“This is dangerous,” I whispered. “I know what I’m doing.”
Did I? I handed her the lightstick and crept forward, nudging loose stones with my boot to clear the way, never taking my eyes from the archway. The room was filled with heaps of rubble. The spectral rope snaked behind a huge fragment of a fallen buttress lodged against one wall.
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
I drew a sizable ball of magic from my core and blasted a massive Dispel into the room, bathing the entire area in a purple flash.
The grak leaped onto the ceiling, sending rubble clattering in all directions. It scuttled toward me, upside down, hundreds of barbs along its ten legs clinging to the bare stone ceiling. A razor-ridged carapace protected an abdomen the size of a barrel, yet the thing stretched eight feet in length, counting its forked, bony tail and oversize head. Two spheres of flylike eyes reflected a distorted version of my look of horror. Saw-toothed pincers clacked repeatedly and its antennae quivered, probing the air in front of it.
I stumbled backward, my heart thumping in my ears.
Kristach. I’d hoped it’d be smaller.
“Run for the boat,” I yelled, following my own advice as the creature chased me from the room.
Once she saw it, Ayla screamed loud enough to wake the dead, then slipped on the rubble and landed on her butt.
I grabbed her wrist and yanked her up. She broke from my grip, flew around the corner, and thumped up the steps toward the barge. “Cast off, cast off.”
A heartbeat behind her, I limped up the stairs and skidded to a halt, kicking up a cloud of ash from the landing.
Babbas and the barge had gone.
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