Licorice giggled. "You'd think so! But not so much. I knew a few people who worked around here and they found me an in. What about you, big guy?" She glanced expectantly to Blackwood.
Blackwood blinked at the descriptor; he wasn't large for a draka, only a few inches taller than Smoke. But then again, Licorice was short for a human. "Same, I suppose. My mother used to work with Master Corydalis, before he was master of ceremonies. She wrote to request a post for me. I started as a page and became one of the long-distance messengers after I proved my speed."
"Do you like it?" Licorice asked.
"I love it." Blackwood said, unabashed. He swallowed a strip of meat with brisk efficiency and continued, "I have been to cities all across the nation, from Crescent Bay to Glovesbrook to Candleton. If I'm to wait for a reply, then I spend a few days at leisure in some exotic locale at no expense to myself. And it gives me an excuse to spend all the time I want flying in dragon form."
"You need an excuse?"
He smiled wryly. "I need a budget for it! I need to eat a great deal more to feed the dragon than the man. If you don't have a job that requires the strength or flightspeed, it doesn't make much sense."
Licorice picked at her food more delicately now, savoring it instead of wolfing it down. "Huh. I never thought about that. It is kind of convenient to be smaller."
"And here I always thought more height would be useful." Smoke motioned with one hand above their head. "For reaching the top shelf. Only moreso."
"Different forms have different advantages," Blackwood said. "It's a privilege to be able to switch."
"Yeah," Licorice said, wistfully. "It is."
"You're not a shifter, are you?" Smoke asked.
The human widened her black eyes as if alarmed by the question, then shook her head. "Hah! No. Imagine me as a cat!" She curled the fingers of one hand and pawed the air. "Mew! Mew!"
Blackwood grinned at her antics. Smoke was a little puzzled by Licorice's initial expression. Human-feline and human-canine shifters were uncommon but not rare. There were prejudices against them in some other nations, but not in Lightshel. Not for the typical forms of shifters, anyway.
"What of you, master enchanter?" Blackwood asked them. "Do you enjoy your vocation?"
"Yes!" Licorice rested her chin in her hand and gazed with interest at Smoke. "What's it like when you didn't sleep through all your lessons?"
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