Swamped Chapter 30 Page 11

If only you still had your pouch. A mistflower might cause enough of a stir to let you slip away. But Crosswinds confiscated it, and you ran off without getting it back.

Suddenly, the air fills with a thick smoke. You hear some yelling, but you’re too dazed to understand any of it. All you know is that suddenly you feel yourself being dragged away.

By the time you regain your bearings, you’re in the water beneath the floorboards again.

“You’re really makin’ it hard to keep this mess under wraps, you know,” Crosswinds says, glaring at you. “As if I didn’t have enough things to deal with today.”

“I just wanted to get out of here.”

“Look, I get it. I used to be bad at followin’ orders too. Most of us did. Plenty of us still are. But if you sit tight instead of running around everywhere, this’ll go a lot smoother. You just had to get caught by Claws, though. Anyone else, I would’ve been able to talk my way into escortin’ you, but Claws, she always wants to do everything herself.”

You manage to gather your thoughts enough to realize something’s wrong.

“Hang on, that mist was darkened. Did you contaminate my mistflowers?”

“Nah. One of our prisoners had some with him that were already dirtied up. If you behave yourself, I’ll give your pouch back… minus the carrot, though. I was in the roost earlier and one of the crows came back and caught a whiff of it, you see. Wouldn’t leave me alone.”

“That carrot was a gift,” you say, annoyed.

“Ah. Really sorry. Not much I can do about it, though; can’t even really pay you back for it, since we don’t have any money out here.”

“You could let me out of here. I’d consider that good enough payment.”

“Ha! Good one, but no, can’t do that. Job comes first. Though I could see my way to doin’ you a favor of some sort when this all gets sorted out, if you’ve got something in mind.”

Hmm. Maybe you should take them up on that offer. You’ve been put through a lot and it’s not over yet, you might as well have something to show for all this trouble.

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Probably too much to hope for, but maybe they have some lead regarding that mysterious thing you found in the desert.