Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Page 1887

Lionel breathed half a laugh. “You flatter me. I am not so busy a man as that. These days, I pay other people to run my ‘empire,’ as you put it, for me. I am much more of a man of leisure, I’m afraid.”

Somehow, Hector doubted that. But he also wasn’t about to come right out and declare the man a liar to his face. Mainly, he just wondered what game this guy was playing.

Thankfully, he had a three thousand year old reaper to consult.

What do you make of him?’ said Hector.

Not much, so far,’ said Garovel in the echo of privacy. There was no one else around who might be able to overhear him, but Hector supposed the extra caution couldn’t hurt. ‘He’s just testing the waters right now, I think--trying to get the measure of you.

“I wonder what my aunt has told you about me,” said Lionel, tilting his head.

“She doesn’t talk about her family very often,” said Hector. “But I understand that you aren’t... on the best of terms.”

Lionel frowned and gave a nod. “Alas, that is so. Old wounds have a way of resurfacing when ignored.”

“...What do you think of her?” said Hector.

“Mm. A difficult question, that.”

“Why is that?”

“Because my opinion of her has changed over the years. Many times, in fact.”

Hector just kept listening.

“Even when I was a boy, she was a bit of an outcast from the rest of the family. But I liked that about her. She had a kind of... ostentatious energy to her. She may not have gotten along with our parents, but there was little doubt that she loved us fiercely--the children, I mean.” Lionel shook his head with a small laugh. “That woman has always been a paradox. She said she never wanted children, yet she would play with us nonstop. She said she never wanted a husband, yet she only ever loved one man. She said she wanted to retire, yet now she has involved herself with you.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Page 1886

((Triple Monday -- Page 3 of 3))
For a moment, the Lord Carthrace merely sat here, perhaps expecting him to say something or perhaps just observing him. “Well,” the man said, “seeing as you clearly received many more requests than just my own tonight, I suppose I should not keep you. Allow me to get right to the point.”

Hector appreciated that, but again, he chose to say nothing.

“The reason why I--and so many of the others, I suspect--wished to speak with you was because I am gravely concerned about the direction our nation is going in.”

Hector just nodded lightly, figuring that made sense--and that the man was not yet done talking.

“Furthermore,” Lionel went on, “I believe you will play a large role in shaping Atreya’s future.”

Hearing that, Hector tried to keep his expression still. It was difficult. He couldn’t stop himself from blinking a couple times, though the rest of his face remained flat.

Shaping Atreya’s future?

Talk about pressure.

He supposed he couldn’t really deny it, though. With so many people relying on him now, so many responsibilities to be mindful of, it wasn’t such a stretch of the imagination.

It sure felt like it, though.

Ugh.

Yeah, that’s great ‘n all,’ said Garovel, who was hovering over his shoulder, ‘but ask him to be more specific.’

“...Was there something specific that you wanted to discuss with me?” said Hector.

Lionel eyed him for a moment. “...No. No, not specifically. I simply wished to gain an understanding of your views. In general terms. Your worldview, in other words.”

Why did Hector find that so hard to believe?

“...I find that very strange,” said Hector flatly. “I would imagine... that a man with a real estate empire such as yourself... would be a little too busy to wonder about what I’m thinking.”

Monday, October 15, 2018

Page 1885

((Triple Monday -- Page 2 of 3))
Lionel Carthrace was not yet here, but Garovel informed him that he soon would be, so Hector took a seat at the table in the middle of the room and waited. The guide bowed and excused himself.

When Lionel Carthrace arrived, the man was not alone. A pair of enormous bodyguards in suits and ties flanked him. One entered the room, and the other remained just outside the door.

Briefly, Hector wondered if those bodyguards were here because of him. After a moment, though, he figured probably not.

Wait a minute, didn’t he bring a bodyguard of his own?

Wow, he’d almost forgotten about Matteo Delaguna and Ernivoc. Hector hoped the guy wasn’t too upset about being left to his own devices. He’d have to ask Garovel about where those two were later. Right now, the presence of the Lord Carthrace was demanding his full attention.

The middle-aged man had a friendlier disposition than Hector had been expecting. From the way Amelia talked about her family, he’d thought the current head of House Carthrace would appear more stern and unwelcoming.

Maybe he was just accustomed to the Rainlords, though.

“It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance, Lord Goffe.” The man offered him a smile and a handshake.

Hector took the latter and said, “Likewise.”

“I must say,” said Lionel as he took his seat, “I am surprised that my dear aunt is not with you.”

Hector wasn’t sure what to say to that. Inquire? Yeah, maybe inquire. “Why do you say that?”

“She has a way of injecting herself into situations,” said Lionel. “Not that that is such a terrible quality.”

Hector wasn’t sure what to say to that and so decided to say nothing.