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The Gifts of Darkness
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After that, they did not speak again for a while. In his head, Adrien went through all that had happened on that day - he could only imagine how exhausting it must have been for Val, who had so little to say and so much to hide. He himself felt quite drained by all the small talk and all the rehashing of his life story that he had to repeat to everyone. "By the way, about Giorgio...".

"...It wasn't anything you did", Val said. "I should have warned you in advance that he is... certainly abrasive. When I first met him, I was worried that he seemed to particularly dislike me... now I understand him as the kind of person who merely dislikes everybody. And he's only getting sourer with age".

"Why does he even run a shop, then?", Adrien asked, bewildered.

"He inherited it from his aunt. She did a much better job at running it, but she has since passed away", Val replied.

Adrien quietly nodded to himself. "Can I ask you... How long have you been living here?".

Val looked around before answering that question. "About fifteen years", he then replied in a low voice.

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Posted on March 1st 2023.

The Gifts of Darkness - Chapter 18 - Page 31

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