Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Page 1772

“Brand recognition,” she reiterated. “People know who you are. They trust you. If we put the word Darksteel in the name of your bank, people will instantly associate it with you and everything that you have done. And that is very good. That is why I think this will work.”

Hector made no response. His gaze went to the floor again, and he paced toward the other side of the room now.

“It is safe to say that the Atreyan people have very little faith in banks, at the moment, so the trust that the public has in you will be absolutely crucial for this plan to succeed. Your friend Mr. Fullister, who I am sure is a wonderful man, would simply not be able to make up for that difference in public trust, regardless of how much money he may possess.”

Hector stopped pacing and just looked at her again.

“It has to be you, Lord Goffe,” she said.

Hector did not look pleased to hear that, but if he had any complaints, he kept them to himself. He returned to his chair and sat down.

Amelia didn’t know what else she could say to convince him, however, so she merely waited.

“...Alright,” he finally said. “Let’s just... let’s suppose all of this works out. Hypothetically. Everything goes smoothly or whatever.” He leveled a stare at her. “If that were to happen, and this bank were to become as big and important as you’re suggesting, then... you would have a lot more power and influence, wouldn’t you?”

Amelia’s head reared back a little, and she blinked.

Hector’s gaze didn’t budge, though. He was watching her carefully, probably wanting to gauge her reaction.

Amelia fidgeted in her seat, abruptly uncomfortable. “Yes... I suppose I would...”

“Convince me you wouldn’t abuse that power,” he said plainly.

Oh, goodness. She hadn’t felt like this since she was a schoolgirl on the verge of being given detention, some fifty years ago.

How was he doing that?

No time to think about it. She just maintained her composure. “How would you suggest I go about doing that?”

“I don’t know,” said Hector. “You seem to be pretty persuasive, though.”

She managed a weak smile. “I appreciate the compliment, assuming it was one.”

“It was,” said Hector. “And... look, I’m grateful for everything you’ve been doing here. For me. And I think... it’s fairly obvious at this point that I... value your opinion. And I definitely want to trust you. But the simple truth is that you and I still barely know each other.”

“You are not wrong,” she said. “But I do not know how I can convince you to trust me. I doubt words alone will suffice for an undertaking of this magnitude, no? Trusting me with your own money isn’t quite the same as trusting me with everyone’s money, is it?”

“No, it is not,” was all Hector said.

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