A few of the bridges that they used had small settlements attached to them--quaint houses clustered around pit stops or refueling stations, even the occasional odd-looking tree. And in the areas where there was currently no flooding, Hector could often see wharfs or boathouses in the muddy grass, tied to the bridges via long chains and cables.
Bridge maintenance must have been a pretty popular and steady job around here, he figured.
Soon, night arrived. Knowing that they wouldn’t be near Luzo until almost morning, the Najirs decided to rest up while they could. Hector was of a mind to do the same, but he had a bit of trouble falling asleep in spite of how exhausted he felt.
He had ample company in Garovel and Qorvass, though. Jada and Imas’ reapers were off elsewhere, perhaps scouting or talking to people in other cars, and Axiolis had decided to remain in Rheinhal, as that was where his servant was.
‘Do you mind telling us what Asad’s ability is?’ asked Garovel. ‘It seems we’ll be fighting together after all. Hector’s is iron materialization, in case Sazandara didn’t tell you.’
‘Ah. Asad’s is also materialization. In fact, he is probably the most powerful materializer among the Sandlords.’
Hector eyed the tattooed man’s sleeping face. He’d figured Asad was crazy strong, but still.
‘I’m glad he’s on our side, then,’ said Garovel. ‘What is his element?’
‘Not an element,’ said Qorvass. ‘A compound. Silicon and oxygen together.’
‘Oh! Quite the rare servant you have.’
‘If I’m not mistaken, that’s an inherited power, isn’t it? Unique to the Sandlords?’
‘It is. And you might say that it’s also why we’re even here in the first place.’
‘Zeff Elroy inherited the unique compound of the Rainlords. Hydrogen and oxygen together. I highly doubt Asad and Zeff would have become friends if either of them had different powers. When they were younger, they were both treated rather specially, which is an experience not many people can relate to.’
“W-what does that mean?” Hector asked. “‘Treated specially?’”
‘They were the “darlings” of their respective peoples,’ said Qorvass. ‘You see, their abilities aren’t just strong. They have immense cultural importance. They are seen as confirmations of their bloodlines.’
‘A couple thousand years ago, their powers would have granted them the right to rule over all their brethren,’ said Garovel, ‘and the public would have viewed them as divine beings.’