Swamped Chapter 134 Page 15

“Basic reason? The leadership. It’s the same old Guild hands who are always causing trouble. Thing is, usually they’re causing each other as much trouble as they are us. Somebody’s got ’em organized.”

“And you think that’s a sign of wizardry?” Long asks. “Must be a real unmanageable lot, then.”

“Not quite what I meant, but I was getting there. The thing is, we’ve had spies watching the leaders. Some of ’em got in real close for important meetings… and then when they listened in, they couldn’t remember any details, not even who was talking. That fits with some rumored time magic spells I’ve read about – to anyone watching, the conversation goes by so fast it’s over as soon as it begins.”

Badger starts pacing.

“But that wasn’t happening at every meeting. Only a handful. That’s why I think there’s only one wizard who can do that sort of thing. Kept in reserve for the most important meetings, to make sure nobody listened in. If they had more wizards with time magic, they’d use ’em more.”

“So how many wizards do you think they have in total?” Long asks.

“Not so sure on that. Three or four is my guess right now. The only one I saw with my own eyes was a novice, though. Time wizard’s probably more generally skilled, or they wouldn’t risk playing around with unknown magic. That’s about all I’ve got.”

And you’re not sure what to make of all this. You barely understood the Guild politics of your own time, let alone what was going on however many years before you were even born.

The one thing you are sure about is that this man calling himself John Long wants info on this wizard with time magic. He’s not really giving off direct signals, but it’s the most interest he’s taken in the conversation. Hard not to catch it.

But maybe you should be directing this conversation more. The wizard wanted you to have it, after all. So far, all you’ve heard about is a strange creature that lives in time, and that there’s a wizard with time magic helping the enemy. Either of them could be the reason, but maybe there’s something else.

You think carefully about what you’ve heard before interjecting with a question of your own.

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Seems awfully dangerous to be messing around with this kind of experimental magic for the sake of, let’s face it, criminals… So what’s in it for the wizard?