The commotion died instantly, and the Hun’Kui looked around in apparent confusion, as Hector had left only their heads uncovered.
They young Rainlords that they’d been bothering all looked toward him at once, and Hector wasn’t sure what their expressions meant. Had he made a mistake? Maybe he shouldn’t have interfered. It wasn’t like the Rainlords needed--
An unfamiliar sound rang out--a heavy, piping noise that simultaneously carried a whip’s crack with it.
Pain came knifing through Hector’s chest.
The street erupted into shrieks as the crowd around the Rainlords scattered, and Hector saw several more clusters of Hun’Kui letting everyone flee around them. One was aiming at him with a long, two-handed rifle of some strange kind. Tendrils of blue smoke--or something like it--swirled up from both the tip of its barrel and the back of its apparent loading chamber.
This time, it was the Rainlords’ turn to react. Everyone bolted away from Hector, and within as much time as it took for him to turn his head, the Hun’Kui were nearly all subdued--many by crystal or metal, some by threat of a blade or gun, and the last lingering few by a hand or foot pressing them into the dirt.
Hector, however, was more concerned with the gaping hole in his chest, and thus, his suit. And despite already having the vigor required to walk in this cumbersome thing, Garovel had not been numbing his pain. And so, he felt every bit of that searing air as it rushed in and scorched his flesh, exploding up through his punctured lung and burning his throat, mouth, and nose with every breath.
His body wanted to panic, of course, but he knew it wouldn’t last long. He knew Garovel’s help was imminent, and indeed, it soon arrived. All pain flew away from him as quickly as it had arrived.
But when he turned to look at Garovel, he saw that the reaper had a gaping wound, too.