Hector felt his right arm lift, and this time, the lasers that appeared were not blue, but red. They burned a long series of numbers into his bare flesh and then dissipated.
“I hope you like your new tattoo,” said Ivan. “It’s going to be there a while.”
Hector didn’t know what he meant. His left arm wasn’t growing back, it seemed, but he thought his regeneration had simply worn off. This was not the case, he soon realized.
Ivan gave a short flourish with one hand, and then the meat and bone began to culminate and reform itself around Hector’s shoulder, regrowing again. “I suppose you’ll be needing that back.”
Hector was reluctant to say anything. Impulsively, he wanted to ask Ivan what he was doing, ask why he hadn’t killed him yet, but Hector held his tongue. He wasn’t sure how much, if any, of this ruse might still be salvageable.
“Ah, that look on your face. Ha. You really don’t care whether you live or die, do you? I was right. You are one of those irregulars. Interesting.”
Everything had gone wrong so quickly, but Hector’s brain seemed like it had forgotten how to panic properly. Perhaps it was just too sudden, and he hadn’t processed everything yet, but whatever the reason, he was still trying to figure a way out of this, still calmly searching for solutions.
Sadly, none were coming to mind.
“Did you honestly think I wouldn’t bother to test your defenses?” Ivan asked. “I’ll admit: I was hesitant to, in case it provoked a fight before our lovely conversation concluded, but I was always going to get around to it sooner or later.”
He just clenched his jaw in silence.
“Oh? Are you genuinely at a loss for words this time? Or are you going to explain this away, too?”
Hector had nothing.