Swamped Chapter 79 Page 6

You can immediately tell why Ash was having trouble describing it. It’s like you’re seeing several things at once. As though the hallway were covered in mirrors reflecting each other.

Somewhere in all that mess, you can see Carma. In multiple places, actually. She seems to be fighting something, but whatever it is, it’s even more muddled by the… illusion? Distortion? Whatever this is.

You’re starting to get a headache as you look at it, and that gives you a faint idea what’s going on. You run back to Ash.

“The wizard who sent me here said something about the, um, what did he call it, the ethereal pathways being dangerous to traverse without a gateway. That if you were conscious, it would be extremely disorienting, to the point of nausea. I wonder if that’s what’s going on over there.”

Ash just looks at you for a moment.

“I think you’re going to have to explain that a little more slowly.”

“I don’t entirely get it myself, but apparently, when you magically go from one place to another, if you don’t use a gateway you go through a much less safe route, which is really bad for the senses. We had to go to a lot of trouble to figure out a way through it to get here, and… never mind. Point is, the headache I was starting to get from trying to make sense of all that reminded me of what he said.”

“So… you think the ship is being magically transported? Then why would that hallway be affected while we’re fine over here?”

“I don’t know! I’m not a wizard!” As you say it, a thought strikes you. “But is Carma one?”

“Well, she’s used magical objects. I don’t know if she’d call herself a wizard, though.”

“Maybe that’s the difference. Maybe something’s causing that weird effect to happen around wizards. She seems to be handling herself just fine in there, from what I can make of it, so it might not even be doing anything to her personally.”

Ash mulls over this a bit.

“Okay, I’m not entirely sure anything you’ve said so far has made sense, but magic’s probably involved, so who knows,” he finally concludes. “But suppose your guesses are right. What are we actually going to do about it?”

He’s got a point there. You’re not quite sure what your next move is.

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Ask the quiet kid if they have an idea.