Level 7

I dropped. I had no choice, but I kept hoping for a miracle. And one occurred. How far I fell, I know not, but I was able to grab onto a ledge using all my strength. My arms felt as if they had been pulled from their sockets by wild horses, but I held on. My elbows and knees were skinned and my palms bled, but I did not let go. With the last of my strength, I pulled myself up, then rested a few moments.

I was back in the dungeons - in the marble and serpentine level, from appearances. My spirits sank. But I was alive, I told myself. There was still hope.

1. I had no time for rest or recovery. Not while the sand in the hourglass continued to drain away my future and that of my Princess. I found that the path west was a dead end, so I jumped across to the east and headed in that direction.

2. Immediately I came to another guard. I forced him back into the blade trap behind him. He died horribly,cut in half by the deadly teeth.

3. As I ran through the smoky hallway, I felt the floor give way, but I was long past it before I heard the stones crash below. I continued east.

4. I found myself at a dead end, but a loose ceiling stone fell at my prodding and I climbed up the gap it revealed.

5. I passed another blade trap and proceeded east.

6. Another guard accosted me. He was thin and wore a long mustache. He seemed sure of himself, but I handled him, though I was forced to parry several well-placed blows. With him lying on the cold stone behind me, I continued to the east.

7. I found a healing potion at the dead end of this passage, then dropped down.

8. As I headed to the east, I stepped on a plate and saw a gate lifting up ahead.

9. Past the near gate I could see a second one, and two more pressure plates, one clearly for opening the far gate and the other, no doubt, to close it. There was also a spike trap just past the closing plate.

Carefully I stepped onto the first pressure plate, then inched carefully forward. Before I could step on the closing plate, I jumped across. My leap took me over the plate and the spikes at once. I thanked Allah again for my great leaping ability.

10. Once through the second gate, I found myself standing at the edge of a precipice. The gap ahead was too wide even for me. I had no choice but to lower myself down the edge, let go, and catch onto the ledge below me. I could hear the gate closing to the west. I hurried in that direction.

9. The twin gates were already closing, but just in time I noticed that a closing plate lay ahead of me. I jumped quickly over it and ducked under the second gate before it closed.

8. Up ahead was a gap too wide from a standing jump. I ran back to the now closed gate and ran fast as I could, jumping off the eastern edge and catching myself on the other side. Then I continued through the gate leading to the west.

Translator's Note:
At this point in the Prince's journey many scholars lean toward an alternate translation that can be traced to the late 14th century. It is of little consequence, as it only recounts a slightly different route, but I have decided to include if so that you, the reader, can know all versions of the story.

11. dropped down a second an even lower path and ran to the west.

12. I came to a small platform surrounded with inset spike traps. I jumped across, catching myself on the far wall so I wouldn't fall into the spikes, and continued west.

13. More spikes. I walked carefully through them and kept going.

I4. Now I could only climb upward. Eventually I came to the top and there was a guard awaiting me.

Here the alternate route rejoins the main path.


15. I could see that the best way to go was up and west, but a guard stood in my way. I barely had time to get to the passage where he stood when he was on me. In desperation I struck repeatedly, driving him back before he could push me over the edge. I pressed the attack, parrying often, but striking blow after blow until I had defeated him, It had been a close call, but I was still alive.

4. I next came to a wall and climbed down two landings. Two blade traps stood before me and I carefully stepped past them.

3. I ran past two closely spaced gates and continued west.

2. For a change, nothing sprang out at me. No guards bothered me for some time. I continued to head west.

1. I came to the end of the passage. An unfamiliar potion lay before me. It smelled unlike the others - neither sweet nor sour. Should I taste it? I decided to try it, though the risk was great.

The potion made me feel nauseous, but once the feeling passed, I felt very light, as if I were floating above the ground. I realized that this might be useful, as the only way to continue on my path was down.

I lowered myself over the edge and looked below me. I could see a doorway flanked by two torches. I dropped. I floated like a feather. The potion had indeed helped me, I realized that I could have just jumped from the ledge.

16. Once I landed, I ran to the pressure plate at the western edge of the room and stepped on it, hoping that it would open the exit door. It did not. It did open a gate to the east, and so I headed in that direction.

On the other side of the gate, I stepped on a pressure plate and looked back to see the exit door opening. I should have gone immediately to the door and climbed the stairs, but I became curious to see what was up ahead. Just for a moment, I told myself.

17. I ran quickly to the east, leaping as I went to move even faster than normal.

18. Soon I came to the end of the passage. My curiosity was rewarded! A Life Enhancement Potion. I drank the thing down and felt its special boon to my system.

17. I returned again leaping to gain speed. I thought I saw the gate to the west already closing.

16. I made it just in time to duck under the closing gate. It had been a close wall! I headed for the doorway and the stairs leading up.

Translator's Note:
There are conflicting accounts of the Prince's return to the western gate. Some have it as recounted above. Others say he did not make it back in time. I have included one of the more popular versions here, for completeness.

16. When I returned to the door leading out, I was too late. The gate had closed and I couldn't get it open again, There was nothing to do but to retrace my steps and try to find a way out.

17. I tried the upper passage I had ignored previously. It headed east.

18. I kept going east, over some falling floor stones.

19. I came at last to an open gate that hung precariously over a precipice. I jumped across, hitting a hidden plate that closed the gate behind me. I climbed up and jumped across a gap to the east.

14. I found myself at the bottom of a series of ledges.

15. Climbing to the top, I discovered the place where I had fought the guard who almost got me.

1. I ran back the way I had come until I returned to the ledge where the floating potion had been. Of course there was no more potion, but I knew I could survive a drop of a few stories with only minor damage. It was the only way. I hung over the edge and dropped.

16. I landed with a thud and felt something twist in my ankle. But I was alive. I ran, despite the pain, up the stairs and away from one more hideous part of the Sultan's dungeons, and hopefully one step closer to the Princess.

Continue to Chapter 3: The Dungeon (Level 8)
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