‘Agh... I fucking suck.’
‘Aw, don’t feel too bad,’ said Garovel. ‘You’ll do better next time.’
‘The worst part is... now, she probably thinks that I’m grossed out by her or something...’
‘Eh, you don’t know that. Maybe she just thinks you’re a spastic weirdo.’
‘...Great. Thanks for that.’
Hector just wallowed in his self-loathing as he joined the group of people waiting for the elevators.
‘Why do you have a crush on her, anyway? Do you even know the reason?’
‘I’ll take that as a no.’
‘No, well, I mean... I know why.’
‘Then tell me.’
‘Ergh... because... I mean, because she’s fucking awesome.’
‘Yes! She’s like--she’s like everything I’m not. Really smart and strong and focused.’
‘You’re all of those things, too, Hector.’
‘No, I’m not--’
‘I think you literally just named your three best characteristics. When you don’t know the answer, you generally ask intelligent questions; you’ve proven yourself in battle multiple times, as far as I’m concerned; and you meditate like a fucking Jesbolese monk. Smart, strong, focused.’
‘I... that’s not--’
‘So essentially, you’re telling me that you like her because she reminds you of yourself.’
‘What the--?! No! I just--! I just don’t know how to--!’
‘Fucking--! You... agh...’
‘Maybe you just have an eye patch fetish.’
‘...Is that a real thing?’
‘Oh, I’m sure it is. I have immeasurable faith in humanity’s capacity for perversion.’
At length, they finally arrived at the R&D lab again. The guards let them through without a fuss this time.
Haqq and Sazandara were both right there near the doorway. The reaper noticed them first. ‘Hello again,’ she said.
‘Good morning,’ said Garovel. ‘Did you get a chance to perform the analysis?’
“Yes, I did!” said Haqq. “The results were absolutely fascinating! It seems your servant is able to materialize an ultra-rare quad-element compound of titanium, iridium, carbon, and plutonium! I’m not sure why I couldn’t tell right away yesterday!”
Confused, Hector just kind of blinked dully. He didn’t know what to say, but judging by the reaper’s flat expression, Garovel apparently did.
“Of course I am lying. Just as I told you before, it is only iron. The embodiment of mediocrity and tedium. Why did you make me waste my time analyzing it? I was hoping that you had brought me something that was at least vaguely interesting, but no. Your servant is about as special as a sunny day in Kuros.” He eyed Hector. “And probably just as useful.”