Maia twisted the shotgun to the side and then slid her hand up the double barrels. The squad leader grimaced and attempted to yank the gun free, but a quick flip of her fingers released the breach, allowing the barrels to swing open. Before the unfired shells could hit the floor, she let go of the rifle and sprang away and out towards the bridge across the magma pool, stuffing the skull into her satchel as she went.
As soon as she placed one boot onto the bridge, a long crack raced down the center of the stone. Just as the bridge crumbled into the bubbling rock beneath her, she leapt away and managed to seize the top of a broken pillar nearby.
A bullet slammed into the side of her temporary refuge, followed by another. She glanced over her shoulder to see the Nazis in the opening of the altar room. Their rifles were too long to do them much good inside the little room, but out in the open she would be a sitting duck.
She flung herself at the next column, slamming hard into it and then dropping a few terrifying inches before her fingers seized a notch in the carven stone. She scrambled around to the far side an instant before feeling two more rifle rounds smash into the opposite side.
Chunks of the ceiling rained down on all sides and the column began to tilt as its base melted in the magma pool. The squad leader cursed at his men to follow her, and as soon as she heard the sounds of their scrambling out of the collapsing structure she jumped to the next pillar, scrambled up, and made one last leap to the solid stone floor of the passage that led out to safety.
She looked back to see the squad leader and the first soldier fling themselves onto the nearby columns, but the second soldier went a different direction. He jumped for the remnants of the bridge, but it disintegrated beneath his boot the moment he landed. He didn’t even have time to scream before he plunged into the boiling rock, disappearing in a radiant crimson splash.
“I should have warned you that lava is bad for your health!” she taunted.
The squad leader clung to his column with one hand while he went for his pistol with the other, but Maia was around the corner before he could draw it.