Mirrored from Sythyry.
I spent an extremely pleasant night curled up with Saza in zir fireplace. (I am entirely, unshakeably, and utterly traff! None of the implications of ‘extremely pleasant night’ occurred! Except a bit of kissing and cuddling, such as is common between friendly Zi Ri. Or so everyone says; I have rarely encountered Zi Ri, friendly or not, who weren’t ancestors or half-siblings.)
The next morning — following my odd double luxury of (1) sleeping past dawn, (2) with someone else but still in a fire — Nangbang and his wife Pulla showed up. Not in the fireplace.
Pulla: “Thank you, O Zi Ri, for the opportunity to talk our daughter out of something amazingly and incredibly stupid!”
Me: “You are welcome — but all I provide is the chance to talk. The success or failure depends on Nangbang’s words.”
Nangbang: “I am as eloquent as a thousand celestial tortoises!” This may be true. I have never heard even a single celestial tortoise. For that matter, I have never heard of a celestial tortoise.
Me: “And you do know that we’re not going straight to Srineia? That I need to attend to my affairs in Vheshrame briefly, and then we’ll be here for a day or two again?”
Nangbang: “Yes! I shall vhisit Vheshrame! I have already informed the Ecclesiastical störmgething that I shall be absent for a month, or two!”
Me: “So long? Well, you are certainly welcome for that time.” If he behaves well, I mean.
I promised Pulla that I would keep her husband safe, especially from the wiles of the transaffectionate. I promised Saza that I would stop back by zir manse, rather than traveling directly from Vheshrame to Eigrach along a diagonal in the outer air. I promised Nangbang that he could use the teleport arrow and I would ride on his shoulder and/or the top of the large and bulky backpack containing his clothing.
The First Teleportation
Nangbang blipped us a modest distance from here to there along the skybridge.
Me: “Yes, that is indeed how the arrow works.”
Nangbang: “Where should I go next?”
Me: “As far as you can that way, up to ten miles.”
Nangbang: “Doesn’t the arrow need to cool down?”
Me: “Is it hot, somehow?”
Nangbang: “No, it is not.”
Me: “Then no; just teleport us again.”
Nangbang: “To there perhaps?”
The Second Teleportation
Me: “This spot is workable; but you have taken us less than a mile. Better to go further, such as about ten miles.”
Nangbang: “I am not so good at judging distances. Let me try again…”
The Third Teleportation
Me: “In fact, you can go considerably farther.”
Me: “Yes: that was only slightly over a mile.”
Nangbang: “Distances are not my strong suit. I shall persevere!”
The Fourth Teleportation
Me: “Well, that is an improvement, to the tune of nearly two miles.” With a generous interpretation of ‘nearly’.
Nangbang: “I have not yet gotten the hang of this.”
Me: “You seem nervous, to the point of trembling a bit.”
Nangbang: “What if I try to go too far?”
Me: “Then the arrow shall not take us anywhere; unless you use it thus, in which case it shall take us to a safe spot at the limit of its range in that direction.”
Nangbang: “Ah, safety precautions!”
Me: “I am quite concerned about my own life. And even the lives of my customers.”
Nangbang: “I shall use it bravely!”
The Fifth Teleportation
Me: “You may continue moving us at this speed; we do not strictly need to get to Vheshrame today. There are many spots in between suitable for a rest, or staying the night.”
Nangbang: “You suggest I am moving us too slowly?”
Me: “That would not be an appropriate suggestion for a Zi Ri to make to an Orren.” Of course it was what I was suggesting, and any hint that I might have been proto-flirting by noting that I am someone who generally makes inappropriate suggestions to Orren is … correct.
Nangbang: “One moment, I shall teleport us presently. Let me catch my breath.”
Me: “Have you been exerting yourself, in a way that requires the catching of the breath?”
Me: “Very well.”
Some time passed.
Me: “Some time has passed. Are you ready to travel on?”
Nangbang: “I suppose I am, if I must be.”
The Sixth Teleportation
Nangbang: “No, do not tell me, I know it!”
Me: “Ah, excellent. You are superior to a nendrai in this regard.” (I frequently have to explain Vae’s misdeeds to Vae many times; she is unable to understand that they are misdeeds.)
Nangbang: “I have teleported us less than a hundred yards.”
Me: “Indeed.” Less, even, than ten yards.
Nangbang: “Could I perhaps prevail upon you to manage the arrow? I am far too uncomfortable with it, and, indeed, I am finding it distinctly uncomfortable to use.”
Me: “Teleporting can be an unsettling sensation. Yes, but there are certain conditions, imposed by the design of the arrow.”
Nangbang: “What sort of … conditions?“
Me: “You must be far smaller than me, or the arrow will not function.”
Nangbang: “Smaller than you are now?”
Me: “No, smaller than I am when I use the arrow.”
So, after much discussion, I became a Herethroy in shape, and produced a large and soaking sponge, and wrapped Nangbang in it so that he could comfortably stay in water-form. I hoisted his pack on my back, and put him and the sponge under my lower left arm, and teleported us the full ten miles, diagonally and into the sky.
The Seventh Teleportation
Nangbang: “Oh! Oh! We are falling, falling, falling!”
Me: “True, we do seem to be. I am not so used to leaving my wings behind!”
Nangbang: “Do not let us pash ourselves to bits on the skybridge!”
Me: “Technically, we will not; we are falling into the vast void somewhat beyond it.”
Nonetheless, I cast a long-duration flight spell, and put an end to the falling.
Nangbang: “We have travelled a vast and alarming distance!”
Me: “Merely a fraction of the way to Vheshrame, much less the later trip to Eigrach.”
Nangbang: “Carry on! I have endured all manner of things in the service of the terrible god; I shall endure this as well!”
The Twentieth Teleportation
Nangbang: “Sythyry, pray forgive me if I lapse into unconsciousness.”
Me: “Are you ill?” This question is simple politeness, for, as an expert master-healer, I could detect the unmistakeable signs of nascent digestive distress. Actually, that’s not so much a master-healer sort of expertise as a person-possessing-a-stomach sort of expertise.
Nangbang: “A mere nothing. It will pass.”
Me: “Very well…”
I was not particularly being cruel to him. Teleportation sickness is rare (few people teleport so many times in quick succession), and, while it is unpleasant, it is over with quickly.
The Twenty-third Teleportation
Nangbang: Something that was more of an uncomfortable burbling than a proper snoring.
Me: “Nangbang, I re-waken you now!”
Nangbang: “I meekly mumble!”
Me: “Shall I return you to Oorah Thrassen? You are not made happy by the teleporting.”
Nangbang: “No! If I do not endure this trip, I shall dread to make the longer one to Eigrach, and if I do not endure that trip, I shall never get to chastise my daughter in time. So I shall endure! I must! I am Nangbang of the ecclesiastical störmgething! My willpower reigns supreme! My entrails do not reign supreme, however, so pray forgive a certain amount of biologically-induced imperfection of the body. But do not stop!”
Getting a crush on Nangbang is definitely the wrong thing to do. I wish it were possible for me to admire an Orren without a certain amount of biologically-induced interest.
The Thirtieth Teleportation
Nangbang was curled into a tight and miserable spiral.
The I-lost-count Teleportation
We had come much of the way to Vheshrame. Nangbang was dripping a distressing purple pus from the corners of his mouth, and looking to be in impressively bad shape. We were over familiar territory, though … very familiar.
I decided to spare him further Locador magic for the day, despite his express wishes, and stop at my ~mother~’s tower.