Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Page 2196

((The Mon/Wen/Fri Double -- page 1 of 2))
Again, Ericoros said nothing.

Hector waited for him, though. Surely, the reaper had something to say in response, right? He must've just been taking some time to think.

...Right?

No. The answer to that was no.

Hector could see why Leo had warned him about Ericoros being difficult to deal with.

Orric, however, decided to chime in now. 'Ericoros, do you have a request that you would like to make of Lord Goffe?'

Hmm?

Still, though, Ericoros remained silent.

Hector was abruptly uncertain. A request? He looked between Melchor and Orric, hoping for an explanation.

'C'mon, now,' Orric prodded. 'Isn't there something about all this news of war that has been bothering you?'

Hector had to ask. "What are you talking about?"

'Apologies, Lord,' said Orric. 'I didn't intend to keep this from you for so long, but everything just worked out so beautifully that I wanted to enjoy the simple secrecy of it for a bit.'

'You really never told him?' said Ericoros.

'Of course not. Why would I lie about something like that?'

'Hmph.'

Hector was lost, but he remained patient.

'The truth is,' said Orric, 'Ericoros and I happen to be very old acquaintances.'

Hector blinked. "Is that right?"

Orric returned a nod. 'That is one of the reasons why Melchor and I have been so happy to look after him for you all this time. We had a lot of catching up to do.'

"To be clear," added Melchor, "I had never met Ericoros before. These two knew each other from a thousand years ago and hadn't spoken since."

'More like two thousand,' said Orric.

"Why were you keeping that a secret?" said Hector.

'To manipulate me, I suspect,' said Ericoros. 'To try to use our old friendship as a means of gaining my trust.'

'Ah, so you DO admit that we were once friends, then?'

Ericoros just growled.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Page 2195

And now there were these Sparrows who could manipulate minds as well. Were they in some way related to Ettol? Hector intended to ask Hanton Gaolanet about that the next time they spoke, but he had a feeling that even if the Sparrow did know something, he wouldn't be inclined to reveal it.

The notion that the Sparrows might be able to assist with this whole Leo situation had crossed Hector's mind, but he didn't much care for the multitude of different ways in which he could imagine that going horribly wrong. And while it was certainly tempting, thinking that Hanton might be able to just fix everything for him with a simple 'mind tweak' or whatever, it also seemed... like a pretty fucked up thing to do to someone, regardless of the reasoning behind it.

'Lord Goffe.'

Hector's eyes perked up. He hadn't allowed himself to become so lost in thought that he stopped paying to attention to those in front of him, but a protracted silence had drawn out while he considered what else he might be able to say or do here tonight.

All such concerns were shoved to the back of his mind, however, when he heard Ericoros address him for the very first time since they'd met.

'I do have one question,' the captive reaper said.

"I'm listening," said Hector.

'What is the overall objective of this little empire of yours?' said Ericoros.

And there arrived more silence, heavier than before as Hector thought about his response carefully. His "little empire," huh? Why was Ericoros asking about that kind of thing now? It was a bit late, wasn't it? Three weeks of cold, silent observance--and now this?

Well, whatever. Hector had pondered that question for himself many times, already. Maybe he hadn't fully articulated it to anyone else yet, but he didn't think it was that difficult to answer.

"It's pretty simple," said Hector. "The protection of civilians and the preservation of knowledge."

Monday, April 6, 2020

Page 2194

~~((The 7th Anniversary Special -- page 24 of 24?!))~~
As for Leo himself, Hector felt like the guy had been making some real progress. Thus far, Leo had been performing his new job with enthusiasm--so much so that Hector even had to tell him to relax a bit and taking things a bit slower.

That had devolved into a minor argument, with Leo seemingly questioning Hector's commitment to the homeless problem, but they'd hashed it out before it became too serious.

Another time, Leo had also grown a bit irritated when Hector asked if he had made any new friends, and Leo had taken that as an implication that Hector was already seeking to exploit said new friends.

That one hadn't turned into an argument, but it probably could have.

Certainly, Leo was not the easiest guy in the world to work with, but his heart appeared to be in the right place, at least.

Hector had to wonder if that was enough, though. According to Roman, Leo had been a victim of some type of mental manipulation, much like the people of Babbadelo and Himmekel had been.

In retrospect, that was probably no coincidence. Leo had been the guardian of that territory in the Undercrust. It made sense that Ettol--or whoever was behind it all--would've wanted to neutralize Leo before sowing the seeds of all that chaos that had unfolded down there.

Which was a whole other subject that Hector had been thinking about.

Clearly, that had been Ettol's objective. To create chaos. That made him sound like an agent of Abolish, but the way he'd gone about it didn't seem like their typical method of operation. And the presence of Malast had obviously been an enormous factor, too. Had Ettol caused that whole mess in hopes of leading someone--anyone--to the God of Boredom?

Garovel seemed to think so, though the reaper also believed that the so-called Supreme Will also played a role in things, as well.