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How Bright is My Mud

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How Bright Is My Mud

"I don't think we should tell him." Mark tromped alongside Ivan, both of them dripping bright green mud with every single step.

Ivan glanced over. "You really think he won't hear about it? The second we get back?"

Mark shrugged and gave him a hopeful look. "We'll be cleaned up long before then," he began. "We can destroy our clothes, detail the flyer, and we've hidden the body in a swamp. How could he ever find out anything, unless one of us tells him?"

"If we were talking about anyone else-- except maybe Gregor -- I'd say you were right. But I've known Miles my whole life, and I promise you that before we step foot back in Vorbar Sultana, he'll be waiting for us with the whole story already and he'll just make us confess everything for his own amusement."

Mark shook his head, stubbornly. "He'll never find out," he insisted. "Trust me, Ivan."

Ivan sighed. "Whenever Miles says that, I end up in a jail cell, or a hospital -- or in front of my mother, trying to explain why it wasn't my fault. And you sound just like him." Ivan scowled.

"But I know what I'm talking about," Mark began, then his voice trailed off. Ivan looked over, confused -- then he stopped in mid-step.

Ahead of them on the trail stood Miles. And Gregor. And a dozen Imperial Guards.

Ivan hesitated, then took a half-step behind Mark and pointed. "It was his idea."

Mark glowered, over his shoulder. "And it would have worked, too. It should have worked. We haven't even gotten back to the flyer, yet -- how the hell did you find us?" he asked, turning his glare from Ivan to Miles.

"You forgot to disable the third transmitter," Miles said, his tone full of unholy glee.

Ivan eyebrows went up. "Third transmitter?" He turned to Mark. "You didn't look for a third transmitter?"

"I didn't think he'd put more than two in," Mark said, darkly. Ivan took another step backwards, and wondered if maybe it had been such a bright idea after all to pick Mark's team over Miles'. True, Miles usually -- always -- won. But Ivan had hoped that this year Mark would prove enough of an opponent that Miles might actually lose for a change.

"It was his idea," Miles said, jerking his thumb at Gregor.

Next year, Ivan thought, he was going to team up with Aunt Cordelia. he might not end up winning, but maybe for a change he wouldn't end up covered in green mud.