Ailadas tells me I have to talk to Minis and my financial manager because I’ve been spending so much money trying to find the best present for my brother. I’ve spent a lot of money already and there’s only so much I can spend... especially the way it got set up after Virana-e conquered and changed things. I can tell it’s going to be a whole section of lessons on economics, based on the wedding stuff.
That’s all right since there’s these writers who are making like Minis is spending the treasury dry when his wedding is going to cost less than formal weddings, just because it’s in Jitzmitthra. Formal parties are way more expensive than informal ones and there’s a lot more people donating because they see it as more fun instead of a tax.
Minis really has a problem with that because of the way he grew up. He’s either the prince with all the money or the fessas guy who has to pretend he doesn’t have any at all. The funny thing is, I think the account he set up to get paid for his writing work is still there under Minakas Akam’s name. I think he’s not sure what to do with it. He’ll have to talk to Trefaias. That’s our financial manager. Trefaias Nuren.
I guess I’ve probably spent what Ailadas calls ‘The Heir’s Quarterly Budget’ on this stuff for the wedding but I don’t spend that much usually. I mean this is special. Doesn’t the extra get put back? I’ll have to find out. That could be fun.
But I finally, finally found the best birthday present for Minis. The best of all. I got a message from Mumiras... who was the guy I got my butler, Iridinas, to hire to look for me. That’s good, hiring someone, isn’t it? Anyway.
Mumiras sent me a note and said he had the perfect thing for my brother but it was at the hog market. So I got my security and we all trooped down. Idiesas was so careful since that crazy letter was sent to the Pages, he’d given me more guards so there were lots around me that I could see and probably more that I couldn’t.
The place was the big brick hog market that was pretty stinky even if it was on a cross roads that got washed twice a week. Maybe hogs going to market pooped more or something.
“Here we are, Coronet.” Mumiras was there and my guard made sure he wasn’t under any kind of influence before they let him open the door and then they send a pair of men in first. I heard someone laugh and then stop it. That was a good sign.
They opened the door for me and I walked in to see a big sow, standing in the breeding cage, grunting at me. But the first thing I saw was the wings. My clothes and hair floofed out behind me, fell flat then floofed again as she beat her wings at me. “She’s hoping to be fed, Coronet.”
“Of course... oh, Ilesias, please.” I liked following Minis’s example with the using the name. People who used Coronet too much tended to be trying too hard. It was amazing. The sow had front legs and back legs like a normal pig, but her back and chest were funny because she had another funny bit where her wings sat. She looked like she had two sets of shoulders. And she was pink with black spots and her wings were black and white and... blue? And pink? Mumiras signalled to the man to one side and he poured some pink tinted stuff into her trough and she stared at us suspiciously before folding her wings up... yes there were pink feathers in her wings.
“The colouring comes from what they are fed, Coronet.”
“That’s... interesting.” A pig with wings was interesting but they were obviously not big enough to lift her chubby pink body off the ground. She had big cones of nipples on her belly... and that was when something shot past my ear making me duck, but nobody got upset or pulled their swords and I ended up hanging onto the bars of the farrowing cage watching one... two... three... four... five... six shoats soar down from the rafters and settle in with their mother. She smacked her lips, lifted her head out of her cleaned trough and eased down with another hoggy grunt to let them latch onto her belly, sucking hard.
“The shoats can fly,” Mumiras said. I didn’t look at him like ‘no -- you’re joking’ the way Minis would have if someone told him something that obvious. I was too busy watching the piglets. “They fledge an eight day after they are born, Ilesias. And then they can fly just for a few moons until they get too heavy.”
The farrow pigs where a mass of white feathers and pink piggyness against the sow’s belly, grunting and squealing and rooting, their wings flapping and getting in their way. One of my guards... Boras Puriren I think... handed me a stick and I put it in to scratch the sow’s back. “My brother’s tutor used to say ‘pigs might fly’ for something impossible -- and ‘don’t buy any manure proof umbrellas yet, ahem.’ These are perfect. Just perfect. They’ll still be flying for Jitzmithra?”
“Oh yes. There is another sow not yet farrowed. I bought both just in case.”
“Oh, these are perfect. Mumiras... thank you.” He was one of my household but surely Iridinas would know what a good thank you reward would be for him. More than just money. Maybe he needs something or someone else needs a job... for him he did good. Minis showed me that. Sometimes its what you can give that is more important than money.
I scratch between the sow’s wings, raise up the tiny pinfeathers between her wings and she wiggles and grunts a happy noise. Who would have thought. Piglets that fly.