Swamped Chapter 7 Page 9

“We didn’t actually stop to eat, did we.”

Lisa laughs.

“Well, I wasn’t going to mention it if you weren’t. Still, seems we’ve done all we can if Penelope won’t cooperate. We’ll hear what Rushy has to say and decide if we need to disqualify her.”

You head back to grab some swamp mush, though not without a bit of good-natured ribbing from Tom First about how you broke his little heart when you walked out without eating. You tell him Penelope’s skipping dinner as he fills your bowl.

“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Tom laughs. “If she’s too busy to come down here, I’ll just have to deliver her dinner myself. Enjoy your mush, and I hope the tournament goes smoothly. I might even have time to watch the next round tomorrow!”

Just as you’re about to sit down, Grey walks in and gets his dinner. Lisa waves him over, not that he’s thrilled about it. She fills him in on what happened.

“Still have to make a decision on Rushy,” he mutters in between bites of swamp mush.

“Well, I’m right here,” she says suddenly. “Figured you judges would be back to eat sometime, so I stuck around. Now let’s get this sorted out. What exactly is the trouble?”

“Your deck was missing a Four of Leaves,” Grey says simply. “But I noticed you played three fours with a leaf card early in the match.”

“Right. I was taking the leaves out before Penelope shuffled. I noticed one was missing, so I added one in from my own deck. Put it back after the game finished. That’s all. I figured it wouldn’t matter, since the leaf cards aren’t in the deck.”

“And you didn’t say anything about Ron’s extra leaf?” Lisa asks.

She shrugs.

“My mind was on other things. I just handed over my deck when you asked for it without thinking further. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything, didn’t think it would make a difference.”

“She did hand over a deck,” Grey says. “It’s the last one I have to return. I looked through it already, didn’t see anything unusual.”

“Is that all, then?” Rushy asks. “Because I’d like to just relax for the rest of the evening. I hope I can play again tomorrow, but either way I’d just like this settled.”

Lisa and Grey look at each other and shrug. Lisa turns to you.

“What do you think, Marshall? Any holes in her story to take a closer look at, or are we done?”

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The card backs on her deck was different, wasn’t it?

Are you /sure/ that was a card?

Well, given Penelope doesn’t want to play anymore anyway, I think we’re done here. All problems solved!