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17. Incentive

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"I don't get it." Millie extended the basket of steamed cockles to Varric before picking another morsel for herself. Hitching her bottom onto a pylon, she chewed thoughtfully under the watchful eye of an opportunistic gull.

"I mean, how can she stay upright like that, let alone walk?"

"You're asking me? Try looking at her from my line of sight."

"Heh. No thanks." She poked around in the basket.

"You're going to touch every single one of those, aren't you?"

"Probably." Millie grinned. "It looks like a couple of pigs fighting under a blanket."

"Fighting or something."

"Or something."

"Though I'd have said nugs."

"Nah." She flicked an empty shell for the gull to seize and sucked juice and vinegar from her fingers. "Pigs are rounder." Behind her the gull dropped the shell with a sardonic yarp, triggering a series of disappointed tussles amongst its fellows from which a grebe eventually fled, for reasons best known to itself clutching the inedible bit as though rescuing the Ashes of Andraste.

Varric passed her the beer. "Well, we're definitely talking curves, no doubt about that."

"Shushishish! She's heading this way - act casual."

"Shit. Don't make eye contact."

"Ah, wait, she's gotten sidetracked..."

"Good day to you, my child. Would you like to make a donation to the Chantry?"

"My only wealth's between my legs, Mother, but you're welcome to that if you wish."

They watched the Reverend Mother undulate away.

"You know, I think I figured out how they manage to pay for all that gilding in the Chantry." Millie took a swig of the beer and handed it back.

"I think I figured out why Choir Boy doesn't ever want to leave the Chantry."

"Seriously, how does she walk like that?"