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“So you don’t really know,” said Lynn.
“If it is such a moral quandary for you, then you can simply avoid absorbing souls,” said Haqq. But at Lynn’s persistent look, he added, “Yes, we do not know, because there is currently no way to know. There exist no scientific instruments which can aid us in studying souls.”
‘None that WE know of at least,’ corrected Sazandara. ‘Haqq is very intelligent, and you should listen to him, but he is also more of a hardware man than anything. We haven’t devoted much time to studying souls other than to observe the enhanced physical properties they may provide for our technology.’
Lynn, of course, heard nothing of what the reaper said, and Haqq didn’t seem too keen to reiterate it to her, so Hector had to struggle through it. Sazandara helped him out by repeating a few of the things she said.
In the meantime, Garovel took the opportunity to address Haqq again. ‘I was wondering if you might do me a small favor.’
“What sort of favor?”
‘My servant is a materialization user. Would it be possible for you to confirm his element for us? We believe it to be iron, but we’re not one hundred percent certain.’
Haqq eyed Hector with an overwhelming degree of disinterest. Then he held out his hand. “Make a flat disc for me, just small enough to fit in my palm here.”
With hesitance, Hector did so. The metal accumulated in the man’s hand and formed a perfectly smooth and round disc.
Haqq cocked an eyebrow at the metal. Perhaps he’d been expecting something shoddier-looking. Or perhaps he thought Hector wouldn’t even be able to do it in the first place. Haqq lifted the disc to his ear and rapped a knuckle against it, listening to the ring. After a moment, he tossed the disc back to Hector. “You were right. It is iron.”
Hector annihilated the disc instead of catching it.
‘I was hoping for something a bit more rigorous and definitive,’ said Garovel, eyeing Sazandara. ‘Not that I don’t trust your servant’s ear.’
Haqq gave an irritated sigh.
‘Haqq would be delighted to assist you,’ said Sazandara. ‘He will perform an emission spectrometric analysis for you. Isn’t that right, Haqq?’
The man had nothing to say.
Sazandara’s skeletal grin widened. ‘It shouldn’t take him very long. He’s very skilled. Come back tomorrow.’
‘Much appreciated,’ said Garovel.