Horatio was still among the bodyguards, Hector noticed. “Ibai, you have to stay with us,” the man said with bags under his eyes. “You cannot just teleport away whenever you like.”
“Eh, I’m pretty sure I can.”
“No,” Horatio growled. “What if you accidentally teleported inside of a person?”
“There’s no risk of that,” said Ibai. “I can see everyone’s soul when I do it. Here, let me show you.”
Ibai grabbed his cousin’s arm, and they blinked away together. Hector couldn’t tell where they’d gone, but it didn’t matter, because they returned to the same spot a moment later. Horatio looked like he was about to puke.
“Oh, whoops,” said Ibai. “Sorry. I didn’t even think about your motion sickness. Did that actually trigger it? You weren’t really moving, you know.”
Horatio just held up a hand and stared at the ground. Everyone waited for him to speak, but he said nothing further.
Ibai shrugged and turned back to Hector. “Well, anyway! Would you believe you’re the first black person I’ve ever met?”
Hector did not respond.
“I’ve seen some of you on television and such, but I’ve never had the pleasure to speak with one personally. Isn’t that something?”
Hector had to refrain from telling him that he still did not have the pleasure of speaking with one.
“I know there’s a pretty profound age difference here,” Ibai went on, “but would you like to be my first black friend? I’ve always wanted one.”
Hector could only squint at the man. With the way Ibai spoke, it was somehow easy for Hector to forget that this person was quite clearly a middle-aged man.
“Or wait. Was that a racist thing to ask? If so, then I apologize. I’ve never had very many friends, you see. Well, I’ve had my family, of course. They’ve provided such fantastic companionship; I wouldn’t want to give the impression that they haven’t. I love them very much.” He slapped Horatio’s shoulder.
Horatio turned and barfed over the edge of the cliff.
“There you go, cousin,” said Ibai. “Feel better?”
Horatio just returned a deathly stare as he wiped his mouth.
“But yes,” Ibai continued to Hector, “they are my family. It’s a different sort of relationship. I feel there is something uniquely special about becoming friends with someone who is in no way obligated to you already. It’s a bit purer, in an odd way. Or perhaps I am just romanticizing it. What do you think?”