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THE TRAP

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Kneeling part way down the abandoned mine shaft, Huxon opens his field supply crate and pulls from it a small, transparent box. Within, vibrant and alive, is a dandelion. Resplendent in white, its head bristles with soft seed carriers.

Removing it carefully, Huxon mutters a few words as his tattoo sleeve glows. Taking a small prism, he places it atop the dandelion and with a deep exhale, sends it floating further down the mine shaft on a barge of swirling seeds. A low hum sporadically reaches him as the prism makes contact with areas where magic has been cast.

From a pouch at his side, he pulls a small object of metal and glass. Looking somewhat like an old-fashioned bulb on legs, Huxon carefully hides the Muon Trap amongst rocky debris at his feet. Satisfied he is not in immediate danger, he follows the undulating prism at a measured pace while trailing his fingers across the rock and its fissures.

****

Lost in a labyrinthian mass of caves and tunnels, he stops before yet another opening. Beyond lies real darkness. No spent veins of Chromatic ore are within sight down any of the four shafts which split from his own. A deep frown etches its furrows upon his face as he traces his fingers over where the vein ends and the next shafts begin.

Calling the floating prism to him by creating small paths in air current with swirls of his fingers, he gently guides it into each of the four shaft entrances. In each one, the hum ceases and silence hangs heavy. Huxon leans upon a timber prop, staring into the dark beyond him. As his fingers absently trace the timber, they find a small, downward crescent carved into it. He studies this and takes in his surroundings once more.

Realisation hits Huxon and he stumbles backward: Issadora Curdle has run out of Chroma.

Grabbing his staff, he presses the large prism on its end gently to his forehead, focussing his magic. A swirling glow of green seeps from his tattoos as he begins to open his mind to Chief Detective Cronas. This news cannot wait.

Behind him, the last seedlings drop the miniature prism to the ground as it screams in high-pitched fervour. A bolt of dark energy flies through the air, engulfing Huxon, as he whirls to face the oncoming foe.

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