Swamped Chapter 151 Page 12

“Does anyone have a birthday coming up in the next month?” he asks. He looks as confused by the question as you are.

“Is Grandmother talking to you again?” Minnie asks. She seems a little wary this time.

“No, it’s just one of the strange things she said made sense suddenly. Perhaps,” Badger replies. “I’ll explain after I hear the answer.”

“Mine was six months ago,” you interject.

“Four for me,” says Minnie.

“Mine’s in two,” says Badger. He glances at the wizard.

“Fourteenth of Red,” the wizard replies. You feel like there’s something funny about him leaving out the year, but then, he’s old enough that maybe he doesn’t like talking about his age.

“Right. Well, here’s the thing. I’ve never been much of one for star-telling, but I do pick up a little bit about it. And I just realized that tonight is the moment we switch constellations from Gaam the Huntress to Erob the Sandbeast. And, well, Matilda said something odd about betrayal by one of the sands.”

“So you think it might relate to signs,” the wizard muses. “I don’t suppose you recall the exact wording?”

“Well…” Badger pauses. “It was more like she said a lot of words all at once rather than an actual sentence. I remember it perfectly, which probably relates to whatever magic let her talk to me in the first place, but it’s very hard to make sense of.”

“Ah, I know this one,” said the wizard. “Keyword spell. You shove a whole lot of information in someone’s mind at once. Then, they think of a keyword and that grabs a specific message. Let me guess, you thought of the word ‘birthday’ and then that particular bit of it became clearer.”

“That’s right,” Badger says, surprised.

“Then it’s very likely you’re on the right track,” the wizard continues. “In which case, I have an idea for another keyword I’d like you to think about.”

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