Swamped Chapter 55 Page 13

Your mind’s a blank. You’ve got your reasons, sure, but you can’t say you’d be able to defend them with anything more convincing than Mantis’ mumbo-jumbo.

“I don’t appreciate being put on the spot like this,” you grumble.

Mantis doesn’t say a word. The prisoner who had the flame mask is sure being a loudmouth, though.

“Ringer, don’t suppose you could grab us a gag for that one?”

Ringer has already produced one, and gags the prisoner. Well, you were hoping for at least a bit more of a stall that way.

Ugh. What the hell does Mantis think you’re going to say? You know this is a bad idea, you just don’t believe it is. Which is because…

…it’s because you trust her. Hells. That’s what he wants you to say, isn’t it.

Bah. You don’t like it, but it’s true. Well, these are the Marshguards, they won’t pry too much into what exactly happened. You can’t see it selling Bigfoot, but you can’t see what else you can say. So you may as well…

You hear what sounds like a bell dropping. You turn around and see that the other prisoner has gotten loose, and they’re holding the gag around Ringer’s throat. Not choking, but it’s clear enough it could turn into that on a moment’s notice.

“Just for the record, I tied ’em up real tight,” you say, as the prisoner glares at you.

“Well that doesn’t matter much if they’re loose, right?” Bigfoot growls. She turns her attention to the prisoner. “I don’t know if you can understand me, but we Marshguards protect our own. You hurt Ringer there, and you will pay for it, you understand me?”

Gasto! the stranger shouts, pointing at Elmin. Suta!

“What, you want us to let your buddy go? Let ours free first and we’ll think about it.”

Rapat! Elmin shouts. Yeah, you knew she wasn’t working with this jerk already. Which means he wants her for… what? Interrogation? Revenge? Who even knows. You just know you’re not handing her over.

So how do you help out Ringer here?

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Ringer is a highly competent hand to hand fighter. You just need to give him a distraction.

And that’s what Bigfoot will understand, ability. In the same way that you know Ringer is able to get himself out of this mess. You know that Elmin doesn’t have the ability to go back on a promise like the one she’s made. She’s essentially shackled herself.

Of course revealing that you know that means revealing that you know her, so just tell Bigfoot the truth: “I’ve fought her before.”