Tales of the Sea Bitch (31)


   My personal feeling was that this was just a random act of violence by a Scorpion.  It just sets the tone of the city, really, just the kind of stuff that goes on here all the time.  Phoebe was just unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Not that I'd tell her that, of course, after what she went through, even though the spirits took her there.  Anyway, the day after the attack we just hung about in the house, calming down and not really doing anything much.
    I believe Toni set the guards to wake us if Phoebe's spirits took her body walking in the night.  To me he suggested tying a bell on her, but I'm sure he wasn't being serious.  Fairly sure.  We talked about it for a while, and Toni agreed with me: don't stop her, but come and get myself or Toni if she does go walking.
    Toni brought up the subject of the magistrate's murder.  He insisted that we really had made almost no progress.  I said we'd made progress, we just didn't know what to do with it.
    Eventually Toni asked what we should do next.  I suggested going out and getting drunk.
    Toni nodded and said seriously that we hadn't gone out to the Licensed Quarter or any bars for that matter.  We could go over there and get in trouble.
    I pointed out we might get some information there too.
    Toni wondered who we should talk to, and suggested going to the Morning Star.  He asked Furede about the LQ -- did they take all weapons, or just bladed ones?
    Furede said it was all weapons.
    So no canes or walking sticks, asked Toni?
    Apparently canes were not weapons.
    I knew what Toni was up to.  He was trying to find out what he could take in that was a weapon but wasn't a weapon unless -- like Toni -- you were Weapons Master Everything.
    I thought it was a very good idea.  We'd talked formally but we hadn't talked to drunk samurai without weapons.  The LQ was a rich man's place, though, and if we wanted to talk to the scum of the earth, we'd have to go to the docks.  I instantly volunteered, of course, and was promptly ignored.
    Toni thought we also needed more information on the not-ninjas.
    I said we couldn't get that from sober people.
    Toni missed the point entirely and said we should talk to the victims.  Since that was something the Emerald Magistrate was working on when he was killed.  Or rather, he was working on a gang lead by Fade and repeated reports of a ninja gang, although he didn't believe there were ninja.
    Again, another gap in the conversation while we called for more sake.
    Toni asked how we could do this tomorrow when we were awake and not drinking.
    I asked why we wouldn't do it now, while we were drinking.
    The conversational skills of Toni started to collapse.  He stopped making any sense at all.  I suggested politely that we should continue this discussion at breakfast and concentrate now on drinking.
    Toni said that was what he had been doing.  I wasn't sure about the concentrating part, but he was right about the drinking.
    Unfortunately Grieg wasn't around.  I'd got Toni drunk, but I couldn't hand him over to the Imperial brat.
    I tried to suggest he sing Opera, since he was a drunk Tylean, but he didn't know what I was talking about.  I then encouraged him to sing.  He did, some bawdy barroom soldier drinking song, and did it in just that fashion very loudly.  Donku heard him -- as the whole city probably did -- and tried to stop Toni.  Toni didn't care, but Donku joined in anyway.  It turned out our chef could actually sing.
    I called for more sake, and made sure Donku got plenty of it.  This was turning into quite the party.
    I asked him what he thought about ninjas, did they really exist?   Donku looked a bit puzzled and reached for more sake.
    This was going very well, I thought.  I sat back very pleased with myself.
    Toni had fallen asleep.  I kicked him awake, shoved some more sake at him, and promised to tell him a bedtime story.
    And tell him a story I did.  Of Sea Elves, of sea monsters, of pirates and mermaids, as bawdy as if it was in a Tylean dockside bar.  Now that was a good bedtime story.
    Donku lapped it up, looked like he believed every word.  Attentive listener, good drunk, good drunk singer -- good drinking companion.  I liked this guy more the more I drank with him.