Hector didn’t much care for the aberration’s enthusiasm. Even if it wasn’t carrying malicious intent, it still reminded him of Geoffrey.
Eventually, Ibai rounded on Hector and Dimas.
“So what are your names?” he asked. “You never did tell me. Mine’s Ibai, but I bet you knew that, eh?”
Hector didn’t feel like answering, and apparently, neither did Dimas.
Ibai’s smile lessened somewhat. “Mm. You don’t like me. I get it. Some of my own family members don’t like me very much, either. Fidel, for instance. I always beat him when we thumb wrestle. He hates that.”
Was that supposed to be a joke? Or did he actually think that way? Hector honestly couldn’t tell. Maybe it was a bit of both.
At their continued silence, Ibai shrugged. “You two don’t like to talk much, do you? I understand. And I don’t want you to worry, either! I thought this might happen, so I came prepared!” The man reached behind his seat and began pulling out several long, flat boxes.
They were all board games, Hector realized.
Hector didn’t need to refuse to talk anymore. He was genuinely speechless. This fucking guy had brought board games to play with the two people who would kill him if he did anything wrong.
“See?” said Ibai. “This way, you don’t have to talk. You can let the game speak for you!”
Hector couldn’t decide if this was one of the stupidest ideas he’d ever seen or one of the most brilliant.
“What should we play? Hmm, maybe not Monopoly. Probably shouldn’t have brought that one...”
What followed was, without a doubt in Hector’s mind, the most uncomfortable game of Snakes and Ladders that had ever been played on the face of Eleg.
The second game was slightly less tense. For the third, they switched to Parcheesi; and for the fourth, they played a game called Waterwall, which Hector had never even heard of. The objective was to trap all of one’s opponents by building dams and rerouting water, which moved every turn and was represented by a cluster of squiggly-lined pieces.
Ibai won every single game. It didn’t seem to matter whether the game was skill- or luck-based. Horatio almost beat him once, but every other time was a complete trouncing.
Hector kept Garovel apprised of everything that was happening--or not happening, rather--and by the time Hector and Dimas’ shift ended, Hector was even more confused than when they had started.