Swamped Chapter 54 Page 5

Well. You’re not going to mention Rider. But you don’t see much reason to hold back.

“Most of this is important events. Things that an artist’s patron would want documented. And judging by how often he appears, it looks to me like this artist’s main patron was the King of Kandria.”

“How did it end up here, then? In a package with my family crest on it?”

You shrug.

“Maybe your wizardry drew it to you, how should I know. What I do know is that this sketchbook is really, really, really important. Because of the last picture.”

“The one with the baby?”

“The King of Kandria died with no heir. Except, what we’ve got here is proof that there was an heir. Kings don’t get their portraits drawn with just any old baby. He paid his artist to draw this, and then apparently didn’t show it to anyone.”

“But then how would anyone recognize the heir?” Marshall asks, confused. “They’d be grown up by now.”

“Well, if it wasn’t publicized, it would’ve been trusted to the artist,” you muse. “Who would probably either keep an eye on the kid or have some way to identify them. But here’s the important thing – somebody gets ahold of that, they’ll wonder why you have it. And they might get it into their heads that you’re the heir. So you gotta keep that book really safe, understand?”

“Me? I hope not. I’m still getting used to learning I’m a wizard.”

“Could you say for sure?”

Marshall shrugs.

“Well, I can’t remember anything clearly from before I was about three years old. So I suppose it’s possible that Father and Henry kidnapped the lost heir to the throne while they were fleeing and raised the child as their own, but it’s not as if I can just go home and ask that.”

The kid’s taking the idea surprisingly well. Probably doesn’t really believe it, though.

“Well. Whether it’s true or not, I’m pretty sure there are plenty of Kandrian nobles who don’t want an heir turning up suddenly. So you keep that safe, okay?”

“Got it,” Marshall nods. “But I still can’t see how it wound up in the desert, of all places. Well, unless one of us brought it here…”

Damn clever kid. You promised Rider to keep his involvement a secret. So you suppose you should deflect this line of thinking somehow.

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Just shrug it off with “maybe it came in with rubble from one of the portals, or the Greblings got ahold of it and had it in one of their libraries. You said you got it from a Grebling kid right?”

“Not to you.”