[9 Hispis 4262]
Me:"Good afternoon to you too, Vae. Guess what the Duke ordered me to do."
Vae:"The Duke ordered you to assault Ulmarn with a barrage of eel and sweet bean pastries, which must be procured with great trouble from many distant and exotic locales?"
Me:"Well, no, not exactly."
Vae:"The Duke ordered you to construct a beautiful city on the edge of the Verticals wherein primes and monsters may meet as equals, and love and charity and happiness shall flourish."
Me:"Well ... less that."
Vae:"The Duke has ordered you to find me a boyfriend immediately."
Me:"Staring gods, I hope not! I can't even find myself one."
Vae:"The next guess was to be that... and why not?"
So I explained about Raom. And that meant saying a bit about the trial and all. I didn't want to say very much, but there is no resisting Vae's magical powers. No, she didn't read my mind, or anybody's. She teleported a copy of the Howling Horn of Hressh-Huu to herself (there was a little article about it in the back, rather mocky at Darsues) and read it. And asked me about the hard words, like "treason". I translated into the Nice Language.
Vae:"And your supposed treason, it was being my ally?"
Me:"Pretty much. Or me explaining that I'm not my grandparent and I can't resist your magic very much."
Vae:"The treason, though... And are you my ally?"
Oh, dear. I really didn't want to have a long detailed discussion about the nature of my relationship with Vae.
Me:"Technically, I'm the Vheshrame ambassador to you. And you and we have an alliance. So, yes, I am your ally; all Vheshrame is."
Vae:"The memory I had of it is that, yes. And how then is it treason to be my ally?"
Me:"It's not. The Duke made great fun of Darsues for suggesting it might be."
Vae:"The well enough. And how is it that Darsues might think it was treason for you to be my ally?"
Me:"Darsues argued that I might be your agent. In the -- nigh-impossible! -- event that you and Vheshrame disagree about some matter or other."
Vae:"And really how impossible is it?"
Me:"Well ... we're really going to disagree now and then. I hope we don't disagree beyond the scope of a bit of discussion to fix, and maybe a few extra gifts or some such."
Vae:"The meeting of Ficina, like?"
I had hoped she'd forgotten that.
Me:"Ack! I'm sorry, I've been too busy getting interrogated and tried and not laid to even ask about that."
Vae:"The hurry is not great. The next week or even the week after would suffice."
Me:"So thirty or forty years hence should be no problem."
Me:"I'll see what I can do. I don't know whether they'll want to bring such a young child out the gate."
Vae:"Not to visit a monster, you mean."
Vae:"The very well do I know what I am."
Me:"I wouldn't call you a monster. I'd call you a friend."
Vae:"The only friend I have to tell me any truth, some weeks. Every monster friend I have tells me that I am always right. That Oixe will of course be mine, or anyone."
(I don't need to actually be afraid of Vae, you know. All she's got is complexity-80-to-100 spells with enough power to reach the Silver Moon and rip holes in the wall of the universe. I've got emotional manipulation. Much more effective.)
Me:"Whereas I have, perforce, much humility in saying how much I understand love. I won't say anything definitive about it one way or another."
So we discussed love for a while longer, and how hopelessly unpredictable, yet predictably hopeless, it is. Which was much more fun than discussing embezzling.