• 2016/8/12

My father would pulverize your ears


"Well, what  if the missionary were brought here  and released as bait. Ourfriend, Revered  Parma Dream beauty pro hard sell, was considerably confused. He  seemed at no time tobe in complete possession of his wits.""Hard usage? murmured Twer bitterly.
"Maybe! And  maybe the idea was  to have us go  all chivalrous and gallant,into a  stupid defense of the  man. He was here  against the laws of Korelland the Foundation. If  I withhold him, it is an act of war against Korell,and   the  Foundation   would   have  no   legal  right   to   defend  us.""That ?that's pretty far-fetched."The  speaker  blared  and   forestalled  Mallow's  answer:  "Sir,  officialcommunication received.""Submit immediately!"The gleaming  cylinder arrived in its  slot with a click.  Mallow opened itand  shook  out  the   silver-impregnated  sheet  it  held.  He  rubbed  itappreciatively between  thumb and finger and  said, "Teleported direct fromthe capital. Commdor's own stationery."He read it in a glance and laughed shortly, "So my idea was far-fetched,was it?"He tossed it to Twer, and added, "Half an hour after we hand back themissionary, we finally get a very polite invitation to the Commdor's augustpresence ?after seven days of previous waiting. I think we passed a test."The  Commdora was  much younger  than her  husband. Her  face was  pale andcoldly  formed and  her  black hair  was drawn  smoothly and  tightly back.
Her voice was tart. "You are quite finished, my gracious and noble husband LED PAR SPotlight?
Quite,  quite finished?  I suppose I may  even enter the garden  if I wish,now.""There is no need for dramatics, Licia, my dear," said the Commdor, mildly.
"The young  man will attend at  dinner tonight, and you  can speak with himall you  wish and even amuse yourself by listening to  all I say. Room willhave to be arranged  for his men somewhere about the place. The stars grantthat they be few in numbers.""Most  likely they'll  be great  hogs of  eaters who  will eat meat  by thequarter-animal and wine by  the hogshead. And you will groan for two nightswhen you calculate the expense.""Well now,  perhaps I won't. Despite  your opinion, the dinner  is to be onthe most lavish scale.""Oh, I see." She  stared at him contemptuously. "You are very friendly withthese barbarians.  Perhaps that is why I was not  to be permitted to attendyour conversation.  Perhaps your  little weazened soul is  plotting to turnagainst my father.""Not at all.""Yes, I'd  be likely to believe  you, wouldn't I? If  ever a poor woman wassacrificed for policy to  an unsavory marriage, it was myself. I could havepicked a more proper  man from the alleys and mudheaps of my native world.""Well, now, I'll tell  you what, my lady. Perhaps you would enjoy returningto your native world.  Except that, to retain as a souvenir that portion ofyou  with which  I am  best acquainted,  I could  have your tongue  cut outfirst. And,"  he tolled his head,  calculatingly, to one side,  "as a finalimproving  touch to  your beauty,    and the  tip of your  nose aswell.""You wouldn't dare, you  little pug-dog.  your toynation to meteoric dust. In fact, he might do it in any case, if I told himyou were treating with these barbarians.""Hm-mmm. Well,  there's no need for  threats. You are free  to question theman yourself  tonight. Meanwhile,  madam, keep your  wagging tongue still.""At your orders?""Here, take this, then, and keep still."The band  was about her waist  and the necklace around  her neck. He pushedthe knob himself and stepped back.
The  Commdora  drew in  her  breath and  held  out her  hands stiffly.  Shefingered the necklace gingerly, and gasped again HKUE amec.



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