Swamped Chapter 133 Page 13

You’re so desperate that for a moment, you think about making bird noises. Hells, if that’s Heron maybe he’ll think you’re mocking him.

Then another idea strikes you. What if you made muckbeast noises? You don’t exactly have much practice, but they also aren’t that complicated.

So you leap out from your hiding spot and cry out, sounding as much like a muckbeast as you can. You start rushing forward, towards the line of flames.

Heron, or whoever he is, looks around for a moment. The muckbeast backs off, and collides with something unseen again, but Heron’s delayed.

You delay him a few moments longer by flinging your glove in his face. As he pulls it off, you make your way past the flames and leap at Heron.

He’s big, but he’s not on his guard. And most of his underlings have fled. You manage to knock him down, and one swift command later, the muckbeast steps on his arms. He screams in pain.

The handful of gangsters remaining flee. One of them drops a bucket of water, which you grab and toss on the flames. Another bucket from the other side douses the whole line.

“Well, well,” the man from the hospital says, grinning. “Not a half-bad muckbeast call.”

“No time for that,” says the person who seems to be leading the hostel guards. “Grab Heron. I think he might be able to tell us some interesting things.”

“What about these two?” one of the guards asks. “And the muckbeast, for that matter.”

“They helped us out, so I’ll have a talk with them. Get Heron in one of the empty rooms.”

There’s a bit of a rush of activity. You feel a little bit lost in all of it, honestly. You and the stranger get gently herded towards the hostel door, where the leader looks over you both.

“Let’s start simple. Your names.”

“You can call me Crow,” you say carefully. “I’m here on behalf of a wizard. He told me to come here and meet someone called Badger.”

The leader barely acknowledges.

“What about you?” he asks the other man.

“You can call me John Long,” he replies. “I just happened to be passing by.”

Long? You recognize the name, of course, but you have no idea how common it is. Or if it’s even his real name, for that matter.

The leader stares at Long for a while, then turns to you.

“And what’s the name of this wizard of yours?”

Damn, did he ever tell you that? Even if he did, so much has happened tonight that you barely remember.

You wonder if you should just admit that, or if you’d be better off pulling some kind of bluff.

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Not sure if that’s relevant… We just call him Wiz. His surname might actually be Long as well, now that I think of it.