Saturday, March 17, 2018

Page 1611

((The 17 pages of St. Patrick's Day + Triple Saturday -- Page 15 of 20))
A good ten minutes or so,’ said Garovel.

Hector tried to pick himself up and found it difficult.

Oh, right. He couldn’t feel pain at the moment, but he didn’t have his cooling armor on, so the heat of the Undercrust was trying to melt his body again, competing with his regeneration and sapping the strength from his muscles.

He focused and remade the armor. It materialized quickly and easily, requiring less concentration than he recalled.

Right. Emergence.

Someone else was saying something. They’d been saying something, he realized.

“--Iron One?”

Ah. Must’ve been Malast.

Sure enough, when Hector looked up, there the Idle God was. Along with the Hun’Kui man, Eleyo.

Eleyo looked normal enough. But the jar that had been in Malast’s hands before was now in his, instead.

And it was open.

“Feeling better, Senmurai?” said Eleyo.

The man had two voices, Hector noticed, like that of a servant in a hyper-state.

Hector finally stood up fully. “Did you already...?” He didn’t know how to end that sentence.

“Yes,” said Malast. “It is done. Secho is reborn.”

Hector looked over the others. Diego, YangĂ©ra, Carver, Elise, Manuel, Lorios, Mr. Sheridan, and the three other Hun’Kui, one of whom was unconscious and had been so all along.

They looked okay, all things considered--a bit awestruck and frightened, perhaps, but unharmed at least. Zeff and Axiolis were still in the viewing window above Malast’s head as well, though they did not look nearly as calm. If Hector hadn’t been so certain that he’d finished off that worm, then the silent mayhem in the viewing window might’ve made him worried that Zeff was fighting it now.

“We were waiting for you to awaken,” said Eleyo. Or was it Secho, now?

Hector was almost reluctant to ask, but he did so anyway. “...Why?”

“Before that,” said Eleyo, “I feel I should confess something. My name is not Eleyo. And I do not mean that it is no longer Eleyo. I mean it never was. I deceived you. And I wish to apologize.”

Hector had no response.

“My name is Royo Raju. Remember it well, for it will soon belong to a king.”

A chorus of unsettlement rose up from the two other conscious Hun’Kui in the room. They recognized the name, Hector figured.

“But there is more I should tell you,” Royo went on. “And perhaps you have realized this already, or perhaps you would have in the future, but I would like to say it now, regardless. It was I who caused your train to derail. It was I who brought those worms down upon us.”

Now it wasn’t just the Hun’Kui who were unsettled.

Hector thought back. Through all the chaos, the question of why the worms had first attacked had never really occurred to him. He hadn’t thought it was anyone’s fault.

But apparently, it was.

Royo Raju wasn’t done. “I have wronged you. I know this. I did what I had to do to escape a fate as wretched as any I can imagine, and you were all caught up in the dire consequences that followed.”

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