Sunday, May 27, 2018

Page 1781

Just wandering around this underground castle for half an hour or so, she’d already seen scores of men. And not the pampered-looking types that she’d grown accustomed to seeing in Steccat. Sure, they didn’t exactly look like movie stars, but there was a certain... something to them that she had rarely ever seen before, something she was having trouble articulating to herself.

A realness, perhaps? A heaviness in their presence. A sense of importance in the way that they carried themselves. Not self-importance, no. Not smugness. She’d seen that plenty of times before. This was like... an importance of intent.

Men at work.

Yeah. That’s what it was. These were men with missions in mind, with tasks that needed doing.

And, damn, was that hot. She could feel herself getting flustered just being here.

She needed to calm herself down. Madison Reach had never been in this type of environment before, and it was a bit overwhelming to say the least, but it certainly wouldn’t be good for her if her potential beau saw her like this, drooling over every eligible bachelor in sight. While she wouldn’t mind a jealous man, in the right context, but this was not that context--not before a relationship had even begun.

She’d come here with Gina in order to see Roman, but knowing what she now did of Gina’s feelings for him, Madison decided not to intrude on their bonding time. Hopefully, Gina would be able to take advantage of the circumstances, but Madison wasn’t getting her hopes up. The poor girl seemed a bit repressed when it came to these things.

Warrenhold was a strange place, though. She’d of course been preemptively informed of the “uneasiness” that the castle could cause, but it was still taking some getting used to. But then, maybe she’d be able to find herself a dashing gentleman to help her feel safe again.

She’d taken notice of several candidates already and had been attempting to stealthily learn their names. Eager though she was, she didn’t want to overplay her hand. She was still alone in a crowd of strangers, after all.

To that end, however, things were unfortunately not going so well. When she went to the banquet hall in the big dark tower where everyone was conglomerating, not a single one of the hunky guys there bothered to approach. She could see them looking her way, but none of them made any moves.

So what the hell?!

This always worked back in Steccat. She could just go to a night club, sit at the bar, and wait to be approached. Granted, it had led to meeting a lot sleazeballs, but there’d been some nice ones in there, too.

What were they waiting for? Were they intimidated? They didn’t look intimidated. If anything, they were kind of glaring at her. Like they were suspicious of her or something. But that couldn’t be the case, right? What sense would that make?

What the hell was wrong with these Rainlords?! Argh!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Page 1780 -- CLXXXIX.

((Triple Saturday -- Page 3 of 3))
Now, of course, if you ARE older than you say, you have every reason to keep that information private,’ said Yovess, ‘so it would not be terribly surprising that you would want to put on an act in front of us, and I don’t think any of our kin would hold it against you.

This sounds like more than rumblings,’ said Garovel. ‘It sounds like you believe these things yourself.

I don’t know if I do,’ said Yovess. ‘But it would make a degree of sense, I suppose.’

Hector wanted to intervene with a question that he doubted Garovel would ask. “Have you met my mother?”

“Briefly,” said Horatio. “She seemed a curt woman.”

That was one way of putting it. “But... lemme get this straight. You’re saying that you think she might not actually be my mother?”

“Or that she is secretly a servant as well and far older than she appears,” said Horatio.

Hector took a breath, unsure of what to make of all this new information.

I admit,’ said Yovess, ‘it does seem a bit unlikely that you would go so far as to use your own mother to throw us off, but at the same time, it seems similarly unlikely that you would have fended off Melchor at Marshrock, Ivan at Dunehall, and Leo in Capaporo.

Hector didn’t know where to begin explaining--or if he even could, for that matter. “Uh...”

Your confusion is understandable,’ said Garovel, making Hector wonder what the hell the reaper was about to say. ‘The simple truth of the matter, however, is that Hector is significantly more powerful than his age would suggest. And you’re right to be thinking that his age is a difficult issue for us. If word were to get out about how young he is in spite of his prowess, unwanted guests would likely come knocking on our door.

You are saying he is an astero?’ said Yovess.

An astero?’ said Garovel. ‘I’m unfamiliar with that term.

Ah. Forgive me. It’s a old Arman term for exactly what you just described.

I see. In that case, yes, I suppose that is what I am saying.

Then there is no need to explain further,’ said Yovess. ‘I understand your dilemma very well. Thank you for trusting us with that information. I imagine you must have been hesitant to do so.

Hmm.

Hector wasn’t sure he followed all of that, but it sounded like it went surprisingly well.


Chapter One Hundred Eighty-Nine: ‘O, ravenous flower...’
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There were certainly a lot of people around. Surely, there had to be a good man here somewhere. It had been months since her last real relationship. Frankly, she was getting a bit desperate, and she knew it. Going this long without a boyfriend was just ridiculous. At this point, she was prepared to lower her standards quite a bit.

But wow. Maybe she wouldn’t have to.

Page 1779

((Triple Saturday -- Page 2 of 3))
Garovel, however, simply laughed. ‘Well, if you’d like to make this a permanent solution, I can’t say that Hector and I would mind. And it would certainly make the deception easier if it actually WASN’T a deception, eh?

Horatio and Yovess did not seem to share his amusement.

But Garovel was not deterred. ‘So serious. Fine. If you want to actually hear us say it, then no, we are not trying to trick all of you into working for us--or something. How would that even work, precisely?

“...I was merely mentioning what I think some will believe,” said Horatio. “I did not say that I believed it, myself.”

You must understand,’ said Yovess. ‘Lord Goffe’s recent... accomplishments have left quite an impression on our people, particularly the younger ones. And though we know you are our allies, it is also in our nature to be... cautious.’ Her hollow gaze fell upon Garovel. ‘Especially when it comes to reapers. We know all too well about how manipulative our kind can be.

Holy shit, Hector thought. Was this gonna be yet another problem he had to worry about?

Agh...

I understand completely,’ said Garovel, sounding less jovial now. ‘And I most definitely do not want there to be any ill feelings between us. I hope that if you are ever beginning to get the impression that Hector and I are trying to manipulate you, then you will give us the benefit of the doubt first and communicate your concerns to us. There are many out there who would like to do us harm, and if we allow a rift to form between us, I fear that will only make it easier for them to succeed.

Heh. You know just what to say, don’t you?

Well, I’ve had lots of practice,’ said Garovel.

Yovess shook her skull and chortled. ‘Very well. We will continue to place our trust in you, for the time being.

Thank you. We’ll do the same.

And in this spirit of trust,’ said Yovess, ‘there is something that we should tell you.

Oh?

We have heard rumblings on this matter already. That is why Horatio said that, just now.

What kind of rumblings?

“There is a concern that you may have lied to us,” said Horatio.

Hector couldn’t help blinking. “Lied? About what?” Oh shit. Had he lied to them? He didn’t think so, but...

“Regarding your age, specifically,” said the Lord Blackburn.

Hector couldn’t help blinking even more.

“Given your recent track record, some have been worried that you might be... shall we say, significantly older than you claimed to be,” said Horatio.

Wait, what the fuck? They thought he might’ve lied about how young he was? Shouldn’t it have been the opposite?

Yovess continued where her servant left off. ‘A few have expressed concern that you might have been pretending to be weaker than you really are. Acting like you needed a climate suit, for instance. And now, your mother appearing to be relatively young and a non-servant.

Oh shit, they’d met his mother already? He hadn’t even thought about how she must be handling all of these foreign visitors.