Swamped Chapter 4 Page 9

The unfamiliar knight and Lisa are frantically grabbing cards and placing them in front of them on the table. You can’t even tell what they’re doing, though you suspect this isn’t a Swamprats variant.

Finally, Lisa puts down a Scholar of Blades, a triumphant smile on her face.

“That’s the game,” she says, picking up the cards. “You move fast, Grey, but not fast enough for me.”

“Grey” gets up, shaking his head.

“You can’t be this good at every game, Black. There’s no way.”

“That sounds like you think I’m cheating. Would you like a look at my deck, so you can see for itself it’s not marked or whatever else you think I might be doing?”

“At this point, I don’t think it’s cheating, I think it’s supernatural. Did you make a deal with a fiend to win at cards, is that it?”

“Very funny. You want to try me at another game tomorrow, or have you had enough losing for the week?”

“I will beat you one day, Black. You mark my words.”

He marches off, and Lisa finally takes notice of you.

“Oh, hello again. Come for more cards, or did you just want to talk?”

“Well, now I’m wondering about that fellow who just left.”

“That’s Grey. He’s on the pest control squad, but he keeps challenging me to games and I keep winning. Sometimes I wonder if he’s trying to lose just to make a show of the whole thing.”

“Pest control?”

“You’re surely aware of the beasts in this swamp. Even the smaller ones can be serious problems, sometimes even deadly if left unchecked. So pest control tries to keep them out of our territory.”

“Oh, I see.”

“And since pests sometimes crawl into little holes leading into the base, that means the pest control and repair squads work together fairly often. That’s how I met him. Ever since I beat the whole pest control squad in a game of Swamprats, he’s been swearing up and down that he’ll beat me at cards one of these days.”

“Did you play him yesterday, too?”

Lisa shakes her head.

“No. Day before I did, though. What happened was, for the first few months he kept challenging me to Swamprats, then when I kept winning he gave up on that and started challenging me to other games. And I kept winning at those, too. I’ve learned some interesting games in the process, but Swamprats is still my favorite. But nobody’s ever willing to play me at it, because Grey keeps telling them I’m too good.”

“Are you really that good?”

She shrugs.

“I can’t recall losing a game, but that has as much to do with luck as it does skill. So, do you care for another game that I’ll probably win, or would you just like to talk?”

Well, you’re talking either way, you suppose. If you can think of what to talk about, that is.

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Ask her if she’d like Mark to play with the two of you, a game that Mark likes better

Ask if she’s lucky in all sorts of games, or just card games.

Author’s Note:

I have no idea what game they’re playing. At this point I’m pretty sure I was still trying to introduce the suit and face card names.