Swamped Chapter 38 Page 1

You’ve had enough of this. Starling’s sick, and if you’re not doing anything, you might as well spend it with someone more interesting.

Just as you get up, though, the grebling calls out.

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Got lost in my work. Why don’t you sit a little closer, dear?”

Uggh. “Dear”. She sounds too much like your mother.

You may as well get this over with. You wander over to her desk and sit down.

“I do apologize. There’s been a lot going on around the camp lately. Aside from the usual issues, I’ve had to help the crew out with separation anxiety, paranoia, short tempers, fear of humans… It’s kept me busy, so a lot of my paperwork has fallen behind. Now, what’s been troubling you lately, dear?”

“Being stuck in your tent,” you grumble.

“Well. I’ll try to make this as quick as I can. But we’ll be done faster if you cooperate.”

“Heard that before. Mom and dad were always dragging me to frauds like you, trying to figure out what was wrong with me.”

She stands up, surprisingly tall for a grebling, and looks you right in the eye.

“Young lady. We may have just met, but rest assured, I would never say anything so hurtful. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with you. I have no intention of trying to ‘fix’ you, either. My only concern is understanding the problems you face, so that I can help you cope. If you aren’t ready to tell me everything, that’s fine – but I’d like you to share whatever you feel able to, so we have a place to start.”

You’re rolling your eyes real hard here.

What do you say to her?

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Let’s start from the beginning. Father was a war hero, highly decorated, golden scarab, blue diamond, the works. Mother was a trillionaire baroness with heavy investments in textiles and copper. They adopted me from a peripatetic monk who refused to disclose my origins. Whenever I misbehaved I was sent to the copper mines.

…Is she buying any of this?

It’s too damn quiet in this desert!

The swamp, the sickly muck pit that it was was FILLED with LIFE. There was never a second that you couldn’t hear a cacophony of buzzing or croakings…well except for the rain…This whole desert just…it just sounds like the rain. Empty and quiet, with only the wind in the background.