Charles and his friends follow Captain Kid and Marshal Rayban into the woods until they come upon a huge concrete barrier. This wall is about eight feet high and extents in both directions through the dense forest growth. Marshal Rayban hoists Charles onto the wall, and when Charles stands, he is looking out across a vast concrete ring of unimaginable purpose. The inside of the ring is filled completely with murky water. All Charles can think is this is some kind of abandoned water treatment facility, but even that seems highly unlikely.

The marshal and captain probably know the real purpose, but, as always, those two are infuriatingly tight-lipped. The only thing certain is that Marshal Rayban is aggravated by this water situation. He sets off to find the pump because the circle has to be drained to get to the “shuttle” they’re looking for.

After locating the pump, the marshal has difficulty starting the cursed machine, so Captain Kid suggests the cowboy go on to find his own secret door, the one leading into the Red Real. Here, their paths part.

Charles never care for the gruff cowboy, but the departure leaves him feeling even more lost in the woods than he already was. Still, there is work to be done, and when the pump fires up, Charles’s attention is drawn to the forest lowlands which are filling with black swamp water.

 

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