Saturday, June 2, 2018

Page 1801

((Triple Saturday -- Page 2 of 3))
Roman returned to his food, shoveling portions into his mouth at a greater pace than before. “Well, now that that’s out of the way, there’s something else I gotta know. What the hell’re you planning to do with all of these Rainlords?”

Hector busied himself with his own lasagna for a moment while he thought about how to answer that. “...I don’t plan to do anything with them,” he said.

Roman gave him a doubtful look. “Really?”

It didn’t seem like a simple yes would suffice here. “Well, ah... for now, they’re just going to stay here while they figure out their next move.”

“Mm,” hummed Roman. “So all this is just temporary, then?”

“...Yeah,” said Hector, though with a bit of uncertainty. “Did Voreese not explain that to you, already?”

“She did. I just didn’t believe her. And now, I’m not sure I believe you, either.”

Hector just cocked an eyebrow at him.

Roman exhaled a sigh. “You’re not really planning to just let these people go, are you?”

“Excuse me?”

“Hector. You’ve got an army here. An army that kinda loves you, from what I’ve seen. And you’re just gonna let it slip through your fingers?” Roman put his fork down and stared him in the eye. “C’mon. Seriously. I don’t have to spell this out for you, do I?”

Hector’s expression soured a little bit. “I think you’ve got the wrong impression of these people...”

“And I think you’re missing the obvious. Listen. The Queen sent me on a recruitment mission for a reason. She knows we need strong people to protect Atreya. She knows that even if things seem fairly safe now, Abolish could return at any time and try to finish what it started. These Rainlords are perfect for--”

Hector held up a hand. “No, I get it. I mean. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about that, too, but...”

“But, what?”

“They have a lot going on, right now,” said Hector. “They’re here to rest.”

“They seemed pretty rested to me,” said Roman.

“Well, they aren’t,” said Hector, more firmly now. “You don’t understand. They’ve been through so much shit, recently. They’ve been betrayed. Attacked. Multiple times. They were even forced to fight each other for a while. And tensions between the families still aren’t exactly perfect, either.”

Roman sat back in his seat a little. “I’m not claiming to know more about their circumstances than you. At this table, you and Garovel are obviously the experts on that. All I’m saying is that there’s a golden opportunity here, and you’re a fool if you let it pass you by.”

“It’s not that--”

How would you suggest we take advantage of it, then?’ said Garovel, drawing Hector’s glance.

“Simple,” said Roman. “Make them dependent on you.”

Okay. Hector did not appreciate that advice.

“Oh, don’t look at me like that,” said Roman. “They’re already dependent on you, aren’t they? I just mean, use these circumstances to your advantage and try to foster a relationship that continues on like this into the foreseeable future.”

Hector just kept staring at him.

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