Swamped Chapter 144 Page 11

Sure, it’s a bear. A big bear, that according to legends, breathes fire. And, okay, it looks a little bit human. But a messenger of the gods? The gang members might buy that, but you doubt a wizard would be fooled or even a little intimidated. Just blast it with magic.

Which is why you really don’t want to be wearing the damn thing. Carrying it around is a big enough risk. Besides, it’d probably be way too sweaty in there, especially when you’ve already got this old uniform and an overcoat on.

For a brief moment, you consider tossing your coat on the dragonbear to make it look more human. But this Redbelly armor sticks out like a sore thumb. The overcoat hides you better in the shadows. It gives you an idea, though; maybe there’s a costume that can make it look a bit more like a divine messenger.

You start by poking through the ones you’ve stuffed inside. There’s a horned helmet, that seems passable. And a robe… but no, that’s a robe for playing Velthas. Who has nothing to do with dragonbears. You don’t want costumes for actually playing the gods, someone might recognize them from a play. You want something more generic…

Ah, here’s a good one. A cloak. Put some nice loose clothes on over it, and it looks like the beast might have been a human at one point. Could sell the idea it’s been transformed by divine intervention.

You think the helmet’s a bit much when combined with all that, though, and it’s too soft to work as a real helmet. So you toss it back in as stuffing.

It takes a few minutes to get everything set up, but you do, and you start puppeteering the thing in front of you. You aren’t sure where Arlene is, but you have little doubt she’ll notice this thing.

You who have taken Nual’s priests!” says a voice that seems to be coming from everywhere at once. So, yes, she has. “The gods have passed judgement. Leave now, or share your leader’s fate!

And then you hear running. You can’t see very well, since you’re trying to hold this thing up and you’re hiding behind the cloak to keep from being noticed. But you can hear it well enough, and the important thing is that whoever’s running is moving away from you.

She told you how to get where you’re going, and the halls are clear enough that navigating isn’t a problem. But then you hear a voice that definitely isn’t Arlene’s.

“I ain’t afraid of you! That’s just a costume!”

Hells. Arlene’s bound to respond with some sort of threat, which you’ll be responsible for carrying out. So you’d best figure out what you’re going to do.

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