Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Page 1855

Garovel kept pointing notable people out to him as they continued toward the main entrance. It provided him with a helpful distraction, but even so, the walk felt like it was taking an eternity.

And everyone was staring at him, he realized. Not just the cameras but the other lords, too.

He just had to walk. And breathe. Walking and breathing. He could do that.

In theory.

Holy fuck, this was way too much attention. All the lights on him, the eyes, the noise. The weight of it was almost physical, as if he were suddenly moving underwater.

He’d known it was going to be like this, of course, but he still couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed.

He could help showing that feeling, however. He just had to keep his thoughts and his actions separate, to maintain a poker face. Maybe that wasn’t going to look particularly welcoming or friendly, but at least it would be better than looking like a panicking wreck. And at least it was something he’d been getting considerable practice with, too.

How we doin’, buddy?’ said Garovel as they neared the enormous double doors with inlaid silver ornamentation. ‘You’re looking a little rigid there.

He honestly didn’t know how to answer that. Almost there. Just a bit farther. The long, flat steps up to the doors were only six in number, but they were beginning to look like a mountain climb unto themselves with so many people crowding the edges of the path.

Oh god.

C’mon,’ said Garovel. ‘Keep talking to me. You can do it. You don’t want the people of Atreya to see their fearless hero freaking out on national television, do you?

...That’s not helping, Garovel.

Well, you’re talking to me, so I think it is.

He might’ve frowned if he wasn’t so intent on keeping his face like stone.

Miraculously, he managed to make it up the steps and into the building. The noise from outside began to fade slowly, and a sharply dressed woman appeared in front of him, bowed, and then motioned him to follow her.

He did so.

He spotted more nobles loitering around the massive welcoming chamber, talking amongst themselves and throwing glances his way. Apparently, the press hadn’t been invited inside yet, but Hector was fairly sure that they would be eventually. As he understood it, most of the Gala was going to be televised.

The guide led him through a number of rooms, and Hector relied on the Scarf to scout ahead a little. He was trying to make out where the Queen and Lynn might be. It was probably safe to assume that they were together, he figured, but there were just too many people around to tell. Bosliat was positively bustling with activity. He could only imagine how busy the palace’s staff was.

Then, abruptly, Hector realized that the guide had taken him to a familiar room--a small offshoot of the main dining chamber. He’d previously had dinner with the Queen here, he recalled. That was when she’d decided to give him Warrenhold.

And lo and behold, there the woman sat again. With Lynn standing beside her.

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