Sloop in Sleeth [8 Nivvem 4261]
Jinthinia and Ojjo and I chatted for some minutes. They already had their soup -- onion-orange-scallop soup for Jinthinia, red pepper and groundnut soup for Ojjo. I got a half-bowl of saffron eel soup. That's a ridiculous lot of food for me, for I can't generally finish a quarter-bowl, but I shared it with Jinthinia. And bought them both lunch, actually. We chatted about this and that, which, thankfully, did not include the Duke's clothes of the day or who was doing what to whom at court. Having a working-class sweetie has some distinct advantages.
Then the owner-or-headwaiter, whom Jinthinia and I (1) know as Darvarslash of an evening, and (2) don't know at all in the daytime, appeared at our table, looking quite nervous, and said, "Excuse me, O Zi Ri, O Orren, but there's a Sleeth who says she's going to sit with you. What shall I do?"
Ojjo squeaked, "A Sleeth?"
Jinthinia and I looked up, and both waved to Rhedwy sitting in at the door. Her tailtip was all twitchy, and she looked distinctly upset. (I had forgotten to mention it, but Jinthinia had adventured once or twice with Rhedwy. Rhedwy's out of her league generally -- out of mine too -- but sometimes willing to tolerate relative weaklings.)
Me:"Rhedwy! Come here and enjoy soup with us! I'm buying." Please do not think that this was an expression of friendliness. Please think that it was an expression of civic-mindedness. If Rhedwy were not properly tended, someone could have gotten hurt. As ambassador to Vae, I am quite used to thinking in these terms. Not that Rhedwy is nearly as dangerous as Vae, but Rhedwy is already inside the city walls. And the City Guard won't kick her out, because she's sort of one of them.
Or, if you prefer to think that I was inviting my lab partner over for lunch, as any polite student might do, think that.
Or, if you prefer to think that I was hoping to scare Ojjo off, so that I could get some time with my new sweetie and only tablemates who knew we were sweeties, you can think that too. I didn't exactly tell Rhedwy about Jinthinia, but I was sure Rhedwy had smelled her on me. And of course Rhedwy is traff. (All Sleeth are, aren't they? Even more so that most Zi Ri are.)
Rhedwy:"Why do you buy soup, Sythyry? Are you embezzling properly from the city yet?"
Me:"Oh, it's a cheap lunch by ~mother~'s standards, so I don't mind signing for the whole thing. I'm still not very good at this embezzling -- Lord Eddarna scowls every time he sees me."
Jinthinia:"And thanks for that! I need to go on another profitable adventure soon -- I've run through the money from the last one, nearly. Got any plans for anything, Rhedwy?"
Rhedwy poured herself onto the bench next to me, which left her hind legs trailing on the floor behind her, and her tail whacking an Orren man's guitar. "I am now the Enchantment student, I have to be up early before dawn every morning even if I spend half the night making a Cani boy howl. Sythyry has the same problem. No adventuring am I doing just now! When the semester is over, then, maybe, I am hunting in the Verticals. Are you waiting that long, Jinthinia?"
Jinthinia:"Maybe, maybe not, but ask me anyways and I'll go if I'm free."
Me:"I'm not doing any Cani boys!"
Rhedwy:"I, too, am not doing any Cani boys." She swatted the guitar with her tail so hard that it made a groany sort of thrum, and its owner scowled at her and shoved the guitar under his seat.
Me:"You seem displeased about this." I glanced at Ojjo, whose ears were curling quite flat at this open discussion of transaffection and adventuring -- or maybe just at the monster who had plopped herself at the table.
Rhedwy:"Buy sausage and guntry soup for me, with a sloop. This does not make me happier about the Cani boy, but it does make me less hungry and less of a danger to any guitar."
Jinthinia and I giggled. Sausage and guntry soup was duly acquired. Ojjo was duly embarrassed.
Rhedwy:"For three months I am screwing the same Cani boy. I do not use his name now, so instead I call him Bingo."
Ojjo:[quite shyly]"He doesn't want it known that he's been, um, well, with a Sleeth?"
Rhedwy:"He does not want it known. I do not hide the name because of what he wants. I hide the name because it tastes so bad in my mouth that it ruins my sausage and guntry soup."
Ojjo:"... oh ..."
Rhedwy:"For two weeks I am not screwing this Bingo. There is the good reason why not -- I must in the night go hunt something that talks and claws and bites and casts, for the city guard. And then the other good reason, and then the other other good reason. These are not the Bingo reasons for not screwing the Bingo. They are not the Rhedwy reasons for not screwing the Bingo. They are city reasons for not screwing the Bingo, they are classwork reasons for not screwing the Bingo, they are I-am-tired-after-being-up-most-of-two-we
Jinthinia:"They sound like good reasons for not screwing Bingo to me. Oh, even if I were a Cani married to him." Without that telltale "Oh," that would have sounded a good deal less traff. I suppose that Ojjo isn't so sensitive to these nuances as I am.
Rhedwy:"I think so too. Even Sythyry thinks so."
Rhedwy:"Even Sythyry. But the Bingo does not think that they are good reasons for not screwing the Bingo."
Ojjo:"Shouldn't we get back to work, Jinthinia?"
Jinthinia:"Already? We've got two-thirds of an hour more, I should think! You haven't even finished your soup yet. Besides, I bet Sythyry would treat us to dessert if we were around."
Me:"Of course! I'd love some chub beetles in sweet cream soup, and I certainly wouldn't mind company while I ate it." I looked at Ojjo. "Besides, the headwaiter is sure to put someone disreputable at my table if you three are gone. I wouldn't want to be seen associating with someone like that." Which, I hope, left Ojjo perplexed about just what "that" might be, if someone as horrid as Rhedwy wasn't that.
Rhedwy:"I am staying!"
Ojjo:"I suppose I am too..."
Jinthinia:"What did Bingo do, though?"
Rhedwy:"The Bingo comes to my home in the morning. I am trying to be awake enough to go to Enchantment, and it is somewhat late. The Bingo demands attention. The Bingo demands relationship maintenance. The Bingo demands either screwing or promises to screw very soon."
Me:"Oh, no. What did you do to him?"
Ojjo:"Details are not required!"
Me:"I couldn't possibly care what one single-sexed mammal does with another, could I?"
Rhedwy:"No. Nonetheless you are hearing the rest of the story, or I am biting your left wing off."
Me:"If you do this, I shall not buy you soup!"
Rhedwy:"I am hereby defeated by force majeure."
Me:"So, what did you do to your poor Bingo?"
Rhedwy:"I do what any Sleeth does to an importunate lover."
Me:"Troublesomely urgent or persistant."
Jinthinia:"Oh! Fancy word."
Me:"Did he need a healer after that, Rhedwy?"
Rhedwy:"A healer? No. I do not claw him to his doom! I do not bite him to his doom! I ignore him to his doom! I go to class."
Me:"Oh, the Cani outside the classroom door was your Bingo?"
Me:"It was a different Cani?"
Rhedwy:"He breaks up with me as we leave the apartment door. He is not my Cani any more. I need a replacement Cani."
Me:"Oh! I'm sorry to hear that, Rhedwy. That's got to sting."
Jinthinia:"No Healoc for the heart, is there?"
Ojjo:" ... I don't know what to say."
Me:"Same thing you'd say to anyone who broke up with a lover of three months."
Ojjo:"But ... he's a Cani."
Me:"Cani are people too!" I said it very loudly, and half the restaurant stared. Cani are not only people too -- they are the most peoplesome of all people.
Ojjo looked thoroughly embarrassed. Jinthinia giggled a big purple giggle. I swooned at her, but only implicitly.
Rhedwy:"But this is not why I am angry at the Bingo."
Me:"Why are you angry at Bingo?"
Rhedwy:"We walk to class together. He lectures me on how I could be a superior lover to him."
Rhedwy:"How I should pay him every more of attention. How I should tell the city guard to go away and have other people do work sometimes. How he can buy me a bird for lunch with him so I do not have to hunt it and we can screw at lunchtime quick."
Ojjo:"What's wrong with that?" He looked about six-sevenths repulsed and three-twelfths fascinated and eleven-twelfths alienated, rather like me when Ficina was born.
Rhedwy:"I like to hunt. It is important for me to kill now and then each day. Otherwise maybe I do not keep my temper so well." She grinned a big fangy grin at him.
Ojjo:"I'm sorry, Lord Sythyry, Jinthinia, Rhedwy, but I have to run an errand for my husbands, and best if it's done by the end of lunchtime. Lord Sythyry, thank you for lunch!" He scrambled off on the edge of a Wild Rush. So cute ... a pity he's so normal and straight sexually.
And a joy that Jinthinia is not. Not that we got to express that by anything more than a tail-around-the-neck hug in the lobby and a promise to meet at "somewhere" -- Across Saga -- this evening.