"Excellent creature!" Lord Topari exclaimed. "Excellently done!"
And Topari was out the door and off down the hall with his guard.
Bren drew a deep breath, aware of his own aishid around him, doubtless suppressing the strong desire to open fire.
"Nadiin-ji," he said, choosing amusement, and experiencing a certain satisfaction, "your restraint is admirable."
"You have inserted an Assassins' Guild office into that territory," Banichi said, in that dry tone of on-duty humor. "Manners must soon follow."
"Creature! Jago repeated.
"Views will change," Bren said, "slowly. The man may even realize his slip--and worry about it later. Or his guard may."
"It is important his guard know the problem, however," Algini said, and Banichi nodded.
"Indeed," Banichi said. "Tano."
Tano left their company on his own mission, to pass a word to Topari's bodyguard, namely that the paidhi had magninimously forgiven the small slip in protocol, but that the paidhi's guard strongly suggested that a reconsideration of vocabulary in private might prevent future incidents in public--lest he make that reference in the hearing of the aiji-dowager, or with some of the more conservative lords.
"A good lunch at home," Bren said quietly, and started the three walking toward the main hall and the lifts.
The dispersing committee had long since moved on, thank God.
And attitudes toward humans had shifted to the positive during his tenure. Attitudes were still shifting, penetrating areas they had never reached. And change was now reaching the mountains, or Topari would not be dealing with him in the first place. Attitudes would change. A moderation of the language would follow. Excellent creature was already relatively benign as a description.
"I have concluded," he remarked to his aishid in the privacy of the lift, "that Topari is, whatever his faults, an honest fellow."