Bitter 106

Britta pointed her light at the ground beneath the shade. There was a very clearly defined rectangular depression under it, but the odd thing was that its lower body tapered off so it just floated over the ground, so how had it triggered the pad?

“What did the trap do?” As far as she could tell, nothing had happened.

“Trap will activate when I step off this panel.”

“Are you standing on the trap?”


“But you don’t have any feet. How are you putting weight on it?”

“Air pressure.”

That’s what happened when you let geeks design fantasy games—magic that obeyed the laws of physics.

“If I go past you will it set anything off?”


She ran to the other side of the shade. It shimmered slightly as she rushed past. She stopped once she was a couple of metres away.

“Do you know what kind of trap it is?” she asked, nervously looking down the tunnel. The dwarf would be coming, but she didn’t see or hear anything.

“Pit trap,” said the shade in its whispering voice that made everything sound more sinister than it was. Or in this case, the appropriate level of sinister.

A pit. Full of spikes, probably. Not a nice way to go, but perhaps she could use it to stop the dwarf.

She checked her mana levels. Still plenty of time before the shade would be forced to deactivate.

“Can you stay here until the dwarf comes, and then release the trap.”

“Activate trap when dwarf arrives. Understood.”

“Will you be okay?” It was a dumb question. Of course the shade would be alright. It wasn’t a person, it was just a shadow.

“Yes. Thank you.”

Was that a normal response or another example of the game reacting differently to her character? She didn’t have time to find out as a howl announced the arrival of Dwarfenstein’s monster.

It came stumbling out of the dark, its red eyes glowing like they were on fire.

Britta took a couple of involuntary steps backwards. All he had to do was get to the shade and he’d fall into the pit and problem solved. It was a perfect plan. Or it would have been if the dwarf didn’t stop.

Did it know about the trap? The mines used to belong to the dwarves, so it may have been the one who built it. Or maybe it was the shade. The dark, wavering form hovering in the middle of the passage could be making the dwarf wary, even in its feral condition.

“Hey!” shouted Britta, holding the ball of light over her head so she was nicely lit up. “Over here, you short git.” She was hardly one to talk, but it wasn’t racist if it applied to her, too. Or so she told herself.

The dwarf’s eyes seemed to burn even brighter. It roared and then ran, its short legs hardly bending at the knee as it comically sprinted through the shade.

“Now!” screamed Britta, afraid the shade had forgotten its instructions.

The shade hadn’t, it was just waiting for the right time. It floated to the side and there was a sharp click, followed by the floor collapsing.

It started from the pressure pad and spread in both directions. The floor dropped away, and with it, the dwarf.

The pit was longer than she had expected and Britta had to quickly back away to avoid joining the dwarf down there. Once the crash and bang of falling tiles had stopped, she peered down into the pit. It was at least three metres deep and the sides were smooth and sheer. No spikes. The dwarf was desperately trying to climb out, but there was nothing to grab onto. He threw back his head and howled.

“What’s wrong with him?”

“Possessed,” said the shade as it floated down beside her.

“Possessed by what?”

“Banshee,” said the shade.

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