Level 3

1. As I entered the cavern, a door shut behind me, and I could see no way to open it again. Why was this so familiar? The cavern was cut from sandstone and some kind of reddish clay, and was lit by oil lamps set in small niches. The air was warm and humid. The doorway was solid and framed in metal. Adorning the upper corners of the door were sinister skulls of some creature much larger than a human. I had a distinctly unpleasant tingling in the back of my head as if something were watching me.

Which way to go? I could go east or west. A small alcove above and to the east seemed to lead nowhere, and my instinct for such things led me to explore it more carefully.

I climbed upon the ledge and jumped to test its integrity. A loose floor tile moved, but so did something above, in the ceiling. I jumped three times, and two loose floor tiles crashed simultaneously.

2. In the ceiling was a secret hole in which burned a small oil lamp. A familiar potion was there as well - a red healing potion. I drank it, though I felt no immediate need for it.

1. I decided to continue east, down a series of short ledges.

3. To the west, I saw the skeleton of some unfortunate visitor and decided to avoid that route. I found a stable path leading still to the east, and continued in that direction.

4. I accidentally stepped on a hidden pressure plate in the dirt floor of the cavern. A nasty, sharp dart hit me in the neck I and I felt a searing pain where it had buried itself in me. I looked carefully and spotted the little dart shooter and the pressure plate behind me. Looking just ahead, I noticed a similar pair of devices.

Of course, it had been too much to hope this would be a simple cavern. Whoever had created this underground labyrinth had wanted to make life difficult, and short, for whomever found themselves here. Carefully, I jumped over these new traps and continued to the east.

5. Still heading east, I stepped on a pressure plate, not seeing any dart shooters around, and saw a stone gate rise into the ceiling ahead of me. But before I investigated the gate, I decided to examine the ledge just above me.

I climbed onto the ledge and jumped up to hit the ceiling. Once again, the floor gave way. I just had time to climb back down from the ledge before half the ceiling fell where I had just stood! I climbed into the gap.

6. I found another secret room. To the east was a potion, but when I went to get it, a dart flew over my head. The shooter was in the eastern corner of the room. If I should try to climb up to get the potion, the shooter would get me.

I saw that a loose ledge hung over the dart shooter and I devised a plan to disarm it. I jumped across the gap I had climbed through and stood facing away from it. Then I jumped to dislodge the loose ledge, climbed quickly back through the gap, then up again.

When the ledge fell, it crushed the dart shooter and opened the way to the potion, which was of the healing variety. Drinking it made the sting in my neck go away, and I felt better. I climbed back through the gap again.

5. I jumped another narrow chasm to reach the gate I had seen previously. It had closed while I was getting the potion, but I landed on another pressure plate that opened it again, I continued to the east.

7. I stepped on a pressure plate and heard the gate behind me crash to a close. I didn't want to go back anyways so I paid it no mind. The path ended and I had to drop down a short distance into another area of the cavern.

8. Great columns of sandstone held up the landings. They looked anything but solid to me, but for the most part they bore my weight. The air had grown stuffier and hotter as I descended into the cavern. Faintly sulfurous fumes irritated my throat as I breathed.

I jumped from the third landing to the second, then carefully across to the west, where I had spotted a pressure plate and what looked like another stonegate. As I had suspected, the gate opened when I landed on the plate. Below the plate I spied some round holes in the wall, and guessed (correctly, I later discovered) that something nasty would emerge from the holes if I were to drop next to the wall. Instead, I headed west, through the gate.

9. As I stepped through the gate, it closed behind me. But I had discovered one of those special potions I call Life Enhancement Potions. These very magical potions have a remarkable effect on me, and I drank this one down gladly, despite its rather unpleasant taste.

There was nothing else of interest in this area, other than a completely uninviting pool of bubbling lava which I determined to avoid at all costs. I spotted a pressure plate near the edge of the path, and when I stepped on it, the door opened again. Apparently these plates operated as switches. Step on one the first time; it opened the gate. Step on it again; it closed.

8. There being no other direction to try, I headed to the east.

10. Another pool of lava blocked my path, and beyond it a pile of bones that looked vaguely human. I thought I heard some noise coming from it.

I walked carefully to the edge of the lava pool and jumped across. Yes. The bones did rattle. Then, without any more warning, the skeleton rose from the hard-packed Boor and brandished a very convincingly deadly sword.

Now, I had fought skeletons before, and so was not more than a little disconcerted by this development. I swiftly drew my own weapon and, in three quick strokes, reduced the monster once again to the state I had found it in originally - a pile of bones. I hastened from the room however, not completely convinced that the creature was truly dead or defeated.

11. As I entered another area of the cavern, I heard the rattle of bones behind me. The fiend had only been playing dead (and it was a very good act, I must say). I whirled around and took care of the creature again. This time, I climbed quickly onto a small ledge, inadvertently activating a pressure plate. I saw a gate did open across a wide cavern.

I jumped from the ledge to the gate, and continued to the east.

12. Another pressure plate closed the gate behind me as I dropped to a lower ledge.

Translator's Note:
Here we come to one of numerous discrepancies among the many surviving accounts of the Prince's second adventure. As usual, when I have found merit in more than one account, I have included them to let you, the reader, make your own choice as to which is the more convincing.

Version 1 - The Short Route

13. I dropped into another area and immediately headed east. As I ran, loose floor sections dropped behind me.

14. I came to the edge of the path I was on and saw an exit door just below. A falling floor section had apparently dropped on a pressure plate, and I saw a gate opening to the east.

I carefully lowered myself to the level of the door and ran through the open gate.

15. The path dead-ended at a pool of lava, but I climbed up two landings and backtracked to the west again.

14. I found a pressure plate, stepped upon it, and heard the sound of stone grinding on stone. Feeling sure that this meant the exit had opened, I retraced my steps.

Translator's Note:
In some versions of the Prince's story, he does not run along the upper path when entering the exit room. Entering from the bottom, he does not break the floor section that opens the gate, but simply opens it by walking on the pressure plate. However when he reaches the at alcove where the exit pressure plate is located, the gate has closed again. In these alternate accounts, the Prince is able to dislodge the distant floor section and cause it to fall, reopening the gate below. Whether this is a credible account or not, it is found in several early translations.

15. I cautiously climbed down the landings, being careful not to slip and fall into the lava pool, then headed west.

14. I found the exit door open and inspected it. A stairway cut from the native rock led upward.

Version 2 - The Long Route

13. When I dropped into another area, I noticed that there were several routes I could take. I decided to explore the path leading to the west.

16. I came to a sheer ledge hanging over a huge, open cavern. I peered down into the chasm below and saw a potion bottle some distance below. It had the distinctive shape of a Life Enhancement Potion, and I decided to investigate. Hanging carefully over the edge, I swung my body toward the eastern wall and dropped.

17. I landed on the narrow ledge and drank the potion quickly. Refreshed, I dropped down (there being no other way to go) and landed near a pressure plate.

A skeleton suddenly came to life. I had noticed it before, but hoped it would not be one of those undead types. I was not to get my wish, however.

The skeleton closed upon me quickly, and I drew my sword just in time to fend off its attack. It was more skilled than the last of its kind I had met, and I had to fight hard. I found that I could strike it just as it began its thrust toward me.

When I had defeated the skeleton, I quickly stepped on the pressure plate in the corner of the cavern, then ran quickly through the gate. It closed behind me.

If you wish, you can trade places with the skeleton quickly, force it onto the pressure plate, then put the sword away and run through the open gate. Keep running and you'll step on a plate to close the gate and trap the skeleton on the other side!

18. As I ran forward, I came to a ledge. Telltale holes in the wall ahead alerted me to their hidden danger, and I climbed carefully to the next landing. Then I jumped over a pressure plate to avoid a dart shooter and continued to the west.

19. I climbed another ledge and could see what looked to be a healing potion below me. I saw no way to get back up if I were to drop down into the pit, so turned my attention upward.

I spotted a ledge leading upward and climbed.

20. I was on a firm pathway leading west. I continued in that direction, there being little choice.

21. I avoided another dart shooter then climbed a pair of landings, continuing to the west.

22. The path came to an end, but I saw a gap above me and I climbed into it.

23. As I climbed toward the top landing, I could see faint cracks around a part of the floor above me. I climbed onto the eastern ledge first. If I had tried to climb onto the western ledge, I would have fallen, I'm sure. Finally, I jumped across and landed on a pressure plate, which opened the gate leading west. However, my ears were attuned to certain sounds, and I could hear the sound of another gate opening even further west. Knowing something of the diabolical traps people were prone to devise, I ducked and hopped quickly under the gate as it rose, then ran as fast as I could. The gate crashed shut behind me.

24. Almost too late, I noticed the wide chasm that loomed ahead. I could see a gate on the other side and jumped without thinking, catching the opposite ledge with my fingertips. I pulled myself up quickly. The gate was already closing! Carved from solid stone, it looked to weigh several tons; it would have crushed me. I hopped out from under the gate just in time. Taking a deep breath, I continued to the west.

Translator's Note:
In some versions, the Prince stops short at the edge of the chasm and retraces his steps. He opens the first gate again, then steps on the first pressure plate to reopen the far gate. Forewarned, he is able to make the jump across the chasm and pull himself under the gate before it closes.

25. The exit! As I dropped to the lower level, a floor collapsed beneath me, apparently triggering a pressure plate. I was hurt a little, and I realized I should have been more careful, but I barely noticed the pain. TIhe doorway slid open with a stone-on-stone grating, revealing a stairway leading up.

Continue to Chapter 5: The Shadow & the Flame (Level 4)
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