IT WASincredible. It was wonderful. It was almost beyond belief.

As the spirit of the vampaneze blew apart like the chains of smoke rising from their burning Lord's dead body, mine soared and I felt as though my chest would burst with relief and delight. In our darkest hour, despite the odds, against all expectations, we'd taken the fight to our foes and put their destructive designs to the sword. In my wildest dreams, I couldn't have imagined anything sweeter.

My eyes rose as Mr Crepsley stepped to the edge of the platform. The vampire was bloodied, sweating and exhausted, but a light shone in his eyes which could have illuminated the entire cavern. Spotting me among the shaken vampaneze, he smiled, raised a hand in salute, and opened his mouth to call something down.

That's when Steve Leopard screamed wildly and threw himself firmly into the back of the vampire.

Mr Crepsley pitched forward, arms flailing, clutching for the rail. It looked for a split second as if he was going to grab hold and haul himself up, but then gravity dragged him down with sickening speed, over the rail, out of safety's reach - into the pit after the Lord of the Vampaneze!