Swamped Chapter 82 Page 24

You didn’t see many signs of an active crew here. If the ship is taking on damage from whatever’s attacking, they might not have the personnel to deal with it. Since your aim isn’t to make the thing crash – at least, not until you know more about its purpose – perhaps that would be the best place to direct your efforts.

Of course, you also have no idea what’s important to keeping this ship in the air. You’ve barely spent time on sailing ships, let alone flying ones. The best you can do is listen for loud breaks and investigate them.

Hmm. Large one in the side of the ship. Well, it sounds unpleasant, but it also sounds like it’s just wood. Since you’re not at risk of taking on water, it’s not likely to be urgent. You continue listening.

Wait. You think you heard some kind of scraping sound down below. That’s worth looking at. You open the door, and the priest starts yelling.

“Where in Reth’s name are you going? You’re not just going to leave me here, are you?”

“I’m investigating something. You can feel free to come along if you want.”

The priest grumbles something under his breath and scurries over to you. The lizard also hops onto your shoulder. You head down the nearest ladder and try to work out where you heard the scraping.

Ah. You think you found it – two gears seem to have been knocked out of alignment and are striking each other in the wrong places. You’re not much of a mechanic, but this shouldn’t be that difficult to fix. You reach towards them…

…and, on instinct, you duck, just before an icicle goes flying over your head.

“You must be the Rider. We’ve heard so much about you.”

You turn to your assailant. A short and elderly human, dressed in what looks to be Eastern Continent garb. He’s wielding a staff.

You can tell he’s a powerful mage. You can likely handle him, but the priest and the lizard are at risk. Besides, you don’t know what he wants. Best to see if you can resolve this peacefully first.

“Why did you sabotage those gears?”

“Oh, they’re nothing overly important. They just allow the ship to maintain altitude without manual adjustments. If not attended to, why, there’s a whole hour before it hits the ground.”

“You’re trying to crash the ship, then. To what end?”

“I just don’t want it causing problems for me later. I’ve got nothing against you, or Carma for that matter, but I can’t afford to let anyone else’s plans interfere with my own.”

You can see the staff starting to shift a little. He’s readying another spell. You’ll need to make your next move fast.

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Dive for the geezer’s legs before he can launch another icicle!

Pull the staff from his hands. He can’t cast spells without a staff.