Swamped Chapter 6 Page 13

You do have one last question, though admittedly it seems a little silly to you.

“Do crows make good pets?”

“Depends on what you want in a pet. They tend to be fine as long as you feed them, but when they do raise a fuss…”

The Postmaster’s answer is interrupted by a series of loud caws, which grows and grows.

“…well, it’s like that. And when you’ve got a whole bunch of crows, when one starts crying out, the rest join in. Going to have to deal with this, hold on.”

He starts running around the roost, and the noise slowly settles down. When it’s finally calm again, he comes back.

“They usually get like that after the rain. Normally I let a few crows with nothing to do out each day, just to stretch their wings. But when the rain comes, I have to close the shutters and can’t let any crows out. Luckily, they’re smart enough to wait out the rain when they’re coming in.”

“That must be brutal after the month-long storm.”

“Oh, the storm’s another matter entirely. When we’re preparing, I send almost all the crows out, with a note indicating the rain’s coming. They stay at the outposts until the rain clears; then we send out the few crows we’ve kept to the capital with a note that the rain’s stopped. In theory, we might need them for emergency messages, but fortunately that hasn’t come up so far.”

“The roost looks pretty full considering the storm was only around a week ago,” you muse.

“Yeah, it’s slow for the first few days, but after that they start arriving as whole flocks. Getting them organized again is a lot of work, I usually need to get a dozen knights in here to help.” He suddenly laughs a bit. “Oh, but I’m getting sidetracked from your question. Crows make okay pets if you can deal with their outbursts, and if you don’t mind letting them fly around outside for a while. ‘Course, you’re not allowed pets on base, but if you’re looking for something when you go home on leave, eh, could do worse. Is that all?”

“Yeah, I think so.” You look at Mary. “Er, sorry, did this take longer than you thought it would?”

“It’s all right, didn’t have firm plans for what to do between shifts anyhow,” she says. “So how are we getting you back down?”

“I was thinking I’d try the ladder again.”

“All right, but I’m heading down first. Just in case I need to catch you.”

“Oh, good idea,” says the Postmaster. “I’ll go down, too. You shouldn’t have to worry”

They climb down, and you wait patiently before following them.

It turns out that climbing down is harder, mostly because you can’t see where you’re going. You lose your balance about halfway down the ladder, but fortunately the others are already waiting to catch you.

“You okay?” Mary asks.

“Not really. Could have been worse if you two weren’t there, but still pretty sore.”

“Best see the medic,” the Postmaster says. “I’ll help you there. No need for Thirteenth to take more time out of her day.”

“I don’t mind, really. Let’s go.”

With their help, you make your way to the infirmary yet again.

“You tried to climb a ladder,” John Medic sighs. “Why didn’t I warn you about that sort of thing… oh well, what’s important right now is the injury. What hurts?”

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the body part that hurts is……….. wait. didn’t you lose that arm?