“Look, fishing net isn’t strong enough to hold a muckbeast when it’s real angry,” Long replies. “That’s all the steel netting’s for, and we might not even need it. It’s just a backup in case things go wrong.”
“It’s not the netting that has me concerned,” the officer says sternly. “Why do you need fifteen pounds of salt?”
“To feed the beasts as we lead them out of town,” Long says. He’s extremely calm. “Can’t just have them stayin’ here, can we? And they cooperate a lot more easily when they’re eatin’. Salt’s just the easiest thing to give ’em for that long.”
“And where exactly will you be leading them?”
“Well, close enough to the swamp that they go back there to nest,” Long shrugs. “Better for everyone that way, I should think. We don’t have muckbeasts running around town, and they get to be in a more comfortable place.”
The officer doesn’t seem impressed. But, at that moment, someone runs up from the dock. Someone dressed in what look like a priest’s robes.
“Where’s the dock crew?” they ask. “We haven’t been able to disembark safely without light or guides. I had to climb down a rope to get off. And there’s nobody around! You’re the first people I’ve seen!”
“What?” The officer promptly glares at Long. Probably already figures him for a troublemaker, and therefore somehow to blame for any other bad business that pops up. “Do you know anything about this?”
“I hadn’t noticed. We had our hands full with the muckbeasts,” he replies. “In fact, maybe it would be best if we dealt with them now so we have time to properly address this poor fellow’s ship.”
The officer is clearly looking to make an objection, and the priest doesn’t seem especially happy about the idea either. You wonder if there’s some way to defuse this situation.
Flatter the town guard.
If the dock crew is missing, something sinister might be going on. Our safety is best served if we can rely on the competence sand professionalism of the town guards. They can secure the docks and ensure nothing untoward happens to the ship and its crew, while we remove the muckbeasts from the equation.