That simple message of run surprised everyone as Joshua stopped pushing the doors open for a moment to think of what kind of trap could force such a message. He was starting to feel like he was in an Indiana Jones movie and would need to start running ahead of a boulder or something along those lines, but instead of worrying too much about it he decided to head the words of warning instead. "Everyone start running the moment we get through the doors. Lilly bring out Cinder so all of the slower members can keep up pace." Joshua turned and said to the group.
Lilly simply nodded at his words before summoning Cinder. All of the mages and healers once again got on to Cinder's back. She would follow behind the rest of the group at a constant pace as they dashed ahead. This would give the mages a chance to use spells to slow down whatever was pursuing them.
"Alright let's go." Joshua said before quickly pushing open the sides of the door and running down the hall at a decent pace. He didn't rush to fast because he knew some of the tanks wouldn't be able to keep up with his fastest speed. Instead he kept a constant pace that was fast enough to be more than a jog, but less than a sprint. He didn't know how long they would need to run, but the path ahead of them looked like a long tunnel that seemed similar to the tunnels that the snakes seemed to like to use as lairs back in the canyon. It stretched on far passed Joshua's vision and was dimly lit making it hard to see in the first place. The weird way the rocks on the ground were positioned made it look like a giant snake had slithered through the area and it was putting the entire group on edge.
After a few minutes of running a loud ringing sound filled the hall way as if to signal the start of something that drew the attention of everyone. With that sound Joshua knew things were about to get started so he sped up the pace a little bit to keep as far ahead of whatever was going to be coming after them. In the end it didn't take long for them to figure out what was chasing them and they didn't like the answer. Several hissing sounds followed behind them as what could only be the sound of thousands of snakes could be heard coming after them.
Joshua personally wasn't the biggest fan of the slithering creatures, but having what sounded like a tidal wave of snakes chasing behind them definitely worsened his opinion a bit. The hissing sounds continued to grow louder and louder as the snakes started closing in on them. It quickly got to the point where the group could see the pile of snakes feeling the tunnel behind them. The moment this happened Madalyn chunked a canister behind her that started spraying poison quickly after the group passed by. Laura then followed up by sending a fireball towards it to ignite the poison and cause a small explosion that filled the immediate area of the hallway.
The burning flames from the explosions seemed to delay the movement of the snakes for a moment as they could all hear several of the snakes hissing in pain from behind, but soon the snakes had forced their way through and were once again on their tail. At this point Joshua wasn't exactly sure how resilient the creatures were or just how blood thirsty they were for them to plunge straight through the flames.
Now that the mages knew that simple small spells wouldn't slow the snakes down for long they started to come up with other tricks to halt the snakes' progress. Amber was the first one to try as she created a wall of stone to block the tunnel off but the wave of snakes just crashed through it and continued their pursuit. It was able to slow them down for a moment which was good for buying the group time, but the pace of the snakes was still faster than their own so that alone wasn't going to work in the current situation.
That's when Joshua could hear the mages talking to each other and Madalyn through the mental link as they came up with a plan to slow the creatures down. In the end they decided to do something rather simple as Madalyn jumped up on to Cinder's back so that she could help out without having to run the entire time. She tossed another couple of canisters which Laura quickly used her powers to catch on fire and cause more explosions behind them. The fire grasped on to some of the snakes as they forced their way through and that was exactly what Laura and Madalyn were planning.
Madalyn then smiled before creating a trail of poison behind them constantly as Cinder kept a decent pace ahead of the snakes. Then Amber started to create multiple rock walls to slow down the progress of the snakes. Soon the group witnessed the efforts of the combination of abilities as the snakes forced their way through the first rock wall. The explosion created from the snakes forcing their way through while still on fire in to more poison gas shook the entire hall way. This continued to happen over and over again until the rate of approach of the snakes had slowed down considerably. Even so the snakes continued to surge forward after them even with so many of them dying to the traps Madalyn, Laura and Amber had set. Julia even helped out by making sure the flames stayed strong enough to ignite the poison gas whenever a snake reached a new area.
This continued for almost an hour before the group arrived into a new area completely tired from the run. The new room was a large cylinder like structure with an extremely high ceiling. Near the top of the room Joshua could see a large door with a snake on it proving it was the room to the boss for the path. However to get all the way up there they couldn't just climb the walls. The walls in the room were covered with red hot spikes that prevented even Cinder from climbing properly. Instead there was only one way Joshua could see to get up to the door and that was the stairs that Joshua saw directly in front of him. The issues was the fact that the stairs didn't reach all the way up to the door and instead cut off in sections on the way up.
The gaps between the sections were a bit too big to try to jump all the way across and up to the next area. Each gap was about two Tank's high and Joshua knew that most of the people in the group wouldn't be able to make that leap. The stairs were also too small for Cinder to stand on so it was impossible to get on her back and jump all the way up to the door section by section. At the end of the first part of the stairs there was a little section for the group members to stand on with a pedestal on it. Joshua knew that had to be the key to getting their way out of this mess. He was the first one to race up the steps with the rest of the group chasing after him trying to keep up.
When Joshua got to the top of the stairs and in front of the raised pedestal he noticed that they were basically four or five floors up on a regular building. It was a good thing to since the moment they had all reached the top of the stairs, with the mages now having to run since Cinder couldn't fit on the stairs at her current size, the tunnel spewed out a wave of snakes that started feeling the bottom of the room quickly. At the pace that the snakes were moving into the room they had about five minutes before the snakes were raised up to the level they were currently on.
"What does the thing say? We need to get a move on quickly!" Henry shouted as Joshua rushed over to the pedestal. He looked at the writing and was surprised by what the dungeon had planned for them to reach the next section.
[I can sizzle like bacon, I am made with an egg, I have plenty of backbone, but lack a good leg, I peel layers like onions, but still remain whole, I can be long, like a flagpole, yet fit in a hole. What am I?]
"Of all things it had to be a stupid riddle." Joshua said with a frown as he looked it over again and tried to think of an answer quickly. "Any ideas guys I'm all ears."
While everyone was thinking and looking a bit puzzled about it Joshua was expecting either Isabella or Henry to be the ones to come up with an answer the fastest. The problem was the fact that it seemed like the both of them were over thinking things. Instead it was surprisingly Lilly who came up with the answer. "It's a snake obviously." Lilly said as if the answer was too simple. Everyone looked back towards her in surprise, but the pedestal seemed to register her answer as the correct one as it sunk into the floor and some floating steps started to appear that lead up to the next section and pedestal to climb higher.
The tide of snakes beneath them seemed to be rising faster as they moved up. By the time they reached the next section the snakes had reached the point where they could slither across the area they had previously been. Luckily it seemed like there was only two sections left separating them from the door up ahead. They all rushed over to the next pedestal and Joshua wasn't surprised this time when it simply had a question written on it that they would have to answer to gain access to the next section.
[How do you tell if a snake is venomous or not?]
The question was a short and simple one this time around, but it could have several different answers to it. It could depend on the coloring, the body shape, or any other number of reason that Joshua had no idea of which to select. He looked towards the rest of the group who all seemed to say several difference reasons. Henry was talking about the fang shape, while Isabella was talking about the patterns on the snake, but neither's answers made the pedestal budge. The tide of snakes behind them continued to rise putting them all on edge to the point where some of the others started to guess as well. Unexpectedly the answer came from a careless joke made by Adrian.
"Well I guess you could tell if it's poisonous if you let it bite you." Adrian said with an uneasy smile. The pedestal started to sink into the floor right after his answer and everyone sighed with relief once this happened. Another set of floating stairs appeared leading the to the last gap between them and the door to the boss room. The group all rushed up the stairs as fast as they could to get to the last section as the snakes below kept hissing up at them. When they reached the pedestal there was once again another question and unsurprisingly it was snake related.
[What's a snake's favorite subject?]
It was another stupid question that Joshua was getting tired of, but he remembered hearing a similar childish joke when he was a kid. "History." Joshua answered, but the pedestal didn't go down like with the other pedestals he panicked a bit at that fact before Madalyn walked up behind him and gave the same answer with a little flair.
"Hissstory" She said with a little hiss of her own and the pedestal dropped into the floor and gave them the final steps they needed to get up to the entrance to the boss room. On the way up Joshua just shook his head at the fact that the question had to be answered that way, but he rushed up the steps as the tide of snakes seemed to rise even faster with each question they solved. At best they had a minute before the snakes would rise all the way up to the door at the top and by then they'd be on the other side of it. The only issue was the fact that they weren't going to get any breaks before taking on the boss and Joshua didn't like the idea of that.