Hector was losing hope. Maybe this was pointless. Maybe the Salesman was the one deceiving him. The bastard could probably tell how weak Hector was all along and was just using this opportunity to fuck with him. With each passing second, Hector grew more convinced. It was over. It had been over this whole time, and he’d just been too stupid to realize it. How could he have even hoped to win anything against one of the most powerful people in the world?
But in spite of all those thoughts, he didn’t flinch. He couldn’t let himself. He kept eye contact with the Salesman.
The man wasn’t regenerating, Hector realized. His half-melted face stayed that way, even as the sizzling subsided. And then Hector realized something else. The man wasn’t using a hyper state. This whole time, he’d only been hearing Ivan speak with one voice. It was such an obvious thing that he’d missed it, somehow. Where was this guy’s reaper?
Regardless, Ivan didn’t seem to be in much pain. Or any, for that matter. He set his briefcase down and popped it open. He pulled out a small mirror and a handkerchief. He looked at himself and dabbed the wounds, but the acid hadn’t left much blood flowing.
“What do you think?” Ivan asked. “Charming, in its own way, no?”
Hector didn’t respond.
“Not very presentable, though. If I wasn’t meeting clients all the time, I think I’d just stay this way.”
Hector didn’t understand. Was this a trick? Or just more psychotic rambling? It didn’t seem right to engage him, either way.
“Well, if you’re not going to do anything, then I’ve got an idea. Stay right there.” He dropped his mirror and handkerchief back in his briefcase, then pulled something else out. A phone, it looked like. He pointed it at Hector. “Smile for me.”
Hector did not.
“C’mon, no one likes a sourpuss.”
Hector just waited.