Swamped Chapter 33 Page 18

You ask about the first thing that comes to mind, just to change the subject.

“Um, what exactly was Rider doing with that lizard-worm, anyhow? I saw him pick it up.”

“Oh, he tied it to the top of the wagon,” Starling says. “He hopes to drop it off in its home territory when things calm down. He said it would make too much of a mess inside. He’s probably right, it’s pretty messy in here already.”

“Hmmph. They don’t care if the wagon’s clean, and they certainly aren’t going to pay me enough to do it,” Pubert grumbles. “Though if I’d had to wait any longer, I might have started tidying up out of boredom. I suppose you lot saved me from that, at least.”

“Quiet,” Rivers says, glaring. “Did I say you could talk? I don’t remember saying that.”

At that moment, Corvus comes back, looking really worried.

“Pubert,” he says. “You were going to meet someone, right?”

“That was the plan. Of course, I had no idea when they were going to show up. Not like I can afford a calendar.”

“Right. Well, just so I can be clear, would these people you’re meeting with be riding desert-horses and wielding crossbows?”

Pubert seems startled, then just disappointed.

“Oh,” they say. “They were planning to double-cross us, just take the delivery without paying for it. Probably kill me, too. Get the wagon as a nice bonus. Figures.” They glance over at Corvus. “What was that you were saying about hiding out in a swamp, it’s starting to sound real good as a career path.”

“Oh, hush,” Corvus says. “Rider’s acting tough, as usual, but I’m not leaving him to fend off a half-dozen armed raiders by himself. So, if anyone’s got ideas for how we can lose them, I’m all ears.”

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The wagon offers cover, giving us at least the appearance of an advantage if it comes to a shoot out. We need to make our seven people seem like twenty. Then they’ll have to retreat!