Swamped

Swamped Chapter 149 Page 5

“And who, exactly, are you two?” you ask. “There hasn’t been a proper acting company here since the theater shut down, and the one troupe I know in town is on their way out. So they wouldn’t be advertising a new show.”

“We’re just ahead of the rest of our troupe,” the man explains. He’s already on the defensive, but you think it’s a good time to press the offense.

“And wearing uniforms that everyone in town hates,” you shoot back. “Seems an odd promotional choice. And just what do a couple of actors know about armies, anyway?”

The woman smiles. She seems to be enjoying this.

“Our troupe believes for good stagefighting, you hire people who know real fighting,” she says. “Bert and I have both spent some time in combat. And more than enough for our tastes. Seemed like a good career change.”

And now you’re getting an idea.

“So what you’re saying is, you’re in uniform because you’re expecting to get in fights,” you reply.

“Clever one!” the woman says to her partner. “Might not be very disciplined, like you said, but there’s more to him than raw muscle. Could make a pretty penny working for the right client.”

So they’re still pushing the sellsword angle?

“I’m not looking for any sort of work,” you mutter.

“Really? A shame. Because we’ve got a little job we could use some help with. And I’ve got some coins burning a hole in my pocket.” She smiles at you. “Here I thought maybe you could take care of both those problems!”

Okay, she’s definitely trying to get a read on you, but you can’t tell what sort of read.

“I’ve got too much going on already. Have to admit, though, with all the problems I’ve been roped into already, one where I get paid for my trouble sounds tempting. But, gonna have to pass.”

You lean against the wall, and suddenly the weight of the crutch on your back reminds you it’s there. And that’s when things click into place.

You’re carrying a crutch strapped to your back. They probably noticed that, but normally if that was what got someone’s attention, they’d bring up the subject directly.

Unless, that is, they specifically recognize it as Drake’s crutch. Then they’d try to figure out your connection to him, wouldn’t they. And they wouldn’t bring it up because that might call attention to the fact they recognize it.

Of course, you don’t know if they view Drake as friend or foe. For that matter, you’re not sure how¬†you view him… as a tentative but very temporary ally, you suppose.

Still, if your hunch is right, that gives you a better sense of the situation. Now you need to figure out what you’re going to do about it.

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