Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Page 1762

((Triple Wednesday -- Page 3 of 3))
Be careful how you answer that,’ said Garovel.

Hector understood why the reaper was saying that, but he honestly didn’t think it was that difficult of a question. Sure, these kids were young, but not that young. He was fairly confident that they would understand, as long as he didn’t treat them like they were babies.

That was something that he knew a thing or two about from personal experience. Even teachers often seemed not to realize just how much kids could comprehend. He remembered an instance in middle school when one of the girls in his class had asked the elderly teacher about why her parents weren’t living together anymore. The teacher didn’t even know how to approach that question, much less answer it, but during recess, a group of kids had gotten together and explained it to the girl. She hadn’t been happy about it, and maybe the kids lacked a bit of tact, but the girl ultimately understood the situation just fine.

And so, looking at these kids now, Hector didn’t want to lie to them or tell them any half-truths.

“No, I’m not the new leader of the Rainlords,” said Hector plainly.

There came a second chorus of murmurs, but Hector wasn’t done.

“It’s a trick we’re playing,” said Hector. “And you’re all in on it. You guys know that you’re staying here in secret, right?”

“Yeah,” a couple kids said, while several others nodded.

“Well,” Hector went on, “we want certain other people to believe that I... well, that I’m a really dangerous guy. That way, they’ll be less inclined to come after you. So it’s important that you guys are in on the trick, too. It’s something we all have to do together.”

There was a brief intermission of silence, and then the kid with the bowl cut asked, “What if they come after us, anyway?”

Okay. Maybe now was a moment to lie--or at least, a moment to feign confidence. “If that happens... then we’ll fight them. And they’ll realize what a mistake they made.”

There was briefly more silence.

“But still,” added Hector, “it’s always better to avoid unnecessary fights. We’re talking about the lives of you and your parents, your siblings and cousins. That’s important. You guys understand that, right?”

“Y-yeah...”

“Of course we do...”

“Good,” said Hector firmly. “Because the goal of this trick is to make sure... that what happened at Dunehall doesn’t happen here. Understand?”

“Yeah,” said a few kids in unison.

“Good,” repeated Hector. “It’s important that you guys take this stuff seriously. But I bet you guys knew that already, huh? Because you’re Rainlords, right?”

“Duh!”

“Yeah!”

“That’s right!”

“I’m still confused, though,” said a girl with a ponytail. “So are you a really dangerous guy or not?”

Eesh. Now there was a difficult question, Hector felt.

Ask her her name first,’ said Garovel.

“Ah... what’s your name?” said Hector.

“Maria...”

“Maria what?” said Hector.

“Maria Blackburn,” she said.

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