Sandara’s magic got Chopper and Ezikial back on their feet, but Ezikial was left with a broad scar on his face. “I canna seem t’ mend it wi’ the magics I ’ave,” Sandara said. “Yer face just gonna be ugly fer a while.”
“Uglier than it already was?” Feruzi asked. Sandara grinned. “Well, shall we move on?” Feruzi asked. Chopper nodded.
The stone doors opened into an octagonal room with another pair of identical doors across from them. Leila froze as they crossed the floor. “Wait,” she called. “The whole floor is trapped.” The doors behind them slammed closed and locked with an audible clack.
“Why does this not surprise me?” Reiko asked. She ducked as crossbow bolts flew out of concealed arrow slits. Whirling blades sprang up around them. Ezikial sprang over a saw that would do a lumber mill proud and raced toward the opposite door, grunting a few times in pain. Feruzi climbed up a wall and joined him by crossing the ceiling. The snipers continued to fire.
“It’s almost like they were expecting us,” Reiko grunted, pulling a bolt out of her armor. Chopper sprinted across the room, slamming into the doors and flattening himself but not impressing the stone very much.
“Let me get that, Captain,” Ezikial said, and blasted the lock mechanism with his pistol. Leila pulled a piece of junk metal out of her pack and threw it into the whirling blades, where it wedged, eliciting a truly fantastic medley of screeching and grinding noises, followed by a ground-shaking bang as the machinery tore itself apart. Reiko crossed the room in a more leisurely fashion and heaved the doors open, revealing another room pretty much identical to the one they were standing in. Feruzi cautiously stepped forward, triggering a second trap that slammed the doors shut and doused everything liberally with gouts of fire. There was a lot of scurrying behind the walls and the helpful addition of yet more crossbow bolts.
Chopper pushed past Feruzi and repeated his door-charging trick, with equally unimpressive results. Ezikial pulled grenades off his belt and tossed them into an arrow slit. He then sat down, bleeding profusely from a pair of crossbow bolts in his chest. The blast shook the room and produced a hail of earth and chips of stone, revealing two shocked elven snipers. Reiko charged them while Sandara once again rushed in to prevent Ezikial from dying. The space behind the walls resounded with shrieks and groans as Reiko dealt out retribution to the snipers. Chopper finally managed to get the far doors open, revealing side passages that led behind the arrow slits.
“That was my fookin’ gunner!” he snarled, laying into the retreating snipers with his axes. Another explosion shook the room as Leila detonated the reservoir of alchemical fire powering the jets. Soon it was over, aside from the usual magical cleanup of injuries sustained.
“I am out of grenades, Captain,” Ezikial reported sadly. “Fortunately I found this ring of keys.”
“That might make it easier to get through the doors,” Reiko said.
Past the trap, they found another long, dank tunnel that opened into a wider cave where a thin strip of beach bordered a wide expanse of dark water. Sounds of surf echoed in the distance. A wooden pier extended into the water. Far across the cave a faint light shone from the window of a building standing next to a similar pier. Sandara pulled her hat off and tossed it into the water, where it became a jollyboat.
“Unless summon else has a boat,” she said, winking.
“Not on me, no,” Chopper said.
“I don’t suppose your pipe turns into an oar?” Leila asked.
“Nope. Reckon it’ll be slow going, but it beats swimmin.”
They jury-rigged some bits of wood together and set out. The water was still and cold. Chopper peered overboard, discovering an immense heap of bones at the bottom of the cove. “Hmm, whale bones?” he asked. Feruzi looked over and winced.
“Those are dragon bones.” Predictably, they began to stir, assembling into the shape of a dragon that reared up in front of their wobbly little boat.