‘Wow,’ said Hector. ‘Pretty bold move... But I guess the Queen wouldn’t need to be too worried about getting captured by a bunch of normal Rendon soldiers.’
‘So... I guess... everything worked out?’
‘You say that like you had nothing to do with it.’
‘I mean, I’m just... kind of... shocked.’ And on top of everything, his shower soap smelled amazing.
‘I know what you mean. We’ve scored a pretty huge win on this one. It’s almost worrying, how well things have turned out.’
‘You mean like something really bad is about to happen?’
‘Aw, Hector, don’t say that. You’ll jinx it.’
‘Wouldn’t it be more of a jinx not to mention it at all? And besides, you’re not even superstitious.’
‘Mm. Both good points.’
He finished up his shower and got changed. The white shirt had a flaring black collar and silver buttons, and its long sleeves fit his arms perfectly. The pants suited him similarly well, and he wondered if someone had taken his measurements while he slept. As he slipped into a fresh pair of thickly-soled shoes, there came a knock at the door. He opened it to find Harper Norez there.
“Evening, Hector.” The man looked rather haggard, slumped over with heavy eyes. Darsihm clung to his back, a kind of ethereal lump that didn’t look anything like a skeleton at the moment.
“Hello, Mr. Harper. Ah... you don’t look so well.”
The man smirked. “I can’t be feeling much worse than you, I imagine. I heard about what we did to you. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, no, no,” said Hector. “Don’t worry about it. I mean--uh. You saved everyone. If you hadn’t done that, then, uh... Abolish would’ve killed us all.”
“Well, yeah. I’m still sorry you ended up in that position, though. If we’d had more control, things wouldn’t have gotten so bad.”
“Really, Mr. Harper, it’s fine.”
‘Yeah,’ added Garovel. ‘Hector’s accustomed to getting the shit kicked out of him.’
That made Harper laugh. “I see.”
“Is, um... is Darsihm okay?”
“Oh yeah. He’s going to be out of it for a couple weeks still, but he’ll be fine.”