Swamped Chapter 62 Page 11

“How long is it going to take? The nearest town is four days away by carriage. And I doubt they have desert horses waiting there to be slaughtered.”

“Don’t worry yourself about the details,” Squib says. Figures. He probably just plans to get you whatever he can pass off as desert horse meat.

“It’s just, if you’d just be getting the meat from in town somehow, even from somewhere disreputable, I could send a crow to one of my friends there and make arrangements. And if it’s further away than that, how are they going to keep the meat from spoiling? Even four days would be pushing it.”

“I don’t really know the details of how they do it,” Squib says. He’s clearly out of his element, but he knows there’s a good deal of money at stake. “For all I know, maybe they’ll ride the desert horse out to the swamp and kill it there. All I gotta do is be on hand to bring it to you.”

“And you’re not sure if they can deliver. And, seeing as this whole thing is very much under the table, I can’t say I’m confident you’ll pay me back if they can’t.”

It’s funny. Just by his size, Squib is intimidating. But right now, he’s not frightening at all. That’s what happens when you bring enough money into the mix, you suppose.

“Well, hold on,” Squib says. “If you’re not willing to risk it, we don’t have to go for the desert horse right away. You could ask for something easier, like wild hare. Makes a pretty good stew, I hear. Or maybe mallow eggs? Point is, you can just try us out, and if you’re satisfied, maybe you’ll take a chance at the desert horse. If not, well, do what you want.”

You’ve already got him desperate to make a sale. That’s good. It’ll make him more careless about what he gives away.

You just need to think about how to lead this conversation towards something juicy. And you don’t mean the illicit meat he’s offering.

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Honestly, some mallow eggs sound pretty good. You might have to take them up on that offer if the price isn’t too exorbitant. And it might grease the wheels of gossip.

Maybe drop that you’d be willing to do more business in the future if this works out, and do these guys offer other services? Or do they have a specialty?