|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
I wake with a neck-ache from sleeping on the hard stone floor. I soon discover I have a headache too. As I drag myself upright to negotiate my way out of the gloomy cellar, I clatter into some empty wine bottles. I don't remember drinking wine. Must have seemed like a good idea after the beer. My head is pounding. Even a champion drinker such as myself can suffer the occasional mild hangover from mixing ale and Elvish wine, and I seem to have made a reasonable attempt at emptying Arichdamis's cellars. I need a Lesada leaf. The Elvish plant is highly effective against hangovers. I realise I have a raging thirst. I stumble my way up the rest of the stairs and barge into the kitchen. There's a young cook, busy at the range. Ignoring his protests, I commandeer the bucket of fresh water by his side, drinking freely then ducking my head in the remainder.
I remember last night's events and realise I'm still angry at Lisutaris and Makri. What a pair. Completely incapable of coping with problems without resorting to intoxication. I find them both still lying on their couches in the guest room.
"There you are!" I cry. "What have you got to say for yourselves?"
Lisutaris yawns as she wakens. "What are you talking about?"
"You're completely out of control, Lisutaris. The slightest setback and you immediately - " I pause. Suddenly my headache seems a lot worse. I feel nauseous. I sit down very heavily on a vacant couch.
"Having problems?" says Lisutaris.
"Do you have any lesada leaves?"
Lisutaris starts to laugh, but it turns into a fit of coughing.
"Hypocrite," she gasps, when the coughing subsides. "You've been emptying the cellars again."
"There's nothing wrong with a bit of ale. Have you got a lesada leaf or not? My head is killing me."
"At least thazis doesn't give you hangovers,' says Lisutaris, smugly. She raises herself on one elbow. Her face takes on a greenish-tinge, and she lies back down. "I don't feel very well."
Makri chooses this moment to wake up. As soon as she does she vomits over the side of the couch.
"Now I'm feeling worse," moans Lisutaris. "What's wrong with Makri?"
"She's been taking dwa."
"What?" Lisutaris looks horrified. "Is that true?"
Makri is sick again. I hope the carpet wasn't too expensive.
"As soon as I feel better I'm going to be really angry," says Lisutaris.
"Do you have any lesada leaves?"
"I can't remember. I put all my supplies in my magic purse. There might be some in there."
Lisutaris starts fumbling around in her purse.
"Dammit my head is sore," I moan.
"You drink too much," says Makri.
I'm about to direct some cutting remarks in her direction when Arichdamis appears. He takes in the sight of Lisutaris, Makri and me sprawled on his fine couches, and the mess on the floor.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demands. "I did not invite you into my house to turn it into a den of hopeless intoxication!"
Makri is sick again, then falls off the couch. Lisutaris erupts in a terrible outbreak of coughing, ending with her moaning and gasping for breath. Arichdamis gazes at them, appalled.
"Do you have any lesada leaves?" I ask.
"No!" barks Arichdamis. "And from what I've seen, I don't have anything left in my cellars either."
"I did take a small jug of ale. I'll replace it, of course."
The elderly mathematician glares angrily round the room. "I'm very disappointed in all of you. You in particular, Lisutaris, Mistress of the Sky, ought to know better." With that, he departs.
"I don't see why he's blaming me," mutters Lisutaris. "Thraxas is much worse. Everyone knows that."
The Sorceress sticks her hand so far into her purse that her arm disappears. "I can't get used to this new magic pocket, I can never find anything." She produces a sword, then a spell-book, before finally finding what she's looking for.
"Lesada leaves. I've had these a long time. I"m not sure if they're still potent."
I take two of the leaves, eating one and giving the other to Makri. Lisutaris puts one in her mouth, grimacing at the bitter taste. We lie in silence for a while. The leaves, being old, take a while to work, but I slowly start to feel better.
"Who'd have thought Arichdamis would be so bad-tempered?" says Lisutaris.
"He'll get over it. Makri can smooth things out by talking about mathematics or something. Do you have a spell for cleaning the carpet?"
As we recover, I fill Lisutaris and Makri in on my investigation. There was a time when I'd never share details of my work, but these days I'm used to letting Makri know about my cases. As for Lisutaris, we're all in such a tricky situation together I figure it's as well she knows what I'm doing.
"You're dealing with important people," says Lisutaris. "Baron Mabados, Baron Girimos, Vosanos, Chief Steward Daringos."
"I know. I'll try not to give them any reason to blame you for anything."
Lisutaris makes a face. She stands up unsteadily, and crosses to the large mirror which hangs in a plain bronze frame above the fireplace.
"Don't worry about it," she says. "I'm fed up being discrete. I'm fed up with this Samsarinan hairstyle too." She unpins her hair, letting it flow untidily around her shoulders. "I'm fed up trying to appease Samsarinans in general. They can like me or not like me. It's time I took control."
I share the Sorceress's sentiments. All this worrying about status is getting us nowhere. If I was in Turai, I'd have already been a lot more forceful in my investigation.
"At the next meeting I'm going to tell the King it's time we elected a War Leader," says Lisutaris. "And I'm the obvious candidate."
"That's probably when Lasat will produce the missing plans," says Makri.
Lisutaris loses a little of her newly regained colour, but rallies. "We'll sort that out."
"I don't know. Thraxas? Any thoughts?"
"Not at the moment. But I do have something else in mind. The pie eating competition."
"You didn't want me to enter because it might be bad for your status. If you're no longer worried about that, I'm entering. We need the money."