L’Apres-Selling [21 Lage 4261]
I have never been to Zimi’s little mansion before.
When I say “little mansion”, I am being precise. The
building is built for Zi Ri — or, rather, one suite of
rooms is built for Zi Ri. Underneath and off to the side,
there are rooms built for larger people: the kitchen, the
pantry, the other rooms for service. The pleasant rooms,
the diningroom and parlor and presumably bedroom, are all
built to Zi Ri scale and frame, with very low ceilings. The
parlor and dining room, at least, have interior windows
leading to the service rooms, so that her Cani can reach
through to give us grilled shrimps and refill our
wine-chalices, but they cannot come in.
This is a peculiar character of luxury. It is nice to know
that no Herethroy dean will break my paw; no Herethroy could
fit in the parlor. But if I were to bring my boyfriend
there, I would have to keep him wet: he could only fit there
in water-form. No other primes could fit than Khtsoyis.
Ugh. He could bring his wife and her boyfriend.
In any case, I don’t know that I wholly like this
short-ceilinged kind of luxury and privacy. There’s no room
to levitate or fly. When I am rich, powerful, and a very
very long way from Vaisessasilmin, I will build a parlor
with a complicated sort of open-work pagoda in the middle
for myself, but in a room that is otherwise sized for normal
Eitharheinen, Hezimikkinen, and I were sprawled on the
parlor floor. Actually, there is another reason why the
parlor is suited mainly to Zi Ri. Zimi keeps it
quite hot. When I spilled my wine, it didn’t quite
boil on the tiles, but it was dry inside three minutes.
As I was saying, Eitharheinen, Hezimikkinen, and I were
sprawled on the parlor floor. The Cani servants would, when
we called for them, reach through curtained windows to serve
us. I, personally, think it is less alarming to be waited
on by a whole Cani than by an arm reaching through a curtain.
I’m avoiding writing about the actual conversation, aren’t I?
Zemi’s servants are quite efficient, and I was quite rattled
at the start of the evening, and, perhaps by some
combination of the two, I was quite drunk by the middle of
it. Well, not embarrassingly drunk. I sort of sprawled out
on the hottest part of the floor, right over one of the
underneath fires, and watched my ~mother~ and half-sibling
fight about everything from my new job to Hezimikkinen’s
rumored excursions into transaffection. Or, rather,
Hezimikkinen’s refusal to give Eitharheinen any account on
whether the rumors are true or not. Hezimikkinen, if
transaffectionate, is discreet. Perhaps zie has
~mother~-detectors up in zir windows. Or, more likely, zie
has no bedroom windows.
In any case, I am in no way enlightened about Zemi’s
lovers, if, indeed, there are any of them. I am, however,
enlightened about the wide range of ways that an expert
courtier can say “I will tell you nothing” without giving
much away. I am also enlightened about how many times
Eitharheinen can ask essentially the same question and get
essentially the same answer.
Of course Eitharheinen had started out dissecting my own
choices on the matter. I defied zir by means of looking
wholly miserable and exhausted. Zemi said, “Zie’s been
defending the city with light conversation and book-buying
all day. Please, let us speak of something else.” After
Zemi said that about four hundred and eight times in eight
hundred and forty different ways, ~mother~ actually
did talk about something else, viz. Zemi’s failings
as the secret ruler of Vheshrame.
No, Zemi’s not the secret ruler of Vheshrame at the moment.
That only happens when (1) there’s a weak Duke, and (2)
nobody is watching. Right now we have a strong Duke, and
he, himself, is watching.
In any case, I slunk out of the mansion as soon as I could,
and flew back to my sadly Orren-free bed.
(And, for the record, Ilottat had been waiting for me
outside the cordon, and he was exceedingly solicitous
between classes. He even let me ride on his shoulder.
Perhaps this was a matter of jealousy, for I had been riding
on Seeks-Balance’s shoulder beforehand. Or perhaps he
thought he would avoid the appearance of transaffection,
since, after all, I had been riding on Seeks-Balance’s
shoulder and everyone knows she’s utterly cissy.)
Tomorrow, I will probably do terribly on my Formal
Enchantment II examination.