Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Page 1238 -- CXXXVII.

It’d be stupid of me to think I can protect everyone by myself,’ said Hector. ‘If our time in Sair taught me anything, it’d definitely be that.

Heh. And here I thought your self-confidence was growing.

I... I don’t--I mean, uh... eh... that’s a different... thing.

Eloquently put.

Shut up.

Hector kept walking for quite a ways, and Garovel kept giving him sass all the while, as expected, until at long length, finally, one of his attempts to create the shield succeeded. Partially. Half of it was missing. He annihilated it, took another step forward, and tried again.

The shield materialized in full this time.

Welp. That confirms it.’ Garovel hovered around him, looking the shield over. ‘I’m not sure if I like this “blessing” from Rasalased.

I wonder if he can hear you.

I hope he can. Hey, Rasalased! Why’d you give this to Hector, huh?! Why couldn’t you just upgrade his soul power with your own or something?!

Would that have been possible?

No, but I didn’t think this shit was possible, either, so who the fuck knows?!

Hector couldn’t help laughing as he started back toward the Rainlords with his second shield in hand. ‘You sound very upset.

Yeah, well, I am. If we’re not super careful, this shield bullshit is gonna bite us on the ass. And I bet Rasalased knew that, too. What a fuckin’ prick.


Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Seven: ‘Buried in the Dark...’
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There wasn’t a lot of time left until they needed to leave, but Hector spent every moment of it making as many extra shields as he could. And after seeing the kind of punishment that his work was capable of withstanding, the Rainlords were quite keen to help him out.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Page 1237

...I see your point,’ said Hector as he started walking again.

Good.

Hector tested his ability with his left hand, but as expected, he couldn’t make anything yet. Doubtless, he still wasn’t far enough away. He kept trying as they moved down the length of the corridor.

You might be tempted to sell these shields,’ said Garovel, ‘but I’d advise against that. While we could certainly use the money for Warrenhold, it would be a big problem if word got around about an Atreyan merchant selling something that so many people might want.

Selling them?’ The thought hadn’t even crossed Hector’s mind. ‘Wouldn’t that basically make me, like... a war profiteer or something?

Pretty much, yeah.

...I don’t exactly consider the Salesman of Death a role model, Garovel.

The reaper laughed at that. ‘Good to know. But I’m just saying, it wouldn’t be too difficult to rationalize. The idea, of course, would be that you’d only sell to people you trusted. Like the Rainlords, perhaps. But the problem would be that some customers simply aren’t going to take no for an answer, unless you have the power to force them to.

...Or allies to force them for me?

Or that, yes. But you’re more interested in doing the protecting than being protected, aren’t you?

Well, yeah. But, uh... all this talk does make me think. I mean, even disregarding this, uh, war profiteering bullshit--how likely is it that Warrenhold will develop into that kind of... “point of interest” or whatever? It’s bound to happen sooner or later, right?

Hmm. At the rate we’re collecting people, perhaps sooner.

Stasya Orlov wanted Warrenhold to be a center of trade between the Undercrust and the surface,’ said Hector. ‘And... I want that, too, I think. But... if we manage to make that happen, somehow, then...

Yup.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Page 1236

If this works,’ said Garovel, ‘what do you intend to do with it?

Hector thought that should be obvious. ‘I’ll make shields for everyone here--or, y’know, as many as I can in the time we have left.

Mm.

...Something wrong with that?

Garovel paused. ‘Not necessarily. But what about after we make it out of here?

What do you mean?

Well. I can see this power making our lives very complicated.

Hector cocked an eyebrow. ‘Our lives aren’t exactly simple, right now.

Ha. Even so, I think it’s best that we try to keep this ability secret as best we can. And if you’re gonna be handing these shields out to the Rainlords like it’s no big deal, then they need to understand how important this secret is, too. And YOU need to understand just how much trust you’re placing in them to keep that secret for us.

Uh... would it really be so bad if people found out?

Hector. I know you just want to protect people, but these shields are incredibly powerful. And, I mean, it took Haqq Najir months to craft just one of these shields. And now, potentially, you’d be able to make them in, what? An hour or two? Maybe even less? Hector, if you can start mass producing these things... Do you see what I’m getting? Essentially, you’d be able to single-handedly turn the tide of... practically any war in the world.

Hector stopped. He stared down the length of the empty hallway as he let Garovel’s words sink in.

That, my friend, is something that only a VERY small number of people on this planet can do,’ the reaper went on. ‘And don’t you think there are people out there who will want to take advantage of you? Especially if they find out how young you really are?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Page 1235

Zeff’s hands were full, so Hector looked at Marcos, suited up and standing next to his father. Hector held the shield out to the boy. ‘Ask him to hold this for me, please,’ he told Garovel.

Uh. Hey, Marcos, would you mind holding this for Hector?

Marcos hesitated but took it. Its weight seemed to surprise him.

Hector threw another look around the area. There was plenty of space here, but which direction would be best? That hallway from before. It was very long, he remembered. Hector pointed in the direction opposite of the hallway. ‘Ask them to go that way for me,’ said Hector.

Um. Hector?

Oh.’ He probably should’ve explained, he realized. ‘I wanna try to make a second shield.

Ah...

I’ve gotta get this first shield outside of my ability’s max range,’ said Hector. ‘Because then my volume limit should reset, right?

Hmm.’ Garovel was quiet a moment, perhaps thinking.

Hector wondered if the reaper was about to inform him that he was being stupid. But that didn’t happen.

Alright,’ said Garovel. The reaper proceeded to explain Hector’s reasoning and instructions to the Elroys.

As Zeff listened, his gaze fell upon Hector, and the young Atreyan lord began to feel increasingly self-conscious.

Hector wasn’t sure he’d ever seen such a stern face staring at him like that before, but he tried not to worry about it too much. From what he knew of the Lord Elroy, that was just the man’s normal face.

Why’d he have to stare like that, though? Hector didn’t need another reason to be second guessing himself.

In the end, though, neither Zeff nor Axiolis voiced any sort of disapproval. They ventured off with Marcos and the shield, just as Hector had wanted.

Hector and Garovel made for the hallway together.