Swamped Chapter 70 Page 2

The sandy-mocker puts up a surprising amount of resistance, but a little food in the cage persuades it to leave Rudolph’s grip relatively peacefully.

“Thanks for the help, both of you,” Simone says. “It’s not the first time Jeremy’s gotten out of his cage, but he isn’t usually this agitated.”

“Does this mean I might have to chase him down again?” you sigh.

“Not for a while, I always adjust the lock a bit after he slips out. Even if I do a rush job it’s generally good enough to hold him for at least a week.”

You glance at the sandy-mocker, who’s absolutely devouring the seeds you tossed in. And he still seems to have plenty of energy afterwards.

“I think it’d be best if I kept an eye on him for a while, just to be sure,” Rudolph says. “He doesn’t seem to be calming down at all.”

“Works for me. I’d rather not deal with him, and besides, I’ve got a cleaning shift I’m supposed to be on.”

Simone glances at you.

“That really isn’t necessary, you know. You’re here as a guest.”

“Yeah, but I prefer keeping myself busy,” you say. “And there’s a lot to do around here. Might as well find ways to help out while you greblings solve the mysteries of the universe.”

You excuse yourself and head for the stables. Barb looks up as you arrive.

“You know, our brooms aren’t really built for human height,” she says.

“I’ll manage. Is there anything I need to know besides how to sweep?”

“Not really. You already know to be careful not to get too much sand on you, that’s about it. And I’ve taken care of the desert-horse stalls already. There’s more sandrunners to clean up after, but their droppings are a lot smaller, and less frequent at that.”

You look around and notice one of the desert-horses is gone.

“Someone go out for a ride?” you ask.

“Two of your human pals headed out in the wagon. Something about wanting a private conversation.”

Well. You’re not going to pry into that. Instead you grab a broom, which only goes up to your waist. It takes you a minute to adjust to using it, but it’s not that weird.

You promptly start sweeping one of the sandrunner stalls. But then you think you see something odd in the middle of the mess.

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It’s a glittery piece of jewelry, and it seems to be reflecting an awful lot of light for how dark it is in here.

 

Its stuck in the ground more than you’d expect if someone had just dropped it.