Swamped Chapter 60 Page 16

Lisa’s amazing at reading people. Anyone who’s played a game of Swamprats with her can tell that.

But it’s not just her reads. She’s clever, too. When she doesn’t quite know what to make of someone, she’s quick to come up with a play to narrow down the choices. It makes her formidable.

It’s also her main weakness. She’s a bit too clever for her own good. Or rather, she tends to assume her opponent can keep up the same train of thought. Which means if she’s just made a good deduction, she’ll bet based on the idea her opponent’s thought of it too.

And sometimes, if they haven’t, the bet goes bad. It’s hard to actually make use of this, but eventually you learned to look for that spark of insight. And when you saw it, you immediately stopped thinking further and went with your best guess. Only worked about three times out of five, but that’s a pretty good rate against a master.

So… well, you suppose this is less of an interrogation method, and more of a shortcut. If Lisa knows what you know, she’ll figure out what it means first and then she’ll be less cautious about her deductions. After all, you must have already come to the same conclusion, right?

If you were good enough to bluff about what you know, you might even be able to get something better than that. But the Black Queen can see right through you. So your best bet when dealing with her is not to bother hiding anything.

“No time for your old pal Sixth? Ah well, suppose it’s not surprising. Anyhow, I’m busy too – or rather, I’m not and I ought to go see a sergeant about fixing that.”

No reaction – from Lisa. Eighth, however, still seems on edge.

“Say, maybe you’ve got some idea where I could find him at this hour. I think his name’s Ash?”

And that’s when Tom Eighth punches you in the face. Hard. You weren’t really expecting that.

“I don’t think he was threatening us, Eighth,” you hear Lisa say, as you struggle to hold onto consciousness. “I think he was just trying to figure out what we were doing.”

“Didn’t want to take a chance,” Eighth grumbles. “But yeah, I overreacted, sorry. I’ll take him to the infirmary. And I’ll keep an eye on him after he wakes up.”

“But I need your help to convince Penelope!”

“Trust me. It’ll go smoother if I’m not there. We might work together, but that doesn’t mean she likes me.”

Penelope, you muse. That’s an interesting name. Didn’t you know someone with that name once?

Well, you don’t recall her by the time you black out.

You’re now Lisa Black, and Tom Sixth had to just stick his nose into things again. Only now, thanks to your unfortunately aggressive partner in this mess, he’s gotten it seriously bloodied.

On the plus side, you’ve worked out Ash’s code. But now you’re on your own for persuading Penelope to give you any other messages. And you still haven’t even figured out where to intercept her.

So. What’s the plan?

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Hold a Swamprat tournament.


Oh no! Tom’s beautiful face!

Oh hey, apparently Penelope was looking for you.