Swamped Chapter 143 Page 5

Drip finally speaks up.

“Priests are people with a special connection to one of the gods, sometimes more,” he says. “It could be that a spell might be able to use that connection to control them.”

He’s being really vague. Probably there’s stuff he can’t actually explain to people who aren’t priests themselves.

“The guards in the theater were keeping watch on the audience, though,” you say. “So if they’ve got some form of priest-controlling magic or whatever, they must be worried it can fail.”

“Or they’re watching for impostors who aren’t affected,” Bert adds. “Maybe someone who got wind of the scheme and slipped in among the real priests, say.”

“Impostors,” Mina suddenly says, smiling. “You know, we’ve got some unconscious guards right here. We could have someone dress like one and sound an alarm as a distraction.”

“Probably best if Drip does that. If they are controlling priests specifically, it won’t be safe for him there.”

“This sounds reasonable,” Drip agrees. He starts dragging one of the guards away. “The rest of you can use the catwalk to get in without drawing attention. Watch for the guards to leave, then make your move.”

“Hang on,” Mina says. “If these guards all have these weird masks on, we might want ’em too. Just in case.” She grabs some from the rest of the fallen guards, and hands them to each of you.

“All right, let’s go, then.”

You put the breather mask on under your animal mask. You feel more comfortable that way. Then you lead them to the catwalk.

Mina spots the unconscious guard from earlier, and drags his body aside. You have a look around at the riggings. There’s a rope that seems to be designed for lowering props to the stage.

“I’ll get down using that,” you tell the others, pointing it out. “I think you two should try to knock down the curtains while I do, in case they’re part of the spell or whatever.”

“Think I see what’s holding ’em up,” Bert whispers. “We just need to hit ’em…”

“Well, luckily for us, that guard you took down was packing a crossbow,” Mina says, handing one to him. “You’re a better shot with these than I am, so you handle that and I’ll see to it the guard stays out of trouble.”

Bert nods. Seem you have your plan, so you just need to wait for the guards to leave. Not long after, a door swings open.

“We’ve got intruders!” a guard shouts. “They’ve started a fire! Need everyone we’ve got to put it out!”

That gets their attention. You wonder if Drip started the actual fire. As you see the last of them shuffle out, you give a quick hand signal to Bert and run for the rope.

The curtains fall down as you slide towards the stage. You don’t have time to see if that affects the audience, though, because you’re focused on tackling the speaker.

Yet, even as you do, the strange words continue. And they feel exceptionally cold.

Which makes significantly more sense when you lift the hood and realize that they’re a corpse. Of course, there are a lot of other things that doesn’t explain, such as how their mouth is moving and why it’s repeating this incomprehensible chant.

You were rather hoping to disrupt the chant and question the speaker, but you think you’re going to need a different plan now.

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