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Hector had a certain appreciation for armor, and he would have liked to stop and examine it, but now didn’t seem to be the appropriate time. However, he was not the only one who noticed it.
‘What is that thing?’ asked Garovel. ‘Some kind of battle armor?’
“Ah,” said Haqq. “Abbas may not look like it, but when it comes to inventing, he is nearly my equal. That over there is a joint project of ours. You should count yourselves lucky if you never learn what it is capable of.”
Hector and Garovel exchanged looks.
Haqq led them into a rear room, much larger and longer than the previous one thanks to the firing range at the back. Ringed targets stood on the far end, and another man in a lab coat was busy fiddling with a bulky firearm.
A new reaper floated up behind Haqq and said something to him in Valgan.
“Yes,” said Haqq. “This is Lynnette Edith and...”
‘Hector and Garovel. A pleasure to meet you both.’
‘Likewise,’ said the other reaper. ‘I am Sazandara. I hope Haqq has not been frightening you too much.’
‘On the contrary, I am quite interested in his work,’ said Garovel.
That earned a smile from Haqq before he returned his attention to Lynn. “Now, I shall perform some preliminary tests to gauge how strong your gauntlet is currently.” He tossed a glance at Hector and Garovel. “This may take a while, so you’ll probably want to go do something else.”
It was Hector and Lynn’s turn to exchange looks now.
“I, uh... I think I’ll stick around, if it’s all the same to you...”
Haqq had already moved on. “Please stand by the door and extend your shadow as far as you are able.”
The man had not been exaggerating, however. It did take a while. He measured the maximum length of Lynn’s violet shade, tested how much pressure it could withstand before she felt even the slightest discomfort, gave her instructions on complex shapes to mold it into, timed her speed around the room when using only the shadow to transport herself, and then began asking her questions pertaining to her mental state.
“Have you noticed any increased aggression since you started wearing it?” Haqq asked.
“No... why? Should I have?”
“Oh, no, these are just precautionary questions,” said Haqq. “You understand, yes?”
Lynnette only gave an uncertain nod.