When we got back to the hotel room, it was instantly clear that Someone Had Been There.
“Two female hovens have been in here!” I hissed at Tarcuna. “They searched the room and they did something with ammonia!”
“How can you tell?”
“I smell them. I smell two female hovens, one older than you, the other younger and pregnant and having digestive troubles. I smell soap and ammonia, as if they had sought to conceal their odor from me by pungent substances, the fools. And they disturbed the room! Remember the bed, which was rumpled from when you bounced on it? Its sheets and blankets are smooth again! Remember the closet door, which was open? It is now closed!”
Tarcuna laughed. “You’re silly!”
“I wouldn’t call it “silly”. I would call it “furious”! What if I had left something valuable in here?”
“Well, there is that. Nobody should leave anything too valuable in a hotel,” she said. “You didn’t though. You don’t have any luggage.”
“That’s beside the point. Nobody, nobody, should come into a dragon’s lair without permission! I should find them and kill them!”
“Well, that’s maybe a bit extreme, Spotty,” she said.
“Well. I don’t feel like doing a lot of work about it. But I will if they do it again!” I hissed.
She looked rather scared, which is silly because I wasn’t angry at her. “Shall I call the front desk and have them stop maid service?”
“Yes, the hotel sends a maid to clean your room twice a day. Part of the price of the room. If you don’t like it they don’t have to though. I like having clean towels and sheets, especially if there’s any, um, business,” said Tarcuna.
Well, that was embarrassing. “Oh. And the ammonia?”
“For cleaning the mirrors and windows. I’m surprised you can smell it — I can’t — it usually clears out pretty fast,” she said. I examined her closely with veriception. She was telling the truth, claw it.
“So I did ask for it, just without realizing that I had done?”
“Sure!” said Tarcuna.
“Right. Don’t cancel the maid service.” I was still furious though. Anger doesn’t just go away after it comes, and being shown to be a stupid ignorant lizard by a hired whore didn’t really improve my mood any. Even if I wasn’t angry at the maids anymore, or even at Tarcuna exactly. “OK. You go to bed now. I’ll be along in a bit.”
“Just checking? Do you want me ready, or awake, or anything? Or we can just cuddle or anything you like?” Tarcuna was sounding professional. She didn’t smell the least bit lustful, by the way, not this time or any of the others that she offered.
“No. I’ll wake you if I want to talk. Nothing else is the least bit appealing,” I snapped.
“Whatever you like, Spotty. At Red Spire we try to give our clients exactly what they want! Nothing less, and nothing more.” she said, and started to ready herself for sleep.
I went into the bathroom. The tub was huge and made of marble, and had many interesting knobs and levers of shining ivory. I called Tarcuna. “I’d like about three inches of water in the bathtub.”
“Hot or cold?”
“It doesn’t matter, I’m going to freeze it and boil it anyways,” I said, which got an odd look.
“Well, this knob is for hot water, this for cold, this lever to keep water in the tub. This one points the water to the shower above, this one to the side, this one to the fountain-chair in that corner,” and so on for the rest of the controls.
“And to turn the water off, I twist those knobs back the way they came?” I asked.
“Right, yes. Just like an ordinary bathtub.”
“I’ve never used an ordinary bathtub. I usually take a sandbath in a desert of angry sand. Or a river, if my mother makes me. Well, used to. I’m a grownup now.”
“Whatever you say, Spotty,” she said. “Shall I go to bed now?”
“Yes.” She left. I closed the door, and waited for the tub to fill enough. Then I threw a towel into it, and took the smallest shape I could — that’s a tiny little dragon shape, about a third of an inch from head to tailtip. Everything looks huge in that shape.
It’s not as satisfying to attack a wet towel with tiny needles of fire and ice as it is to attack a mountainside with the full force of my whefô. But it’s a lot more convenient.
Two-twelfths of an hour later, the towel was a ruined mess of scorch-patches, and I had managed to beat my temper back to the point where I could sleep. I turned back to my hoven shape, discouraged Tarcuna from her lusty yet lustless professional obligations once more, and went went to bed.
Now Tarcuna is asleep on one side of the bed, and I’m going to do the same on the other side. And if any of my fiancés complains about me sharing a bed with a hoven, I’m going to toss off all my illusion spells and tell them a long and boring story about what happened that they can see is true.
Not that any of them can talk, with all that mount-fighting they’ve been doing.
|Being On My Own||+72 (Tarcuna doesn’t count)|
|Technology||+36 (It’s pretty spiffy)|
|Magic||-36 (My language spell didn’t tell me “chor-chor!” Because I learned the language mostway across Trest, and didn’t ask it about local words here!)|