Hector was about to leave with Harper, but Garovel stopped him.
‘Hold up,’ the reaper said. ‘There’s a hat for you by the bed. Put it on.’
It was an officer’s cap, he saw. “Uh... why?”
‘Not many people know you’re here, but if you’ll recall, a LOT of people know your face. We don’t want to incite a panic while you’re strolling around the palace. There’s a fake mustache in the drawer, too.’
Hector opened the drawer and sure enough, it was there, bushy and gray and ridiculous-looking. “You... you’re joking.”
‘Of course I’m joking. But seriously, wear it. When people see it, they’ll think, “Aha, that’s silly!” and not, “Oh fuck, it’s the Darksteel Soldier!” Which is what we’re going for.’
“Can’t I just make a mask for myself?”
‘That would probably scare people, too.’
“Agh... what about my motorcycle helmet?”
‘I had Roman hide it from you.’
‘Oh, c’mon. You know you’ve always wanted a sweet stache like that one.’
He looked to Harper for help, but the man only offered a sympathetic shrug. Hector finally caved. He donned the hat and then the mustache, peeling away the layer of plastic on the back to stick it on his upper lip. It was too big for his face, nearly covering his entire mouth and even poking him in the cheeks.
Garovel busted out laughing and didn’t stop, which made Harper crack up as well.
“I hate everything,” said Hector. And he shook his head, but the reaper’s laughter was getting to him, too.
They made their way out into the hall. Apparently, Harper didn’t know where to go, so Garovel led the way. The palace was certainly busy, people bustling to and fro everywhere Hector looked. And of course, the building itself was enough to make him gawk. Every corridor was at least five times taller than him, and the walls were all a pristine white, frequently adorned with enormous paintings. Columns of blue marble rounded off every corner, and it seemed like there were never any sharp edges anywhere, apart from perhaps the massive chandeliers that hung down over every intersection.