Swamped Chapter 41 Page 8

“Of course it’s not an unusual relationship in our time,” says the voice you can understand. “But it was scandalous during the reign of Aedra, and Laikenne is clearly writing for an audience with historical grounding. Why else would he devote half a chapter to the aftermath of a skirmish on a peninsula most people have never even heard of?”

The other voice says something. You’ve got no idea what’s being said, but it sounds like it’s several sentences long.

“I don’t think it’s actually got anything to do with our plans either. I just don’t have any particularly pressing tasks at the moment, so I’m reading for pleasure.”

Now the foreign voice sounds angry.

“Well, if they did get captured, it wouldn’t do us any good if I came out of hiding, would it? And you’d better not start that argument about weaponizing the robots again, I already told you I’m not going to do it.”

Robots? What are those?

You hear some arguing, and they’re talking so faster and interrupting each other so much that you can’t make much sense of any of it for a while. Finally, though, the comprehensible voice says something slow enough for you to follow.

“Worst case, we’ve got one of theirs. We can bargain for their release.”

There’s a brief reply. It sounds annoyed.

“She doesn’t really know anything, and once I’ve got the voice box working I can slip something into her tea so she’ll just remember this as a dream.”

The reply sounds even more annoyed.

“Please. You know perfectly well how capable I am of making bargains without actually exposing our operations. Or do you think I slipped up in Kandria?”

There’s no reply this time.

“That’s what I thought. I’m going back to my book. You can let me know when you have something pressing for me to do.”

After that, you hear an odd noise. Then, silence, at least from the voices.

Now what?

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they only have one? Clearly that means you.

No way you’re going to let yourself be a bargaining chip.

Wait, how did you get captured anyway?

Do some more investigating. This time search for low frequency sounds. If there are any large mechanical parts or…that’s strange…these readings match those of a sandstorm?