Swamped Chapter 61 Page 7

Maybe your best option is to provide a contrast. Show her what genuine respect is like.

Maybe even trust her a little. At least see what she does.

“I don’t know if it’s that,” you say. “I’ve heard some stories about Ash lately. Been trying to figure out if there’s anything to ’em.”

Her face goes blank. You opt to continue.

“There’s a guy named Clancy who quit and headed back to civilization today. He told me Ash asked his squad to do some shady stuff. Of course, he seems like the sort who might hold a grudge, but some of the things he said… well… I can’t help but be worried it’ll turn out to be true.”

“Get to the point,” she says.

“Well. Are there any messages he asks you to deliver that seem… weird?”

“I don’t go peeking at messages I’m supposed to deliver.”

Hmm? You think you caught something there. Not a lie, per se, but an awareness of hiding something.

“I don’t mean the message itself. If it seems like there’s something odd about how he’s having you deliver it. I don’t know. Like if he asked you not to tell anyone else about the message, say?”

“I really can’t think of anything like that. There’s a few messages he said were real important, that’s it. But that’s normal for an officer, right?”

You don’t think you’re making much progress. You can see a glimmer of doubt in her eyes, but it’s overwhelmed by fears. Fears of losing Ash, the one person she can count on in this world.

Right now, you get the distinct sense she wants to run back to Ash and warn him, but she can’t quite bring herself to.

You’ve only got one piece of evidence with any chance to sway her in your favor. The coded message. But you didn’t fully decipher it yet; you just worked out enough that you know you can.

But should you… yes. Your every instinct tells you this is the one card you have to play, so play it with all you’ve got.

Of course, that’s not to say the way you play it doesn’t make a difference.

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Just ask if she recognizes it.