Swamped Chapter 130 Page 3

The first thing that strikes you is that the man standing beside the door indeed isn’t Burgundy. Doesn’t look like a Bogknight at all. You have no idea who he is.

The second thing that strikes you is that he’s looking directly at you. You quickly step behind a nearby bed, looking as natural as possible. Are you actually visible in the past somehow? Are you looking at it, or are you actually travelling there? With time magic involved, you can’t be that sure.

You carefully step around. A bulky woman who looks like a sailor brushes past you; your arm passes right through hers. So you’re not physically here, which makes sense. Indeed, if you concentrate hard, you can see the present, and you haven’t actually moved an inch. This might be confusing if you think too hard about it, so you focus yourself on the shadow of the past.

So was it a coincidence? Or maybe some form of magic. Something like, you’ve sent some kind of shadow made of ether into the past and wizards can see you?

You don’t like that explanation much, not least because it strongly suggests you’re a wizard and that would be a headache you really don’t need. You decide to keep out of his sight just in case, though.

You also opt to figure out where you are. You spot yourself and Susan walking into one of the latrines with a cover. That gives you a rough sense of the timeframe, at least.

You also spot Evan – with a bracelet – talking to someone in a heavy coat. You concentrate.

Sorry,” the man says, and sprays something in Evan’s face. It smells real bad, but it’ll clear out those unpleasant thoughts. And the rest of them, too.

Evan looks real dizzy. The man pulls him behind a curtain, presumably to an empty bed. And then, a moment later, Evan walks out from behind it… not wearing a bracelet.

He said he saw the man just after you first came in, not during the lockdown. But he didn’t seem that sure, and whatever hit him seems to have muddled his senses.

“Evan” heads towards the emergency exit, and here you watch very carefully so you’re out of the watchman’s line of sight.

You here to lock the door? the watchman asks.

Oh, yes, I’ll be right there.

And just as “Evan” reaches the door, it opens. You just manage to catch a brief glimpse of who’s on the other side, but it’s enough to recognize them.

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Author’s Note:
This is rather blatantly some continuity repair. I had noticed the inconsistencies noted in the last update just after Evan mentioned the stranger and the bad smell. At that point, it felt too late to update them that significantly, so I tried to figure out if there was some way I could explain it.
I then realized that I could do it using things I had introduced up to that point, with the bad smell being the last piece of the puzzle – a knockout agent allowing the stranger to replace Evan.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to do about the issue where he mentioned the man watching the door, so I just improvised on that.
In general, I would advise trying to keep track of things to avoid this sort of issue, but I won’t deny I enjoyed thinking up a way to fix it.
I did make a small fix to this update when moving it over, though. The line “He said he saw the man just after you first came in, not during the lockdown.” originally just had the first clause. I added the second to clarify that this was Corvus trying to settle the timeline, and noting another inconsistency I’d introduced, but one that could be explained by faulty memory.
In addition, the line afterwards originally said “He heads towards the emergency exit”, which I found confusing on a reread so I clarified who “he” was. This line was also originally part of the previous paragraph, and I split it off because it wasn’t really part of that line of thought.