'Mhh- you remember that book you told me about once-- the one you didn't get?'
'There's been a number of-- oh. That book. Yes. What about it?'
'What was it?'
'The complete poems of Li Bai.'
'Oh, yes, I see. Excellent taste, indeed. And why'd you want that version?'
'Because it was *complete*. It included all the poems he wrote in his later years.'
'But what made it special?'
She frowned. 'Its rarity. In all alternates but one Li Bai died in his mid-sixties. You know that.'
'No, I didn't. So *that's* why your collections are missing so much.'
'You mean-- you're from the world where he lived into old age?' Her heart beat with sudden hope. She was just about to add, 'Do *you* have a copy of his later poems?' when Kai, eyes averted, said, 'Uhh, yes. I suppose.'
'You suppose? What does that mean?'
'It's just, well, where I come from Li Bai is still alive.'
'Alive?? After thirteen hundred years? *How*??'
'How not?' What? 'The question is why the other Li Bais died so young.'
'Accident,' Irene said automatically. 'He got drunk one night out on the river, tried to embrace the moon's reflection in the water, fell in and drowned.'
'*Drowned*???!' Kai sounded as kerblonxed as Irene was feeling. 'That's impossible!'
'It's possible for him to live thirteen centuries but not possible for him to drown? Come on, Kai, what kind of man---' The answer struck her suddenly. 'You're joking.'
'Not at all. I thought maybe he lived incognito in the alternates, since nobody said anything about it. It never even occurred to me that everywhere but home, Li Bai is--' he stopped, swallowed, and said, 'a human.'