Friday, April 6, 2018

Page 1661

((TZKS 5th Anniversary -- Page 10 of 24))
“Why do you say that?” said Roman. “How do you know that your reaper wouldn’t allow you to simply do something else with your time?”

“Because,” said Leo with a sigh, “Ericoros is one of those types. You know the ones.”

Roman tilted his head. “I do?”

“Yeah, man. One of those super dutiful loyalists. Really believes in the mission ‘n whatnot.”

“Hmm. Do you have have any fives?”

“Go fish.”

Roman drew a king from the deck and frowned. “And what is ‘the mission’ that Ericoros believes in so strongly?”

“The usual. Y’know. Protecting the Old Law. And the people in our territory. Or her territory, I guess. Never felt like I belonged, personally.”

“Why not?”

“Everyone was just way too relaxed, man.”

Roman couldn’t stop himself from squinting and flattening his lips. “You didn’t get along with them because they were too relaxed,” he said, wanting to make sure he’d heard correctly.

“Yeah, man, I know. This was before I chilled out a little bit. I was a real square back then.”

Roman was having trouble picturing that.

“I mean, I’d always wanted to let loose, y’know? Be myself. Or try to, at least, since I didn’t really know who I was, know what I’m sayin’?”

“I... guess? What changed?”

“Nothin’, really. But also everything, y’know?”

Roman didn’t.

“One day, I just woke up and realized that I hated my life. So I made a change.”

“And Ericoros didn’t like that, huh?”

“Hmm? Oh, no, Ericoros was fine with it. This was ages ago. We didn’t start having our disagreements until way later. Eri was very supportive during that whole process of reinventin’ myself. He knew I’d been miserable for a long time and was tryin’ to help me work through it.” Leo’s eyes glazed over as he observed his cards. “Great guy, my Eri. Really great...”

Roman just waited.

“That’s why I gotta make it up to him proper-like. I did him dirty.”

“...So this isn’t just about making it so that Ericoros won’t release your soul, then.”

Leo looked up at him but didn’t say anything.

“Ah--I just mean, you actually want his forgiveness,” said Roman.

“Course I do, man. What kinda question is that?”

Roman raised a hand defensively. “Didn’t mean to offend.”

Leo wasn’t letting go, though. The man’s eyes narrowed, and Roman felt an all too familiar pressure surrounding him. “You think I don’t have feelings ‘r somethin’, big cat?”

Roman would’ve very much liked to not answer that, but that wasn’t an option, apparently. “Well, uh... it’s just--ergh--I did hear you murder a man and his reaper in cold blood, so...”

The pressure let up, and Leo set his cards face down on the table. “Yeah, but I--that wasn’t... ah...” Leo took a long, slow breath while he rubbed his forehead. “I really screwed up this time, didn’t I...?”

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