In Which Everyone Acts Like a Monster [24 Lage 4261]
(Or, "Official Vheshrame Scold-a-Kaiju Day")
It is one flavor of challenge to scold someone who has just committed a terrible crime on you. It is another flavor of challenge to scold someone who doesn't seem to understand why you might be upset. It is a third flavor of challenge to scold someone who is your only way to get home from some ridiculous distance away. It is a fourth flavor of challenge to scold someone with a quite large audience of minor monsters.
I gave up on it, after a bit. Vae hadn't apologized or understood or anything.
Vae:"Let's have some cider and cephalopods." She was speaking Umtangeian, of course.
So we went into the finest restaurant in Bfelmykh, which is a hideous hovel called Shfreyn's. You might expect the finest restaurant in a city to have a clean floor, say, or polished walls. Or platters -- Shfreyn's used big leaves that they cut off of a shurikfry tree (there's no word in Ketherian for it) next door. When they remembered, they even washed the shurikfry leaves.
Shfreyn herself is a mherobump. She looked rather perplexed and worried when a pair of (evidently) primes walked in and ordered cider and cephalopods in (evidently) perfect Umtangeian.
(Aside: I realize that I don't know that Vae and I speak good Umtangeian. Her Ketherian is very odd -- perhaps her Umtangeian is just as odd.)
Cider comes quickly. It is, in this case, the juice of apples and ginger-roots and chili flowers and axacanthus flowers, fermented intensely. It's spicy and harsh and potent, but it doesn't catch fire if you breathe on it. Well, even if I breathe on it. But it tastes as though it ought to.
We were waiting for the cephalopods when two yuldakai and three hugeng stormed in to the restaurant. [Yuldakai are stinking stretched-out Rassimel, with pincers around their hands. Hugeng are huge levitating shrimp-serpents. -bb]
Vae waved happily to one of the yuldakai. "Hiio, Nthuur!"
Nthuur grew to double his original size, drew a sword of hardened glass that couldn't have been much smaller than a Herethroy's three-hander, and did his best to cut Vae in half.
His best would have cut me in half. I daresay his fifth-best would have cut me in half as well. Vae, I gather, generally expects trouble, and wears a vast heap of ridiculous defensive spells. Nthuur's sword was teleported to the ground beneath Vae's feet, turned into a very long and very flaccid pickled radish, and surrounded by an aura of stinging.
Vae rather petulantly said, "Nthuur? Why are you attacking me?"
I rather petulantly said, "Help!", perhaps because the other yuldakai was growing and drawing a huge sword and looking rather too eagerly at me. Vae absent-mindedly waved her tail through her defenses and transferred a double dozen of them to me.
The situation got rather confusing for a bit. Nthuur and the hugeng assaulted Vae en masse, I think, and the other yuldakai tried to attack me. I requested the services of the seven-winged burning thing that my famous grandparent's famous apprentice had made, which seemed a bit more appropriate and likely to be legal (well, by Vheshrame law if not by Bfelmykh) this time than when I used it on Milirant. I did have the presence of mind to try (and fail) to spont Quick Instant on it. The yuldakai did try to cut me in half, but Vae's spell turned it into a flaccid pickled radish. A flaccid pickled radish swung with full force by a giant yuldakai hurts a great deal, though, admittedly, less than a sword of hardened glass. I fiercely flew up to the ceiling and tried to stay away from it. The seven-winged burning thing disposed of the yuldakai -- I don't know if it burned her so thoroughly that no ashes were left, or whether she just teleported away.
Vae dealt with her enemies in her own way. When the fight was over:
- One hugeng was a small and very ugly salt-shaker carved from dung-mastodon ivory in the shape of a masturbating frog.
- The second hugeng had several dozen of Shfreyn's chalices embedded in him, and was dead from so many wounds.
- The third hugeng's legs were all turned into vicious and angry serpents, and were striking at the hugeng's chest with poisonous fangs. The hugeng was thrashing around the room in terrible pain, and seemed basically doomed.
- Nthuur was spread-eagled on a rack sort of thing made of very heavy amber beams, with his hands and feet embedded in the amber. He was wearing a collar of braided devastations which hurt my magic sense to look at.
- The front wall of Shfreyn's Restaurant had been transformed into a wall of scorpions, which were stinging the other patrons.
Me:"Can we go home now? Fast?"
Vae:"Well ... that we can."
And three teleportations and two instants of falling later, we were back in the grove by the Halflight Gate. Vae, and me, and a still-racked Nthuur.
Vae:"Nthuur? Why did you attack me? It's a terrible bad idea, that much you know!"
Nthuur:"Despisèd Orren, I shall attack you and any sort of prime whenever I find it advisable. And, in particular, whenever I deem you outnumbered."He tried to teleport away from the rack, but Vae caught him in something very nasty and Locador-looking, and put him back.
Vae:"Nthuur? It's most of my life you've known me for.."
Me:"He doesn't recognize you looking like that. He thinks you're one of us."
Nthuur:"You? Who are you?"
Vae:"Vaisessasilmin" She turned back to her proper shape.
Nthuur got quite furious, and started berating her for looking like a prime and thereby forcing him to attack her. She didn't seem to understand his point either.
Vae:"Well, if I let you out, will you not attack Sythyry or anyone else around? For I'm here in peace, not in war, and it wouldn't please me to serve you the way I did the hugeng."
Nthuur would, indeed, be peaceful. He wanted to go back to Bfelmykh.
Vae:"Oh, surely! One moment, though!" She poked me with her tail a few times, and put another pile of defensive spells on me. I was, I'm afraid, a bit too shaken to have much to say about the matter. Or to realize the obvious.
Three teleportations and two instants of falling later, we were back by Shfreyn's, and the yuldakai was free.
But of course a good part of the city was in flames. The seven-winged burning thing had found a way to keep itself amused when it didn't have me around to defend anymore.