Couch of Woe [Over Choinxeia; 4 Hispis 4385]
It seemed far and away the best course of action, at that point, to sit in a very small parlor with a very big window and peer at the landscape zooming past. Windigar had given the antelopes their heads, and, I believe, some dried apples stuffed with chili peppers, and Strayway was rampaging across the sky at perhaps fifteen miles an hour. (I can't get her to go that fast.) I didn't want to distract Windigar too much when he was doing that.
Lithia was sitting by the window when I got in, sketching clouds and the world-spike over Ketheria in a thick notebook, looking very Rassimel and serious. She waved her tailtip as I flew in. "Good morning, Aunt Sythyry."
"And to you too! What are you doing?" I said.
"Nothing someone else couldn't do better," she said, and flipped the sketchbook closed. "I think the couch in that study back there is upset."
"I can't help pick it up," I said. Which is, in retrospect, not true. I could manage it with a simple little Ruloc spell -- that's not wizardry, nearly anyone could do that. But each of my spells costs one cley, and I only get so many cley a day, and I can do a great deal more with one cley. So I don't use magic for such things in the morning, unless I'm trapped under the couch or something. (Late at night, with my cley getting erased and replenished in a few hours, I am more casual.)
"It's not flipped over. It's distraught. It asked me to stuff it in the fireplace," she said.
"Heavens. I didn't know they were capable of that much emotion," I said.
She shrugged. "Well, you built it. Maybe you need to adjust it or something."
Which isn't exactly true. I built three gadgets which would render furniture intelligent, and added them to the mix as the interior of Strayway was crystallizing. It's a new technique -- the whole crystallization of houses I mean -- and I suppose might have some imperfections in it. I only vaguely understand how it works.
"I hope not. I don't know how to adjust it."
So we went to talk to the couch in the study. It was a large couch, a horseshoe round the fireplace, big enough for six Herethroy if they liked each other. Or alternating Herethroy and Gormoror if they were traff, I suppose. It was upholstered in tapestry fabric with blue roasts surrounded by baked carrots and turnips. It was rather ugly.
"You! You refused to grant my dying wish!" squeaked the couch.
"It's not your dying wish if you don't die," said Lithia reasonably. "And I don't want you to die."
The couch whined, "Destroy me, burn me, hurl me into the flaming chasm and let me become the floating ashes of peace!"
"I won't do that. Why on wood do you want such a thing?" Lithia asked.
The couch wailed, "The universe is a cruel and wicked place. The front door is calling to me, calling and calling. It seeks to lure me outside, so that I may pash myself into a broken heap on the ground below, and endure in sorrow and rain there forever."
"But you're sessile. You couldn't get to the front door -- you can't even get to the fireplace right in front of you," I pointed out. "Besides, the front door isn't sentient."
"The antelopes hate me too. They mock me. They flick their tails to me and show me their nether parts," continued the couch. "They are the demigods of Strayway, and they despise me."
"Well, the nether parts are because they're facing away from the yacht, so when you look out the window, that's the side you see," explained Lithia, quite sensibly.
"The chandelier! It brays how when it is lit, it will drip hot wax upon me, and the sting thereof shall be my eternal pain!"
I looked at the chandelier, but it wasn't intelligent either.
"I think you're making most of this up, couch," I said.
"And my very creator despises me and sides with my enemies against me! Oh, I have no friend in the entire universe, from port to starboard, from bow to stern, from sub-basement to observation deck! No friend, no ally, no consort! Deliver me to the embrace of the flames, merciful Rassimel!"
(to be continued...)