He supposed Garovel had a point, but Hector really didn’t want to believe that could be true. The idea that some of the Rainlords might sabotage their own peace did not sit well with him. In the brief time he’d spent with these people, he’d seen nothing but reasons to respect them. Even their aberration--somehow, they’d made a monster seem honorable. The kind of people who could pull off a feat like that deserved the benefit of the doubt, didn’t they?
Maybe they didn’t. That was the question at hand, after all. When it came down to it, maybe Ibai really was nothing more than a monster.
Hector touched his forehead as he realized that he was just going around in circles and confusing himself.
‘There’s another option we haven’t thought of,’ said Garovel, still privately. ‘Perhaps this whole thing is a fake out.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘The victim’s wounds are obviously excessive. Unless, that is, they are meant to prevent us from identifying the body. In which case, this “victim” could actually be a servant, and the reason their soul isn’t here is because their reaper took it and regenerated them somewhere else.’
‘Oh... you mean like we had Colt do.’
Asad and Qorvass seemed to have finished their conversation with Carlos and ventured over to inspect the corpse.
Garovel posed the most pressing question. ‘Can either of you tell us who this is?’
The Lord Najir merely frowned, but Qorvass hovered closer to the victim’s feet.
The old skeletal Sandlord let out a heavy sigh. ‘This is Fuad,’ he said.
Hector saw Asad stiffen.
“How do you know?” Asad asked.
‘The shoes,’ said Qorvass. ‘They’re a little torn up, but you recognize them, don’t you?’
Asad just shrugged.
‘No one else around here wears that brand or color. It’s Fuad. I’m sure a DNA test will confirm it.’
‘Does Fuad have a reaper?’ asked Garovel.
‘No. He was just a normal kid. He was living here as part of an apprenticeship.’
Garovel spared one last word in private. ‘Shit.’
‘It was a good theory,’ said Hector. And then he saw something on Asad’s face that bothered him. Not sadness or anger, but worry. And a sudden question occurred to Hector. “What was Fuad’s last name?”
Asad returned a hard stare. “Saqqaf.”