Chapter Sixty-Eight: ‘Of measured worth...’
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Hector’s mouth hung open as he looked at the Queen. He wasn’t sure he heard her right. He couldn’t have.
‘Whoa, whoa,’ said Voreese. ‘You’re giving away castles? Can we have one, too?’
“Voreese, no,” said Roman. “Hector’s one thing, but we definitely don’t need or want anything from the Queen.”
“Are you certain?” said Helen. “I have no qualms about granting you lordship over lands of your own.”
Roman bowed his head forward a little. “That’s very generous, but it’d be problematic for me if people found out that I was working with the government. In the circles I frequent, that kind of information is liable to ruin a man’s reputation.”
“I see,” she said. “Am I to expect lobbying requests for favors from you, then?”
Roman leaned back in his chair and shook his head. “It’s not like I have leverage over you or anything. I’d just appreciate if you and I could maintain a certain amicability moving forward. Having a friend in your position would be nice for me, and likewise, having a friend in my position would be nice for you.”
The Queen gave a nod.
‘Fuck that, I want a castle!’ said Voreese.
Roman rolled his eyes. “Voreese, shut up.”
‘No, you idiot! If she’s just giving shit away, then I want Warrenhold!’
Now Roman just seemed confused. “Why? And what is that, even?”
‘Ugh! Because--!’ She cut herself off and looked at Mehlsanz and Garovel. ‘Wait, am I the only one who knows?’
The other two reapers exchanged shrugs.
“Warrenhold?” said the Queen. “Are you referring to the Gray Warren?”
‘Yeah! The fortress in Gray Rock! No one’s lived there in ages, right? So it currently belongs to the Crown, right?’
“Yes, that is correct.”
‘Great! Then we’ll take it!’
“No, we won’t, Voreese! I can’t accept land from the Queen! It’ll ruin everything! Why do you even care so much?!”
Voreese grumbled and looked around the table. Her hollow eyes fell upon Hector. ‘Hector. Sweetie. And Garovel. You handsome devil. Choose Warrenhold. So we can visit you. It’ll be delightful.’