Hector still couldn’t tell what this bastard was thinking. Ivan was giving him plenty of opportunity to keep blabbering on in elaboration, but Hector decided against it. He didn’t mind playing the waiting game. If anything, he preferred it.
“...You think you can just waltz out of the Golden Fort with a bunch of Sandlord children?” the Salesman finally said.
That was a damn good point. Hector needed to stall. So he just calmly said, “Yes.” And nothing else.
The Salesman’s expression flickered with irritation. “How?”
“I’ll... make a game of it. They... won’t even know that they are being kidnapped.”
“...You don’t need the details.”
That hollow look came over the Salesman’s face again. And then he put his smile back on. “You’re right,” he said. “Here, let me give you my phone number.”
Hector felt his left arm lift by itself. A slew of blue lasers appeared and tore through his arm, blowing it to bloody pieces.
The Salesman burst out laughing. “Wow! I figured you were weaker than you let on, but holy cow! You’re really that weak?! You really are less than a year old!”
What? That was it? The jig was up? It happened so quickly that Hector could scarcely process it. Ivan had known all along? Everything he’d just said had been for nothing? His annihilated arm didn’t hurt, but the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach was one of the worst things he’d ever felt.
But he’d be damned if he allowed his composure to slacken even a little bit. Even if it was completely hopeless now, even if everything he’d been working for was crumbling in front of him, he absolutely was not going to give this bastard the satisfaction of seeing it break him. Fuck that.
“That’s alright. I’ll be gentler with your other arm.”