|Perilous Jack scrambles to pull a vial of Oxyale from the Pouch of Ghrul before his breath runs out.|
Meanwhile his darkvision-enchanted eyes adapt to the strange light suffusing the water. The watery chamber into which he has plunged is interspersed with columns and outcroppings of a curiously luminescent green stone, which provides enough light to see by. There is no point lingering below a GreenShaft he cannot possibly climb; Jack swims deeper into the chamber.
Almost immediately, he is attacked from two directions at once. His assailants are Caribes, giant carnivorous fish more typically associated with warm southern rivers. The fish, perhaps sluggish from the cooler water they inhabit now, are not especially aggressive, seeming to prefer to rush him and attempt lazy nips. He has little trouble fending them off as he swims through the chamber. However, he cannot help but notice every Caribe he passes turns to follow, and their numbers are growing. He has the distinct feeling the fish are herding him.
Ahead he sees another GreenShaft – perhaps the way out! The thought cheers him, as it is obvious he has chosen the wrong GreenShaft from the basement of the burning castle, and he is eager to return and choose again if he can.
As he nears the mouth of the GreenShaft, a long, sinuous figure emerges to block his path. She has the upper body of a sleek and beautiful human woman and the scaled tail of a fish – a Mermaid! She brushes back her long green hair and Jack cannot help but stare at her shapely nudity.
“You are out of your element here, surface man,” the Mermaid says. She eyes him languidly. “How do you breathe? Oxyale? It will not last you long. I want something from you. Give it to me and I will give you the power to breathe underwater for as long as you like.”
Jack considers, aware of the wall of Caribes behind him. “What is it you want?”
She draws nearer, eyes locked on his, and her beauty beguiles him. “A kiss, surface man. One kiss.”
Remove a vial of Oxyale from the Pouch of Ghrul.
If you think Jack should kiss the mermaid, turn to 56.