"Da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da-de..." Sniper muttered underneath his breath, carefully edging his way down the long hallway with his back flat against the wall, treading lightly on the no doubt pressure-plated wooden floor, before stopping next to a large suit of silver, metal armor, mounted on an ornate wooden pedestal, carefully contemplating his next move, deciding what was the best route to sidestep this inconvenient obstacle. Seeing as he couldn't afford to step onto the large carpet which covered most of the floor of the hall, which could easily conceal an otherwise obvious trigger for a trap, or even just be loosely placed over a large pitfall with spikes at the bottom.
Still muttering some obscure song under his breath, Sniper swung his foot around the wooden base of the large suit of armor, hugging the suit to maintain his balance, praying that this suit of armor didn't have a trigger built in, and awkwardly shimmied around the large obstacle. Suddenly, Sniper felt the suit of armor shift under his weight, and slowly lean forward, with Sniper struggling to maintain his grip on the armor as it leaned further and further forward, frantically searching with his left hand for something sturdy to grab onto. Upon finding a grip on some sort of thin stick, Sniper quickly swung around the suit of armor, precariously tiptoeing on the small wooden lip which sat right before the large red rug before him, temporarily breathing out in relief, before quickly realizing the suit of armor to his left was wobbling and about to fall onto the red rug, switching hands on the grip on the wall to grab onto the collapsing suit of armor, then straining his muscles to pull the heavy suit of metal armor back into an upright position with one arm, while using his other arm to maintain his grip and balance on the unseen sturdy handle.
Slowly, steadily, the metal suit of armor shuddered, then creaked upward to it's previous upright position, with Sniper finally able to remove his sore arm from protectively raising the suit of armor, letting out a breath he didn't know he was holding, before turning his attention to the grip he had found in a moment of dire need. In his left hand, Sniper was tightly holding onto a sturdy, bronze-plated candelabra, which was firmly mounted into the wall, leaving it's three large, lit candlesticks to glimmer and glow in peace.
Sighing in relief from his narrow escape from a certain doom, Sniper swung his body around, his back to the wall once more, ready to shimmy along the thin strip of exposed wooden floor which ran next to the large red rug that covered nearly all of the floor of the massive hallway, when suddenly, he felt the candelabra shudder. His eyes wide, Sniper turned to the metal grip in his left hand, which shook once more, then slowly swung downward on an obvious swivel, a strategically-placed trigger placed at a convenient position for the Trapmaster, but an inconvenient position for a horrified Sniper, who heard a wooden clack, and looked up just in time to see the large axe decoratively mounted on the wall swinging dowards towards his neck with deadly accuracy. Sniper quickly released his grip on the candelabra, and leapt out of it's path, with the axe barely missing his head by inches as Sniper crashed to the floor.
Catching his breath, attempting to steady his excited heart, Sniper was almost calm once more, when he felt, rather than heard, an almost imperceptable click beneath him, then an answering click from the section of the hallway behind him. Fatigued, Sniper turned his head to the entrance of the hallway, where all was silent. Just when Sniper thought he simply might have imagined the floor shifting slightly beneath the rug he lay upon, the entrance to the hallway was suddenly blocked off by the seemingly-decorative portcullis balanced above it, before the edge of the rug at the entrance to the long hallway Sniper had passed through earlier suddenly fell out of sight, with Sniper hearing a distant clatter of breaking wood, but barely acknowledging the distant noise when he saw the floor quickly fall out beneath the section of the rug farthest from him, with the long floorboards placed from the left wall of the room to the right wall falling out beneath the rug, sending Sniper into a cold sweat as the floor quickly fell out far from him, swiftly making it's way towards where Sniper lay prostrate on the thick, concealing rug.
Realizing the dire strait he was in, Sniper scrambled to his feet and ran for his life towards the opposite end of the hallway from the falling-out carpet, puffing like a bull as he pushed himself to reach the end of the hallway before the quickly-opening pit behind him did. As if that wasn't enough stress for the already-exhausted Sniper, the decorative portcullis concealed in the ceiling of the entrance at the other end of the hallway suddenly grinded into action, slowly rumbling downwards to block off Sniper's only chance of survival.
Pushing himself further than he'd ever dare in a normal situation of life-and-death, Sniper chugged like a steam engine as he raced towards the end of the hallway, a sense of dread overcoming him as he realized he wasn't going to make it. Just as Sniper thought he might as well give up, he felt a small tugging in his stomach, and heard a gentle, whispering voice give him one word of encouragement:
Suddenly empowered with a sense of supernatural strength and endurance, Sniper rocketed forward, his black overcoat billowing behind him in the self-generated wind from his sudden increase in speed. The portcullis was almost closed, and Sniper actually thought he was going to make it, when suddenly, he tripped, and turned from a blur of legs and arms into a blur of legs, arms, and body. Thinking fast, Sniper turned his fall into a roll, barely out-rolling the portcullis as the wrought-iron gate slammed closed behind him, with the last of the rug falling out, revealing a gaping, dark pit, with the hills and valleys of the fallen rug revealing large spikes portruding from the base of the pit.
Sniper, realizing he was safe, crumpled to the floor in a small ball, the taste of bile coming into his mouth as his belly gurgled, his throat burned, and his heart thudded in protest of his over-exertion, as Sniper struggled to calm his mind and body.
This had been Sniper's life since Tracker had dumped him into the maze-like, hybrid dungeon-basement of the mansion, which Sniper had spent hours navigating until he found an exit, which, upon climbing the staircase, narrowly avoided a torrent of poison-tipped darts which smoldered as they embedded thimselves in the wooden wall on Sniper's right, with Sniper exiting that room, only to find another trap waiting for him.
Trap after trap after trap after trap.
This is Tracker's game. Sniper realized, his mind barely functioning as his body struggled to repair itself from his furious exertions. He wants me to get so tired, I'll start making mistakes, or give up trying to avoid them entirely.
"You won't win!" Sniper suddenly yelled, scrambling to his feet and shaking his fist at an enemy he couldn't see, but which he knew was there. "You hear me, Tracker Dreadwalker, you coward?!" Sniper shouted, spit flying from his mouth as he drew himself up defiantly and screamed at his unseen opponent. "You can shoot darts at me, open the floor beneath my feet, send armies of pit bulls my way, BUT IT WON'T WORK!" Sniper yelled, working himself into a fury with his passionate speech. "You can nuke this mansion, for all I care!" Sniper screamed, swiveling around to address an old oil painting nearby, ready to drive his point home. "It doesn't matter what you do, I WILL ESCAAAAAAAAAAPE!" Sniper yelled, drawing the last word of his exclamation of defiance out until his lungs would shout no more, and he was forced to gasp and go quiet, bending over and frantically drawing in air, until he could breath easy once more.
When Sniper's breathing returned to normal, he stood straight once more, listening intently for some sort of acknowledgement of his furiously defiant statement from his unseen adversary.
All was silent.
Then, several long moments later, a soft chuckle.
Lightning-fast, the chuckle grew and grew until it's volume equaled one of an aircraft carrier's engine, grating and grinding into Sniper's ears as he screamed in pain and rage at being dismissed so easily, before running at top speed out of the room, frantic to outrun the piercing laughter which threatened to burst his eardrums.
Upon running through the next room, Sniper stepped on a hidden trigger, setting off yet another flurry of poison-tipped darts which flew at him, but which he easily outran, before being threatened by a net which fell from the ceiling, ready to ensnare him, when he dodged to the side, pushing off the wall to increase his speed even more, and when the floor started to fall out beneath him, Sniper leapt with the agility of a cat, landing safely on the other side of the pit, before growling like an animal, then running top speed once more.
Suddenly as Sniper crossed the threshold of the next room, the four entrances and exits of the small intersection room were suddenly blocked off by thick metal walls, causing Sniper to scream in frustration, banging on the walls furiously, when suddenly, the walls of the room shuddered, then started to close around him. Screaming like a panther, Sniper suddenly leapt and gripped a thin wooden foothold in the wall, looking up to see the large grate at the top of the ever-narrowing shaft gently filtering sunlight into his prison, before leaping to the next wall, then quickly rebounding, climbing foot by foot as the walls closed around him.
Just as the walls became the size of a small closet, Sniper reached the grate, and, holding the walls at bay with his legs, attempted to push the grate off the ceiling, but only succeeded in rattling the thick metal. As the walls threatened to break Sniper's legs, in a fit of genius, Sniper doubled over his torso and used the momentum of his legs being smushed by the walls to propel his shoulder into the metal grate, sending the grate flying as Sniper leapt out of the narrow shaft, his left leg narrowly escaping being crushed as he landed in a crouched position on the floor of the room, ready to continue running at top speed in his search for an exit, when suddenly, his breath was taken away by an unbelievably insane sight, slowly rising to his feet as his jaw dropped.
Sniper stood on a large tower a mile high, able to see as far as his eyes would permit, and it was the view that took his breath away, but not in the way you might expect.
For miles around, as far as Sniper could see, hundreds and thousands of Victorian-Goth style buildings stretched outwards into the horizon, interconnected at haphazard points, large courtyards, with massive portcullises guarding the exits from the buildings as far as Sniper could see.
Shuddering once, Sniper's knees got weak, and he crumpled to the floor, his strength leaving him as he took in the massive, industrial view, and dropped his head as tears flooded his eyes, the reality of his situation hitting him:
This... this was hopeless.