Friday, April 6, 2018

Page 1657

((TZKS 5th Anniversary -- Page 6 of 24))
At the bottom of the hole, Hector noticed discernible shapes in the darkness. Buildings, he supposed them to be. They must have been enormous for him to be able to make them out at this distance. Perhaps that was Capaporo’s metropolitan area--a “downtown,” in multiple senses of the word.

“First things first,” said Zeff. “Can any of you tell where our people are?”

Not me,’ said Garovel. ‘I’m searching, but there are a lot of souls down there in very close proximity to one another. It’s tough to tell them apart.

I am struggling as well,’ said YangĂ©ra. ‘We need to get closer. I don’t think they should be very difficult to sense. Assuming they didn’t get separated, they’ll all be in one big group. We just have to locate a recognizable cluster of souls.

“How do we even get down there to start looking?” said Diego. “I have a feeling we’d make a bit of a scene if we just jump and splat our way down.”

Hector supposed that was his cue. He moved toward the staircase that he’d sensed earlier. “Over here.”

When the others drew close enough to illuminate the stairs with their lamplights, Diego blinked a couple times and then turned his light on Hector in order to assess the young lord from Atreya.

“How did you spot this?” the man said.

Don’t tell him,’ said Garovel privately.

Hector didn’t need reminding, but he also didn’t know what to say instead. ‘You want me to lie to him?

If you can make it sound both convincing and benign, then yes.

That was a tall order. Too tall, Hector immediately decided. “I can’t tell you,” he said plainly. “It’s a... trade secret, I guess. Sorry.”

Diego regarded him with a raised eyebrow but said nothing.

Taking a page out of Asad and Qorvass’ book?’ said Garovel, again privately.

It was true. That was basically what Qorvass had said to him and Garovel with regard to the functionality of the Shards as powerful catalysts. That felt like quite a while ago now, though. Hector had to wonder if Qorvass might be a little more forthcoming with that information, if they asked him again.

Something to worry about later, he supposed.

The group made their way down the staircase with Zeff leading the way. Thankfully, it had a guardrail, so the drop off wasn’t quite so terrifying as it could have been, but Hector certainly couldn’t say he was enjoying the feeling. It was barely wide enough for them to descend in single file.

They soon arrived on an open street, which wasn’t all that much wider, really. The architecture here made Hector gawk, partly out of simple curiosity and partly out of genuine bafflement. On this street, the houses--assuming that was what they were--were not actually on the street. At least, not in the traditional sense. Instead, the houses were suspended above the street, attached to the wall of the great hole.

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