Letter 4 - Gin to Kei
As long as you forbear to address the Dowager Princess the way you do me,
all will be well. I know from personal observation that your effect on the
female sex extends even to women of intelligence (which I know the Princess
to be, by the contents of the package you were kind enough to include with
your letter) and maturity!
Not, mind you, that I disagree with your predictions of doom, but I doubt
that it will come _directly_ from the Princess. More likely, you will be
drawn into some intrigue and find yourself poisoned by some rival for the
Princess's attention, or perhaps have the opportunity to heroically give
your life to save hers. Surely you must agree this would be an improvement
over a slow decline from an excess of debauchery!
Oh, and as you point out, there is always the possibility that you will
find yourself staked out with a bamboo shoot sprouting from your navel!
More seriously, from what you have said, I do not believe the Princess to
be the sort of person who affects humility and openness only to trick
people into shows of disrespect. I should quite like to meet her, in fact;
I hope you survive long enough for me to escape my present captivity and
beg an introduction!
I'm afraid that's the greatest aspiration I can summon at the moment,
however; the Archprelate has now barred me from his presence for a _month_
(though he has not, I would like to note, strangled me), so significant
progress in my formal studies is looking more and more unlikely. Perhaps I
shall cut my hair and run away to be a mercenary bargeman on the Dragon's
Tears; I have little enough to fear from drowning, after all.
Omin sends his greetings in return, along with the enclosed parcel. I'm not
sure what it is, but no doubt it's expensive; it seems that even not
winning can be profitable if one has enough trustworthy friends to place
wagers. I expect your new acquaintance Gavin will be much the same when he
reaches Omin's age; much more than I was, certainly!
I cannot disagree with your assessment of what the Prince would appreciate;
obviously you are far more conversant with the Scientific mindset than I
am. "On someone's radar," indeed! Your father would tan your tongue and use
it to upholster a sofa if he heard you using such cant! But I am certain
your new habits of tongue will serve you well at the Palace, so long as you
aren't over-clever in your use of them. Also, try to resist the urge to
rename one of your cantrips in honor of the Princess, no matter how wry her
PS: My insinuations about Dear Little Adda (who I admit is little only in
the sense that Jushei is Skin-and-Bones, but can be quite kind when he
thinks no one is watching) were a little shy of the mark. I believe it is
on this end that his letters pass through many hands.
PPS: Remember: Do not offend the heirophants!
PPS: I confess, I did open the package before the letter, but only because
a package has so much more potential for taking harm in the post than a
neatly folded bit of paper. Name your forfeit.
PPPS: I believe the objection most have to my behavior toward my elders is
that I persist in distinguishing between my elders and my betters.
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