There isn’t much time, but he makes himself do it right. It’s a little easier in a city where no one knows you, except somehow they already know OF him so he’ll have to be careful. It’ll also need to be easy to change out of… just in case.
First the awful part. The scent, washing himself in the bath he makes sure to scrub his glands clean. Then taking the cake of rendered kelléndu fat with the extract out of the sealed pouch he makes sure to get under his armpits, behind the neck, and under the tail so he smells a whole lot less like a mouse and more like someone else.
The tail is easiest, just a little bit of hair softener and some dark brown dye from some ground up nut shells. This is the stuff that washes out, so it’s a good thing it isn’t raining tonight. More dye in certain areas on the nose, eyes, and mouth area. Good, now the pouches for the cheeks and the dentures with the fangs instead of the prominent incisors. Ugh, I always hate this part, but it’s important if people look at your mouth when you talk.
And then clothes. Hmmm, let’s see what we managed to find behind that clothing shop near the tea house. They’re not even all that clean, so they’re perfect. Some old pants, a threadbare vest, a sash and of course the hat.
Good. Very good. Now a small cracked begging bowl in one hand and a walking cane in the other and it’s time to go out into the city and LISTEN.
Lucky for him most Jánah don’t pay attention to the comings and goings and scurrying of mice, even less pay attention to a dirty beggar with bad eyesight.
“Ayums for the poor?” he mumbles, “Spare a dáyan, m’Yady?”, putting an extra Magáran accent on the “yuh” sounds in the middle of words. A few couples strolling by take pity on the poor spider monkey with the limp, obviously an injured performer, and a few half-dalán fall into his bowl. “Thanka yuh, may the Devah smiyule upon yuh. Byess yuh both.”
People mention this and that. Daily chores, their businesses, an upcoming festival, the Magistrate’s last party and his new riding chinti, this new mángai at the temple, an old Sarpah scholar with a new grandchild, that retired airship captain… ah, yes, good, all very good. They talk and talk and it never occurs to them who might be listening.
The thug and the cat walk by, they don’t even glance over. All the better.
Over the blue roofs he follows to see where they go, the fake limp gone for the moment. Even the Paksin rarely look up. And he watches from the shadows, still wondering what Trahmsi said to him at dinner, wondering why the Hardaz would send a clumsy message all the way out here. If he was a threat, then why let him live, unless… unless the message wasn’t a warning, but a call for help or for an ally. He asked Ganjan, who only repeated back, “He isn’t of our House. In a way he is of no House at all, and I think he wants to keep it that way.” Doesn’t matter, the brute wouldn’t listen anyway and it might be better if he didn’t care. At least now he knows where they were last seen if they don’t return.
He heads back, limping past the temple of Krilárah, and hands the bowl of small coins to one of the young Mángai sweeping the steps. “Fah someone ayess fahtunate and out of ayuck,” he says nearly slipping into the Mugambian dialect before heading back to change and bathe and tell Krista what he was able to learn.