Saturday, March 31, 2018

Page 1641

((Triple Saturday -- Page 2 of 3))
Zeff eyed Axiolis and Garovel as well. “You two should probably keep your distance as well.”

Is what you’re going to do really that dangerous?’ said Garovel.

“Only if it goes awry,” said Zeff, eyeing Hector again.

Try to be careful, then,’ said Axiolis, and he moved to leave.

Garovel, however, did not. He remained exactly where he was by Hector’s side.

Zeff stared at the reaper, waiting.

Hector could feel the silence growing uncomfortable. ‘Garovel...

Rather than responding to him in private, the reaper just came right out and said it to Zeff’s face. ‘I’d rather not leave my servant alone with you.

Zeff met the reaper’s gaze. “Why not?”

Because you haven’t been treating him very well, lately, and it annoys me.

Zeff made no response.

Before the tense silence had an opportunity to return, Hector decided to intervene. “Garovel, please. It’s fine. Just--I’m sure there’re a lot of things you want to talk to Axiolis about, aren’t there?”

Garovel’s looked at Hector, and his skeletal face twisted somewhat. He didn’t say anything, though.

Garovel,’ Hector tried again, more firmly this time. ‘I’ll be fine.

After another silent moment, the reaper seemed to relent and said nothing more as he floated off to join Axiolis.

“I see that I have not endeared myself to your reaper,” said Zeff after they were alone.

“He’s just... protective of me, I guess.”

“Indeed. And that is an admirable quality. But you should be careful not to allow his protectiveness to become an obstacle to your progress. That would be bad for both of you.”

“I... don’t think I need to worry about that. Garovel likes to get me involved in crazy shit pretty frequently, too.”

“All the more reason to keep up with training, then.”

“Oh, believe me, I know.”

Zeff turned toward the wall of rocks and cracked his knuckles. “Let us stop dawdling, then. How is your precision crafting coming along?”

An odd and rather vague question, Hector felt. “Uh... okay, I guess? What do you mean, exactly?”

“Can you materialize drills yet?”

“Ah--I don’t know. I haven’t really tried.”

“They require careful and continual application of very powerful velocity states. I will demonstrate, and then you--”

Sensing that this could become a rather long conversation, Hector felt he should finally tell Zeff what he had been meaning to. “Ah--uh, b-before we get into that, there’s something I should tell you.”

Zeff dropped his hands to his sides. “Go on, then.”

He took a moment to consider how to phrase his next words. “...I have reason to believe that Asad and the others are currently being held prisoner by someone.”

Zeff’s face flashed with anger. “What?! How would you know that?!”

“I... spoke to Rasalased again after... uh... well, just before we got back to the surface. And he said that Asad was being held prisoner. By a “lost sheep,” whatever that means. That was all he told me, though.”

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