Swamped Chapter 74 Page 7

What you really want to do is discourage this hunter from probing further. And they’re not going to be afraid of a lowlife like Pubert, even if you make vague warnings about how powerful your employer is.

Come to think of it, though… you don’t look like a Pubert, do you? Your exercise regimen has left you in much better shape than the average Guild courier. Maybe that’s why the hunter doesn’t buy your story – but they’re also wary of picking a fight with someone who looks as tough as you do. So they don’t want to make the first move. Muscles may not be much good against a crossbow, but they’re pretty effective against someone who’s just fired their crossbow and missed.

In other words, they think you have something to hide, and they’re trying to work out if that something is a bounty.

Well. You’re pretty sure temples don’t pay very good bounties.

“Look, I’d really rather not hang around here much longer. I’m already taking longer than I planned. Had to wait a whole damned night to get out without the blasted priest seeing me…”

“Priest? What priest?”

They definitely seem to think that’s significant.

“Some grebling priest and his entourage making a ruckus. Don’t know what they were doing, but, ah, my supplier didn’t seem to want the church’s attention. So I had to hold off on leaving.”

You hope your awkward pause didn’t come across as too fake.

“Grebling priest. That means church of Reth,” the hunter muses.

“I guess so.”

The hunter laughs.

“Probably works best for me if I let you loose to distract ’em, then,” they say. “Best of luck to you.”

The hunter suddenly runs off, at a surprising speed. You’re not sure you could catch up, but then, it’s probably best to count your blessings that you didn’t get a crossbow bolt to the head.

You’ve wasted a fair amount of time here, though. Now you need to try another oasis, assuming Rider hasn’t already left the one he went to.

Just guessing didn’t work out too well, so perhaps you should think a little harder about how to make your choice this time.

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Head to the oasis that was closest to line of direction Rider was traveling.