The second practical issue was, what to wear.
Ythac got there first. He was taking up half of Pluger Street. Mhelvul had to walk around him. Mules wouldn’t go anywhere close to him. Mules are stupid. He could kill them from a distance just as easily.
“Ythac! I, Jyothky, am intruding on your territory again! I bring you tribute!” I waved a little book with copper pages at him. That’s polite, isn’t it?
He glared at me. “Jyothky, will you stop it with the formal manners? You’ve been here so much it practically counts as your territory too.”
Which left me waving the book around stupidly. “I’m just being polite. Take your stupid book, OK? And make some space for me to land.”
So he held out his paw for me to drop the book into. I had to levitate to do it — I can’t hover with my wings like some dragons. He didn’t even grab it away from me. That’s a point against marrying him actually — our children would have the worst manners.
“Oh, that’s a nice book!” he said, looking at it. “I do want a nice library as part of my hoard.” Hardly Osoth-style punctilio, but good enough between friends.
“Now, are you going to drive me off? Or make some space so I can land?”
“Right. I’m going to drive you off so I can go to your friend’s birthday party without you. The one that you want to go to and that I wasn’t even invited to and you had to bite my tail to make me come. Will you please stop the formal etiquette?”
“We’re in public, Ythac.”
“We’re engaged, Jyothky,” he said. He turned into a naked mhelvul man, which made a lot of space for me in the street.
I landed next to him, and turned into my Spotty shape, a sixteen-year-old mhelvul girl wearing a school uniform and ink-spots on my cheek. “Good thing we’re not married yet, or I’d annoyed at you waggling your genitalia at a streetful of mhelvul.”
“They’re not my genitalia,” he said. “They’re some stupid mhelvul genitalia. They’re not even homologous to my genitalia, I shifted them from two belly scutes. And I hate wearing clothes.”
“I guess they’re not.” I haven’t actually seen any of his hemipenises yet. They stay behind his scutes unless he’s doing something with them. For that matter, I haven’t seen very many at all. Which is (1) just fine with me, and (2) going to change in a few days.
“Well, they’re attached to you now,” I said. “You should wear something.”
“Well, O Mistress of Etiquette, what is the proper dress to wear to your fiancée’s highschool chum’s granddaughter’s fourth birthday party?”
“I have no idea. Anything decent and pretty, I suppose.”
So he turned back into a dragon briefly. He had to; he’s not that adept at shapeshifting. Then he then turned into a male mhelvul wearing elegant orange robes cut in absolutely the wrong style and not even fitting well, and a ridiculous pointy leather hat.
«Ythac? You do know what those clothes mean, don’t you?» I wrote to him, even though we were in the same place. I didn’t want to be rude to a dragon in front of the mhelvul.
«The robes are for a matron of high caste attending a court function. The hat is for a cheap male hooker.»
«That’s really what you want to wear?»
«I suspect my father will hear about it, in detail,» he wrote, striding towards the park.
«He’ll be embarrassed,» I wrote.
«All for the best,» he answered.
«Don’t embarrass my friend. I’ll bite you if you do.»
«As long as she doesn’t try to hire me, she’ll be fine.»