Swamped Chapter 62 Page 12

“Mallow eggs might not be bad as a starting point,” you agree. “Depending on the price.”

“Five gold each,” Squib says, grinning.

“Five gold? That’s a bit steep. I could just go out and find a mallow nest myself if I want them that badly.”

Squib actually seems prepared for that response?

“You mean, go poking around out in the swamp to find one, maybe angering the parents, and the risk that the officers might catch you? Five gold’s not too bad to avoid all that trouble.”

“Yes, but if you find a nest and it’s got two eggs, that’s not really any more risk. So ten gold for two seems a bit ridiculous.”

“I can’t drop below seven for two,” Squib says. Not much of a haggler, it seems.

“Two for seven it is, then,” you agree. Then you pause. “No… I think I’ll just get the one. This feels too risky.”

Squib seems disappointed.

“What? You think we’re gonna get caught or something?”

“Or you’ll take my money and run. And then what am I supposed to do? Tell Burgundy I was swindled out of my contraband eggs?”

Squib smirks.

“You’re savvy, I’ll give you that. So special deal, one time only, I’ll get you one egg for four gold. Maybe after you’ve seen us in action, you’ll be more willing to trust us.”

“I look forward to it,” you say. You carefully count out four coins and hand them over. “I could certainly use some real food around here.”

Squib greedily looks over the coins, and waves you away. You turn as if to leave, then pause suddenly.

“Actually, do you handle anything other than food?”

“Depends,” Squib says, very carefully. “Why? You got something in mind?”

“Not at the moment. I’d just like to know what my options are.”

“Pretty wide open.” Squib grins. “We got good sources. Thing is, if you want something like a weapon, well, it’s on you to hide that you got it. And, of course, you’ll have to pay more for something if it’s dangerous for the Guild to bring it all the way out here…”

He stops suddenly, realizing he said something he shouldn’t have. And he doesn’t seem to know what to do next.

But you think you heard all you need to for now. Your best bet, then, is to convince him that you didn’t take any notice of his slip-up.

So what should you say?

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I can keep things hidden, don’t worry about that. Heck, it takes time to save up for a good leave, and that means knowing how to keep coin stashed where it won’t slip into somebody else’s purse, if you know what I mean. Always gotta keep treasure buried, amirite?