Holmes and Watson are on their way back to Baker Street from a freshly wrapped-up case when they hear shrieking from around the corner, and naturally they charge around the corner to see what's happening. What's happening turns out to be a giant snake with a mirror for a face. They get the woman it has cornered out of the way, and Watson goes for his revolver, but before he can bring the snake down it gets its face over both of them and they're somewhere else.
"Lead on, then."
She speaks again to the two people in the office, who nod, and then she leads them out of the building, out of the village, and along a dirt road between fields of wheat. "If you are really from somewhere else, or are badly made, you might find that your knowledge doesn't hold up as well as you expect it to, but New Riverround is a civilized place, you'll be able to get along and find something useful to do even if you can't be a detective and a doctor in particular."
"Yes, I rather expect I'll have some learning to do before I can practice on people who appear from nowhere without the normal mode of reproduction."
"Observation and deduction are the same everywhere. For example, I can tell that your creators had already been planning to make you, but did so ahead of schedule to take advantage of their ability to create you fluent in our language without having to study it."
"Yes, Watson and I are resourceful sorts." They follow her along, watching their surroundings even more attentively than usual.
They had just finished chasing a criminal through a bunch of alleys before the snake got them; they're both quite definitely hungry.
Miriqua reads the menu for them and gets herself a giant fried dumpling from the smiling man who operates the food cart. There are three dumpling fillings (spicy potato, chicken, and vegetable cheese) and also salads with cheese and chicken on them, and plain flatbread.
Miriqua's dumpling does not appear to cost any money. She doesn't mention prices and the menu is not organized chartlike in a way that could harbor any.
Watson gets spicy potato; Holmes gets chicken. Once they've received their dumplings, Watson asks their guide, "Say, how is this gentleman being compensated for his work?" He bites into his dumpling and adds, "And excellent work it is, too."
"So you assure that all necessary work is done by making sure there are people with the ability and disposition to do it. How very direct." He is also enjoying his dumpling.
"Yes. Of course they have to use money anywhere they have a king making a new concubine every week with no consideration for how she'll contribute when he gets bored of her," says Miriqua, "but we have strict rules about that here. The only reason no one's being prosecuted for making you two without authorization and consultation is that there haven't been any approaches to the round from somewhere this language has been heard of. There's also two of you, which, if you're telling the truth about having appeared together, would imply two makers."
"Also, we have memories of existing somewhere else and knowing each other before we appeared here, which I take it is not common among newly created people."
"I imagine it must be rather shocking to come into existence and discover one's memories are fabrications."
"A very reasonable law. Do you have much crime? I imagine most law-abiding citizens would prefer to only make more of the same."
"Now that, at least, is a commonality between this world and what we're used to. Human nature is a fickle beast everywhere, eh Watson?"
"So typically people create adults unless they very much want to raise a child, and the design is discussed extensively, and new states of the art are often brought into practice as we learn more. One useful thing about children who grow up unpredictably is that they can teach us new things about ways humans can be, which we didn't guess before or weren't sure would turn out well."
"What are some recent . . . innovations of that nature?"
"The most recent one I'm aware of is that people can respond in different ways to coffee and it's now standard practice to make them efficacious for everyone in case it's ever necessary. Perhaps more interesting is the older discovery that people can vary in how much sleep they need, so now everyone new needs less."
"What an interesting world to be a doctor in," Watson says, smiling and shaking his head.