Swamped Chapter 18 Page 23

Something’s been bothering you since Crosswinds last showed up. Might as well ask about it.

“So. You never made it clear last time if you were up for getting the Council to consider Mudviper.”

“Well, it’s definitely not going to fly while she’s sick. But I don’t think it’ll sell anyways. Maybe you didn’t hear, but thanks to her report last night, a lot of us had to go scouring the Thornbrushes, and turned up nothin’ because the Bogknights went another way. Lots of bitterness about that. Won’t go away easy. If she takes the seat, there’ll be riots.”

“And there won’t be if I do?”

“Well, you’re working on proving yourself, right? Sure, it’ll be a shock to most, but they won’t be upset, so long as they think you got it fair and square.”

They’ve got a point. You may have a poor reputation, but outside of Keeper and Doc, there aren’t many Marshguards who resent you personally. And even if your efforts to smooth things over fail, it’s not as if either of those two are the sort to start riots.

The main problem is that you don’t have a lot of accomplishments to your name. They’re largely outnumbered by all the times you screwed up. You’ll have to do something big…

And come to think of it, there’s a serious problem that you’re being blamed for.

“Could you call my squad members here?” you ask. “Those prisoners made fools of us last night. I think it’s time we got them back by recapturing the escapee.”

“Doc said Greeneye should rest today,” Crosswinds says. Damn, you should have known that – she’s in your squad. Something to work on, you suppose.

“Well, we’re not likely to need a scout. So I’ll need a substitute…”

“Don’t look at me. I’ve got enough work as it is.”

As you think about who you can ask, you notice Doc step away from the bed.

“Well, your head seems fine,” you hear her say. “Other than the fool ideas you keep getting to attack anyone who outranks you. Twice in one day, even!”

You suddenly get an idea.

“Greeneye can keep relaxing,” you say. “Oh, one more thing. You heard about a book called ‘The Fall of Alexandria’?”

“Yeah. It’s about the collapse of a big port city near the end of the Imperial era. Big with historians, not a lot of books from back then survived. I hear there’s some big argument about who the author is, wouldn’t know anything about it myself though.”

Hmm. Maybe that’s why the Bogknight archivist is so protective of it, he could be trying to solve that mystery. Could also have something to do with why Feldspar wants it.

“Right, I’ll get yer squad. Good luck.”

Crosswinds runs off, and a few minutes later, you see Legs, Shorty, and Rivers gathered outside.

Now it’s time to negotiate with Doc.

“Doc,” you say. “It’d be nice if you could free up that bed, right? So I’m thinking of taking our guest here on a disciplinary mission.”

“Hells no,” Rotmouth interjects. “I don’t want anything to do with you or your worthless squad.”

“She’s conscious and there’s no severe lasting damage,” Doc says, ignoring her. “So I don’t object in that regard. But, well, you heard her. I don’t think it would go well to drag her along while she’s fighting you every step of the way.”

Right. If this is going to work, you’ve got to actually convince Rotmouth to cooperate. So how should you approach this?

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Heh, the similarity to Bigfoot is uncanny. Well…except that you wouldn’t have had a chance at head butting Bigfoot unconscious.

She’ll respect strength, and you’ve shown her that – but to really get her to go along, you have to make her think it’s her idea.

“Yeah doc, you’re right. What was I thinking? If I gave this newmuck a chance to prove themselves, they’d might even get their own squad! Gonna be tough capturing those bogknights though…”