Monday, April 30, 2018

Page 1719

((Triple Monday -- Page 1 of 3))
Leo bobbed his head to the side. “S’pose you have a point.”

Not knowing how to respond to that, Hector resorted to silence.

Leo exhaled heavily through his nose. “...Whaddya want from me, man?”

“...Just my friend back, like I said.”

“Well, I don’t wanna give him to you. So what’re ya gonna do about it?”

“...Mm. Tell me. Are you one of those people who... prefers to solve their problems with their fists?”

“Sometimes. When the mood strikes me.”

“...Even when it would put innocent people in danger?”

Leo didn’t answer. Instead, his eyes went briefly to the enormous water tank.

“...Is that why you chose this location?” said Hector. “I assume you’re waiting for Sai-hee to show up. Are you hoping they won’t attack you in a place like this?”

Leo looked around, and so did Hector. There were still a few civilians in the chamber with them, observing the paintings. Two or three of them were glancing in this direction, probably curious about the armored weirdo sitting here.

“If you’d rather fight somewhere else,” said Leo, “I’d be happy to oblige.”

“...That doesn’t answer my question,” said Hector.

“Is that s’posed to bother me?”

Agh. This guy was kind of a prick. Time to change tactics again.

“...Why aren’t you running?” said Hector. “By now, you could’ve been long gone from Capaporo.”

“Oh, is that your game, then?” said Leo. “Get me to run and leave your buddy here behind?”

Hector groaned. “Could you stop trying to read the worst into my motivations and just answer me? I know you may find it hard to believe, but I’m actually interested to hear what you’ll say.”

“I bet you are.”

Agh. Yep. Definitely a prick.

Fine. Time to try yet another approach.

“...Obviously, you don’t have to talk to me,” said Hector. “But... I don’t have to talk to you, either. In fact, I don’t have to do anything. I could just wait for Sai-hee’s people to carry you off. I doubt they’d mind giving me... my friend back.” He’d almost said Roman’s name just then. But given Roman’s tendency to disguise himself, Hector didn’t know if Roman had ever actually told Leo his name. Better to avoid that potential confusion, Hector felt.

“Think they’d be so receptive after I told ‘em about your ties to the Rainlords?” said Leo.

Shit. Hector had been hoping that Leo wouldn’t realize that. What a stupid mistake.

But backing off now wouldn’t project much power. It might even convince Leo of his weakness.

Nothing for it, then. He had to double down.

“...I’m not worried about that,” Hector lied.

“Oh?” said Leo. “And why would that be?”

“...There’s a reason that they came to me for protection, you know.”

Ugh. On a list of things that he might one day regret saying, Hector felt like that would be near the top.

This was Voreese’s fault.

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