“Obviously,” Hector said slowly, “I was going to offer you something else... but seeing as you’re here now, you clearly want Sair. And I am... in a position to deliver it to you.”
“And how’s that, exactly? You’re the new leader of the Sandlords, are you?”
“Of course not... Don’t be ridiculous. But if you know who I am... then you know that I am close with the Atreyan royal family... which is close with the Sandlords.”
“Ha. One political marriage does not make them close.”
“Fine. Not close, then. But connected. And... I can use that connection to your advantage.”
And Hector gave him the opportunity, but Ivan didn’t say anything. He merely waited with that too-still expression on his face.
“I have a free pass into the Golden Fort,” Hector went on. “In fact... I was there a few days ago.”
“So you want to be my inside man, do you? Why would I need that? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have invisible soldiers at my disposal.”
“Invisible soldiers who aren’t very reliable,” said Hector. “But hell... maybe I’m wrong. Did this attack on Dunehall go the way you wanted it to?”
The Salesman’s smile soured somewhat. “And you. You are reliable?”
Hector felt he’d already given enough ground. Possibly too much. He had to pull it back here. “Maybe,” he said. “Depends on what you offer me.”
“Ha. You grow more brazen by the second. What is it you want, then? I assume you want me to spare your Rainlord friends, no?”
“Of course. But also... well, you might not like my second request.”
“How nice of you to warn me.”
“...I want you to leave Sair and pretend that I... repelled you.” He’d nearly said ‘defeated you’ before thinking better of it.