangle in the Catoblepas’s wings and the construct drags the huge bull-like monster crashing to earth. The Catoblepas vents a massive cloud of poison smoke in their direction, and Jack resigns himself to spend the rest of time as a statue. But he has forgotten what the Ice Wizard told him about Tynplyt – his air intakes are well-filtered. The poison gas is useless as long as Jack is inside the construct. Tynplyt drags the Catoblepas near and tears out the monster’s throat with his claws. The Catoblepas lashes out savagely with its iron hooves as life leaves its body, but the hooves are no match for Tynplyt’s thick hide.

When the cloud of poison smoke is dissipated, Jack clambers out of the construct and uses his StarSteel Hammer to strike open the CacheStones hovering over the place where the Catoblepas died. Each CacheStone contains a small treasure: a Diamond, a Fire Flower, a flask of Healing Potion, and an unusual weapon: a Scimitar with a strangely blackened blade. Jack wipes the soot from the blade, revealing shining metal beneath, but an instant later the steel is tarnished again. He shrugs, unwilling to perform further experiment on a weapon that must be magical. The sword fits ill in his hand – it is too small and light – so he stores it away in the Pouch of Ghrul.

Perilous Jack climbs back inside the Death Claw, and they continue on their way.

Add 1 Diamond, 1 Fire Flower, 1 Potion of Healing, and the Sooty Scimitar to the Pouch of Ghrul.

Turn to 85.