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Maybe I should have set the time to fifteen minutes. I spent far too long staring at those eggs, wondering if there was any way I could get out of this. If I couldn’t get the eggs, no one would blame me. I didn’t even owe these raiders anything, the least of all, my life. However, I knew enough to know that money was power, even among the raiders. Talking with Raven’s group had only confirmed my suspicions that resources were power.

Thus, these eggs didn’t just represent food or money. They represented the leverage I needed if I was going to extract those girls and get out of there. Taking another deep breath, I reached out toward the first egg, my hand stopping halfway there. There were six eggs in all. I had no clue if this bag would hold more than three. I attuned my ears to the breathing of the murder dragon. Slowly, I started to move my hand again.

I very slowly grabbed the egg, the slimy mucous coating my hand. Gently, I picked it up, moving incredibly slowly. I was going far too slow. I only had ten minutes, and if it took a minute or more per egg, I would be caught in an explosion. My heart was beating in my ears so loudly that I couldn’t hear the breathing of the murder dragon anymore. My hand started to shake.

Crack!

My hands had lost my grip, and the egg fell to the ground at my feet, shattering. A foul stench was released as the egg cracked, and I nearly gagged. It was at that moment when I realized the breathing had stopped. I looked up to see a giant eye staring at me through the wreckage.

“Fuck!” I lunged forward, sweeping the remaining eggs into my bag in a single swipe.

I didn’t know how many broke or even how many made it into the bag because I turned and ran for the rope. A booming roar nearly burst my eardrums and caused me to stumble. I still managed to swing the bag onto my back and make a leaping grab for the rope. The ground was shaking and I felt like the entire place was about to collapse, independent of the mini-nuke. This was feeling like a worse decision every moment.

I thanked the extra strength I had been given and then climbed up the rope quicker than I had ever climbed up anything. I pulled myself up over the ledge, and at that point, the floor under me began to bulge up. I realized that the murder dragon was shoving from under the floor. My faster thinking kicked in, and I jumped to the side just as two razor-sharp blades ripped through the ground where I was standing. Letting out a half cry, half shout, I stumbled into a full run, heading straight outside. I wasn’t caring about the mini-nukes time limit anymore. I had no clue when the thing would go off.

If I managed to escape the building too early, the murder dragon could escape too, and then the bomb would be useless. My original plan had been to make sure I only left just before the bomb went off. The second that thing started moving, I gave any thoughts of that up immediately, and instead desperately ran. As I did so the murder dragon hefted its body up onto my level. It was too big for the hallway, but that wasn’t a problem because moments later, the floor collapsed.

As I ran down the floor, the floor tilted down. At first, I was racing slightly uphill, but as the murder dragon flayed its hook like scythe arms, digging into the floor trying to drag its girth along, it had the added effect of dragging the floor toward it. I jumped forward narrowly managing to grab the floor that remained horizontal from where it broke off.

The rest of the floor collapsed under my feet, landing twelve feet down in the basement below. The murder dragon let out another roar. I was hanging over the edge. With a single swipe it could knock me down, and if I fell into the basement with it, death would be nearly instantaneous. I could hear his footsteps coming.

Grabbing a piece of wood, my arms flexed as I pulled myself up the ledge. Just as I was about to flop forward onto the ground, the wood broke. I stared in slow motion as the wood in my hand became loose and I started to fall back down into the basement. I had made too big of a gamble. Just as I was thinking that a hand darted out and grabbed me. I stared up in stunned surprise as Raven was kneeling there, sweat running down his face, holding my arm.

“Come on! You’re not that light!” He shouted.

I snapped out of my daze quickly and then used him to pull myself up. I felt the wind swipe where my feet were just as Raven helped me pull them up over the edge. There was another roar below, and the ground began to shake. Raven and I stumbled, but grabbing onto each other for stability, we started racing toward the entrance. There was a boom and the sound of cracking wood. I glanced back for a second to see the murder dragon had leaped up onto our level.

It was angry now, shoving through the hallway, crawling towards us with its hook arms and its insanely sharp teeth gnashing. It felt like running from a giant hallway sized blade saw filled with teeth. We ran faster and faster, but I realized that it was far too fast. There were at least two more minutes on the timer. If we left now, the murder dragon would have tons of time to follow.

“We have to do something?” I shouted.

“We are doing something. We’re running!” Raven shouted back.

Over the sound of breaking wood and scraping metal, we could barely hear each other. I shook my head.

“Explosives,” I muttered.

“Huh?”

“We need to delay it with explosives?”

“You…” He looked back for a second, turning white, and then nodding.

He reached into his pocket and shoved two grenades into my hand. I let out a noise. I had never even used a grenade before in my life! Before I could give them back, he had two more of his own. He pressed, flicked the pin, and then threw one of them, then grabbed my arm and kept running. There was a booming sound, but if there was any hope of it hurting that beast, it was a complete failure.

“It’s not working. He’s still coming!” Raven shouted.

“No…” I shook my head.

I had thrown it before I had spoken. I hadn’t meant to delay the murder dragon by blowing it up. I could see the door right in front of us. The murder dragon was tearing apart the hall behind us, splitting it open like shoving an arrow into a straw. He was maybe a hundred feet behind us now.

“Why are you slowing?” He demanded, his eyes wide.

“Give me that last grenade.”

He frowned, but he handed it over. “I said we can’t blow that thing up.”

“Get out the door!” I ordered.

He frowned, but he did what I said, racing out the doorway. When I reached the doorway, I glanced around until I identified the support beam. Thankfully, so much of the wall had holes of decay in it, that it was rather easy to see what was holding the floor up.

I pulled all three pins, and then tossed the grenades gently at each of the support beams. I turned to run. I had been too slow though because they exploded before I get far enough away. I was hit with a shockwave, and flew out into the street. As I hit the pavement hard, it was Feather who helped me up.

As I turned, I was just in time to see the top two floors of the build collapsing down, landing right in front of the murder dragon. The building continued to collapse in a lopsided manner like someone had taken a hand and pushed down on the front of the building. Debris fell, blocking the entrance to the building completely. I could hear a roar, but it was now muffled under tons of construction material.

“You did it!” Raven cried out. “Well, look at that!”

Just as he said that there was another roar. This one didn’t come from under the rubble though. With the floors collapsed, it created a perfect ramp of material up to the third floor. The murder dragon up there was now freed.

“Ah crap!” Payne snarled.

The creature jumped off the floor and onto the rubble. It started to stomp down. Its eyes were locked on the backpack. It somehow knew I had the eggs. Maybe there was a smell. I pulled out my gun helplessly. Even if I ran, how far would this monster follow?

Just as it reached the bottom of the ramp, there was a loud booming sound, and then a bright light. I covered my eyes as the blinding light struck. I wish I had four hands so I could have covered my ears too. The sound was horrendous. As the light faded and I was able to see the building again, all of the material was being dragged inward. The murder dragon let out a howl, desperately clinging to the ground with its claws as its lower portions were pulled back like it was being blown away.

It finally lost its grip, and the murder dragon was sucked into a spinning ball of fire, along with the rest of the building. It lasted for about one minute, and when it was done, there was nothing but a small crater sitting where the building once was.

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