Chrysalis Volume 5: The deep dark Chapter 536 - Being bait
"Why did I think this was a good idea?"
"I have to say, Eldest, I'm not entirely sure. I wasn't surprised when you suggested it though."
"I get the feeling that's almost an insult, Propellant…."
"I wouldn't dream of it, Eldest. My respect for you knows no bounds."
"I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not anymore."
"What's sarcastic mean?"
"I'm starting to think that you and the others need another round of training. It'll take care of this poor attitude I'm starting to detect."
"Ah, no. I mean. Please. We are… far too busy, Eldest."
"I suppose that's true. You guys have it rough, what with all the expectations that are put on you. I really appreciate all the work that you do."
"We do what we must so that the Colony will thrive."
"As do we all I suppose… You'd better head on back now, Propellant. It won't be long until they arrive."
"Good luck, Eldest. Don't forget the contingency plans and reserves."
Heh. As if I'm going to use them.
"If you don't call on us, we'll probably run out on our own and get killed."
"Did you put Leeroy in charge or something?!"
"Of course not, but we could."
More training is definitely on the cards for the council. Especially Leeroy. That damn fool of ant is nothing but a headache and now the others are starting to weaponize her suicidal tendencies against me. They know I can't allow that moronic ant to get herself, or others, killed. At the same time, they know I'll never allow another ant to put themselves in danger in order to save me. So they're manipulating me into ensuring that I won't refuse to bring out the reinforcements in case something does go wrong.
Haaa. It's hard being an authority figure in a group of such self-sacrificing creatures. Nobody is willing to take a step back, especially when the stakes are high. In fact, the higher the stakes, the more eager they become to throw themselves in the fire.
"Fine. If I need help, I'll ask for it. Okay?"
Seemingly satisfied, the mage turns and dashes up the tunnel to re-join the others. Which leaves me and my pets to face the oncoming Golgari. Not that we intend to fight them, naturally. It might come to that, but only in the very worst of circ.u.mstances. The lack of scent trails did seem to mess with the trackers hunting us, but only for a time. The guys with the pets no longer go out to scout nearly as often, seemingly relegated to a minor role as the enemy relies on some other method to track us.
They weren't tracking the hostages, we'd managed to establish that. When the two Shapers were shifted to another tunnel, the Golgari showed no sign of shifting from the path of the Colony. We next checked if Jim or Sarah were being tracked but they showed no reaction to the two of them either. Now it was time to see if it was me they were after. The only way to do that was to dangle myself like a juicy worm down a side tunnel as the Colony continued on their merry way.
Now here we are, my pets and I, waiting to see if the Golgari will divert themselves to follow me, or follow the rest of the ants. Once again the stealth skill comes into play as I wait for the enemy to approach, and they do, at their own steady pace. The procession is mostly unchanged from the last time I saw it, the various members in the same positions. I haven't seen a supply train yet but I presume it must be toward the back. I can't imagine all these massive humanoids are going to march this far on an empty stomach.
Oh, here we go. Now we come to it. They reach the divide in the tunnel not a hundred metres away from where I hide and come to a stop. It's a little odd to see the enemy in this way, stretching, chatting and working kinks out of their backs as they wait for a decision to be made. I can see where the conferring is taking place. The armoured figures in the centre of the column are discussing quite animatedly. It's hard to make out this far away, but the fact that something is being considered down there is clear.
Perhaps they do know where I am… That's… not a good thing. Not good at all. After a few minutes of waiting, the decision of the column becomes clear. Surprisingly, they split. A small party of fifteen breaks off to move down the tunnel towards me whilst the others continue on their path, unerringly following the colony as they've done all this time. Unfortunately for me, it looks like quite a few beefy characters are heading my way. It'll get messy if we wait much longer.
[Come on gang. Let's get the heck out of here.]
Creeping carefully, we retreat down the tunnel, trying to stay out of sight. But something doesn't quite seem right. These Golgari are moving swiftly. Way too swiftly. In fact… aren't they just charging?!
[Forget the sneaking! Book it!]
No longer bothering to try and hide our presence, we start sprinting down the tunnel in a mad dash! Behind, the Golgari see us and pick up their own pace.
Dammit! Not only did they know which direction I was in, they even knew I was close! How!? There must be a spell or something of the like on me. When and how they put it on me doesn't matter now. The only thing that matters now, is do I turn and fight? Or try to flee? Should I bring the Colony in to be part of the ambush? There's a chance we can overwhelm these guys and thin the column that hunts us. I need to get a look and see who's come to fight me.
I risk a slight turn to bring the sprinting fighters into my view. Oh yeah, they've brought out the big guns. Several of those huge monsters, and even one of the armoured figures. I'm not a fan of this at all! Looks like some Shapers have come also… In fact… they look a touch familiar…