Sunday, January 21, 2018

Page 1498

Impulsively, Hector wanted to ask why Malast wanted to contact him, but he knew that wasn’t going to get answered. Then Hector started trying to work out the best lie he could tell here.

But wait a minute.

How could Malast contact Rasalased? Hector didn’t actually know the answer to that. What, would the two gods be able to start chatting away as soon as Malast touched the Shard? Probably not, considering Asad hadn’t been able to talk to Rasalased yet.

Though, maybe Malast had some weird power that would make it work.

But Hector didn’t want to assume that.

And more importantly, he didn’t want to throw away his excuse for being able to honestly say, “...I don’t really know. The circumstances that led me to meeting Rasalased were, uh... kind of an accident.”

“Mm,” said Malast. “That is disappointing. But if you are unable to answer the question, then I should get another one, no?” He looked over his audience for approval.

Hector would’ve liked to refuse him, but as he thought about it, he realized that Malast would be able to just say “I don’t know” to all of their next questions if they didn’t follow this new rule.

And perhaps Eleyo came to the same conclusion, because Hector heard him say, “Very well. Ask again.”

“What was this Rasalased like?” said Malast.

All these questions about the Dry God were beginning to form a rather obvious pattern. Clearly, Malast was interested in meeting Rasalased, but this question in particular was surprisingly... mundane, Hector felt.

“Well, he was, uh... he was very...” Shit. Not easy to describe was what he was, but Hector tried his best. “Rasalased was very... wise. And thoughtful. And considerate. And maybe a little scatterbrained. And kinda scary. Uh...”

“I see,” was all Malast said.

So this Seyos, then--’ tried Yangéra, but Eleyo interrupted her, doubtless because he couldn’t hear her.

“Why does this Seyos person want to kill us?” the Hun’Kui man said.

“Because he has long wanted to become a god, though he is an unsuitable vessel,” said Malast. “He would therefore see the two of you as a threat.”

What the hell?’ said Garovel. ‘So these two here are “suitable” vessels? Why? What makes them more suitable than anyone else?

“It’s not your turn.”

Fuck this guy,’ said Garovel privately.

That nearly made Hector laugh openly. If he was pissing Garovel off so much, maybe Malast really was a god--or at least as much of a god as Rasalased had been.

Malast took his time asking his next question. “What will you do with this treasure, Iron One?”

And Hector was surprised, because that had nothing to do with Rasalased. He looked around and found everyone watching and waiting on him again.

Great.

At least he more or less knew what he wanted to say, this time.

“I will try to... build a strong link between the surface and the Undercrust. And then... use that link... to help and protect as many people as I possibly can.”

Holy crap, it was embarrassing to admit all of that. He felt like everyone had just seen him naked. He was again glad to have his armor to hide behind.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Page 1497

((Double Saturday -- Page 2 of 2))
Now that he was thinking about it, Hector wasn’t feeling any kind of oppressive presence, either. This Malast guy didn’t seem to have that insane level of field density to his soul like Ivan and Gohvis. Or even Darktide, Xuan, or Abbas, for that matter. Did that mean he wasn’t as strong as them? Or did it simply mean that one’s field density was adjustable? Hector recalled Ivan implying as much, actually.

As much as he would’ve liked to ask about it, he didn’t think it was the most pressing question.

And the others were hesitating now as well, even Eleyo. They were probably all mulling over what to ask, if not simply waiting for someone else to take the initiative.

Hector’s gaze fell to Carver. The poor lighting made it too difficult to decipher the expression on the man’s face, but Hector did find himself wondering: had Carver known about this Malast guy all along?

Through all the confusion and disorientation, it had nearly escaped Hector’s notice when Malast mentioned the name Ettol, which meant there was only one degree of separation between Carver and Malast.

Hector was gathering questions by the second, but he was having trouble solidifying them in his mind, let alone actually choosing which to ask Carver about.

Then Elise Garza broke the silence and stepped boldly into the conversation. “Excuse me, but can we--?” She stopped. “...I would like to know more about the enormous amount of treasure around you.”

Good point, Hector felt. And no doubt, Malast would’ve counted that as their next question if she hadn’t caught herself.

“Then ask me about it,” said Malast.

At that, Elise lost a bit of her fervor, and looked around for help. Her eyes fell to Manuel who, in turn, looked to Hector.

Aw, shit.

Help?’ he asked Garovel.

Eh, I’m sure you’ve got this,’ the reaper said privately.

Garovel, is this really the time to be--?

Whining? Why, no, it isn’t. So just hurry up and ask this “god” whatever you want.

Everyone was looking at him now, Hector realized.

He really wished Diego could still talk.

Okay.

He could do this. There were only about six billion questions to choose from. He just had to pick one that wasn’t completely fucking stupid.

“...Will you try to kill us if we take some of this treasure?” he heard himself say.

Well, that was either the stupidest possible question or the most important one. He wasn’t quite sure which.

“Nah,” said Malast. “Take what you like.” Then he seemed to think about it a bit more. “But you should probably be wary of Seyos. I’m sure he wants to kill you, right about now.”

Seyos?’ said Yangéra. ‘The same Seyos who had Himmekel built?

“It’s not your turn,” Malast reminded her.

Ugh.

Hector braced himself.

“Iron One.”

There it was.

“How might I be able to contact this Rasalased?”

Yikes.