Swamped Chapter 76 Page 12

“Well, if you’re only going to accept something from us, I’m afraid we don’t have much to give right now. We didn’t exactly have a lot of time to pack.” You look the leader right in the face. “We need our armor and weapons, and they aren’t worth much anyways. If you won’t accept anything from the camp, I don’t see what we can do, short of offering our other members as hostages. Which is, obviously, out of the question.”

“We don’t take hostages anyhow,” says the leader. “But if you have nothing acceptable to offer, I am afraid I cannot…”

“Hold on a moment,” Ember says suddenly. “I’m not with the camp. There’s no problem in cutting a deal with me, is there?”

You’d gotten so caught up in the negotiations that you’d forgotten about him.

The leader eyes him skeptically.

“And what can you offer us, wizard? We are uninterested in magic of any sort.”

“Of course you’d make this difficult,” Ember mutters. “That’s what I get for trying to help.”

“Do you want some ideas?” you ask. You’re not sure you have any but you feel like that’s where this is going.

“No, no. I have something that should satisfy them, I’m just not happy about having to hand it over.” He sighs. “Which I suppose makes it effective as collateral. You’d better get them that mud, though, or you’re going to owe me.”

Ember steps forward, reaches into the folds of his robe, and pulls something out.

What on earth is that?

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A bird whistle?