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.
Okay. At least for now. I only have a little for helping the snake.
Yeah, we should figure out how to keep you fed and sheltered in the immediate future. I don't have a spare room to put you in and I don't know if I could buy you lunch or if you eat, I don't know, flying worms that only live on the dark side of the moon. Wouldn't be the most specific diet he's heard of but it'd be the most inconvenient.
I can eat lots of things. Most of the food being sold around here looks like I could eat it. What's a moon?
She can have the concept of a moon, and also a planet and a star, although he's kind of confused about stars.
I can treat you to lunch but I'm not sure how to do that in a way that won't make people wonder why I'm suddenly giving you things. Maybe if you want to meet me back at my place and I'll bring things?
Okay. Why do people wonder about that?
Well, people pay attention to their surroundings and the people around them, just in general, so they know about threats or opportunities or interesting things. It wouldn't normally be something to worry about but I'm worried they'd eventually manage to infer that you're telepathic, because once that's common knowledge you won't be able to read anyone's thoughts anymore and they might get mad at you for having done it already. Especially if you use what you learn to profit at their expense.
Don't you want me to do that?
Yes? Do people where you're from not do things that other people would be angry about?
Yeah but it's kind of stupid to if you can avoid it.
You're not wrong but if I never did anything that would make anyone else angry I'd still be a slave. If you don't want to do things like that, then... I can't really hide from you that all the uses I can think of for your magic are adversarial. You'll have to figure something out for yourself.
He thinks very briefly about shielding himself but waits for a response first.
I can do not magic things like carrying stuff for snakes.
You can. If you know useful things about science and technology you could also tell people things. I'd consider paying for information but I don't need an extra pair of hands.
I don't really wanna get in the way of whatever you have going on that makes people mad. She resumes strolling through the city, trying to figure it out, attentive for more snakes or other persons in need of non-adversarial assistance.
At some point someone unshielded and in range reads a noticeboard with several ads on it. There are people hiring (mostly people with specific skills or local magic, but someone wants several hours of help rearranging furniture and someone wants a person to test spells on and doesn't care about many specific traits of the person) and people looking for work (someone can teach this local language, someone can treat these diseases) and people with things to sell (nothing in Beka's budget).
She can probably rearrange furniture! Where does she go about that?
A house a short walk away from the market, where lives a small furry creature who has hands but just isn't that strong.
The orf is much stronger! She can put her baby in her shirt on her back and haul stuff however the furry creature wishes.
Then afterward she will have enough rings to afford to stay a night in one of the cheapest rooms in town if she's planning to sleep tonight. Or enough to feed a human for a day. Definitely not both.
The furry creature will pay one more ring to know where she's from.
You just want to know what it's called?
"...If the answer is more complicated than naming a town I'll pay more than one ring for it." He's kind of expecting the answer to involve genetic engineering experiments up north somewhere but he's not very confident of that and gets even less so at the idea that there's more to it than the name of a place or a researcher.
The place is called Angband and I think it must be on a whole different planet or something 'cause we don't have a sun there. I walked into a magic monster's mouth and wound up here and I don't know why there's a monster that works that way.
Yep, that's worth more than one ring. He pays.
"...One more to tell me how you're doing that thing where you talk silently?"
It's called osanwë! My parents' species can do it.
"It must make having a shared language much less important."
He pays her one last ring. He's totally planning to hire a knowledge mage to take a look at her later and see if they can figure out exactly what osanwe does, but he doesn't strongly expect that to work.
She will go looking for a hotel now, having gotten the idea. And something to eat for her and the baby. She could really go for crickets right now but she'd take whatever.