“What’d you do to it?” asked Lynn.
“Oh, I, uh... um. G-Garovel was just, ah... he--”
Lynnette waited patiently.
“Garovel calls it a soul-strengthening, ah, technique.”
“You used your soul to make it stronger?” she said.
“Hey!” yelled Melanie. “Do something else!”
Lynn threw her little sister a look. Then the shadow swirled and formed into the shape of a mouth. And it stuck a purple tongue out and blew a raspberry at the girl.
Mr. Edith soon called them back down for dinner. Hector did not stay to eat with everyone, however. He took his plate back outside and continued training while he worked on the meal. The cooks were kind enough to stack the food extra high for him.
Afterwards, Gina came to fetch him again. The sun had set, and it was time to go meet up with Roman at the airfield. Gina was the only one who knew where it was, and the King was quite eager to see his wife again, so they would accompany Hector there before returning here without him. For everyone else, this was goodbye.
He shook hands with all of Lynn’s family, beginning with the father, then Melanie, then the mother.
Mrs. Edith’s handshake lingered. “Thank you for protecting my daughter,” she said, warm enough to make Hector blush in front of everyone. Then she pulled him closer and kissed his forehead.
‘Oooh,’ said Garovel, snickering. ‘I knew she didn’t hate you.’
“Uh, it’s, um--not at all. I didn’t even--ah--”
Melanie chimed in to help him. “Just be cool and say: no problem, ma’am.”
He looked over everyone again, still burning up. “...No problem, ma’am.”
“I was wrong!” laughed Melanie. “That wasn’t cool at all!”
He shook hands with Lynn next, who was probably the last person in the world that he wanted seeing him right now.
“Come back safe,” she told him.
His eyes were on the floor, so he couldn’t see the softness in her expression, but he managed a nod.
That only left Mrs. Goffe.
He made his way over to her, as she had not come to him with the others.