Swamped Chapter 62 Page 16

“Not worth the risk, I think,” you say. “Tonight’s been eventful enough. Better to have a discussion somewhere safe and fit what we know together.”

Mark nods. You lead him back to his room, thankfully with few encounters from here on out. Seems you didn’t even need the cover story.

“So now what?” he asks, closing the door.

“Well. First, you can tell me what this Guild is, since you clearly know more about it than I do.”

He looks a little nervous.

“You’re not with them, right?”

“I don’t even have the faintest idea who they are, so no.”

“Sorry. It’s just… well, they ran everything back in my hometown. No, let me back up a bit on who they are. They’re an underground organization run by some of the most powerful merchants in the world. They smuggle practically everything, people included. Got branches in almost every city. And in some places, they are the city. They don’t even bother hiding, because there’s no one who can stop them. That’s what happened to my home.”

Hmm. You’ve heard lots of stories like this, of course. Of powerful groups controlling things from the shadows. Most of them were obviously nonsense if you actually paid attention.

But this is different. Not only is it more plausible – he’s not claiming they control every kingdom, merely that they have reach everywhere – the fear in his voice is very real. He’s talking as someone who’s seen what they can do firsthand.

And he’s worried that their reach extends into the swamp. Which your little talk with Squib just confirmed.

Except… hang on. When you mentioned it earlier, he only seemed to react to Squib Squad’s involvement, not to the idea that the Guild was poking around here. Does that mean he already knew they were here?

Hmm. Asking him that directly might frighten him into clamming up. He’s worried enough from telling you this much. So you’ll have to think carefully about how to get him onto the topic.

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Could always use more dirt on Squib’s gang.

“What kind of sketchy dealings did you think Squib Squad was involved in, if not this Guild business?”