A blackened doorway was entered. What lied on the other side remained hidden behind a curtain of shadows, but it was judged to be of better fortune than Frederick's prior location. The darkness within the corridor seemed thick, like a hanging fog. His body seemed weightless for a moment as gravity and time apparently ceased, but it was, in the end, just a moment. As though nothing had occurred on his way through, Greenborne emerged onto the other, brightly lit chambers, catching himself on all fours as he stumbled out onto the lower floor. An odd eye was cast back at his recent portal of entry, questioning how it betrayed the room's true illumination and received a rather sound answer from his cryptic findings. There was no opening or gate on the wall of any kind, only rock with an arch laden with glyphs imbedded into its surface. Rising back erect, or as straight as his crooked posture would allow, he placed his hand against the face he had just come through and knocked against it hard to uncover if it was hollow or some sort of trick. After some well deserved cursing, it was deemed a quite solid and sound structure.
"Huh," understated the fiend with a blank face, "guess there's no turnin' back." He shrugged indifferently to the sealed fate he had just been issued and pivoted on a heel to take in his new environment. As his vision was spun around, he first noticed the sheer size of the space. The blocks of stone that built the walls stretched onward beyond his sight. In the center of the narrow chamber stood towering columns, rising from the grits to the empty ceiling. Surrounding each pillar was a ring of flame that burned intensely, casting light in all directions for the length of the room. The fires had no obvious source and poured from out the surface of the posts' middles, periodically dropping embers to the ground. The floor, which he was already acquainted with, was coarse sand full of jagged, white grains. Their lay was not natural, as the wind might spread, and had many tracks dug into it, but also many abruptly ended.
This was a situation that anyone could tell spelt trouble. Some beast was known to be dwelling within the shifted granules, but what it exactly was or how recently it had feasted were both still mysteries. Laughing off all concerns for his personal well being, his goggles were pulled back down over his eyes as the lumpy grub was stuffed into a pocket for safe keeping. Spreading out his lanky legs, Rick crouched down with his fingers splayed out over the ground. Silently, he waited, hawking ahead for the slightest tumble of a single particle. In deep focus, a cry was heard coming from within his own jacket. The larva had yelped, only once, being all that the maniac needed to hear.
Flying out of his position, his foot narrowly escaped the rising explosion of sand. Something was in there, and Fred had no desire to find out what. Racing through the artificial desert, grains were kicked up from his long, fleet strides only to be consumed in the approaching wave. To evade his stalker, Greenborne weaved within the columns that marked his path and was matched for each step. With little space left between the two, he leapt against the wall and quickly kicked off, swinging around the top of a pillar before being hurtled to the corner of the opposite wall. Bracing himself temporarily aloft, the first glimpse at his foe was seen as the tip of a sharp fin cut through the sand. The maneuver had not fooled the enigmatic creature, disappointingly, and only spurred it sink back down below the surface.
As the maniac's arms tired from holding himself wedged against the meeting of the ceiling and wall, he released himself and hit the ground running the race for his life. There was no hint of the monster's presence, but the feeling of approaching doom weighed heavy on his senses. His legs were nearing a breaking point from their excessive use and were about to shut down. Before this happened, he changed his path directly towards one of the torch posts. Heading at it in full sprint, he jumped onto it, flipping backwards from it. The creature burst from the sands, tossing it everywhere as it threw itself onto the stone support. Its dry, pale blue skin grinded against the brick as its fins tried to push itself up further to get its razor filled mouth closer to where it thought its next meal had run to. As Frederick's body returned to the ground, he had to announce his location with more than the loud thumping that accompanied it.
"A slug?" the lunatic protested the revealed identity. "A freakin' slug? That's just lame!" The rotund mollusk's antennae flickered as they pointed to the sound's source, followed by the rest of its body. The wide, sweeping sheet that surrounded its lower half undulated fiercely, kicking up a thick cloud of dust as the gastropod was shot forward at a frightening velocity, skimming over the ground. Bounding into the air, the Disaster smashed his soles into the sand swimmer's back as it passed beneath, forcing its mouth to fill with granules as it skidded to a halt. Lifting back to its nearly levitating state, the beast darted backwards, catching the off-guard man on its large tail.
"Hey, ya can't go in reverse," insisted the ferried Frederick. "Ain't that cheatin'?" Regardless of fair play, the mollusk smashed the pinned man face first between its own body and a brick column, knocking the breath from him. As the creature reared forward for another charge, the maniac noticed, through his daze and cracked lense, that bricks had begun to loosen, a fact he was able to closely inspect as his face was slammed into the support yet again. This time, blocks began to slide from their place in the arrangement, and a brightly, glowing red liquid began oozing from the widening cracks which immediately catching ablaze upon exposure to air. In his induced delirium, additional to the one that regularly haunts him, he rolled back as a third ram was attempted, tumbling over the gastropod's head. There was no time for a stop and the pillar was shattered and broken through. As the blocks crashed down from the bottom up, a large wave of the torch's fuel spilled, quickly blanketing the floor in pools of flame. As the crumbling wreck spread, a gaping hole in the floor started to pull in the sand along with everything on it to wherever the fuel pipe led.
Sitting up, Greenborne shook his head free of the confusion he was not certain he had even just witnessed but received a reminder upon seeing the deep crater within the crafted desert that opened before him with flaming droplets falling from the ceiling sprinkling the center, slowly being filled in by the rest of the surrounding grains. Once it raised enough to be crossable, Fred hurried over before anything more could go wrong with it. Then, with a look down the remainder of the corridor, he saw nothing else down the stretch aside from the repeating wall and columns that he had been seeing for some time.
"Aw, shucks. I took care o' it too soon," chuckled the fiend with a crazed tone to his voice. "Now what fun am I gonna have fer the rest o' the way down?"