Mirrored from Sythyry.
Four days later, Niia had her own professional problems. Her cafe in Choulano had four chefs. One of them had the day off, which is understandable and forgiveable, and even essential, since the chef’s cousin was getting married.
The second chef had not come to work at all. “That Dargoosa!” shouted Niia. “I could arrange to give her a day off, if she asked in advance! But where is she? Or where is her apologetic letter? A thousand Orren street urchins would be glad to carry a letter for a few terch! Where is her letter?” In fact, Dargoosa would have come herself, or at least sent a letter, but she had been set upon by thugs and was at that point lying unconscious under a boardwalk. Later in the day she was rescued by a noble-spirited Orren haberdasher, enjoyed a swift and intense romance, married, was impregnated, and, only then, hours later, did write Niia a letter. By then it was too late.
The third and fourth chefs, Secura and Praline, had come to work properly. Secura, though, had a few words with Niia about back pay at the height of the lunchtime. These words quickly became numerous, and, unlike the orders of many patrons, heated.
“I already paid you, Secura!” roared Niia. “Come look at my ledger book and you will see!”
“Who writes your ledger book, Niia? Why — guess what! It is you, Niia, yourself! Your ledger book will say whatevery you want it to say. ‘Is Secura a shoggie?’ you may ask it — and behold, it will answer ‘Yes! Secura is utterly Khtsoyis!’ Yet I will not have tentacles!” This got giggles from half of the three dozen patrons of the restaurant; the other half were waiting for their food, hoping to finish it during their limited lunch hours, and would rather not be the audience of this little drama.
“What, you think I can wave my hand thus, like a make-out artist feeling up an invisible female Gormoror, and suddenly the records of the last month will be changed? Not so! I have two columns and I cast out nines — my ledger books have clearly not been tampered with!” snapped Niia.
“That proves nothing! Perhaps you wrote down that you had paid me at the very moment that you decided to cheat me, rather than several weeks later! In any case! I demand my full payment for the last month, or it will go wailingly worse with you! said Secura.
“I have paid you once! You are barely worth it — you are not worth double!” said Niia.
Secura stormed into the kitchen, and returned with a vast wooden stew-pot full of a thick and concentrated beet soup. Standing at the kitchen door, she hurled the pot at Niia. As Niia was standing by the entrance to the restaurant, the pot passed over the entire restaurant like a comet of blood. Two dozen patrons yelped in corporeal pain and costumeal horror, as thick boiling purple-red soup scalded their skins and dyed spots of their garments. The pot struck Niia full in the face. Secura darted out of the back door while Niia was still trying to regain her composure and clear the beets from her vision.
While Niia and everyone who could be spared were working hard to tend the wounded waistcoats, the fourth and last chef came out of the kitchen. “Niia? I’m afraid there’s a bit of a problem.”
“What, we’re down three chefs out of four, we’ve pissed off and beeten on all our customers, we’re way behind on orders, and we’re going to get a lawsuit from that she-leech Secura?”
Praline tucked his tail between his legs. “No, I’m sorry, it’s much worse than that. Your partner Chiver is lying in the alley behind the cafe, and he’s in a bad way.”