Swamped Chapter 65 Page 22

“I don’t suppose you’re going to explain what those other matters are,” Roxley grumbles.

“We don’t have time to press the matter anyhow,” Ash fires back. “I’ll cut to the chase. Why did you send your digging machines out tonight, without any warning to me?”

The cloaked figure seems unmoved.

“I understand that swamphen flocks are very territorial,” the stranger says. “And sometimes, when two flocks compete, the winning flock gains such a huge advantage that it chases out the losing flock entirely. Taking hold in their territory. Until another flock comes along and chases them out, of course.”

Roxley seems annoyed.

“What are you getting at?” she asks.

“Right now, there are two flocks of humans in the swamp. The Bogknights and the Marshguards. If all goes well tonight, there will only be one flock; but as they’d still be hostile to us, we need them out of the way.”

“I’ve been working on that!” Ash protests.

“We do not have the time to wait for your plans to succeed. This is not personal; we do appreciate the aid you have already offered us. It is simply that you taking command of the Bogknights is hardly our top priority.”

“Wait! If you’re attacking anyhow, I can use that! Give us a full-scale assault, and let me put on a show of stopping it!”

The cloaked figure suddenly seems confused.

“Five hundred machines is not a full-scale assault by your reckoning?”

“What do you mean?” Ash asks. “There was one attack by three machines, that’s it. We’ve been on guard for more, but nobody’s sounded the alarm…”

“You’re not bothered by the fact that apparently they tried to launch a massive assault on us?” Roxley asks. “Because that’s what I got out of that.”

Five hundred? You’d surely have heard something if that many were already attacking. Something must have interfered.

The cloaked figure seems to have the same idea. They aren’t even responding, but instead seem to be turning to leave. Which means, walking towards the hole in the wall you’re watching through.

Stan gives you a glance. You can tell what it means – this is your one chance to capture the cloaked figure, who clearly knows quite a bit about what’s going on. On the other hand, you have no idea what they’re capable of, and you’d reveal yourselves to Ash and Roxley. No telling whose side they’d take at this point if a fight breaks out.

So. Do you go for it, or just run?

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Suggestions:

Capture the cloaked figure.