If Unimportant hadn’t seen guards running out of the room after Burnout, he would have assumed that none of them did. Twice as many guards as he’d seen patrolling meandered about the room. Unimportant caught himself drifting towards the shadows, but it wasn’t the guards that drove him there. Even if none of them were in the room, it would have felt wrong.
It was as if there were hollow space in the room; a place where space seemed to fold in on itself that attracted and repelled everything around it. It made his entire body feel like it had been dunked in pudding and left to dry. Even the air tasted stale and moist; it burned when he breathed as it slithered into his mouth and down his throat.
The distortion was focused in the dead center of the room where an opaque glass box sat on a small pedestal. It was the only thing in the room; there were no desks or computers or equipment. The only light in the room stood directly above it, shining on the box like a beacon from heaven. Trump circled it slowly, turning to face it at all times and staring at it through half closed eyes as if he could see through the black glass.
Unimportant slowly walked to the box, but the strange force emanating from it was twisting his stomach. He had to pause after each step to keep himself from heaving. His fingers tingled and he found himself twitching them uncontrollably. He forced himself to take slow deep breaths but the air was getting caught halfway down his throat.
He forced himself to talk closer. A cold sweat dripped down his neck. His legs were growing heavy. Slowly, he realized that he had stopped moving forward. He was inside the circle of light, but only barely. He tried to take another step, and felt watched his foot slide backwards as if he were trying to run on ice or push a wall.
He walked around the room, trying to find a way to push himself through the wall, fighting back the heaving of his empty stomach all the while. He was never able to get any closer, and found himself spiraling away from the center of the room if he didn’t actively fight against the force.
No one should know he was here, but somehow someone was stopping him from reaching the box. It could have been a trap set up by Trump surely he had more walkers in his army than they’d seen so far. But even the most powerful walker had limits. Setting up a trap like this would require more energy than would be worth it. Especially with as many guards as he had in the room. If Beck had set it up as security, then Beck could never have gotten as close as he did.
As much as he hated to admit it, the only thing that could cause it had to be the box, or whatever was inside of it. Something about him or his powers must have triggered its defenses and caused it to push him away.
“It’s here.” Trump’s voice pierced through Unimportant’s thoughts. It was surprisingly clear and rang out above the muted sounds he experienced with his power. “The Ambrosia is inside this case. I’m so close, and yet I cannot get it open.”
Unimportant didn’t have a lot of time. He couldn’t get any closer, but he could make it easier for anyone else who managed to show up.
Unimportant followed his original instincts and crept into the shadows near the edges of the room. The guards were wandering about the room more than they were patrolling. It was strange, none of them talked, leaving Trump’s the only voice in the room.
“Anything strong enough to break the box will be strong enough to destroy whatever container the Ambrosia is in. There must be a way to open the box, and yet there are no switches or keypads to enter a code.”
Unimportant held his breath as he poured a healthy dose of chloroform onto a rag. He’d have to take the guards out one by one and hide them in the corners of the room. They’d be seen eventually, and far sooner than he would like, but the guards’ eyes were slowly being drawn towards Trump. He might be able to take out five or six before he was caught.
No eyes were on the closest guard. Unimportant struck quickly, flipping the cloth over the guard’s nose before he even noticed it anyone was there. The guard was young, and light enough for Unimportant to drag him to the corner quickly.
“Beck is no fool, if the box could be opened form another room then it would be far too easy for it to be stolen while walking to this one. The notes form his tower are useless here. They labelled the room clearly, they describe every security function between here and the hangar, they describe the box in detail, but they make no mention of how to open it.”
He may have had more time than he thought. Trump was talking slowly, carefully thinking through his words. Unimportant had already managed to take out another three guards.
Unimportant avoided one of the larger guards. His struggling would be too obvious and too loud for none of the others to notice. The next guard was smaller, but the way his muscles rippled when he moved and the loud thunks that accompanied his footsteps meant he was probably a tank. He might be even harder to put down than the larger one.
The next guard went down quickly. He had wandered into shadows to lean against the wall and closed his eyes. He was probably already asleep by the time Unimportant knocked him out.
In the center of the room. Trump reached out and gently touched the box. It rocked.
The room froze.
Trump cautiously reached out with both hands and grasped the box. It lifted easily from its place on the pedestal. An alarm sounded, but Trump just laughed. He knew there was no one coming
What sat on the pedestal looked little like a bottle, and more like what a child might imagine a bottle would look like if it held something magic. It had a wide bottom, almost a perfect hemisphere save for the flat plane it rested on, and the top drew quickly into a long thin bottleneck that widened slightly at the top. An ornamental glass stopper rested in its mouth.
There was a loud crash from the entrance, but Trump held the bottle In his hands and lifted it to his lips.