Swamped Chapter 67 Page 29

You close your eyes.

You don’t exactly know much about magic – hardly anyone does these days. But if this is an illusion, maybe it works through your eyes, and doesn’t just make you see a door, it makes you believe there’s a door there. And you believe it enough that you can’t walk through it.

On the other hand, if it’s solid but invisible on the other side, then attempting to walk through might at least convey that you can’t. Either way seems like it might get you moving along.

Keeping your eyes firmly closed, you step forward.

And suddenly, it feels like you’re walking through mud. But that’s not exactly something you’re unfamiliar with.

You feel around for your breather mask and attach it. Any Bogknight with half a lick of training can put it on blind. You’re not sure if you actually need the help, but you’d rather not take a chance. You keep pushing forward.

It’s extremely slow and uncomfortable, but you’ve spent enough time in the swamp muck that you can keep moving. You press on. The more you advance, the more the door, or whatever it is, tries to push back. It’s worse than the muck at this point, but at least you’ve got your feet planted firmly on solid ground.

Finally, you feel it let go. You feel the pressure release. You’re inside. You take a few more steps forward just to be sure, and then open your eyes.

Standing before you is Carma, the woman who locked you up not long ago. She’s wearing a strange pair of goggles and holding a quarterstaff. You don’t recall her being armed earlier, but maybe she wasn’t expecting a fight.

“What the hell was that?” she asks.

“Just at a guess, do those goggles let you see past illusions? Because I think I just walked through one.” You glance behind you, and sure enough, you still see a metal door. “I can’t recommend it. ”

She lifts her goggles momentarily, glances at the door, frowns, and puts the goggles down again.

“That’s worrying. Shume and the Master are the only ones I know who could make an illusion good enough to stop someone from walking through it. I doubt it’s the Master, considering he’s preoccupied right now, but what could Shume be thinking?”

“I have no idea,” you say. “I’m really not sure what’s going on here at all. The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t want an enormous flock of crows coming after me.”

“Well, we don’t have time to talk,” Carma says. “Now that you’re here, and more importantly you brought the statue, I can finally leave. Just hand over the statue and I’ll get this moving.”

“I’m not one to hand over a bargaining chip for free.”

She sighs.

“It’s not a bargaining chip. If we have that statue, the Master can track us. I know how to stop that. You don’t. Hand me the statue.”

Well. If she’s telling the truth, that would be a very good reason to hand over the statue. But you didn’t get this far by trusting people blindly.

How should you respond?

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Suggestions:

Extract a guarantee that you will also be able to leave this place.
ask why they wanted you to grab books as well