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a guest Oct 14th, 2019 86 Never
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  1. For now, he'd say he rather liked the establishment. The beverage was decent, the public wasn't bothersome, the pianist at his instrument was bashing out something that seemed to be music as opposed to a set of notes meant to mask drunk hubbub and sounds of vomit. But still, something was wrong about this 'Lux'. The demonologist was already about to trust his instincts and leave while he still could when a nippy – a girl in a mask that covered half of her face – appeared at his table and placed a glass in front of the man.
  2.  
  3. "I didn't order this, dear."
  4.  
  5. "Cophlihent hrom the ohner," the girl mumbled. Was she a zombie or something? Although, what else could one expect from a city of necromancers.
  6.  
  7. "And where is the owner..." Constantine started and then met eyes with the pianist. The light-haired man in a white camisole gave him a nod like an old acquaintance. The demonologist swore, mentally but very obscenely. 'Lux' meant 'Light' in the Ancient speak. Clever, that's for sure.
  8.  
  9. Taking the glass along, he headed to the piano.
  10.  
  11. "And to what do I owe the honour?" Constantine addressed the musician in a not exactly amicable manner.
  12.  
  13. The man in white wrinkled his face and closed the instrument's fallboard.
  14.  
  15. "Do you know what your problem is?"
  16.  
  17. "Nope, but I think you're about to enlighten me."
  18.  
  19. "Your overblown self-conceit," the man continued in an even voice. "On your own, by your own will, you came to my establishment, which I have been keeping here for no less than twenty years now. And you must have decided it was built here specifically for you. Sorry, Laughing Wizard, but I am not amongst the crowd of your debtors and creditors."
  20.  
  21. "Yeah, you just like to sometimes bash out stuff on a piano for Silenthall's bourgeois and treat the insignificant drop-in acquaintances of yours with brandy."
  22.  
  23. "I am here on vacation. You do know I have a thankless job; some rest is due at least once an eternity."
  24.  
  25. "Didn't know your position could be abandoned. How do you even manage to be here without making a universal ruckus? Gabry should have long been playing his pipe and Miky scrubbing his bronze pants."
  26.  
  27. Lux's owner shrugged:
  28. "I had to leave some things behind. This is easy when you understand you do not really own anything. A counter-question, mage: what are you doing here?"
  29.  
  30. "What, isn't it clear? I'm drinking your brandy. When I finish, I'll go look for booze somewhere else."
  31.  
  32. "To rephrase, you are aimlessly waisting the years won from the self-proclaimed rulers of Hell and portraying a man with nothing to lose. Ah, and feeling sorry for yourself while at it. Same old."
  33.  
  34. "What do you care? In the face of the Big One, you are playing a tavern-keeper yourself."
  35.  
  36. "Well, I cannot make a move without causing a universal ruckus. Meanwhile, you could at least try to do something and protect those you hold dear instead of hiding in this graveyard."
  37.  
  38. "Sorry, old pal, but everyone I held dear is dead. And because of me, most of them. So let the world go to Tartar, or Chaos, or wherever, I don't give a damn."
  39.  
  40. The tavern-keeper raised his whitish eyebrows:
  41. "Really?"And here a certain bird told me about a certain little magess with a slightly windy temper. It seemed like the two of you grew close..."
  42.  
  43. Constantine screwed his face, as if having a stroke of toothache:
  44. "That bird should have its neck snapped to prevent it from babbling things in taverns. Anyway, this information is outdated. We broke up."
  45.  
  46. "At a time when the girl needs help and support? Not a very knightly thing to do."
  47.  
  48. "I make for a shitty knight. And my help often does more harm than good."
  49.  
  50. "But right now she could use any help. Many come to my taverns, and they say many things. For instance, recently there was a rumour that the leader of Labyrintown's Resistance has taken an interest in a new type of magic. But you of all people know what everything new is just well-forgotten old. And some things have been cast into oblivion for a reason."
  51.  
  52. The demonologist clenched his hand so hard the glass it held burst. Blood mixed with brandy flowed to the floor, but he did not even notice it.
  53.  
  54. "Why are you telling me this? What do you stand to gain?"
  55.  
  56. "Don't you believe in altruism?" the owner of the establishment grinned. "You are a cynic, mage; know that cynism is a mortal sin. And you are also a taveren. Not the strongest, of course, but sometimes one needs to move a pawn to change whole power balance on the board of Fate."
  57.  
  58. "And what if I don't want to be a pawn?"
  59.  
  60. "Then keep sitting here, continue indulging in self-disparagement with your arms around a bottle. And don't forget to add another victim the list of those who died because of you."
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