Swamped Chapter 55 Page 12

“You know what, we’ll let Mantis handle this,” you say. “Maybe he can figure out how to use the bird mask. Or keep her from trying anything else. I dunno, he seems to know more about magic than anyone else we’ve got.”

A ring and a weak second ring. Uncertainty.

“Look. That oath she gave might not mean much to you or me. But to her? It’s like her life. I’m not just gonna let her do whatever, of course, but I gotta at least take it seriously. We ain’t in the business of needlessly disrespecting prisoners, are we?”

A brief pause, and two rings.

“So we’ll drag her over to Mantis. That’s all.”

Grudgingly, Ringer grabs her by the arm and follows you to the menagerie. You hope this works, otherwise you’ll have to come all the way back here for your original errand.

The moment you walk in, the other prisoner spots Elmin and starts shouting wildly in their incomprehensible language.

Mantis glances at you.

“Crosswinds,” he says, in that matter-of-fact way of his. “Why is this prisoner’s aura so closely linked to your own?”

“I don’t know what in the hells you’re babbling about,” you say, trying not to sound unnerved. Ringer’s sure looking at you suspiciously. “I know her language, though. She had this bird mask, which as far as I can tell seems to be all about sound magic, and she offered to…”

“Ah,” Mantis says, before you can finish. “Taratchie. To you specifically. That explains everything. Well, go ahead, let her cast.”

This is not what you were expecting at all. Ringer and Bigfoot seem pretty startled, too.

“Now hang on a minute here, Mantis!” Bigfoot interjects. “You may be able to order these two around, but not me. And I’m not going to sit by and let a stranger cast a spell right in front of me!”

“She is no stranger, not to Crosswinds,” Mantis says calmly. “There is no discord in her aura. She is sincere.”

“And supposing I don’t believe in your aura nonsense?”

“Well. I believe Crosswinds will be better at making that case than I will.”

This was a terrible idea. But now it seems you’re stuck with it.

So how in the hells are you supposed to persuade Bigfoot to let this happen?

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Author’s Note:

There were no suggestions for this update.
Also, this is one of my favorite Mantis moments.