Swamped Chapter 18 Page 20

If you were back on the outside, there’d be more options. You remember delivering a message to a butcher once, who kept large blocks of ice in his back room so the meat would last longer before he sold it.

But you don’t have the infrastructure in the swamp to manage something like that. Even the Bogknights primarily just eat swamp mush. Here, you don’t even have the means to make decent mush; you have to settle for the raw swampleaf. You can’t think of anything in the whole base that especially needs to be kept cool.

Wait – you can. Keeper’s brews. The last time you swiped one, it was ice-cold. He must have something that can help.

You excuse yourself, and tell Starling to stay in case Doc needs anything. Then you head back to Keeper’s place.

“Keeper,” you say. “You’ve got ice or something, right? Doc needs it, fast.”

He gives you a suspicious look. Seems your talk earlier didn’t fully sell him on you.

“You want me to hand you a couple bottles of booze with that, maybe? So you can hand-deliver them to her? Since when do you do anything for Doc?”

“Since Mudviper collapsed, that’s when! Doc’s already got all the cold-packs on her, but she isn’t sure that’s going to be enough.”

“Viper.” He looks a little more serious. “Awright, fine, you win. If this is a scheme, you’ll get your arse kicked by Viper twice over, and Doc’ll give it another three poundings for good measure. The coolant won’t last long if I take it out, but a couple of bottles should help out a bit. By the time that wears off, I should have a longer-term solution ready.”

He heads to the back, and returns with two bottles. Of good stuff, damn.

“This’ll stay cool for hours, even outside the stash,” he says. “I trust Doc can keep it safe.”

“She can, but I’ve got to get it there first. What if someone tries to take it from me?”

He hands you a bag.

“Well, you can carry them in this, so you won’t have your hands full. As for getting back there without trouble… that sounds to me like the sort of problem any serious Council candidate should be able to handle. Best of luck.”

The nerve! He’s treating this as some kind of test? Mudviper’s life is at stake!

The worst part, though, is that he has a point. If you’re worth consideration, you should be able to handle this.

So how are you going to keep the booze safe on your way back?

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