|“I don’t have time for this!” snarls Perilous Jack, and slashes at the Druid with his sword.|
To his surprise, the Druid moves not an inch to defend himself, and the blade slices with little resistance through his body. As the Druid’s body collapses, Jack sees the truth – he is not human at all, but a walking plant disguised with magic and clothing. The real Druid must be hiding elsewhere – Jack’s eyes flick to the Warp Portal in the GreenShaft on the wall. The Portal is still open . . .
As Perilous Jack prepares to leap the gap and dive through the Warp Portal, a sudden sharp sensation in his back checks his movement. He turns, mouth opening in disbelief at how easily he has been undone. A Neochu grins into his face with thorny teeth. Already the paralytic poison of its tendrils is stiffening his limbs.
Time passes. He rides the waves of pain, wondering when he will make the final plunge into death. Eventually the truth begins to dawn . . . with supreme effort he manages to move his head a little. Something is happening around the edges of his breastplate, there where the pain is worst. There is faint movement, a stirring beneath the fabric of his tunic. The fabric tears and a slender green shoot emerges, quickly unfolding into leaf. A bud swells on the tip of the shoot, opening to reveal a beautiful scarlet flower, which exhales heady perfume. The pain swells again, this time in his belly and his arms. He strains his eyes to see, unable to tear his gaze away from the horror as more and more tendrils burst from his all-too-living flesh.
This will take a long time. It will be agonizing. When it is finished, there will be nothing left of Perilous Jack but a mass of leaves and flowers. It will be beautiful . . .
And it will take a long, long time . . .
. . . or continue the adventure in Perilous Jack and the Land of Death.