There is a small room, originally intended to be a supply closet of some kind, currently serving as the apartment of last resort for this human teenager. There's no furniture; all his possessions are sitting either on or beneath the folded quilt on the floor. In one corner is a pile of necklaces of coins whose colors change constantly by magic. The one tall, narrow window looks out on a city of mostly four- and five-story buildings painted to look vaguely reminiscent of a forest.
The intersection of "wants to have sex with her" and "knows things about auditioning for illusion shows" totally contains this guy over here who is weirdly desperate for alien biology reasons but assumes she's not likely to be into random alien guys.
Hi, can you help me figure out how to audition? I'm new and don't know the language but I was thinking I'd audition to be an alien so it won't matter, at first, except for the audition part.
Is she reading his mind? Does she know he got kicked out of - wait, he wants to not think about that if she's reading his mind.
"Uh, I can talk you through it, how much are you offering? - Is this the right way to say that? Do I need to think it at you instead?"
I can read you thinking while you talk! I don't know if they'll hire me so I don't want to run down all my rings right now, do you want to fuck instead?
Creepy. He hopes she isn't insulted that he thinks she's creepy. It's sort of maybe a hot kind of creepy?
"That sounds good, yeah. Do you have a place or should I show you to mine?"
I don't have one yet.
Then she can visit the place he's renting. It's much bigger and better furnished than the ones she's been in so far - there's a mat for sleeping on, and the plumbing is hidden behind a screen with an elaborately detailed swirly design. It looks like it was designed for a humanoid body plan and takes full advantage of the convenience of being able to expect its occupants to have thumbs. He's slightly embarrassed that it's not nicer.
I like it, she assures him, I'm not used to fancy. She stashes the baby in a corner, taking off her shirt in the process rather than fishing her out separately.
She's pretty and her art is cool. The fact that it's made with actual scars makes her intimidating like some pre-imperial warlord and maybe under other circumstances he'd have a reaction to that other than thinking it's hot.
It will not occur to him without prompting that hurting her is a thing he could do, intentionally or by accident. It totally occurs to him that she is probably physically capable of hurting him, but this is how she's paying him for his help so she shouldn't, right?
If he is not into it she is totally capable of figuring out whatever he is into instead and doing that! She is not going to prompt him to hurt her because why would she do that if it's not already on his mind.
That's a big relief. She seems really nice and he wishes she were a caralendar.
He would kind of like to just rest afterward but now he owes her so instead he asks what exactly she expects to need help with for the audition.
I need to know how to pronounce the words to get them to pay attention and then I guess explain I have to audition in person?
"Why do you have to audition in person?"
So I can talk to them!
"...If you can't speak Ilan, how would you pronounce your character's dialog?"
I can say lines if they give me them, just not have a conversation. I'm gonna audition to be an alien so I thought it'd be okay to have an accent?
"It seems like you could have someone feeding you lines for your audition just as easily."
It also seems like she doesn't know how prickly the clans are about people speaking Ilan properly. Then again that's mostly because they resent the northerners who speak Hari and conquered the continent and keep trying to steal their people. And she's not exactly going to speak anything else. He would be considering whether to warn her but now that he's thought about it at all he figures she knows.
I don't speak Hari very well yet either, I haven't been around long. Do you want to feed me lines for my audition?
"I mean, you did hire me to help, right? I could also try to teach you some Ilan - I'd want that to be a separate deal, though. It probably won't help with this audition but eventually it will."
I'll pick it up if you keep talking anyway. What do people say in auditions here?
He can absolutely answer that question.
And she practices, setting the bounce of the words to a little tune in her head to make them stick, till he thinks she has them right.
Most of the sounds of the language aren't new to her, which will probably help. He coaches her insistently on all the aspects of prosody that non-native speakers tend to get wrong. Especially the ones that Hari speakers get wrong.
Regardless of how well she does she won't get immediate feedback on the audition.
How long do you think I should wait to do the scry thing about the callback -
"Tomorrow and then again in a few days if you don't hear from them the first time."