Ancient stone ossuaries were replaced by steel and glass ones containing not wrapped bones but some sort of matte black sarcophagi. This change only lasted a moment but it urged them to hurry.
Maxi guided them to a side corridor that ended in a hexagonal room containing an upward ladder. A short climb later, they found themselves on the surface.
“It’s right across the park,” said Monsieur L’Horloge as he pointed to a tall building that rose into the clouds.
The park was petite, about the size of one square block, with clear paths to the opposite side. Off they went. After three steps, the stone paths became worn, with weeds sprouting and cracking through. A riot of verdant growth burst all around them and they found themselves enclosed by a barrier made of thick Elm tree trunks with no room to squeeze past.
Before they were able to climb past this natural obstruction, they had to dispatch the Ur-Squirrels. With fangs as along an adult’s forearm and vicious sharp claws they leapt from the branches and struck.
Unexpected drew her blade and made short work of her opponents. Maxi produced a knife from up her sleeve and demonstrated her skill with said blade. Arpin dropped three with well-placed shots from his Morpheus. Nikita used her presence to frighten their enemies, making sure no one was overwhelmed. The Repairperson snapped necks and flung foes against the elm trees but if she took any joy in it, her expression betrayed nothing. L’Horloge, grabbed a fallen branch and stuck one with a strength born of panic. The Ur-Squirrel fell, twitched, and then was still.
In the end, everyone had multiple cuts, which were painful and L’Horloge was threw up a little, but they were victorious. They encountered no other dangers as they made their way out of the green but a sense that they were being watched trailed them until they left.
Finally, they stood in front of the rising building where Monsieur L’Horloge had his office. The exclusivity of that particular feature was now problematic due to the speed of movement of building, which under normal conditions was at a steady rate. Now switched from a rapid blur to a glacial pace.
“This is going to be tricky,” said L’Horloge.
“Obviously,” remarked Unexpected.
“Not just because of the speed. We need to get on the correct floor,” added the watch-master.
“Are there not stairs?” inquired Arpin.
“Yes, but sometimes we get Escher-Spiders. They can make the stairs complicated.”
“Lots of extra dimensions and odd perspectives,” said Maxi.
“It’s unfortunate that this is such a superb hiding place,” observed the Repairperson.
“Yes, well… Merci, I suppose.”
Stone and brick rushed past, briefly turning to a rose and azure luminescent material, then back to what it had been.
“Getting in is most important,” stated Arpin, “Waiting is not a luxury we can indulge in.”
The rate of speed the building rose at was erratic and followed no pattern. Finally, it slowed enough for them to jump. Timing, as is often the case, was not quite right. L’Horloge, Unexpected, and the Repairperson tumbled into the hallway as the building rose with vigorous inertia.
Everyone got to their feet, albeit with some caution.
“What floor are we on?” asked Unexpected.
L’Horloge looked at a plaque on the wall and said, “Twenty-Three, only five floors below my office.”
“Some luck at last,” said the Chevalier with a smile.
“Pardon,” interrupted the Repairperson.
“Yes,” replied L’Horloge as he brushed himself off.
“Where are the others?”