I scramble to right myself just as Invidia drops down the tunnel and onto my back. Luckily that extra-dimensional heft of his doesn't translate to actual weight, otherwise he might've put a crack in my carapace.
[Which way?] I say to Jim.
[Um… Um… this way!]
[You don't sound super confident.]
[It's going to be fine!]
There's an unusual note of panic in the worm's thoughts as he wriggles this way and that before throwing his head into a wall and chewing through it at a ridiculous pace. In a few moments his entire body is gone and all I have to do is squeeze into the tunnel he's dug.
[Just stay calm, Jim. Everything's going fine!] I try to soothe my associate.
He's wanted this for a long time but now that we come to it, he seems to be falling apart a little. As long as he can hold it together long enough for us to reach the outside tunnels we'll be alright.
Another mind stab comes my way, but significantly weaker than before and with Invidia's help I'm able to break it down before it strikes me. Perhaps we've managed to put enough distance between the Shaper's and ourselves to make manipulating mana more difficult for them? Whatever the case I'm glad for it!
With my demon pet following along behind, I start to use my earth mana to collapse the tunnel behind us as we dig. Don't want those nosy Shapers following too easily. I don't doubt they can shift the dirt using earth magic, same as I can, but every little bit helps. I'm not sure what the Shapers will do if they happen to catch us again, probably not anything too lethal, although I'd rather not put that thought to the test. They've been trying to tenderise my juicy flesh since the stupid tournament started after all.
The going is a bit slower now as we're well out of range of Jim's prepared micro tunnels. Still, if I had to have anyone on my side to chew through reinforced stone, it would be Jim. He's incredibly quick, using a combination of his own earth mana and raw chewing power to break down the stone and chow down on it.
At first I wasn't sure what was happening to the rock and I had to ask him.
[You actually eat the stone?]
[Heck yeah. Delicious!]
[I refuse to believe that rocks are delicious.]
[You're missing out. Also I can break it down into earth mana inside my body.]
[You can what?!]
Turns out that as long as he's eating then he can keep churning out his earth magic. The dude turned himself into a literal digging machine in order to break out from the Shapers' control. That's the level of dedication he has and I respect the hell out of it. The two of us endure some tense moments as we tunnel our way out, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and a horde of ticked off magical stone people to clobber our faces in.
But… it didn't happen. For the next ten minutes, Jim works his magic and gobbles down stone as I trail along behind him, collapsing the stone and anxiously waiting for an attack that never materialises.
[We should be almost there!] Jim calls back to me.
[Seriously? They haven't followed us at all!]
[Maybe they don't want to keep us that bad?]
[They kept you locked up for freaking years, Jim! You really think they're just going to let us walk away?]
[All I can tell you is that the stone is getting softer. We shouldn't be far away from a Dungeon tunnel. I think we're beneath it, I'm gonna start angling up.]
Nice. All that's left for me to do is meet up with Tiny and then head towards the Colony. The progress of my siblings has slowed over the last day, which makes sense. If they came close enough to recognise that there's an entire Golgari empire operating in this section of the Dungeon, then they'd be suicidal if they didn't hit the brakes and start to think things through a little more carefully. Now that they can sense me moving toward them (I hope), it should be easy to reconnect with my family.
And Crinis! Hope that little bundle of existential terror has been doing well without me around. She's a bit nervous at the best of times. Having to go it alone for such a long time is sure to put some stress on her nerves.
[BOOM BABY! We out!] Jim cries with glee.
[Letsa go! I've been waiting so long for this moment! Screw you, Shapers! I'm a free worm!]
[Move your slithering butt, Jim! Invidia and I want out!]
[I will take this freedom!]
[Alright, hold your carapace.]
Jim slides his body forward and I dash out to embrace the sweet, sweet free air. At last! I was only locked up for a period of weeks but that was long enough to know that it sucks! Monsters were born to be free! We did it! And it was freakin' easy!
[That went way smoother than I expected] I wonder out loud.
[How could you doubt my incredible powers?] Jim scoffs, still wriggling with joy.
[Just hold on a second.]
I take a moment to check our surroundings. It is quite a wide tunnel space that we've broken into. The area is open to an unusual degree, no debris or columns at all. It almost looks as if the outside of the tunnel has been shaped. In fact, not far from where we broke through the floor is a wall that is elaborately carved.
[Hey Jim, what's up with that wall? Looks weird.]
[I'm blind… What are you talking about?]
[It's got all these… pictures and recesses and stuff.]
[What do you mean?]
[I mean… carvings. Super elaborate carvings.]
[Golgari? I think?]
Not easy to make a carving of rock people on a rock surface I suppose.
[Oh. Now those recesses are lighting up.]
[Like… with lights?]
[Those wouldn't be windows now would they?] Jim asks in a decidedly tense tone.
[You know what? I think they are. They put them in as watch areas around the gate.]
[Well it's opening up now. Very impressive piece of stonework. Not sure how your hearing is but I can absolutely hear shouting.]
[WE NEED TO RUN!]
[I already started, worm breath. Next time can you not tunnel us in front of a Golgari city?!]
[I CAN'T HELP BEING BLIND!]