Swamped Chapter 52 Page 5

Your first thought is to go after the mask. You can’t say for sure that breaking it would reverse the transformation, but at the least it’ll cut down on whatever other problems this intruder can cause.

Besides – if nothing else, a good blow there might blind them for a while.

So you grab a nearby bucket and give it a good heave right at the mask. You don’t have time to check if the bucket’s for feed or for cleaning.

Whichever it is, the fenguin is unperturbed. The flames grow brighter and the bucket is consumed in a flash of green.

Now that just isn’t fair. Not to mention, now you’ll have to get a new bucket somehow. Not exactly easy out in the middle of the swamp.

What’s odd is there’s no burning smell. Guess the flames aren’t real fire, which is probably just as well with all the swamp gas around.

Why didn’t they burn Mantis, though? Or, for that matter, you?

You hope they don’t think of that latter idea, though with the fierce gaze they’ve got fixated on you, they sure as heck seem to be trying to do something.

On the one hand, you probably don’t want to stick around long enough for them to get it to work. On the other hand, you can’t exactly let some loser march into your base, attack one of your soldiers, and ruin a perfectly good bucket. On top of whatever else they’ve been up to – you still don’t know what the deal was with those lights with the same glow earlier, but you get the feeling it wasn’t anything good.

So how in the hells do you handle this thing?

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Doesn’t mantis carry around some kind of fragrant mineral? Something to clear the mind? Might be worth seeing if your fenguin has the sense of smell of one.

Dodge in circles around the intruder, humming the Ballad of the Lone Survivor, while you try to think of something to do.