Swamped Chapter 79 Page 16

“How exactly does this ship work?” you ask. “As far as I can tell, it’s just you three here, and I haven’t seen any of you steering it.”

“No idea,” he says. “I’ve been all over and haven’t even seen a wheel. I asked Carma if it was magic, and she said it was purely mechanical, and then sent me to go and clean stuff around the ship.”

“So, what, you just go where the wind takes you?”

“No, the ship can fly faster than the wind, and we’re up higher than any mountain I know of. The only reason we’d need to change course is if we had to go someplace else or if another ship were in the way. And from what I’ve been able to gather, all airships are in the Master’s service. Well, except this one, now that we’ve stolen it. So it’s not as if he’s going to run into one out of nowhere… and if he somehow does, he’s got strong enough magic to destroy the one in his way.”

“Or send it away somewhere,” you muse. “Don’t suppose we ran into him and he moved us before we noticed?”

Ash shakes his head.

“I asked Carma if we had to worry about running into him. She said not until we reached my continent, and even then, she’d know he was coming.”

Wait. Is that why she ran out suddenly? Not your hinting that you didn’t come alone?

That doesn’t make much sense, though. If it was the Master, she probably would have warned Ash rather than running off to wherever.

Then again… how do you know she didn’t? It’s not as if you trust Ash to be forthcoming.

But on the other hand, he’s not stupid. He didn’t have any reason to tell you that and you wouldn’t have suspected a thing if he hadn’t. So he’s probably as much in the dark about what’s going on as you are.

Probably. You wouldn’t say it’s a safe bet, though.

“The Silent One seems to be taking a while,” Ash says suddenly, interrupting your train of thought.

“Maybe my note wasn’t convincing enough,” you say with a shrug. “Maybe we should go ahead and check on him.”

“You can do that if you like. I’d prefer to stay here, where it’s relatively safe.”

Ugh. Of course he would. But you’re also not inclined to leave him on his own. Who knows what he might get up to.

You main options seem to be to go after the kid, stick around and keep an eye on Ash, or try to persuade Ash to come with you. What do you do?

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Best not to risk it here. Go after him.