Swamped Chapter 96 Page 5

Well. One person catches your eye.

“Pardon me, madam,” you say, turning towards her. “Are you walking well? You seem to be holding yourself up with your cane a bit.”

“Some clumsy oaf dropped a barrel on my foot,” she mutters. “I’m a little slower than I ought to be.”

“Seems you might be better served staying here, then. Could be a fair amount of running around, not to mention the stairs may be a little rough for you.”

The captain turns to her.

“Well, I’ll be! Hadn’t even noticed the cane, Ms. Bertha. You’ve been working as hard as ever.”

She seems a little annoyed.

“It’s not as if sailors ever stop needing a little discipline, is it? Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d be down there giving orders instead of up here. But no, first mate’s got to be focused on the strategy of the situation,” she grumbles.

First mate? You’re surprised, considering she looks younger than most of the others here.

“Well, I’ll not have you putting needless stress on your foot,” says the captain. “You stay here while Mr. Resk and the others deal with the situation below. And that’s an order.”

“Yes, Captain,” she says, sounding a little bit sarcastic. You feel like you’re missing something.

But you suppose you don’t have much time to think about it. The rest of the officers are looking at you expectantly. Mr. Resk, in particular, has the sort of look that suggests you get moving. And you’re the only one who can lead them to the cultists, you suppose.

Hopefully you won’t see your father again along the way. Once was bad enough. You head out, with the officers behind you.

As you pass by the quarters on the level below, you pause briefly.

“Incidentally, the cook seemed interested in a map in the navigators’ quarters,” you say.

“You mentioned something along those lines. We’ll look into it later,” says Resk. “For now, keep moving.”

Fair enough. You head down the stairs. The guard you knocked out is still unconscious; you feel a little guilty, knowing that some of them were merely bribed.

“He was watching the stairs,” you explain to the officers. “I knocked him out. Not sure how involved he is in the mess, he might have just been offered something to keep watch.”

“Right. Once we’ve secured the area, we’ll have him sent to the infirmary,” says Resk. Then he pauses. “Hold on. We’ve got a problem.”

What’s he talking about?

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Something about the way the ship is lilting… Are we sinking? Or… Elevating?