Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Page 1402

“How did you manage to get your hands on this kind of firepower, anyway?” the one called Manuel was saying.

“Oh, it’s all about makin’ the right friends,” said the one called Robert Sheridan.

Royo observed from a distance as they armed themselves to the teeth. He’d been tempted to join them in their work, but they’d even been kind enough to toss an extra weapon his way. He’d already had one, of course, and this new piece required some reassembly, but he appreciated the gesture.

What he did not appreciate was the way that the one called Diego was looking at him. Pointed and semi-frequent stares. A suspicious man, it seemed. Perhaps he suspected. More likely, he was just being cautious around an abundance of firearms and strangers.

The reapers were doing the same thing. Looking around constantly. Surveying both their surroundings and themselves. He supposed the rumor that they made for excellent scouts was true, after all.

But what an unsettling sight, they were. Without his ardor-infused goggles, he would not have been able to see them, and he was considering taking them off for that very reason.

To his eyes, they were himself. They each had his own face, save the eyes, which cried blood, and the mouth, which dripped it as well. Their bodies, too, were mangled and twisted, at times ghostly and ethereal, and at others, slashed to ribbons and full of holes.

Horrific as it all was, and even though he wasn’t at all accustomed to it, it did make him wonder. Surely, everyone could not see them as such. The other Hun’Kui were wearing goggles, too. Perhaps they were hiding it like he was, but they did not look nearly as disturbed as he felt.

No, their appearance had to have been specialized in some way. Otherwise, it made no sense how they could all have his face without anyone else noticing.

Two of the other Hun’Kui were speaking to each other now, he noticed. But he couldn’t hear them, because they were speaking too lowly. He did, however, catch sight of them glancing in his direction.

That could prove problematic.

The only other Hun’Kui present was walking right next to him. This one, at least, was his ally--the still-nameless prisoner with whom Royo had escaped.

Ideally, this was a good thing. Ideally, the man would be helpful to their shared cause rather than a burden to it.

He was still waiting on proof of that.

And perhaps the man had read his mind, because his ally chose that moment to speak to him for the very first time. “How is your shoulder, Eleyo?” the man said in Hunese.

His shoulder? Eleyo?

Ah.

Royo understood. The man was pretending they already knew each other and had made up name for him. Likely, he was worried that the two of them were the only ones not talking at all. And if they acted familiar with one another, their facade as militiamen would appear more credible to the others.

Smart.

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