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Businessman gets the offer of a lifetime.

And for now, talking about differences in culture and language was better than worrying about her lovers, who they were already doing all they could to rescue.

"Hmm? Patrons?" Althaia asked. She thought a moment. "Ah! That is because of translation difficulties." As she spoke, she began heading into the maze. "'Patron' can mean father, and 'Matron' mother, up here, but 'Patron 'has a gender-neutral secondary meaning of 'Benefactor' as well as the masculine meaning. In fact, in the Common tongue, the term Patron meaning benefactor has so surpassed the original term meaning fatherly, that if you use it to refer to an actual father few people will even know what you are talking about. Oh! Look out for the wizard!" Sure enough, they had rounded a corner and came face to face with a ghostly magus. After disposing of the spectre, Althaia continued her speech. "So, anyway, while Matron is still feminine, Patron is no longer its counterpart due to linguistic drift. Calling my goddesses 'matrons' would, in current usage, be calling them 'old ladies'. Now, if I were to pray in Sylvan or Celestial, the word would be different, obviously, and probably translate more directly." She shrugged. "One could make all sorts of arguments about the gendering of language, but I think that that exercise is best left to gnarly old gnomes and particularly bitter drow. No offence. Oh! There is a skeletal rogue behind you! Huh. I thought she just used ghosts..." All things considered, the nymph seemed to be rather well-informed about matters of grammar and etymology, but as a creature from a race that was not so much female-dominant as female-only she was probably not the best authority on gender relations. She observed as much to Ashyr as she struck down a ghostly bard before the creature could begin singing a song that they probably would not like to have heard.
Slasjowsjew appeared around the corner. "Thiss plasce iss an awful deathtrap." He said soberly. "I think that each of thesse powerss that rule in the monasstery have ssome ssort of domain that reflectss their nature, and ssinsce thiss iss the realm of the 'Adventuresss' it iss pretty much an approximation of every dungeon cliche ever invented by deluded architectss in tombss and vaultss acrosss hisstory. You two are fortunate that I have been traverssing thiss path before you, ssinsce I sswear there are trapss every five fucking feet." It was highly unusual for the Yuan-ti to swear in Common. "The Adventuresss will be in the 'treasure room' at the center of the labyrinth, going by the obvious cliche, and it sseemss that to get there we will have to defeat four elemental guardianss to gain the four keyss to the door. Or ssome crap like that."

Something like amusement crossed Ashyr's features, though it was a half-hearted expression. "Then it was a good thing you went ahead, oh Great Trap Finder." She told him. This may have been meant to be flirtatious, but Ashyr's heart was not in it. It had not skipped her notice that Slas liked having his ego stroked, and therein lie her chosen tactic to try to stroke... something else of his. She hoped that focusing on that would help her cope with the lack of Caleldir and Selene in her presence. If Althaia was right about Slas not being interested in sex, then it would be a worthy challenge to set her mind to while she performed the mindless task of clich__ dungeon delving.

--

The Yuan-ti was correct; Caleldra was indeed in the center of her labyrinth, in a room luxurious and wealthy beyond imagination. The ghost stifled her ethereal self and took on physical form. Once more the spitting image of Caleldir, but female, laid the unconscious Selene on a rich bed and began flitting around the room putting golden coins, weapons, armour, and mouldering skeletons, back into place. "Wakey, wakey, drow sorceress!" She giggled to herself. "I have so much to tell you..."

Upon hearing that feminine voice, Selene did as she was asked and woke.

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