Thursday, December 17, 2015

Page 1143

Ivan’s brow raised and he laughed. “What?”

“It would give me... even more clout with the Sandlords,” Hector said, “and by extension... make it easier to hold up my end of the deal.”

“Ha! And be quite the boon to your reputation!”

“...Well, yeah. Wouldn’t be a very good deal for me, otherwise. You’re getting an entire country.”

The Salesman relinquished a nod. “That is a fair point and well-made, sir. Thing is, though: I have absolutely no reason to accept such a deal.”

“You have every reason,” Hector countered. This guy hadn’t been listening to him this whole time just for shits and giggles. And even if he was, Hector couldn’t let himself believe that right now. He had to press forward. No matter what. “If your invisible soldiers could... infiltrate the Golden Fort just like that... then you would’ve had them do it a long time ago. You would’ve killed all the Sandlords in their sleep. But you didn’t do that. You waited.”

“I like to play with my food,” said Ivan. “Clearly. I’m doing so at this very moment. I know it’s a bad habit, but what’s life without a few bad habits, hmm?”

No, that was bullshit. The Salesman was smarter than that. He had to be. Hector remembered those news reports that Lynn told him about over the phone. They fit into this. “You’ve... you’ve been harassing the Sandlords. Trying to pull them out of the Golden Fort. Spread their forces thin. Why would you do that? Why wouldn’t you just send a cloaked team in and kill them all while they’re sleeping?”

“Like I said--”

“Please.” The word ended up sounding even more sarcastic than he’d intended, but oh well. It would have to do. “It’s because... it’s because the Golden Fort is so crowded right now, isn’t it? These invisible men of yours... they can’t just push their way through a crowd. They need space to work. And I bet they can still trip physical alarms, too, huh? Like from... a broken window, maybe?”

“...Ha,” was all the Salesman said.

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