Swamped Chapter 16 Page 4

The Marshguard doesn’t acknowledge Dean at first.

“I trust they didn’t give you any trouble, Ringer?”

The bell rings twice.

“Good. Always a risk bringing martial artists in for questioning, never know when they might try to pull something. That’s why I find it’s best to have a hostage ready, just in case.” She looks at you and smirks.

“Who is she?” you whisper at Dean.

“She’s one of the guards from last night. I had to knock her out. I, er, hope she doesn’t bear a grudge. Anyhow, it seems she expects me to do the talking, so sit tight.”

“What are you two whispering about?” she growls.

“Oh, ah, I recognized you and Marshall wanted to know why. That’s all.”

“And I’m more than a little bitter about it. Never wanted to be on patrol at all, but no, we had a strike force out there so we were shorthanded here. If that means ol’ Doc is out watching for sneaks like you instead of looking after the wounded, so be it.”

“You’re, ah, the Marshguard medic?”

“Ha. As if we’re that organized. But yeah, I’m one of the few around here who knows how to do more than dress a wound. And they stuck me out on patrol, where you damn near choked me.”

“I took care not to hurt you too much…”

“Hmmph. It’s not the harm that gets to me, it’s the time I lost. Been busy ever since we got back. I still haven’t had time to give you lot a proper looking-over; especially that missing arm. From what I hear, it’s fresh after the last rain, right?”

You nod.

“And you spent last night running all across the swamp. Do you even know how nasty it’ll be if some muck got into the wound? But that can wait. Right now, I have some questions for the one with all his limbs intact.”

“My name’s Dean.” He’s clearly worried; he didn’t say “the”.

“Dean, then. You’re the most senior of our captives, so maybe you can tell me why you thought it was a good idea to come snooping around here with all your friends.”

“I wanted to clear up a misunderstanding. But I thought it would be hard to do that through official channels.”

“Misunderstanding. Would you mind elaborating on that.”

“I’m on pest control. Two nights ago, we had a greatrat problem. But when we found the nest, I concluded we had to deal with them without making noise. So, I lead my team out to gather fly eggs to poison them.”

“To the breeding grounds.”

“Yes. Where, well, we noticed some Marshguards. I decided it was best not to draw their attention, as they might decide to take advantage of our rat problem, or just attack our group.”

“Did you point the flies their way? Poor Blackeye’s swelling still hasn’t recovered.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I was in a rush, I might have thought of something less drastic otherwise. I’ll apologize to Blackeye personally if that’s what has to be done. The point is, we only used the poison on the greatrats. We weren’t going to use it on you all. I wanted to clear that up, but I didn’t think I could just explain that without also handing myself over to you. And, well, I figured if the officers found out I was going to do that, they’d stop me.”

“And why did you come so close to the base, then? You could have surrendered once you were in our territory.”

“Well, by that point, we had noticed your strike force gathering. We changed plans to get you worried about infiltrators, in hopes you’d call them back.”

“Mudviper says you caught her as she was escaping from your base.”

“Pure luck. She was hiding, we were looking for a hiding spot to avoid our own patrols, they happened to be the same place.”

“These knights you came with. Most seem a little young to be your squadmates.”

“I picked newer members because they’d face lighter punishments if we were caught. I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did. Walter’s not so new, but he was familiar with our patrols. I needed his help to get out of Bogknight territory.”

“Right. Well, that’s enough for a basic report, then.” She turns to you. “Ringer, are you confident you can handle the older one alone if he tries any moves on you? He is an unarmed fighter, after all.”

One ring.

“I’ll trust your judgement, then. As for you, we need to have a look at that wound. Really should have sooner, but it’s been busy today.”

Ringer drags Dean away, and Doc grabs you by the arm.

“Come on. We’re heading to what passes for the infirmary around here. Try to keep up.”

Once again, you find yourself being lead through the Marshguard base. Once again, you find yourself wondering if you really should just go along quietly.

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Suggestions:

literally everything is going according to plan, so, yes. ask if they know your dad. tell them that he probably doesn’t have one arm like you

I mean, you don’t want to get an infection or something, so
Let’s roll with it