Sunday, June 17, 2018

Page 1830

Madame Carthrace certainly hadn’t been exaggerating when she mentioned there being a spike in criminal activity during his absence. Hector could hardly believe how easy it was for Garovel to find people in trouble.

It was worrisome, actually. After the first night, things settled down a little bit but still not to the same extent that they were before he’d left for Sair.

At first, he’d thought it was his fault for leaving. News outlets were explaining it that way, at least. Without the Darksteel Soldier around, the criminal element in the city had felt suddenly emboldened.

But if that were truly the case, then Hector was having trouble understanding why the crime rate wasn’t going back down all that quickly now that he’d returned. And it wasn’t like those same news outlets were shy about reporting his return, either. It seemed like he saw some news anchor talking about him every time he passed a television.

With all this attention, he’d been rather worried that they would find out that he had been in Sair with the Rainlords, but so far, the news didn’t seem to know about that.

According to Asad, he had the Sandlords to thank for that, apparently. He’d been especially worried about his activities in Moaban making the news, but the Hahls Najir, Saqqaf, Duxan, and Shihab had all had a hand in keeping Hector’s time in that city quiet.

Hector was grateful, though he knew they hadn’t done it for his benefit. The Sandlords had as much stake in preventing the Vanguard from finding out where the Rainlords were as he did. Invariably, if the Vanguard discovered that the Sandlords had facilitated the Rainlords’ escape from the country, it would cause the lords of the desert all sorts of problems.

You shouldn’t be too surprised if the news is getting it wrong,’ said Garovel. ‘Journalists are only human, after all. And with all this newfangled technology of yours, they’re lazier than ever.

In full armor, Hector crouched on the edge of a rooftop. Even just a couple months ago, he probably wouldn’t have been able to crouch in armor as heavy as this, but he’d tweaked it enough and gotten so comfortable wearing it that it hardly felt like a hindrance anymore, even without the undead vigor enhancing his strength. ‘Uh... are you defending journalists or insulting them?

Bit a both, I guess.

He was watching a man on the far end of the street below. Apparently, the guy had the aura of doom around him, but it wasn’t yet clear what the cause was.

Hector hoped the guy wasn’t planning to kill himself. Apart from not even knowing how to handle that kind of situation, Hector knew that it would also mean that the aura could persist for months without any other apparent cause.

And that would be something that no amount of skill in materialization would be able to resolve.

But it makes sense that the crime wave wouldn’t be your fault,’ Garovel was saying. ‘Or at least, not JUST your fault.

Why’s that?

Because of the economic crisis, of course.

Oh yeah. Hmm.

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