Swamped Chapter 63 Page 11

“Why, yes! Well, not mine, strictly speaking, I borrowed it from the infirmary. How did it… oh, silly me, I must have left my pouch open after I took it out for a quick read.”

You didn’t actually close your pouch after throwing the book, since you were in a rush. So at a glance, your story seems to hold up.

“You know this book’s banned in Kandria, don’t you?” the knight asks accusingly.

“Well, last time I checked, this wasn’t Kandria. What’s the problem?”

He’s giving you a rather fierce glare that suggests you should forget about the book and maybe this won’t go any further.

Eve probably wouldn’t blame you for this, at least as long as you leave out key details about how the exact encounter happened, but you feel you ought to at least try to protect the thing. The art is excellent, after all.

So you need a diversion, but what…

Wait. That’s a familiar, and potentially helpful, face.

“Erin!” you say. “How nice to see you again! How is it going?”

Erin’s face freezes up, as she realizes you know she messed up and told you the password. Which means you could embarrass her in front of anyone else involved in this business, and maybe cause trouble.

“Oh!” she says after a moment. “It’s you. Don’t give him trouble, Sphagnum. I can vouch for him.”

The rather large knight evidently named Sphagnum looks annoyed, but relents.

“Okay, but if anything goes wrong, it’s your problem,” he grumbles to Erin, handing you the book. Now you can hopefully get back without any further trouble.

You head up the ladder, and Elize is still there. Looking to be at the limits of her patience.

“Took you long enough. I was about to leave.”

“Well, luckily, you didn’t,” you say. You unlock the cage, Elize ties her letter to the crow, and you let it loose.

Then you think you hear a noise.

“Someone’s climbing the ladder!” Elize hisses. “Someone large, by the sounds of it. Were you followed?”

“Maybe,” you admit sheepishly. You’d better think fast about what to do next.

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Drop a swamp chicken on the climber.

Author’s Note:

I asked a friend for a name as I was writing this, and she suggested Sphagnum. It’s a type of moss.