Swamped Chapter 129 Page 1

You think the deciding factor is going to be if there are any hostile operations watching either door. If there are, you definitely want to alert the Bogknights as soon as you can. Otherwise, you can afford to risk a longer wait.

You hand the coat back to Mortimer.

“We’re going to double-check for hostiles before we head in,” you explain. “Might need to pull our little trick again.” You start leading him around the side of the guildhouse, looking around as best you can. You don’t see anyone immediately.

“I don’t know if it’ll work here. Whoever’s in charge of the operation probably knows I was in there, so they’d be a little more on guard.”

Oh. That reminds you of something you meant to ask, but it kept slipping your mind.

“Setrus said something about a ‘bird’ being in charge here. Any idea who he meant?”

“A bird?” Mortimer asks. He pauses for a bit. “I can think of a few people that might be. Rennick is a tall fellow with a long, pointed nose. Then there’s Heron, who has a bird name. And there’s one woman with a feathery hat whose name I can’t remember…”

“Hmm. Guess it doesn’t matter much unless you know something about how they operate.”

You catch a glimpse of a group of four people a little ways down the road, but their backs are turned. Whoever they are, they aren’t watching the doors.

“Most of what I know about Rennick is he doesn’t think people are reliable. Whenever he gives an order, he’s real pushy about it, and makes you repeat it back to him to make sure you understand. Heron’s more of a guy who likes to get in fights, but only when he’s sure he’ll win.” Mortimer pauses for a bit. “I got that mostly from overhearing some of their underlings griping. Didn’t hear as many complaints about the woman with the feather hat… just that when someone screwed up, she lectured them right in front of a dozen others. And then gave ’em a good swift kick for good measure.”

Hmm. Rennick fits in with what Setrus said, about how the “bird” would have ordered you to find him. But that’s just a hunch. And this isn’t really the sort of information you were looking for, anyhow.

“I was hoping for more of a sense of their tactics,” you say. “What we might be up against.”

“Oh. Sorry, I don’t think I really picked up any of that.”

You look around some more. You think you see a group facing the front doors. You can’t tell if they’re actively watching, but the emergency exit seems safe. You knock on it, and after hearing some fiddling, the door opens.

“Got anything to report?” Burgundy asks.

“Found this runaway, for a start,” you say, pointing to Mortimer. “There weren’t a lot of people near the hospital itself, so we spread out a bit to see if there was anyone nearby. But all I saw was one group in sight of the front door, and another a ways down the road.”

Burgundy looks concerned.

“That doesn’t sound like much of an attack.”

“Maybe they just wanted someone in here out of the way?” one of the Bogknights asks. “So they tried the gas and didn’t have a backup plan when it didn’t work.”

“How do we even know there was gas?” another one asks. “The doctor was shouting about it, but maybe it was a hoax.”

Burgundy’s scowling. He doesn’t seem to like the situation.

“All of you, pipe down,” he says. “Where’s Minnie?”

She must have introduced herself while you were gone.

“She stumbled onto something and wanted to take a closer look,” you say carefully. “I thought it best if at least one of us came back to report, especially once we found this troublemaker.”

Burgundy frowns.

“What, exactly, did she stumble onto?”

You were hoping he wouldn’t ask. Saying she ran off after a suspicious character might lead to these guys chasing after her, and you don’t think that would lead anywhere good.

But now that the question’s out there, you suppose you’ve got to deal with it.

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It looked like a thief breaking and entering, possibly taking advantage of the general confusion, but could have been an agent of another party, I honestly don’t know.