Swamped Chapter 82 Page 5

The Path Between inherently distorts the senses. The soldiers here seem unaffected by the general chaos, but they still seem to be observing the oddities of the local creatures.

Most likely, this reflects the Master’s own limitations on seeing into this place – what good would it do to deny such protection to the troops you were entrusting with a mission if you had it?

And since you’ve picked up a few tricks that work here, that offers a way to confuse the Master.

“Thank you for the warning,” you say to the soldier. “If that’s the case, best to manage that confrontation sooner rather than later.”

And then you stand perfectly still.

But that’s not what anyone sees. They see you walking off in the direction you indicated before. It’s basically the same trick the Vahrn used, except you’re combining it with a Mox’s camouflage technique.

A few minutes later, you feel the sensation of a gateway opening in the distance.

“The fastest option is to modify something that’s already built,” the inventor muses. “The digging machine, perhaps. The ground there is very rocky so I’d need to upgrade its drills, but we could use it to make our own route in. Or simply cause a collapse underneath the beast. Well, the details would be up to you, of course.”

You are pleased.

“Very good. Speak to Lar if you need any additional materials. How long will the upgrade take?”

“Four or five hours. There’s going to be enough of a difference in weight that I’ll need to make a bunch of adjustments to be sure it can still move properly. Still, shouldn’t be anything major.”

“That should be adequate. The important thing is that there is no need to adjust our course.”

“Naturally. I’ll get a list to Lar and work on what I can right away.”

You’re about to leave when you hear Dreon’s voice echoing in your mind.

Master! Rider has escaped! He’s headed for a gateway!

There’s an unnecessary tone of panic in their voice. Dreon knows full well what you can do when someone tries to leave the Path Between. You’ll have to speak to them about maintaining composure later.

In the meantime, you simply plant your staff on the ground and hold your other hand high in the air. You concentrate, and can see hundreds of possible gateways. All you have to do is wait for the one Rider will use.

Ah, there – you see him now. With barely a thought, you link that gateway to the one in the specially-prepared holding cell. Dreon was fretting over nothing.

Wait.

He’s not in there!

Your projection should have sprung the Master’s trap now. Which means it’s time to make your next move.

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Suggestions:

At least you don’t have to worry about these guys getting stuck here with their commander out of commission; seems like the Master can pluck them out at any time.

You could vahrn walk your way to another exit and make it look like you escape, while hanging out camouflaged to learn the motives and plans of these agents, possibly following them back through their own portal (only if you manage to disguise yourself in their clothing/uniform should the opportunity present itself).

 

Leave for real!

Author’s Note:

At the time I write this, I’m pretty sure this is the most over-the-top thing I’ve done with Rider.

I make no promises it will hold that spot by the time I finish this story.