Ambassador Tarcuna (Day 72)
“I’ve thought your idea over, Spotty,” said Tarcuna the next morning over breakfast. She took a bite of breath-grilled chicken, grimaced, and said, “It’s a terrible idea, I don’t want to do it at all, I don’t want to be away from you. But I can’t think of anything better to do. There’s stuff I could do, like being a public friend more, but now that I’ve got my own motivations back I’d really rather be picky about who I share my body with. There’s stuff I’d like to do, like go back to school to get my degree and then go to work in the Peace Everywhere Array’s research department. I don’t know which half of that is the more impossible. If I try to do anything at all decent, it’ll surely get out that I spent a while with you. If I try to hide it, it’s sure to go terribly when I get found out. I might as well take advantage of it. Help you some, and help Trest and Hove, too.”
“The Jyothky apology, Tarcuna is demanding her!” said Llredh.
“For ruining my life? No, not really. Bopo did that. Jyothky’s put me into a terrible position, yes, but it’s hopeless love terrible, a loving-the-wrong-way terrible. Which is so much better than worm-terrible there are simply no words.”
Llredh roared his agreement to that, and for the next half-hour I could not slip a word or wing between them, with all their agreements on how bad cyoziworms are, and how inconvenient but inescapable loving-the-wrong-way is.
So Tarcuna and I flew to Perstra — that’s the capitol of Trest — after breakfast. A long time after breakfast. Arilash is off doing I-don’t-want-to-know-
who-what. So I asked Ythac for his best travel spell, which turns out to be the Dozenwing Dozentail. My parents wouldn’t let me learn the Dozenwing Dozentail. They were worried that I wouldn’t notice how much it was bashing me, and I’d fall out of the sky and die. So I made Ythac teach it to me.
It isthe most annoying spell I know. If you do something that irritates it, it slams your ribs, very hard. Things that annoy it include: slowing down; turning left; going into a cloud; flying over a well; complaining about it. I set up some subsidiary spells to warn me whenever my ribs got broken. Which happened three dozen times on the one flight. Sometime I am going to cast the Dozenwing Dozentail and make it read this diary entry, just to annoy it more.
Perstra, then. City of Roses. It’s a designed city, less than a gross of years old, except that it’s really very old and got rebuilt recently after it was mostly burned down in a war a gross of years ago. All the main streets used to have rose gardens down the middle, and lots of them still do. There are dozens of monuments, and dozens of fountains. Every eighth block used to be a park, and lots of them still are.
It’s rather pretty from overhead, so much so that one is tempted to slow down and get one’s ribs broken. Since it is one’s destination anyways, one can break the clawraped Dozenwing Dozentail with a furious swat of one’s vô. Even if one’s vô is still crunchy from getting blasted by the Peace Everywhere Array. One may also unwittingly break one’s quite innocent and helpful the Esrret-Sky-Painted, and attract considerable attention while one interrogates one’s ex-whore about where to go and who to bully upon.
The right place to land was, of course, the office of the Trestean Diplomatic Brigade. Neither Tarcuna nor I had any idea where it was, beyond “somewhere in the main administrative district.” I didn’t much feel like pestering Ythac about it, since he had been so helpful with that travel spell, that travel spell, that insufficiently-chewed-upon travel spell … after I thought about that a bit, I wrote to him and asked him.
The headquarters of the Diplomatic Brigade is a big square building with a big square courtyard with lots of rose bushes and diplomats in it and a statue of two hovens shaking hands in the center. I scattered the diplomats with a roar, and squashed many rose bushes (but no diplomats) when I landed.
A handful of guard with whimpery little ray guns tried to hold me off. I roared at them, “Bring me the Secretary of Diplomacy, and nobody will die!” They seemed glad of an option that involved (a) leaving the garden, and (b) not dying. Naturally the Secretary of Diplomacy was unavailable, being off at an extremely urgent meeting with the consuls or something. So they brought me the Expendable Undersecretary of Diplomacy. That’s not her actual title, but it’s pretty obvious.