Swamped Chapter 22 Page 2

“Shorty,” you say. “Why are none of the prisoners in their cells, and why is everyone watching them play cards?”

“Because we’ve got a busted lock,” Butterfly suddenly says. You suddenly realize you hadn’t noticed her up to now. She has a tendency to blend into the background.

“So we just don’t lock anybody in that cell? How come we’ve got to let the others out?”

“Feldspar’s going to come by and take a look at all the locks. We don’t check them often enough, so now seems as good a time as any. And since we had so many Marshguards here at once, we figured we had plenty of eyes to watch the prisoners with. Now hush up, I don’t want to miss the end of this round.”

You take a closer look. One of the prisoners is asleep… the same one you saw sleeping in the halls before. Two others don’t have any cards in front of them… oh, one’s the one with the shield, the other is Jackson.

The other three seem to be down to two cards each in their hands. The big burly one draws his next card and puts it down on the floor. He looks thoughtful.

“Mary, Rank,” he says, putting both cards down as his bet.

“Oh, going all or nothing, Walter?” Mary says. “Daring! But I’m afraid you’re wrong. And now you’ve got no cards left.”

“Except the most important one,” Walter says, smiling.

“Yeah, but if Dean or I call a challenge, you’re out. And I probably will, because what have I got to lose?”

“Unless I take your cards,” Dean says, drawing. He puts a Three of Blades on the floor. He puts down two cards. “Let’s make this an interesting finish, shall we? Mary, I think this matches your card’s rank.”

“Damn,” she says, putting down her two cards. “Good choice. Now I suppose my only move is to guess somebody’s cards.”

She thinks for a while, then points at Dean.

“Scholar of Wings,” she says.

“Right,” Dean says, sounding impressed. “Well, Walter, it all comes down to your turn.”

“Well, thanks to you I know it’s a three,” Walter says. “But as luck would have it, nobody picked her when they got a leaf or stone.”

“And I know exactly what you have now,” Mary says, smirking. “So you’d better get it right.”

Damn, that’s a tight game. No wonder it’s caught everyone’s attention.

It’d be a real good diversion, honestly… but the Bogknights seem just as caught up in it, too.

“What the hell’s going on here?” you hear Feldspar shout suddenly. “I thought this was a dungeon, not a card club!”

“Butterfly said you were planning on checking all the locks,” you say.

“Yeah, but I probably won’t need to work on all of ’em at once. This seems like it’s just asking for trouble.”

You do a quick headcount. Six in your squad, including you; then there’s Rotmouth, Crosswinds, Crook, Butterfly, Ringer, now Feldspar…

And Marshall hiding in the laundry. You’d nearly forgotten. Better keep a close eye there.

“Well there’s twelve of us in here right now,” you say. “You think that’s not enough?”

“I think you ought to be keeping prisoners in their cells,” Feldspar grumbles. “But what do I know? I’m just the smith.”

“Fair enough. But we’re just waiting on one turn, so may as well let ’em finish before we lock them back up.”

“Fine. I’ll take a look at the one that’s actually been reported while you do that.”

It occurs to you that you do, in fact, have quite a lot of people in here. And even though you know what happened to Marshall, you should probably be getting reports from some of them, if only to keep up appearances.

So, who are you going to talk to first when the game wraps up?

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Suggestions:

marshall

 

just remind him to keep his cool in there.

Might as well find out how Stacy got captured.