Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Page 1621

Zeff was staring at him again, Hector noticed. Did he want to ask a question? If so, why wasn’t he saying anything? Maybe he was just waiting for an opening. The reapers were talking to each other again, so--

“You achieved emergence, didn’t you?” said Zeff.

All the reapers went quiet.

“...Yeah,” was all Hector could think to say.

“Good,” said the Lord Elroy. “We will test your new limits as soon as we have the space and opportunity to do so. In the meantime, how difficult are you finding it to maintain this... flying platform of yours?”

“Ah... it’s... kinda hard. It’s the same basic principle as the orbiting technique, but there are a lot more little things to account for. I feel like, maybe, a more aerodynamic shape than a simple platform could make things easier, but I’m not really sure. The added complexity might just screw everything up, instead.”

Zeff nodded. “Yes, perhaps it would. We can experiment with that when safety is not as great of a concern as it is now.”

“That’s what I was thinking.”

“But do you feel that you are already near the limit of your ability? Or do you think you can do more than this?”

A tough question. Hector took a few moments to try and take stock of himself. His concentration was divided again, he noticed. A split between maintaining the variable factors of the flight and simply considering Zeff’s words. Sure, the divide wasn’t difficult when compared to what he’d had to do during that worm fight, but after learning about his Focus, he was more mindful of the division in his thoughts than ever.

Which, in its own way, he supposed, was creating another divide, wasn’t it? Instead of splitting his attention in two, it was being split three ways now.

Kind of a waste, then, this third thing. But it was hard to get rid of, somehow. Agh.

“...No,” said Hector. “I don’t think this is all that close to my new limit. It’s tough, but I feel like it’s getting easier as I do it more.”

“Hmm.” Zeff folded his arms. “Let’s increase the difficulty, then. Try putting something in orbit around you, right now.”

Diego held up a hand. “Ah--do you think that’s really a good idea? Shouldn’t you guys save the training for later?”

Zeff regarded the Lord Redwater with a raised eyebrow. “Are you worried about safety? Because as has already been mentioned, we have not forgotten it.”

“Sure, but, c’mon, we just escaped the Undercrust and twenty-seven different brushes with death--at least, that’s what it felt like. Can’t you just take a moment to relax a little while we wait to arrive? You didn’t even sleep or eat anything while we were in Himmekel, did you?”

Zeff glowered. “You have little room to speak. Why were you and YangĂ©ra so exhausted when we found you in front of Malast, hmm?”

Diego opened his mouth but didn’t respond this time.

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