Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Page 1887

Lionel breathed half a laugh. “You flatter me. I am not so busy a man as that. These days, I pay other people to run my ‘empire,’ as you put it, for me. I am much more of a man of leisure, I’m afraid.”

Somehow, Hector doubted that. But he also wasn’t about to come right out and declare the man a liar to his face. Mainly, he just wondered what game this guy was playing.

Thankfully, he had a three thousand year old reaper to consult.

What do you make of him?’ said Hector.

Not much, so far,’ said Garovel in the echo of privacy. There was no one else around who might be able to overhear him, but Hector supposed the extra caution couldn’t hurt. ‘He’s just testing the waters right now, I think--trying to get the measure of you.

“I wonder what my aunt has told you about me,” said Lionel, tilting his head.

“She doesn’t talk about her family very often,” said Hector. “But I understand that you aren’t... on the best of terms.”

Lionel frowned and gave a nod. “Alas, that is so. Old wounds have a way of resurfacing when ignored.”

“...What do you think of her?” said Hector.

“Mm. A difficult question, that.”

“Why is that?”

“Because my opinion of her has changed over the years. Many times, in fact.”

Hector just kept listening.

“Even when I was a boy, she was a bit of an outcast from the rest of the family. But I liked that about her. She had a kind of... ostentatious energy to her. She may not have gotten along with our parents, but there was little doubt that she loved us fiercely--the children, I mean.” Lionel shook his head with a small laugh. “That woman has always been a paradox. She said she never wanted children, yet she would play with us nonstop. She said she never wanted a husband, yet she only ever loved one man. She said she wanted to retire, yet now she has involved herself with you.”

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