Thursday, April 8, 2021

Page 3118

"You don't seem surprised," Vino observed.

Linus didn't know what the proper response here was. Was there one? A century of life experience, and he was still lost for words. He'd never all that good with them in the first place. That was one of the reasons he enjoyed working under someone like Vino.

"I guess you figured it out awhile ago, eh? Always were sharper than you liked to let on."

Linus still couldn't look at him. He wanted to tell Vino not to be stubborn, to become a servant. But he already knew Vino's feelings on the matter. The subject had come up many times before over the course of casual conversation.

This was anything but casual, though. Maybe he should try broaching it again. Couldn't hurt to try, right? What was there to lose?

Linus finally looked up at him. "...I'm sure I could find a reaper for you, Vino."

"I'm sure you could, old friend."

That tone didn't sound like one of agreement. "Is there time enough for it?"

"Probably."

"...But you won't do it."

"Come on, Linus. How many times have we talked about this?"

Something about Vino's tone annoyed him. "As far as I'm concerned," said Linus, "those were all warm up conversations for the one we're having right now. This is your life we're talking about, Vino."

"Yes. My life. Not yours. Not some reaper's. Mine."

"Is that really why you're being so stubborn? Because you don't like the idea of putting your life in someone else's hands?"

"Not at all. My life has been in your hands more times than I can even remember."

"Then what is it, exactly? Why not give it a shot?"

"Linus, please. You think I want to be immortal in this body? I didn't want it when I was still young and... relatively virile, let's say. Why would I want it now that I'm an infirm old man?"

"Because you're about to die."

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