Monday, April 23, 2018

Page 1707

((Triple Monday -- Page 2 of 3))
Melchor was the one to break the silence. “...Do you truly believe that you can defeat Leo on your own?”

Absolutely fucking not. But admitting that so bluntly was probably a bad idea, Hector felt. He had the feeling that they wouldn’t let him go if he didn’t act like he knew what he was doing.

So the lie here would have to be convincing. And acting overly confident in his own power would not be convincing, Hector felt. Strong people like Evangelina, Dimas, and Melchor wouldn’t be swayed by boasting. No doubt, they’d seen plenty of people talk a big game in the past and then not be able to deliver.

No, in that moment, Hector felt like he had to strike a particular balance between self-certainty and pragmatism. That was what he had to project, if he was to have any hope of being allowed to go after Roman on his own.

Which meant the question of whether or not he believed he could defeat Leo by himself was a crucial one.

“Maybe,” Hector decided to say, “but I probably won’t bother fighting him. My goal isn’t to test my strength. It’s to get Roman back. And fighting isn’t the only way to accomplish that.”

Darktide just stared at him, not saying anything.

Was that good? Did he buy it? Hector couldn’t tell. Agh. It seemed like every old servant had an incredible poker face.

Evangelina chose to say something now. “If not by fighting, then what do you intend to do?”

Oof. He hadn’t fully figured that out yet, but again, admitting as much seemed like a bad idea.

“I... can’t tell you,” said Hector.

“Excuse me?” said Evangelina, sounding irritated. “Why can you not tell us?”

He decided to borrow a tactic from Asad and Qorvass again. “Trade secret,” he said.

“Ridiculous,” she said. “Tell us your plan now.”

“...No.”

It was bit hard to tell through her faceguard, but she did not look happy.

Okay, maybe saying all of that was a stupid thing to do, but Hector couldn’t help feeling that, of the two options available to to him, it was better to come across as cagey than as lacking a concrete plan.

Everyone was being quiet again.

Hmm. Maybe they needed some reassurance.

“I won’t do anything stupid,” Hector lied, knowing that he was already doing that. “You don’t need to worry. And besides, er, it’ll be easier if I go by myself, because Leo won’t know who I am. If I bring you guys along, he’ll recognize you immediately and probably just attack us.” Huh. That seemed like a surprisingly good point, Hector felt. He had kind of been thinking that all along, he supposed, but it sure would have been nice if he could have articulated it earlier.

Does that mean you intend to negotiate with him?’ said Orric.

Aw, shit. Why did they have to read so much into it?

“Ah... maybe,” said Hector again. “If I have to. Look, uh, that’s not important. Just let me handle this, okay?” And one more lie to top it all off. “I know what I’m doing.”

He was starting to feel like a really bad person with all this lying. And also maybe a dumbass.

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