She swept over to the door, unlocked it, and let them both inside.

"You're three hours late for your appointment," Ella told him, crossing her arms, giving Leithan a pointed look. "Don't you have your lecture at seven? Pretty sure I don't have time to cut all that hair before then."

"I'm not here for that," Leithan said, looking at the gold leaf wall clock behind her. It was nearly 6 PM right now.

Ella arched a questioning eyebrow. "Okay . . ." Then she looked at Teshin. "Who's your friend?"

Teshin smiled at her and introduced himself using some of the Rengleam words Leithan had taught him earlier. His clumsy accent was in equal parts hilarious and adorable.

Ella seemed very amused by him, too.

Leithan touched Teshin's shoulder. "Look at the clothes, okay? Try to pick something black and solemn."

That was how Cieltz people dressed whenever they visited the Golden Temple, for some reason.

Teshin nodded with the air of someone taking his mission seriously, and he went to the nearest rack of clothes. Leithan took Ella aside and tried to explain the situation as succinctly as he could.

"Teshin wants to learn our ways, so I invited him to come to my lecture. Since the Yoxai don't come to the temple, ever, we'll just have to pretend he's Cieltz. They come sometimes, out of curiosity, or for sightseeing purposes. Shouldn't attract too much attention. But, well, you see why I need your help?"

They both glanced at Teshin, who had in his hands what looked to be a plus-sized corset. He frowned as he examined the intricate mix of black leather, lace, and cords as if he'd never seen a corset before. Which to be fair, Leithan realized, he probably hadn't.

Although Leithan was rather amused by Teshin's interest in the garment, they simply didn't have much time right now.

Ella quickly got to work, heels clicking across limestone floor, flitting from rack to rack like a butterfly from flower to flower.

In an impressive display of resourcefulness, she produced a complete outfit for Teshin in perhaps less than a minute, and Leith and Ella ushered the Yoxai young man to the back, behind the red velvet curtain of a changing stall.

While Teshin was getting changed, Leithan chose something for himself too.

He was pleased to find a long-sleeved shirt, elegant and thin, in that leafy green shade he liked, with some abstract black designs at the collar and hems that reminded him a bit of Teshin's priyon. He'd never stood on that stage without wearing at least a little bit of green, and he didn't want to start breaking habits now.

At least, not that one.

"I thought about you when I saw this shirt," Ella admitted with a knowing smile as Leithan put the garment on.

Teshin soon appeared, wearing shiny shoes, slim black pants, long black jacket – the whole formal attire.

"It's itchy," Teshin complained, grimacing. "I'll be way too warm in this."

"That's good!" Leithan smiled. "Then you'll really look Cieltz. They're always sweating under their fancy clothes."

Ella narrowed her eyes at Teshin. "There's still something missing."

She darted to a counter, then presented a bowler hat and round glasses, which Teshin graciously accepted and put on. Then, when Ella guided him to a mirror, Teshin burst out laughing, and didn't stop for a long time.

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