Once again, I saw the Princess in my vision. She knelt to pet the white mouse. If I could believe what I was seeing, perhaps the mouse told her that I still lived and gave her some hope.

Level 9

1. I was still in the dungeon. The walls and floor were made of sandstone and brown granite. It was a depressing place. Perhaps the guard had been right. Perhaps the worst was yet to come.

I could see only a dead end to the east as I came up the stairs, so I headed to the west.

2. I stepped on a pressure plate and could see a gate open ahead of me. A blade trap blocked the way, and I approached it with caution I stepped through the blade trap carefully, for I had spotted a closing plate just beyond it.

I jumped over the closing plate and through the gate. In hindsight, I realized that I probably could have run full speed through that hallway, jumping at the last moment - through the blades and the gate in one leap. However, I was cautious this time. And perhaps caution was best in this case.

3. I came to a wall and climbed up two landings.

4. The path led back to the east, so I jumped across a small gap and headed that way.

5. I had already found the exit door! It was in a cavernous room with great columns supporting twin balconies. Dim torches burned on either side of the doorway and above each balcony. I could see no way to reach the upper area, so I continued to the east. As I ran, I stepped on a pressure plate, hoping it would open the door. But in that hope, I was to be disappointed. I did notice, however, that the gate leading from the western balcony opened.

6. I stood facing another guard on the opposite side of a blade trap.

"If you run, I will not kill you," I told him.

He laughed. "And what kind of man would I be if I ran?" he inquired.

"A live one," I answered

The guard brandished his sword m reply. "I will see you carved in two, and I will have the last laugh," he said after a moment.

"I am not here for laughter," I said as I stepped through the blades and drew my weapon. And I did not laugh as I fought. He practically walked into my blade, time after time, until he could do no more.

"You were right, of course," he said as he lay there. "I should have run. But someday you, too, will meet your match."

I left him and continued to run to the east.

7. I came to a sheer wall on the other side of a gap. I could go up or down, but having climbed up once already, I knew that going down would send me back where I had started. So I climbed. I drank a healing potion on the way, then continued climbing.

8. Finally, I reached a place where a gate barred my passage west and a gap stood between me and the way east. A higher path stretched to the east just above my head, and I decided to try that route I climbed up and ran to the east as floor stones fell behind me. The way had been less stable than I had imagined.

9. A guard jumped out at me suddenly and I drew my sword and attacked in one motion. I drove the man back, and to my knowledge he never uttered a sound as he fell backward and impale himself on the spikes below.

I spotted a pressure plate across the gap where the guard had fallen, and jumped across to it. To the west, I heard a gate opening, I jumped back, dropped down, and ran through another blade trap.

8. I continued running and hurdled the gap to reach the already closing gate. But in my rush to get through the gate I missed the hidden closing plate next to it. I was forced to retrace my steps, back to the pressure plate. This time when I jumped the gap, I jumped again immediately-over the closing plate and through the gate.

10. I faced a steep wall lined with small alcoves. I could jump across to the wall, but then had to decide which way to go - up or down? I decided to climb down first.

6. A passage headed west and I walked along it. Just ahead, I could see a torch and then darkness.

5. I stepped out onto the eastern balcony above the exit door! I walked right to the edge, and as I walked, one of the floor stones loosened and fell. It fell directly on the pressure plate below the one that opened the gate to the east! But the gap was too far to jump, so I retraced my steps and went back to the wall.

6. I climbed back up the way I had come.

10. I continued to climb until I reached the top.

11. A gate blocked my passage west, but I saw a pressure plate to the east. I jumped across and, as I suspected, it opened the gate. I jumped back across and through the gate, continuing my passage west.

12. I stood on a long bridge, stretching over a wide chasm. At the other end of the bridge stood a guard. I ran forward, trying to intimidate him, and felt the floor give way. One stone fell, and I heard the crash a few moments later. By that time, I was engaged in another battle, swords clashing and ringing through the cavernous space.

We exchanged the usual pleasantries as we fought, but in the end, the result was the same. I ran on to the west.

13. I jumped across a small gap and landed in a darkened alcove. Below and to the east I thought I saw a potion. Upon further inspection, it turned out to be a healing potion.

I returned to the alcoves along the western wall and climbed upward.

14. I ran quickly to the west and, coming to the end of the path, jumped across, grabbing onto a pressure plate on the other side. Below me, I heard a gate open. I hung onto pressure plate a moment, then dropped down and ran through the now open gate.

15. I came upon an enclosed area and stepped up to the gap. Below, I could see more torches, but I explored the upper shelf before starting down. In my explorations, I found some loose ceiling stones, one of which fell on me, causing a nasty headache and a small cut above the eyebrow.

I climbed up through the gap the falling stone had left and discovered a potion next to the eastern wall. It melled quite innocuous, neither vile nor delicious, and I had no idea what to think of it. I drank it, and immediately wished I had refrained.

Hamza, have you ever had occasion to remark that if your world had turned upside down? Well, you've probably never experienced the literal fact of it! With a dizzying flash, I suddenly saw everything as if in an inverted lens. I stumbled forward - west, I guessed, though nothing made sense. I could only hope that the effect of this potion would soon pass. I realized that I should not have drunk it. If I had had this decision to make over again, I would have skipped it.

16. I spotted another potion hanging from the ceiling, at least so it appeared to my confused senses. But then it was the ceiling upon which I now walked! I inspected the potion and wondered that the contents did not spill when I unstoppered it. It was a Life Enhancement Potion, and I drank this one down gratefully, its contents eerily flowing upward to my mouth.

I had hoped that the effect of the inversion potion would be reversed, but I was wrong, I continued to the west, "climbing" down. I was thoroughly disoriented.

17. By the time I made it down to the bottom of a series of landings, I had begun to get used to this inverted world. I spotted yet another potion. It was similar to the one that had inverted my world. I drank it, thinking it would correct the problem. I was right.

With the world in its rightful place, I climbed back up the way I had come and hastened back to the room where I had discovered the Life Enhancement Potion.

16. I ran back to the east.

15. Climbing down again, I dropped into the gap I had previously bypassed.

18. Two landings down, I saw a passage leading east. I jumped a gap and headed that way to see what lay ahead.

19. I ran through two blade traps...

20. ...and discovered a healing potion at a dead end. I realized that this was a false path, and since I had no need of healing (having just drunk the wondrous life enhancer), I retraced my steps.

18. I let myself down the western wall, three landings.

21. At the bottom, I found two closed gates and one blade trap. This was a simple puzzle. I could see a pressure plate beyond the blade trap and another beyond the lower gate. Stepping through the trap I triggered the first gate, then ran through it to another pressure plate which triggered the upper gate. I quickly ran through it and on to the east.

22. I ran across another pressure plate that appeared to do nothing, then through another blade trap.

4. A guard stood facing away from me as I neared him, however he turned quickly as I drew my sword. We greeted each other with the usual insults, but the fight was typically one-sided and I dispatched him quickly. I continued to the east.

5. I passed the guard and stepped out on the western balcony above the exit door As I stepped to the edge, I triggered a pressure plate and saw below me that the door opened! I had only to hang off the edge of the balcony and drop down. I was quickly up the stairs as the door slid closed behind me.

Continue to Chapter 3: The Dungeon (Level 10)
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