Swamped Chapter 21 Page 3

“I’ve had help, it’s true, but not really advice,” you say. “Mudviper got me the information we had on the infections, which is what helped me spot the cause. And Crosswinds told me about the escapee, though it seems their information was a little off on who it was. But they left it up to me to decide what to do about it.”

“Crosswinds, you say.” Razor looks thoughtful. “So Crosswinds is backing you?”

“I’m not going to speak for them. You can ask them yourself what they think.”

“All right, then,” Razor says, smirking. “Why don’t I ask what you think, then? What’s your opinion on being recommended for the Council?”

“Honestly? I was surprised. I hadn’t given the idea any thought, hadn’t expected anyone to suggest me.”

“Do you think you lack the qualifications?”

Oh, you definitely don’t want to give him a direct “no” here.

“It’s not that. Just didn’t seem like something that could happen. Now that I’ve had some time to actually think about it, I think I can offer a distinct perspective to the council, one that we could all benefit from.”

“What, precisely, do you mean by that?”

“Well, the big thing is Ash. I heard he might take over for Long. And nobody here knows him like I do.”

“Really. What insight do you have into him, then?”

Before you can answer, Mantis bursts in, followed by a few other Marshguards. Including Requiem.

“We’re in the middle of something, Mantis,” Razor growls. “What are you doing here?”

“I received a very interesting report earlier. About desert fever.”

“Yeah, I noticed the symptoms were really similar…”

“Requiem. You spent some time in the desert before arriving here, did you not?”

Requiem nods.

“And I believe you were stricken with the fever while you were there.”

Requiem nods again.

“Now, I seem to recall there’s an interesting distinction between fly toxin and desert fever. Would you be able to tell me what it is?”

Requiem shakes their head.

“Oh, that’s right. Because fly toxin causes severe inflammations in the throat, inflammations which are not a symptom of desert fever. Inflammations which make it very painful to talk, or even eat.”

Requiem nods.

“Doc’s reports didn’t mention inflammations in the throat,” you say. “Has this happened to anyone else?”

“I don’t know,” Mantis says. “What matters is, whether your theory is correct or not, it definitely appears that poison is in play. I came here to bring Razor to an emergency meeting about it, but since you are a candidate for the vacant seat, I would be interested in what you have to say on this matter.”

Well, you weren’t really ready for this.

What’s your response?

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see if you can rule out naturally-occurring fly toxin through deduction


Do what you do best, admit you could be wrong.

But Doc seemed sold on the desert fever idea. Has Mantis brought this up with her?

Mantis does like their trials. Is Requiem really sick?

Either Mantis is testing you, Doc missed something big, or Requiem is a special case. Maybe Mantis us curious how the potential council member would treat their pet acolyte.

There are other possibilities, allergic reactions, poorly groomed Fenguins, but first…

You at least know how to tell if someone is faking it. Stomp on their foot. Worked last time Shorty tried to play hooky. If they cry out it can’t be that bad, and if they take it in silence well then let’s find the source.