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Hector shrunk away from Haqq’s gaze and flushed with a touch of humiliation. He knew that there were probably servants out there with abilities that were naturally more powerful, but he didn’t think iron was that bad. Perhaps he’d been mistaken, though. Haqq was the expert, after all. He looked to Garovel, who was visibly irritated.
‘We weren’t trying to impress you. We just wanted confirmation. That being said, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t insult my friend for no apparent reason. And by the way, iron is far from useless.’
Haqq gave a throaty laugh. “I suppose in relative terms, yes, you might be able to find some semblance of value in it. But when you find yourselves faced with real monsters, iron will not be enough to save your unremarkable lives.”
‘Wow,’ said Garovel, louder now. ‘I fucking hate ability-snobs like you. Power doesn’t make the person, you moron. You’d do well to remember that, lest you have someone teach it to you the hard way.’
Haqq seemed to dismiss the notion.
‘Garovel is correct,’ interjected Sazandara. ‘Haqq, you should apologize for insulting them.’
Haqq’s expression soured, and he pulled his shoulders in. “No. They wasted my time. And so did you, for that matter. You know I have more important things to be doing.”
“Or what?” said Haqq. “You will release me? Because I insulted a couple of strangers? Be serious.”
‘They are no longer strangers. They are allies now.’
Haqq exhaled another laugh. “Allies? Why? Because they’ve decided to help Asad on his fool’s errand? Please. I could not care less about their circumstances if you paid me to ignore them.”
Garovel had heard enough, it seemed. ‘Let’s go, Hector. We got what we came for.’
‘Please wait,’ said Sazandara. She tapped Haqq on the head, and the man immediately dropped to the floor, unconscious. She floated closer to Hector and Garovel. ‘I am deeply sorry that Haqq is such an insufferable twat. Frankly, I wanted Asad as my servant, but I got stuck with this social cataclysm of a person, instead.’
After a moment, Garovel relinquished a nod. ‘It’s fine. I understand. The apology is appreciated, though. Thank you.’
‘Allow me to make it up to you.’
Garovel paused. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Follow me.’ She floated away from Haqq’s body and guided them into a deeper room where the walls were completely filled with lockboxes, as if they’d suddenly walked into a bank vault.