In a vision, I saw a familiar tree. I recognized it from the garden where I had first met the Princess. A leaf all from a branch, and another, then a voice spoke in my head, the same voice I had heard in my dreams on the ship, just before the storm hit. The voice said, "Prince, your bride is dying. When the last leaf falls, all will be lost. Waste no more time. Come to me."

I had known all along that great evil was at work back at the palace, but I had been busy staying alive and finding my way through this cavern. Now, I realized the immediate danger to my bride. I had to hurry. Once again, I had to save my Princess.

But who was this mysterious woman who called to me in my mind? Was she an agent of good or evil? Perhaps she was in league with Jaffar. On the other hand, if she were opposed to Jaffar, perhaps she would be able to help. First, I must find her.

"Where are you?" I asked, but received no response.

Level 5

1. I came to the top of the stairway and was disappointed to find I was still in the cavern. Would I never get out of this diabolical maze? As usual, the door shut behind me, and I surveyed my situation.

There seemed nowhere to go but to the east, so I started in that direction. I jumped over a dart shooter and ran under a low ceiling.

2. I came almost immediately to a thick earthen wall which blocked my path. I climbed onto the wall and jumped from it to the ground again. I had noticed a pile of bones on the ground, and it apparently noticed me as well.

The skeleton attacked quickly. I just had time to see that the earthen wall behind me was peppered with spike holes. The skeleton could defeat me simply by driving me backward! On the other hand, a pit of molten lava smoldered and bubbled behind the skeleton. So it was to be a contest of who could drive the other back.

Of course I won, Hamza, or I wouldn't be standing here now. The skeleton took one too many steps backward, slipped, and fell sizzling into the lava. The lava spattered and spit a moment, then a small cloud of smoke rose from the pit which then settled back into its usual boiling.

I carefully jumped over the lava pit and continued to the east.

3. I came upon a strange place that I immediately recognized as a trap room. There were two stone gates, the nearer of them standing open and the other closed. I saw a pressure plate in a dark alcove and another on the second landing, where the gates were.

I decided to test the lower plate first, and heard the sound of a gate opening as soon as I stepped on it. As quickly as I could, I climbed up to the second landing and started running. There was a dart shooter near the first gate, so I jumped before I reached the pressure plate there. I cleared the two gates and the gap between them (noticing the deadly spike holes in the pit below me). I landed on a pressure plate just beyond the two gates, which crashed closed behind me. But I was safely through. I ran to the east.

4. As I ran east, I noticed two dart shooters in a row, but no pressure beneath my feet. Instinctively I ducked, figuring (correctly, I might add) that the falling floor might trigger the dart.

After the dart had shot harmlessly over my head, I walked cautiously forward, past the second dart shooter As I ran over another loose floor, I ducked again, and again the dart flew over my head. I heard a distant sound, barely within hearing, of a gate opening. Curious, I decided to investigate. I turned around and headed back to the west, jumping over the two new pits in the broken floor.

3. I stepped on the pressure plate and both gates opened. I edged a step closer so I would clear the deadly spike pit, but not so close that I would land on the pressure plate across the gap and set off the dart shooter there. I jumped the gap, then the dart shooter plate, and continued to the east as the stone gate closed behind me.

2. I nearly made the mistake of my life, then, Hamza. In my hurry to investigate, I almost ran directly into the lava pit where the skeleton had fallen. I stopped just in time and jumped over the steaming pool.

Cautiously, I walked up to the thick wall. When I came close, the spikes sprang from the wall. But I had moved very carefully, and they did not hit me. I was able to climb the wall, the half-meter tall spikes surrounding me, and continue back to the entrance door.

1. It looked as if my curiosity might be rewarded. A stone gate to the west had opened. I know I had not seen it before. Jumping over the dart shooter pressure plate, I continued in that direction.

5. I could see nothing of interest in this small cavern, but there were several overhangs and landings to explore. I climbed up to the second landing and was about to run across the path, when luck or intuition stopped me, I tested the floor and found it loose. So instead of running to the west, I jumped over the loose floor. My caution was well-placed. Below the loose floor was a Life Enhancement Potion. Had I walked upon the floor, it would have fallen and destroyed the delicate jar.

Of course I drank the potion happily, then, seeing nothing else to interest me, I ran back to the east and into the door room again.

1. I retraced my steps to the east, jumping once again over the dart shooter plate.

2. The skeleton was gone, so I quickly jumped across the lava pit and ran onward.

3. When I got to the double gates, I realized that my previous strategy for getting through them would not be possible now. The falling Roor had destroyed the lower pressure plate. But I had no wish to receive another dart to the neck. One was enough.

After a moment of deliberation, I realized what I had to do. I carefully walked up to the edge of the pressure plate, then ducking down, I hopped onto it. As expected, the dart came flying with a 'snick' from the shooter barrel. But it sailed over my head and the gates began to open. I took a careful step forward to be sure I would clear the pit, then jumped across.

4. I quickly leapt over the two pits in the floor and continued to the east.

6. I found myself in a high-vaulted treasure room. There were several chests, great pottery jugs of wine and other delicacies... and a superb carpet laid out on the floor. I could see at a glance that it was a superior weave, with the shine of silk and the pattern of a master weaver.

Above, I could see a great round opening in the ceiling and daylight shining through it. The hole was closed by a metal covering, however I could see no way to get up there. After a few moments, I realized that there was nothing in this room that would serve me, and continued on to the east - the only path open to me.

7. I came into another strange cavern. I could see an upper path, but no way to reach it. Dropping to the lower landing, I saw only one possible path - down. I walked up to the edge of a great chasm and hung over the side to take a look.

I saw a potion on an eastern ledge, so I pulled myself up and jumped across, hoping it was a healing potion.

8. The potion was, indeed, of the healing variety, and I felt its refreshing balm as I drank it down.

I looked below me and noticed another ledge below and to the west. I decided to see if I could get to it, so I jumped across the chasm, landing painfully.

Again, I lowered myself over the edge and spotted another potion a on an eastern wall. I jumped across.

9. I landed on another ledge and drank the potion. Then I jumped cautiously onto a ledge to the west. There was a skeleton on it, and I sure didn't feel like fighting on so narrow a platform. However, the skeleton stayed dead and I finally lowered myself off the edge of the small outeropping and dropped safely to another, even narrower one below.

10. I jumped across the chasm, which had grown narrower down here, and continued to the east, now on more solid footing.

11. Stepping on a pressure plate caused another stone gate to rise, and I passed through it. I saw some dart shooters below my path and a pressure plate across a small gap. I decided to avoid the pressure plate, and putting my back to the stone gate, which had closed, I ran and jumped hard, just clearing the plate across the gap. I ran on to the east.

12. I could see a possible path leading upward, but I chose to stay on the lower path for the moment. I jumped carefully across a gap in the path, just hanging on to the opposite ledge. A lava pit bubbled slowly below and gave off sulfurous fumes. Once past the lava gap I jumped again, landing on the lower path, and ran onward.

13. I was in a high cavern with odd ledges everywhere. I climbed up the western set of ledges to see what I could find.

14. At the top of my climb, I found I a stone gate barring a path that led back to the west. I saw no pressure plate other than one across the cavern to the east. Jumping up to push on the ceiling next to the gate revealed no loose places, but I noticed it did jar a very loose section above the pressure plate to the east. I jumped three times, and, when the loose section did fall the gate opened as I had hoped. I walked carefully to the west.

15. I found a loose floor section just past the gate, and two pressure plates sat side by side ahead, then a wide gap, and an open gate. This looked like a trap of some kind, but I had no way to test the right way to go. I decided to jump over the loose floor, however, preferring to take my chances with the visible pressure plates and not with whatever was below the loose floor.

I heard the sound of a gate opening somewhere when I landed on the second pressure plate, but the gate west of me stayed open. I edged as close to the precipice as I could, then jumped across, caught myself on the ledge, and hauled myself up. I ran through the gate.

16. The path ended quickly after at the gate. I avoided a spike trap in the wall, and climbed up into a gap in the ceiling.

17. Climbing several landings, I came to a small promontory. At the top I found another Life Enhancement Potion. I drank it and felt the effects of its strange and invigorating magic.

An upper path led to the east, and, rather than attempt to double back on my former path, I headed that way.

18. I triggered a pressure plate and saw a stone gate open to the east. But my path lay across a wide gap and I realized that caution was called for here. I made my way to the edge of the chasm on the upper path and then jumped across, landing on a lower path, but safely on the other side of the deadly gap. However, by the time I had climbed back up, the door was already closing.

I noticed a loose floor section behind me on the ledge, and on a hunch, jumped up and down to send it crashing into the depths. Luck was with me once again, Hamza, and the stone apparently triggered another plate, opening the gate again. I climbed up and continued to the east.

19. I walked to the edge of the path I was on, and behind me more of the loose floor dropped. I jumped across the gap and, landing safely on a lower platform with a pressure plate, I surveyed my options. The plate by the way, appeared to have no purpose, unless the falling floor section had destroyed whatever it triggered.

I decided to take the upper path, so I climbed several landings.

20. I climbed to the middle landing, then started to climb to the next, but the floor was loose and began to drop. I quickly climbed back to the lower landing as it fell, then up again when it was safe. This time nothing fell as I climbed to the upper landing, then up once again.

21. In a dark hole up above I found two healing potions. After drinking them, I climbed back down.

20. From the upper landing, I jumped back to the west. There seemed to be no other direction to try.

22. On a rickety wooden bridge stood a fiendish skeleton when he saw me, he began to cross in my direction I ran toward him to prevent him from gaining the advantage. As I ran, I stepped on a pressure plate and heard the sound of a gate opening ahead.

The monster pressured me and kept coming forward, but I would not give ground. We exchanged places, and then I saw what its intentions were. The fiend was going to run to the pressure plate to the east and close the gate I had opened.

I quickly slashed at it as it began to turn around, and it abandoned its plan, crossing swords with me again. I could not seem to kill this creature (as if you could hope to kill something that should not be alive in the first place). And it was fast. I could hardly block its blows. I found a good offense was my best defense, and I kept pushing it backward, part of me still considering running for the gate. I was standing near the western edge of the bridge. The skeleton was just east of the middle.

Then the whole thing collapsed. I mean, the bridge broke and I just had time to whirl around and catch myself on some rungs that had not broken. My sword, Hamza - my sword fell from my hand as I clutched desperately for the rungs. Hanging there, I heard it clatter onto the rocks below, moments after the dry, brittle sound of the skeleton as it, too, clattered to the floor below.

23. Thoroughly shaken, I ran west, spotting a healing potion, a dart shooter trap, and an open gate. Just beyond the gate was a narrow gap. I drank the potion, jumped carefully over the dart plate, then jumped through the gate and across the narrow gap. I climbed a short ledge and continued west.

7. A pile of bones and a dart shooter confronted me. I jumped quickly over the dart shooter plate and took one careful step toward the second plate. Then I ducked and hopped onto the plate. I could hear the skeleton coming to life behind me. Quickly I stood up and leapt across the chasm. I could practically feel the steel of the skeleton's scimitar bite into my back, but it was my imagination. I made it across without being hit, and the skeleton stood foolishly staring at me with its empty sockets. I headed west.

6. I was back in the storeroom, but on an upper path I had not been able to reach before. Stepping on a pressure plate caused the steel spikes across the domed ceiling gap to withdraw. On a hunch I lowered myself to the bottom to inspect the carpet again.

This time I sat on the carpet, thinking perhaps it would trigger a magical response. I tell you, Hamza, nobody was ever so surprised as I was when the carpet actually began to float in the air and then flew up through the gap. It was truly an event to record.

Continue to Chapter 5: The Shadow & the Flame (Level 6)
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