Well. If nothing else, confirming the source of the smell might help you figure out if Rider’s been this way. And it’s not like you don’t know how to deal with swamp creatures.
You carefully lift up the rock, just a little bit.
And you see a rather irritated swamp crocodile staring back at you.
You put the rock back down, gently. The croc must be getting too much sun, and it’s hiding under the rock for shade. But they also aren’t very good at digging, so it must have had help getting under there.
So Rider was here. More importantly – it means he intends to come back. He wouldn’t abandon a creature like that. Maybe he wanted to check where the gateway would appear, and make sure it was safe before bringing the croc back to the swamp. So you could just wait here for him to show up.
On the other hand, maybe he’s planning on saving that for the return trip. However long that takes. He’d know better than you how long the crocodile can hold up under there.
And with all the suspicious characters poking around the desert… well, you can’t say for sure he hasn’t run into trouble, even if he did intend to come back soon for the croc. Waiting may not be such a sure bet.
How should you handle this?