A Brief “Huh?” on Gabriel’s Ghost

Gabriel’s Ghost, by Linnea Sinclair. I’ve read a few other SF romances by this author, but this one tossed me out about page 142 with a “WTH?” ringing in my head. Basically, “this book has made a left turn completely out of plausible emotional reality”.

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A Long Road Chapter 13 Ficbit – Detail Work

“Just please tell us the rules aren’t carved on a giant rock wall,” Wei Wuxian sighed. “Or dictate how many bowls you’re allowed in a sitting, how many ornaments you’re allowed on your belt, and whether or not you should gossip when you know everybody does it.”

Daren felt his eyebrows climb. Well. That explained… quite a lot about Trainee Lan Wangji, actually.

“How many belt ornaments-?” Talia suddenly brightened. “Are there other clothing requirements? I was wondering why Lan Wangji was so uncomfortable with getting measured for court-formal uniforms….”

Wen Qionglin frowned, and looked at them. “Oh. That makes sense. Not enough layers.”

“I’m surprised you could even wrestle him into the Trainee uniform.” Wei Wuxian grinned, sudden and full of mischief. “I got him to cough up blood by stripping off my over-robe, once.”

Wen Qionglin’s eyes went wide. “Cousin Wei?”

“It was an emergency! We were trapped in with the Xuanwu and he needed to purge the congested qi. He was already wounded with a fever, he didn’t need a qi deviation on top of that. Otherwise I’d never have embarrassed him like that.” Wei Wuxian’s fingers gripped his sleeves; relaxed again, smile turned sad. “I hope no one here does. Lan Wangji’s really very shy.”

Wait, what? The not-quite-mage who took off on a sword and flew over the Palace grounds? Was shy?

“Yes, he is.” Talia smiled back. “You know, you’re one of the few people who’s noticed?”

“We got into a lot of trouble on the same fields in Sunshot,” Wei Wuxian shrugged. “Some things, you can’t miss.” A tilt of his head, and his eyebrows flicked a question at Wen Qionglin. “Wen-gongzi. Is there anything else we need so we can get along well as new neighbors?”

“Dictionaries,” the Wen heir said in a rush. “Laws… have formal language. We know your script now, but a dictionary would be good. And any legal tomes that support the law.” He swallowed, scarf dipping with the motion to briefly unveil an odd trace of black on pale skin. “Healer’s lexicons. Botanical guides. Herb samples. You want to learn our healing techniques. Surgery we can apprentice. And pressure points. But some treatments need combinations of herbs. They might not be the same. We need to translate medical cultivation.”

Daren felt Selenay relax, and nodded along with her. Once you had a Healer talking about specifics, whether or not they would treat a patient was generally a done deal.