Swamped Chapter 1 Page 9

You decide that you might as well make yourself useful. About all you know how to do is laundry, though, so you settle for taking care of that.

A quick investigation reveals that dirty laundry doesn’t stay around for long. Because drying your clothes means extra water, everyone is expected to do theirs immediately after showering.

You realize you can save them a little trouble by waiting at the shower and taking their clothes to the laundry room. You get a few recruits taking you up on the offer, but it seems not that many people are coming back from the swamp drenched. Or they prefer to handle their own laundry, because that’s what they’ve always done.

Still, you do get some more practice with the process, cleaning five sets of clothes over the next hour. You’re starting to feel confident about one thing you can do, though.

At least until you start rolling the sixth shirt and it suddenly turns to a drab dark-brown color. As it turns out, this is right when Sergeant Greenwoods rushes into the laundry room with a panicked look on her face.

She sees the shirt and promptly puts on her mask, grabbing it from you and tossing it into a small metal box in the corner. She closes the box quickly and then grabs you and drags you through the halls.

The next thing you know, you’re in the infirmary with the medic pulling a needle from your arm. You feel more than a little confused.

“No toxin,” the medic says after a while.

“Thank the gods, I’d never forgive myself otherwise,” Sergeant Greenwood says, pulling off her mask. “I rushed in as soon as I heard you were helping with the laundry. I should have told you about the eggs.”


“Fly eggs. They nest in the swamp muck. The powder tears the eggs apart, and gets their blood all over everything. Their highly toxic blood, I might add.”

You feel a little uneasy at hearing that.

“Didn’t think it was important, because you hadn’t been out in the swamp proper where they breed. We keep the training pool very clean. Hadn’t thought you might try to help out the other knights. Hells, that was too close. Look, I appreciate that you tried to help out, but next time you try to do something, talk to me first. The swamp has a lot of dangers, hidden ones as well as the more obvious, and you can’t assume anything from it is safe.”

“We’ll need to keep you in here overnight just in case the blood test missed something,” the medic interjects. “I doubt there will be any problems, but we can’t be too careful with fly toxin.”

Well, there goes the rest of your free time today. And you can probably look forward to learning to spot fly eggs tomorrow, assuming you didn’t get poisoned.

The medic leads you to a side room with a bed and a bookshelf next to it.

“I’d advise you to pass the time with some reading,” he says. “Assuming you know how. If not, this might be a good chance to learn.”

Well, you can’t see much else to do.

Do you already know how to read?
If so, what sort of book will you look at?

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you know how to read!!! just, not the language all these books are written in…

reading is about the only thing you’re good at, ’cause you’re a wimp nerd begat from wimp nerds. but beginning right now, pretend like you’re illiterate so they underestimate you and you have a lower bar to clear. (you really need it, frankly.) plus you get to have a secret, like later you can be all “i’m not left-handed” except with books and signs instead of cool shit like swords.

Both of those

Author’s Note:

As with the rain earlier, this was another example of getting a chance to use one of the few ideas I already had in mind.

The highly toxic flies are actually called “murderflies”, and I start using that name later. Here, though, probably with the silliness of “Flamethrower” still in my mind, I opted not to go for the full name.

My after-the-fact justification for this is that the Bogknight’s suits provide very good protection against the fly bites so, relative to the rest of the swamp creatures, they aren’t that deadly. So they just get called “flies”.