The Magic Beans – Page 69



The door opens into a small, dim chamber lined with green stone.

Where (or for that matter, when) he is, Jack can only guess. The magical door could lead anywhere.

Before him rises a staircase consisting of two massive steps, ending in a landing near the ceiling of the chamber. As Jack leaps to the first step, a sibilant hiss echoes through the chamber. He draws his sword and braces himself before leaping to the final step.

Beyond the top step yawns a pit in the floor; below he can see a night sky filled with stars. Wherever he is, it is clearly still part of the Cloud Kingdom, but here it is night – he must be on the other side of the world! In the center of the pit floats a narrow pillar of stone, around which is coiled a huge three-headed snake!

There is no room for Jack to leap over the beast; it would snap him out of the air in an instant. And certainly there is no space on the precipitous pillar to stand and engage it with his sword. Jack draws the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar and flings it at the nearest head. The Snake is not bright; the head snaps at the dagger with the full force of its powerful jaws. For an instant, Jack is elated – has the head just slain itself? But the Snake rears up and spits the dagger out with such force Jack must dodge his own weapon. The Dancing Dagger of Danzibar whirls back into his hand, but now Jack hesitates to throw it again. Can it be that the monster is invulnerable?

Now Jack remembers the inscription on the Cloud Key: Gold, Silver, Copper. The answer to the dilemma is suddenly apparent.

If you know the answer to the riddle of the Cloud Key, turn to 71.

If not, turn to 49.