Casa Belweldie, part 6, or, rather, Across Saga, part 1 [26 Thory 4261]
Delframber:"Ysgwyd, my dearest ... I think you have ... distressed the noble Zi Ri."
Ysgwyd:"Aww, poor little scaly thing."
Me:"I'm simply wondering about what shape to take. Since I have no clothing for any other shape available."
Ysgwyd:"It's just a traff cafe, Sythers. Not like they'll rape you if you go in there naked. Even the ones that aren't your assumed species."
Ilottat:"Creo ... creabo, rather ... some clothing for you."
Ysgwyd:"Nah, just go Sleeth."
I stopped further discussion by turning into a Herethroy. This seemed the obvious choice, because (1) the body has four feet and thus good balance, and (2) it is wholly unremarkable to see tall insect people around the town. I did not pay much attention to the fact that Herethroy are vegetarian by reason of them getting violently sick if they eat meat.
I noted with some perplexity that, when I am Herethroy, I am a male one. This will not entirely keep me from standing out, since they are the rarest sex of Herethroy.
Ilottat conjured up a sort of kirtle or kilt or chapeau or something of warm blue-green cloth, and the four of us spent several minutes trying with all fifteen manipulative limbs to get it on me. Eventually I conjured up some bone pins. Good enough.
Walking as a giant insect on four legs is easier than walking as an otter on two legs.
Then ... Across Saga. It's a cafe on the third and top floor of a clothing store, on the Street of the Seven-Eyed Gargoyle. Going up stairs is not easier as a four-legged giant insect. Well, maybe it would be, except that I never walk up stairs in Zi Ri form, because (1) nobody makes stairs the right size, and (2) it's not a very good idea to be a small person on the ground. I'd rather fly.
At the door, Across Saga looks like, well, a very ordinary loungeable sort of cafe. Couches, low oval tables. A bookshelf in one corner. An Orren woman playing a harp to a few friends by the fireplace. A bar at which one might order teas, narcotic teas, wines, cookies, grilled mice, or noodles. Various people sitting at tables, in twos and threes and fours. Yes, they were mostly mixed species, but it mostly didn't look very remarkable until you looked closely and noticed that they were more likely to be holding hands or sitting close lover-style or something than different-species couples usually are.
I was quite nervous. Ilottat was downright petrified.
I ordered a skewer of grilled mice to share with him.
Ysgwyd:"Yay, the meat-eating Herethroy!"
Everyone stared. Everyone in the cafe. Everyone in the city, even.