Swamped Chapter 58 Page 12

One of the quieter knights suddenly speaks up. You think this one’s Mary Eleventh. Or was it Tenth? You have enough trouble keeping track of all the Toms.

“They were on the barge for the better part of a day,” she says. “Maybe they wanted to get caught.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Grey asks. “If they wanted to get caught, they could have attacked us and held back.”

“Not if the Marshguards nearby didn’t know about their mission,” Nina muses. “They might hear the commotion and come running.”

Grey shakes his head.

“Still doesn’t make sense. They could have let themselves be caught once they were in the base. Why wait?”

This sounds like a good spot to toss in some theorizing of your own.

“I think you’re right that it doesn’t make sense as a goal. But it does have some sense to it as a way of getting out with whatever they were really after.”

Grey looks at you, bemused.

“What are you getting at?”

“Well. Mudviper managed to escape, didn’t she? So, they were looking for something – maybe even something on the barge – got caught, Mudviper slipped away to take it back to the Marsh Fortress. While the other two are mainly here to keep us busy. Serve as a distraction if she needed it.”

The squad members exchange a few glances. Then Grey shakes his head.

“If that’s what it was, she didn’t get it. We were doing inventory while she was hiding out. And another check right after she escaped. Only major thing missing was a leaf-masher for making swamp mush. Hardly seems worth going to that much trouble.”

“Well, it wouldn’t have to be a tangible thing. Could be she was trying to get some information. Listen in on boat squad while they patched up the barge, maybe?”

Greenbags’ eyes suddenly light up.

“Or maybe the plan was to talk to Captain Long. He handled her interrogation, you know. Give him some info, get some info, away from prying eyes.”

“Bah, you’ve been reading too many spy novels, Greenbags,” Grey says. “Get captured to exchange info with an officer? That plan’s just ridiculous.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Greenbags sighs. “I mean, if that was it, she could have warned him about the assault.”

Hmm. That was by far the most interesting guess. It’s probably not true, but it’d make a good story. Always worth keeping gossip like that in mind.

You think you’ve heard enough about this, though. It’s time to try and work out what Grey’s hiding. How can you direct the conversation back that way?

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Be reeeaaally unsubtle about it. Something like “Holding back info like that, why, it’s downright illegal. There’s no way any of US would not share what we knew, and if one of us did, they’d be a real traitor!” Lay on the guilt thick-like.