A social call, when your visitors keep reminding each other that they are not officers of the court of law, is not a proper social call.
Tillissa and Oostmarine paid me a distinctly disturbing visit this morning. They seemed suspicious, that I might have spent time, and spent money, and perhaps spent other things, with their husband.
"Well, I did divert him from his studies for an hour or two, before yesterday's evening," I said.
"What, precisely, did you do?" demanded Tillissa. "Answer carefully, answer truthfully, or it will go the worse for you."
"Tillissa, we are not here with a Writ of Thoroughly Extracting the Truth," mentioned Oostmarine.
"I only fear the truth in this matter in that it is a tedious story," I said. "We shopped. We bought a bottle of Gnessoise at ... um ... the place with the green and vermillion sign on the corner of Darkhasset Street and the Avenue of the Ducal Way, the one run by Cani, with the glass portrait on the door..."
"Zie's forgotten the name. I think zie's nervous," said Oostmarine.
"I've forgotten the name because I never shop there myself!" I said.
"That's the end of it," I said.
"You spent three hours buying one bottle of liqueur? The proprietor must have been dreadfully slow. It's a wonder they stay in business at all."
"Oh, hardly that. We'd looked into a dozen shops. Why do you ask?" I said.
"Our reasons will become apparent in good time," said Tillissa. "Did you stop for a puppet show?"
"It was a bit early for the street performers," I said.
"You're evading the question. Did you stop for a puppet show of a sort not performed on the street?" she asked, glaring.
"Whatever are you getting at?" I asked.
Tillissa and Oostmarine looked at each other and nodded. "And a meal? Did you, or did you not, eat with him?"
"Well, sometime that afternoon, I surely did," I answered. I had bought a pair of small crab dumplings on a skewer, but I could not remember whether Spirshash was there at the time or not.
"Darraden's? A private booth? So that nobody could see you?" she asked. She sounded quite angry.
"I can hardly afford Darraden's on any sort of a regular basis!" Which is unfortunate, but true.
Oostmarine stood up and paced, his tail lashing. "Sythyry, please give us clear answers. You may take this quite lightly, but be assured that we do not. You say you cannot affort it often: but you can afford it once, and so can Spirshash."
"No, then. No Darraden's. No shared meal. Have you any other rude questions for me?" I was not pleased with them by that point!
"Did you seduce our husband in that private booth? Or did he seduce you?"
"I hardly know what might have happened in some imaginary booth! There wasn't a real one," I said.
"This is getting nowhere. Sythyry, you should try telling the truth now and then. Your evasions are feeble." They stormed out, in a fury.
This can't be good.
(And, for the record, I am not particularly evasive. It is good style for Zi Ri to answer questions indirectly!)