Chapter Sixty: ‘O, looming tempest...’
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Hector hadn’t realized just how good it would be to see everyone again. He and Garovel had only met Roman and the Queen briefly on that chaotic day in Sescoria, barely even two months ago now, but after everything that happened to him and everything that he knew had happened to them, it was like seeing his oldest friends again. And in a way, he supposed they actually were. They’d been in his thoughts so frequently, and of course, it helped that he’d been able to correspond with them over the phone as well.
Burning with embarrassment, he was still thrilled to shake hands with everyone.
“You look well,” said the Queen, her smile much warmer than Hector would have imagined.
‘You too, Your Majesty,’ laughed Garovel. ‘Hector is so glad to see you that he can’t even put it into words.’
She looked different than he remembered. But then again, the last time he saw her, she’d been having a rather rough day. Here and now, she was nearly restored to that regal form that he’d seen in papers and television, the only difference being her commoner’s attire and general lack of cosmetics.
Voreese seemed the most pleased of anyone to be back. ‘So I hear you two have really been giving Abolish the middle finger lately. I require juicy details.’
‘Seconded,’ added Mehlsanz.
Garovel only laughed harder.
Hector found himself confronted with Roman next. “Ah--uh, Mr. Roman, I can’t... I can’t thank you enough for all your help. I mean, your motorcycles and facilities and, uh...”
“Oh yeah,” said Roman, as if he’d forgotten. “No problem. Thanks for looking out for Gina while I was gone.”
“Oh, no, she was the one looking out for me,” said Hector. “I mean, I would’ve... I would’ve been screwed without her help.”
Gina smacked him on the shoulder. “Continue.”
Hector had to laugh.
Roman seemed different, too, though Hector hadn’t really gotten all that good of a look at him during their previous encounter. Roman was wearing his glasses now, and combined with his silky black tie and blood red waistcoat, the man had an air of prominence about him that Hector hadn’t noticed before.