‘I know plenty about him,’ said Shenado. ‘Like the fact that he isn’t real, for instance.’
‘What else?’ asked Marcos.
The reaper’s beak twisted impossibly into a frown, and her burning eyes flared up a little. ‘Why the sudden interest?’
‘I was just thinking that it might be good to learn about religion from someone who isn’t also trying to make me believe it.’
Shenado blinked at him. ‘You want a more objective teacher.’
‘Well, I don’t know if I’d call you “objective,” but--’
‘Ha, fine, alright. I suppose you have a point. When Axiolis inevitably brings it up, I shall make sure that I sit in on all of your lessons.’
‘...Will he be okay with that?’
Chapter One Hundred Twelve: ‘The house of four flames...’
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As they continued north, Hector was surprised to find the vast stretch of barren and cracked flatlands gradually give rise to fields of grass and even the occasional tree. Considering that they were going to a place called Dunehall, he hadn’t been expecting to see much other than sand.
When they finally reached Moaban, it was the dead of night, but even through the darkness, Hector could see that the city wasn’t struggling for water. Rows of trees with arching canopies covered many of the roads, blocking out the night sky’s vibrant half-moon. The foliage was so thick that the first few areas they drove through made it feel like they’d suddenly entered a forest. After a time, however, there came a break in the trees, revealing an array of buildings buried in sand.
The change was so stark that it took Hector a while to understand what he was looking at.
Mountains of sand in the moonlight. In the middle of an otherwise lush, sand-free city. Hector could see four bulbous towers just barely peeking out from the centermost mound, each one topped off with a jagged spike pointed skyward.
As they pulled closer, the fortress before them became more obvious. Tall lamps illuminated the path into its heart, making the sand all around them glisten like still water. A tunnel guided their entourage up to an underground entrance, where the limousines finally eased to a stop. Everyone began exiting.
Hector marveled at the fine stonework around him. There seemed to be some wooden beams thrown in, along with some metal ones, but the whole area had a golden aura about it thanks to the lighting.