Swamped Chapter 22 Page 3

You feel like Marshall might be getting nervous. You slip over and mumble under your breath, “keep your cool, we’ll take care of this soon”. Quiet enough that anyone who overhears you will hopefully think you’re talking to yourself.

“Three of Leaves,” Walter finally says.

“Stones,” Mary says with a laugh. “Came close, but you couldn’t quite do it. Now show everyone your Six of Blades, would you?”

Walter holds it up, shrugging.

“Ah well! Can’t win ’em all. Good game, everyone.”

“Yes, it was a very good game,” you agree, stepping in. “But we’re going to have to put you all back in the cells now. Preferably without a fuss – bear in mind, there’s twelve of us here right now.”

“No need to worry!” Dean says, holding up his hands and standing up. “We’re not looking to escape, we won’t give you any trouble.”

“Whose cards are these?”

“Mine,” Dean says. “I can pick them up, or you can, whatever works for you. Like I said, no trouble.”

“Shorty, you take care of the cards,” you say. “Greeneye, I want to talk to you. Everyone else, help our guests to their cells. I’m sure you can divide up that task in a reasonable way.”

You lead Greeneye away from the rest as the Bogknights are led back into their holding cells.

“Greeneye, I thought you were supposed to be resting. Why’d you head out there? And how’d you catch that swimmer?”

“I was resting! But when the alarm sounded, I figured I’d pick up the slack on patrol duty. Wasn’t expecting to do anything except keep a lookout, and it was day so I thought it’d be manageable even if there was some kind of trouble.”

“You hadn’t heard about the swimmer?”

“I’ve been in bed since Doc caught me after our second debriefing. Haven’t had time to hear about anything. What exactly is going on, sir? Why’d they sound the alarm?”

“I’ll fill you in on that later. How did you catch the swimmer?”

“She surprised me last night because it was dark and she was under the water. But this time, I saw the splashes a ways off. Thought it was a gator at first, to be honest. So I started pounding my pike against the walkway as loud as I could to scare it away. Then it got closer, and I could just make out the shape of a helmet before it dove deep. That was enough for me to realize who I was dealing with.”

“And then what did you do?”

“She ambushed me from under the walkway last night. So I tapped my pike more lightly, so it’d sound like footsteps and confuse her about where I was. When she leapt up, I was ready and I grabbed her. It was a close fight, but luckily Crosswinds stopped by just as I was getting out of breath.”

“I think she would have won even if I hadn’t, honestly,” Crosswinds says suddenly. You give them a glare for interrupting.

“Well. You should go see Doc, wouldn’t want you overexerting yourself.”

“I’m fine, sir,” Greeneye says.

“I’m not taking chances. Not after Mudviper collapsed today.”

“She what?”

“Get to Doc’s. That’s an order.”

“Yes, sir,” Greeneye sighs, walking off. “But really, I’m fine.”

“So, if you’re done talking to her,” Crosswinds says, “I’ve got a few things you probably ought to know about.”

“Bad news, right?” you sigh.

“I’ll let you decide that for yourself.”

“Fine. What do you have to report?”

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“We’re all out of plain marshmallows for the hot cocoa, but we have plenty of rainbow marshmallows.”