“Do you have any idea where we are?”
“Any idea where the others went?”
“No more than the last fifty times you asked. Now shut up.”
There was silence for a moment.
“Have you figured out what happened yet?”
The tall, black-armored figure whirled on his smaller traveling companion, seized him by the throat and slammed him into the machinery covering the wall of the corridor. “No, Spiders! I do not! I have not! I have not the slightest notion of where we are, where our friends are, how we got here, how to get back again, or indeed whether or not the universe as we know it still exists! Now! Shut! UP!”
The Most Efficacious Master of Spiders dropped to the floor, gasping, while Walker turned away and continued forward. A silver hand, lithe and lean, flowed down to his side and helped him up.
“Don’t take it too personally. He’s on edge. We all are.”
Spiders rubbed his neck. This wasn’t his job. He was a spymaster, not a field agent – running around in strange places was something people like him told people like Walker to do.
“Yeah. But you don’t see me choking him against the wall.”
Unseen Serpent Knife, the protean face attached to the arm and voice, smiled down at the tactician. She tried to imagine him, spindly even in the heaviest armor he could manage, manhandling the Implacable Walker of Darkened Skies, who even out of armor towered over both of them put together and had to force back a laugh. “Come on. This corridor has to end somewhere.”
As it turned out, the corridor did have an end – a dead one. Spiders stared in disbelief at the wall.
“Agh!” He threw up his hands and turned to Walker, “This is entirely mmmm mph mmph.”
The black-armored warrior reached out a hand and clamped it over the diminutive spymaster’s mouth, covering his face from ears to collarbones. Behind them, Serpent raised a palm to her face and sighed.
She looked up at the sound. The rest of the Sentinel’s body remained perfectly motionless, eyes fixed on the wall. Slowly, he reached out his free hand, running his fingers over the wall. When he spoke again, it was in a low whisper.
The hand clamped around his face relaxed, and Spiders dropped to the floor. “Soundproof this section of corridor.”
The Plot Weaver shot him a sour look, but complied, a fine layer of stillness settling over their bodies and clinging to the walls. Walker knelt, slowly, silently, the black-on-black shadow of a moving mountain. He inched forward, running his hands over the tangled pipes, cables and mechanics covering the wall.
She said nothing; her attention was implicit in her status as an operative.
“Prepare an area shroud.”
Walker and Serpent were both professionals, and professionals did not waste time with stupid questions like who they could possibly be trying to hide from, in a cramped tunnel with no exit.
She called up the Second Charm of Hidden Places but did not release it, holding the bundle of anonymity in potentia.
So slowly that Spiders could hardly tell he was moving, Walker moved his attention down and forward, level with an unremarkable patch of machinery. He reached a finger forward, ever so slightly shifting something buried beneath the rust and gears. There was an audible click, and a shaft of light sprang out from a tiny hole, illuminating Walker’s mask. From beyond, faint voices and footsteps could be heard.
There was something behind the wall.