JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

Another favourite "Foreigner" moment on a beautiful prime number day ...

Negotiations with an atevi seven-year-old. From "Explorer":
"Well, I detest boredom, Bren-nandi. I detest it. I brought my own player, and I want tapes, and nadi Cenedi says I have to have your permission to have them."
"That's because it's the human Archive, nandi-meni, and what's human is very different, and some of it confuses even humans who aren't ten yet."
"I know. But I'm very intelligent."
"Well, one supposes one could go back to the computer and find something. If the young aiji were interested, he might watch." One didn't ask an aiji under one's roof, either. One suggested there might be something of interest under that roof and the great lord went, if he wished.
Cajeiri wished. He all but tumbled over himself in longing to be somewhere new and entertaining, in a generally off-limits cabin where he hadn't yet put a dent in something or scratched something or met local disapproval.
So, well, with Bindanda's forgiveness and given the staff's devious ways of knowing where he was, the lord of the province of the heavens decided breakfast could wait a few moments.
"The nearest chair is comfortable," Bren said, sitting down at his desk, and opening up his computer. "Tapes, tapes, tapes."
"Cenedi doesn't have to know," the young rascal suggested. "I want the war ones."
"Oh, but Cenedi is extremely good at finding out, aiji-meni, and I am Bren-nandi, and dare I say that the young aiji's latest statement held an unfortunate two?"
"Bren-nandi." Cajeiri was occasionally experimenting in the adult language. "And it was not two, Bren-nandi."
"Mode of offer, young aiji, was the implied infelicity of two, since though I trust you were speaking regarding my action, you nevertheless omitted my courtesy." He could be quite coldly didactic when his fingers were on his keyboard. But one didn't dwell on an aiji's failures. He called a list of film titles to his display. "Ha."
And sifted them for classics as Cajeiri leaned forward, looking ... as if Cajeiri could even read the list.
"Ahh," Bren said as enigmatically as possible.
"Where?" Cajeiri asked sharply, and immediately, under threat of no tapes, remembered the courtesy form: "What does one find in this list, nandi?"
Another sort through the list. Children's classics. One owed the aiji a proper response for his newly-discovered courtesy. "The very best of stories, aiji-meni." He considered Tom Sawyer and Connecticut Yankee--no, problematic in approach to authority. And one had no wish to see Cajeiri discover practical jokes or paintbrushes. Robin Hood ... no, not good: not only defying authority, but promoting theft.
"Ha." The Three Musketeers. Satisfying to most atevi principles: the support of an aiji's wife by loyal security personnel, the downfall of base conspirators.
The education of a young man with more ideas than experience.
Tags: bookseries: foreigner, reading

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