Chapter Ninety-Eight: ‘Tread not upon the Pride...’
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Garovel moved behind Hector. ‘Nine servants with nine reapers.’
“Stay close to me,” said Asad.
Hector intended to.
The Blackburns all wore brown-and-green raincoats that made them blend into the murky background of Luzo. He’d heard some of the other Rainlords referring to these people as the “Mudlords”--an unofficial title according to Garovel and from the sound of it, meant more as a slur than anything, but Hector was beginning to see where it had come from.
With their faces concealed beneath their hoods, Hector couldn’t tell who they were. And weirdly, they did not seem interested in stopping to introduce themselves.
A massive copper boulder materialized before them, already hurtling their way.
Hector was about to dive out of its path when Asad simply raised a glass platform from beneath it, catching the hulking mass in mid-flight and smacking it away as if it had been nothing more than a kickball. The thing crashed down into a murky stream and tossed up a cloud of mud, blanketing a small footbridge entirely.
That seemed to give the Blackburns pause. They slowed their approach, and several of their reapers went underground.
“What is a Sandlord doing here?!” someone called out in a booming voice. It belonged to the man on their left. He pulled back his hood as he and two others stepped closer, all with their reapers still present. The remaining six servants in their party hung back.
Hector recognized the man’s face from his file. Fidel Blackburn. And he was much more imposing than he was on paper, visibly muscular even through his raincoat. After a moment, the two others were revealed to be Silvia and Sabas Blackburn.
Hector’s gauntleted grip on his shield tightened. Already, they’d encountered three of the people whom Lady Amaya had warned them about.
“You have no investment in this fight, amergo!” said Fidel, stopped now. “Begone! And no harm shall come to you! You have my word!”
“Very kind of you!” said Asad, shifting his feet and looking between them. “I have an even kinder counteroffer!”
“Is that so?! Go on, then!”
“Tell me why you have abducted the Elroy children! In exchange, I will do my best to avoid killing any of your reapers!”
“Aha!” said Fidel. “Very kind, indeed! Would you believe me if I said I do not know?!”
“I would, yes! As long as you bring me someone who does know!”