Hector looked at his friend. ‘Garovel...’
‘We won’t abandon you, Your Majesty,’ the reaper added. ‘But we’re not prepared to die for you, either.’
“I was not asking you to die for me,” she said.
‘Yes, you were,’ said Garovel. ‘Perhaps you didn’t realize it, but you were.’
Annoyance flashed across the Queen’s face, but then she closed her eyes a moment and nodded. “Very well.” Her gaze passed over Hector. “You know your limits better than I do. I thank you, Hector, for protecting us, and I will ask no more of you. Except, perhaps, might you tell me your full name?”
Hector was a statue. His mouth wouldn’t move, and neither would his hands or his feet. ‘G-Garovel! I--this is--! Help!’
Garovel broke for a small laugh. ‘His name is Hector Goffe.’
“Goffe. I shall remember. But can he not speak for himself?”
‘He wants to talk to you, but he’s extremely shy.’
Her expression flattened, and she exchanged glances with the others. “You are joking.”
‘I’m not, no. He’s a great kid. He just has trouble talking to people. And seeing as you’re the Queen, I imagine that only makes it about a dozen times more difficult for him. Through no fault of your own, of course.’
Hector could feel his face burning so much that he was worried it would show through his helm.
Helen just blinked, unable to come up with words of her own.
Voreese busted out laughing. ‘That’s great! Roman, why can’t you be like him? You’d be way cuter.’
“Great idea. Hey, Garovel, is there any way I can swap with Hector? I’d rather be your servant.”
‘No, you stupid dick! You’re stuck with me!’
‘She’s right. And besides, I’m quite content with Hector.’
Roman looked at Mehlsanz. “How about you? I don’t even know your name, but please save me from this living nightmare.”