Dogpaddling [1 Lage 4261]
At last notice, Ilottat was dumbfounded by the concept of going swimming with me. Anoof and Narngi rescued me -- or maybe they rescued Ilottat, I'm not quite sure -- by demanding to come too. That was convincing. Everyone, by this time, suspects that Ilottat is utterly traff and involved with a traff Zi Ri. (It took me five tries to write that.) Evidently the presence of some Cani makes it all innocent.
Or something. I have no idea at all.
Actually they recommended that I use Cloak of Another God to be Cani in the pond, thereby sparing Ilottat a certain degree of public scrutiny.
Now, one of the truisms of Cloak of Another God is that nobody but a Cani can really imitate a Cani. Cani have many tricks for secretly communicating "I am really a Cani!" to each other at all times. Actually, they're not secret, and they don't just say "I am really a Cani". The curve of Anoof's tail and the set of his fur in her presence explain his relationship to Narngi to any other Cani at a glance. Cani learn these things from birth, instinctively. A really devoted Rassimel could pick them up in a decade. A Zi Ri ... well, if I liked Cani as much as Orren, I'd probably learn it in a few decades. It's tricky.
(I should talk about being able to smell. Cani and Sleeth always say that nobody but them can really smell. They're right.)
But today I didn't need to imitate a Cani well enough to fool another Cani. The Kalspiren Pond was pretty full, but mainly of Orren. Naked cavorting waterform Orren. The few Cani were there to swim, not to socialize -- yes, that sounds physically impossible for Cani, but whatever -- and nobody challenged me.
Of course, actually swimming in Cani shape is a bit of a challenge.
Especially with naked cavorting waterform Orren cavorting nakedly in the water all around.
Fortunately, my Cani shape came out female, or I would have had even more trouble swimming, especially decently.
Ilottat was no help at all. "Hey, cu-ferch, doggy-girl, it's a good thing you didn't wind up a boy, or you'd have much more trouble swimming, especially decently," he said, more or less.
"That's a very odd thing to say, Ilottat," said Anoof. "It's also a good thing she didn't wind up a Khtsoyis, or she'd be an even worse swimmer."
"Oh, right. Anghofiais!" he said, and spent the next fifteen minutes at the bottom of the pond hiding from everyone. Finally he came up for air, and I did my best to chase him around the pond. Considering how Cani swim and how Orren swim, well, there was considerable laughter but inconsiderable success.
Two-thirds of an hour of swimming left the Cani among us quite hungry. I didn't feel like being a Cani on dry land -- much less a naked wet Cani -- so I went back to Zi Ri shape.
Ilottat:"I wish you wouldn't do that sans, without warning me!"
Me:"It's my body. I can change it how I like. Besides, I'm hungry and tired and I don't know how to eat properly with a short stiff little neck. Besides besides, I'm going to have to look myself before my next class, aren't I?"
Thuswise beaten into submission, Ilottat bought us chub-beetles and fried carrot strips and spicy cream from Darkwad (who is as cheerful as ever, and looking faintly prosperous), and the four of us sat in a gazebo by the pond and gobbled them up.
I ogled the naked cavorting waterform Orren. Ilottat pretended to ogle the naked cavorting waterform Orren.
The Cani laughed at him: "Anyone with a nose can tell that you're not interested, Ilottat. You'd be better off not ogling them." Having just had a Cani nose, I have no idea how they can tell that, or even if they can tell that. Obviously they can smell the peak of interpersonal excitement -- anyone can -- and presumably they can smell lesser degrees. I doubt that they can smell mock ogling.
Ilottat glared at them. "I am trying to look decent."
Narngi:"Even if you're not?"
Ilottat:"I'm not not."
I practiced a hurt expression at him. (It wasn't entirely fake.)
Ilottat:"... as a general rule."
Me:"Is that an apology?"
Ilottat:[In a very low voice indeed.]"Please, love, let's talk about this later, in private. "
And I tried, later, in private, in his room. He distracted me very effectively with naked cavorting landform Orren cavorting.
He's gotten quite good at that, I must say. Orren learn fast when they're passionate about things, and he's very passionate about passion today.