Aladdin coughed, head aching and queasy as if he’d overdone it at a Maharagan. Only wherever they were smelled like mold and cement; not a trace of tropical flowers or sea breezes to ease his stomach. And there was a bony shoulder digging into his side. “Oooow….”
“Oh, thank god,” Alan breathed, water sloshing with every step. “Hang on, we’re almost at an access ladder.”
“A wha..?” Aladdin blinked open gummy eyes, squinting at the silvery rukh lighting the damp not-stone tunnel Alan was carrying him through. Flutters of light were urging them on, gleeing at Morgan’s joyous destruction, worrying at Maria as she groaned and swore, and sticking out spirit-tongues at the thin tendrils of magic trying to latch onto them. Nyaaaah!
“We think they’re tracking us magically.” Morgan steadied Maria on her shoulders as the younger girl started and thrashed. “My clan says running water can block some tracking spells. Can you tell if it’s working?”
“I think so?” Aladdin said doubtfully. “There’s something trying to wiggle after Maria, but it looks like it can’t find us.” He pushed himself up enough to take a better look at the rukh and the dry concrete platform ahead of them, glad that Alan had slowed. “But if we step out of the water… wait, I have an idea.”
Slipping his wand out of his sleeve, Aladdin waved at the dark water around Alan’s feet and murmured a few words Yamraiha had helped him find, so long ago.
Rippling like snake scales, water rose and circled them.
Okay, that form looks good. Let’s make it a little bigger.
That just took a gesture, urging the ring to sweep out and around Morgan as well. The shimmering threads of seeking violet fell away, thwarted.
“Whew,” Aladdin breathed. “Okay, now let’s get dry.”
“Get dry?” Alan shifted a hand just to mess with his hair. “You didn’t slosh through the drains.”
“I’m still wet!” Aladdin’s nose wrinkled. The water on him smelled oddly rusty and stale. “What’d we do, walk through a rainstorm? It didn’t look like rain.”
“Hey, New England,” Alan shrugged, stepping up into faint dapples of sunlight on gray not-stone. “You don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.”