Swamped Chapter 73 Page 12

In lieu of a spoken answer, Lar raises his hands, and a projection appears in front of him, showing an enormous rock blocking off the entrance to a valley.

Or rather, that’s what it looks like at first glance. With just a little effort, you can see that the “rock” is, in fact, alive. An ancient beast, larger than even a full-grown tunneler, which supposedly died off long ago.

“A tyrant?” you ask. “I’m less concerned by the fact that it’s in our way and more concerned by the fact that it exists in this era at all. It implies that powerful time magic is at work, and may already be turned against us.”

“As you say, Master.” Lar stops the projection. “The beast on its own is not a major problem. But all our plans for dealing with it would likely reveal the existence of our airships. The wizard, or wizards, responsible for the creature’s appearance would be able to strike back.”

This is a significant complication. The easiest way to resolve it would be to claim the cages now, so your acolytes can simply capture the beast without your aid or that of the ships. But that could alert the church to your interest in the keys, making it harder to claim the one in their possession.

Alternatively, you could deal with the beast yourself – but that would force you to delay one of the most crucial steps in the plan, as it requires your presence. And you can’t afford more delays now, not now that one of the gods has noticed what you’re doing.

You can’t see how any of your current resources can get you out of this dilemma. But then again, that’s why you’ve got someone along who excels at creating new resources, isn’t it.

“I’ll go speak to our inventor and see what he can do.”

You’re Corvus again. When you arrived, your mudpike wasn’t where you left it, you can’t find the specific lizard you promised a meal, and the metal sphere was lying out in the open.

Dominique said nobody should touch the sphere until she’s drained the ether, so you’re just sort of waiting. Meanwhile, the crew you brought with you is feeding the other lizards, mostly just to pass the time.

You don’t feel like there’s a lot for you to do specifically. So maybe it’s time to go looking for that oasis. You ask around and learn there are about four or five relatively close to the camp; the lizards don’t seem able to offer any more clarification as to which one is correct.

Still, you did bring a desert horse out here. So maybe you should just take a guess as to which one to ride out to. Unless you can think of some way to narrow it down, of course.

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