Friday, March 1, 2024

Page 3528

Ooh, wait a minute,’ said Garovel. ‘What if this thing is a teleporter now like the Gate? Try sticking your hand through it. Watch it pass through the mirror like an open window.

“You really think that’ll happen?”

Well, of course. It was my idea, and I’m never wrong, so yes, I’m sure it will.

Hector bobbed his head and decided not to retort. “Alright, then. Here goes.”

He pressed his gauntleted hand flatly against the reflection. And waited.

Nothing happened, still.

You’re obviously doing it wrong,’ said Garovel.

“Oh, am I? How so?”

Uh. Well. Your armor. You gotta use your bare hand, of course.

“Okay, then.” He dematerialized one gauntlet and repeated the same action.

It made no difference.

Alright, it’s useless. You can break it now.

“I’m not gonna break it!”

Oh, c’mon. It deserves it. Just look how smug it is. With its. Reflectiveness.

“Even if it is useless, what would be the point in breaking it?”

To make me feel better?

“Garovel.”

I’m kidding again. Relax.

“Are you, though? You sure this isn’t one of those sarcastic confession-type things?”

Maybe a little. Maybe I think that mirror is being a real prick, right now.

“Okay, Garovel.”

I don’t appreciate your tone, Hector.

He decided to move on before the reaper dragged him down another conversational rabbit hole. “I wonder if whatever power the mirror had... got sucked out by the Gate ‘r something.”

That sounds possible. Hmm. Maybe even plausible.

“But why would it only affect the mirror and not anything else? The Shifting Spear of Logante had power in it, too, right? And it came through the Gate just fine. Not to mention the Scarf.”

Perhaps the nature of the mirror’s power was similar to that of the Gate. So they interacted with one another.

“So... maybe it’s actually the opposite of what you were saying. Maybe it was a teleporter, but now it’s not?’

Maybe. And if so, then... man, that bites. Bad luck on our part.

“I mean, at least we didn’t end up fused into the rock.”

I guess that’s true. Way to look on the bright side, Hector.

“Hmm...”

Now what’re you thinking?

“I’m trying to remember the last time that I actually saw this thing,’ said Hector. “Because I feel like... I didn’t even have it with me when we went through the portal. Not that I knew we were going through a portal, at the time.”

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Page 3527

Hector hesitated. “But what if... what if it gives me, like, a crazy vision or something when I touch it?”

Why would it do that?

“I don’t know. Why did it fuse with the rock?”

Fair point.’ Garovel allowed a beat to pass. ‘Eh, but I’m sure it’ll be fine! Go on! Touch it! See if it does anything!

“Garovel...”

What? Don’t chicken out on me now. Where are those massive iron balls of yours, all of a sudden?

Hector sighed and chuckled at the same time. “You’re such an idiot, sometimes...”

Like reaper, like servant, my friend.

“Fuuuck you...” Hector did lift his hand, though, readying himself to grab the edge of the mirror. It was probably safe enough, he figured.

He touched the golden paneling.

Nothing happened.

He gave it a second, just in case, but still nothing. So he grasped the edge of the mirror more firmly and gave it a tug.

It didn’t budge. Not even a little.

Put some elbow grease into it.

“What if I break it?”

Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

“The more you say that, the less convinced I become.”

Alright, I’m mostly kidding this time. Don’t break it yet.

“‘Yet?’”

Let’s just have a little look-see here...’ The reaper hovered nearer to it, looking at it from directly above now, straight into the reflection. ‘Hmm. Y’know what would’ve been a cool power for this thing to have? If it let me see myself in it.

“Cool and useless.”

C’mon. Being cool is its own use.

Hector decided to raise his iron platform a bit higher in order to join the reaper in looking into it. As one might’ve expected, he could indeed see himself in it.

Huh. So that was what his helmet and pauldrons looked like from the outside. Despite how much effort he’d put into making it, he hadn’t actually bothered to check what this new dark armor looked like in a mirror yet.

Pauline had mentioned that it looked scary, and... now he could see why she thought that. He hadn’t bothered to add any ornamentation to the helmet, because the material had simply been too difficult to work with, but it had still ended up with a T-shaped eye slit, thanks to the faceguard, and a smooth overall profile that fully concealed his neck, thanks to the way it interlocked seamlessly with the gorget.

And because of how dark it was, it made him look less like a person and more like a shadow.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Page 3526

“How could that be?” said Hector. “And how do you know?”

How do I know? Because I was paying close attention, that’s how. Rathmore’s Materials are always of interest to me.’ The reaper hovered around the mirror, inspecting the different sides of it. ‘As for how it could be possible, well... the only explanation that I can think of is that the properties of the mirror interacted with the properties of the Gate, creating an unexpected result.

Hmm. “But where did the mirror come from?”

You don’t recognize it? This is the same mirror that I had you grab during the middle of that worm fight, remember?

Oh shit. Hector looked at it anew. The reaper was right.

You thought you’d dropped it at some point during all the confusion, didn’t you? You were quite bummed about it.

“Yeah... I thought I’d lost another artifact of power, like with the Moon’s Wrath. Or if not an artifact, then something that we probably could’ve sold for a lot of money, at least.”

Right. We never did figure out what kind of power it harbored, if any. But I think we can safely say now that there was indeed something more to it. Otherwise, it never would’ve gotten stuck on the Gate like this.

“Huh...”

In fact, this is... entirely unprecedented. In all the time I’ve been studying Rathmore’s Materials, never have I seen anything or anyone modify one of them in any way, apart from Rathmore himself.

Dang. “When you put it like that, this, uh... this seems like kind of a big deal.”

It is.’ Garovel eyed Hector for a moment. ‘Wow, buddy. All this time, I had no idea you were the most powerful integrator since Rathmore. Talk about impressive.

“I--?” Hector’s expression flattened. “Okay. First of all, I definitely didn’t do this. And second--”

You don’t know that. Maybe it was your aura playing havoc with things.

“No. I don’t accept that. That’s bullshit, Garovel.”

The reaper laughed. ‘You seem surprisingly confident about that.

“I’m confident that you’re trying to fuck with me.”

Heh, maybe. But we genuinely don’t know what caused this. I’m just having fun speculating, right now.

“Uh-huh. Anyway, how do get it out of there?”

Good question. I suspect that we simply can’t. It looks like it’s fused with the stone. But go ahead and try pulling on it, if you want. Maybe looks are deceiving. Maybe it’ll slide free, easy as can be.