Early morning, Spring season.

“Nothing to report, like usual.”

Sigh. The skies around Belsegallia have long been purified of the Cloud Fae, and an encounter is unlikely, but we should always remain vigilant. We will depart in another five minutes to resume our patrol.”


Knightess Georgia L’irosha sat back down onto the plate of magically solidified clouds that she and her patrolling squadron of Belsegallian knightesses were resting on for a short while before they resumed their regular sweeps of the airspace north of Belsegallia. A short distance away, a few of the other knightesses were clustered around each other and making small talk while a handful of them rotated into and out of watch duty. Neither she nor any of the women under her command had seen any combat for a few decades now; most of the patrol routes were maintained purely as a precaution at this point, including the one that her squadron was presently assigned to.

Georgia raised her hand to the wind. The air was thin and freezing cold several kilometers in the sky like her patrol was, though they neither needed nor wore any cold-weather gear. Thin, cool, wispy clouds stretched out into the radiant morning sky of the Belsedori’s homeland as far as the eye could see as they were buffeted by high-altitude winds. Below them flowed the ever-distant, deep blue waters of the ocean; a part of the terrestrial realm, where few Belsedori ever ventured. The home of the Belsedori was, after all, the air: whether it was the frozen, free blue of the starry night sky, or the misty fog, shining snow, and bright autumnal forests of enchanted Belsegallia, the Belsedori felt much more comfortable at altitude than at sea level. Georgia thought about how nice it would be when she returned to her home after her sorties to find her consort waiting for her wearing an apron and holding a (relatively) hot meal for her as he always did.

But just as Georgia and her squadron were getting ready to leave, she spotted something flying in the air below them. As it proceeded, Georgia perceived that it was not one entity but multiple traveling together; she saw both large humanoid shapes and perhaps a few smaller ones within the group. It was additionally traveling southwards, and, by extension, directly towards Belsegallia.

This was something that would need to be dealt with.

Knightess Georgia quietly ordered the squadron to prepare to interdict the unknown party, tightening the her hands and their enchanted steel gauntlets around the polearm that she was carrying as she did so. After everything was ready and the unknown entities were at the most ideal point of interception, the Belsegallian patrol squadron jumped off of the enchanted cloud in unison and flew in air combat formation to intercept them.

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“Ryesli, are you sure this is the direction home?” Queen Fortuna kept her secondary wings outstretched as she glided through the skies. Ryesli flew in front of her, keeping the rest of the squadron of Aural knights afloat by sheer magic alone. The non-Riaaki travelers shivered uncontrollably, despite being bundled up in as many layers as possible.

What the group was after was a trace of illegal magics that Lumina had sensed several hours ago, but quickly lost trace of. Ryesli insisted on taking Fortuna to the safe house while the rest of the knights would hunt down the illegal magic, despite Fortuna insisting on coming along until the Queen gave up the fight.

“It has to be up ahead.” Ryesli seemed to waver a bit, but only in voice.

“T-there’s p-p-p-people… I think…” Lumina had set her outermost layer on fire, yet shivered violently as if she was taking a simple ice bath. “Aura f-feels… t-t-tense…”

“We’re probably there then.” Ryesli folded her secondary wings in, stretching out her primary wings and flapping upwards. Fortuna would shake her head, surveying the sky island before the group.

There was a certain uncanny feeling about the place, as if a mysterious force kept everyone’s minds away from identifying the place as Riaaki Landing. Ryesli would shake off the feeling until landing right before the Belsedori guards.

“Ryesli, are you sure you’re not lost?” The tall man with ears like a cat whispered quietly. A subtle scent of lavender rose through the air, bringing a sense of calm through the team. Diffusing potential situations was Kade’s specialty after all, luring criminals into custody without so much as drawing out his sword.

“I think Her Majesty should take care of… things…” Ryesli craned her neck up to assess the strangers, feeling somewhat intimidated despite Kade’s magic.

“Yes.” Fortuna stepped in front of the Aural Knights, making herself seem as tall as possible. “Who might you fine folks be? Where does my team find itself?”

Who gave these odd Riaaki human things growth potions?


Georgia stood back for a moment to assess the strangers. Although some of them vaguely resembled the terra-dwelling “humans” that she had heard varying descriptions of from some knightesses in Larinata, none of them looked like people that lived in the skies or lands around Belsegallia. Most of them seemed to be bothered by the ambient temperature, indicating that they were also terrestrials like the humans. The small, birdlike creatures stood out to her the most; they were closer to Cloud Fae than Belsedori in size, and their wings and lack of vulnerability to the cold together suggested that they were aerial natives like the Belsedori.

Hmm. I don’t see any Cloud Fae here, and there don’t seem to be enough people for an effective raiding party. Although, I also heard somebody address one of the small birds as “Her Majesty” as well; these may be royal guards.

Georgia gestured to one of the pairs of knightesses, instructing them to report to the appropriate countess and duchess. She then stepped forward to address the foreigners and answer their inquiries, her steel-clad talons crunching in the snow and the cold sunlight beaming onto her polished metal armor and cloud-white skin as she did so. Her grip on her longspear was relaxed so as to appear nonthreatening, but she still held it in such a manner as to be able to ready it quickly if necessary.

”I am Lady Georgia L’irosha, knightess and sword of Her Majesty Queen Xana. You stand in the domain of the Kingdom of Belsegallia. Might I inquire as to the nature of your visit to our fair nation?”

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“I see.” Fortuna dipped her head, finding it easier to suppress a bit of anger thanks to Kade. “We seem to be completely lost as I was supposed to be going to a safe house. We are from the nation Aur Spectra, but surprisingly my people knew your people many ages ago. My kind, the Riaaki, was nomadic until my ancestors joined the Aur Spectra coalition of kingdoms.”

A very quick wing shake later, Fortuna resumed her explanation of events.

“I certainly am pleased to see that my guards have gotten this incredibly lost to direct us to old friends, however.”

The non-Riaaki among the group seemed to look at each other with an expression of shock, as if receiving news that they would never have thought of. Ryesli would observe the Belsedori with curiosity, taking note of their mannerisms, feather patterns, and the like.


Lady Georgia looked at the small birds again. They only vaguely resembled the descriptions of Riaaki that she had heard in fairy tales and myths, but those themselves varied a great deal and never seemed to agree anyway. Of much more concern to her was the mention of the foreigners traveling to a safe house; that suggested the presence of a danger that they were hiding from. Georgia folded her large, pale blue and white wings closer to their shoulders on her lower back and began to gently sway her long, slightly frosted feather tail from side to side as she spoke once more.

”I see. As accidental as your visit seems to be, I believe that Her Majesty and Duchess L’uceta will be interested in meeting somebody of your description. I can escort you to the capital, if you wish; somebody there may also have a map that you can use to return home.”

Lady Georgia stepped back from the outsiders and towards the rest of the Belsedori knightesses. Her appearance was comparable to that of any typical Belsedori woman; she looked vaguely similar to a human, but was about six feet tall and had a slightly heavier build. The most noticeable divergence was naturally the presence of two large, feathered, avian wings which extended from her lower back, along with a short tail adorned with feathers that extended down to slightly below her knees before flaring out in the shape of a dove’s tail. Her straight hair, which was kept short and only extended down to about an inch above the midpoint of her neck, was a pale shade of blue that matched the color of the feathers on her wings, tail, and either side of her head. Her eyes were a light yellow and shone with faint luminescence from under the shade of a metallic helmet that was slightly more decorated than those of the other knightesses.

An observer paying attention to the environment and the group of Belsedori soldiers may notice several details. Firstly, none of the Belsedori were immediately identifiable as being men. Secondly, all of them were wearing chainmail armor and carrying longspears that appeared to be at least somewhat expensive and possibly enchanted. And thirdly, it was beginning to snow; or, more accurately, it was beginning to snow and also rain incredibly cold water at the same time. Rather than freeze into sleet or ice, the rain was instead remaining liquid (and capable of soaking into clothing) at well below freezing temperatures.

sigh. At least it’s not icing on surfaces.”

Lady Georgia turns to address the visitors.

”We should probably be leaving for some kind of shelter soon before the weather picks up; being drenched in freezing water doesn’t bother me all that much health-wise, but I’m quite sure that the terrestrials in your guard detail will find themselves in a different situation if they remain outside.”

“I do find this acceptable.” Fortuna followed Georgia, beckoning for Ryesli to follow. Ryesli seemed to strengthen the field that surrounded the terrestrials, the action doesn’t seem to affect the bird much.

“Very curious that liquid rain falls…” Ryesli’s feathers seemed to flatten against her body, similar to how Fortuna’s feathers quickly plastered against her skin. “Is this liquid rain different from water somehow? Or is it magical?”


”Alchemists like to call it ‘liquefied ice.’ I wish I could tell you why it’s liquefied ice and not just water, but I got buried in alchemist-talk about the ‘properties of essence-altered elemental water ‘ and the ‘residual effects of time-dispelled transmuting enchantments on the physical properties of base materials’ the last time that I asked my consort about it. Hanako always needs to visit Teranata to go buy some obscure-sounding, suspicious-looking liquid or powder, too, so maybe I can bring him with us when we go to see Her Majesty? He’ll certainly be able to tell you more about all of the 38 different varieties of water and water-like substances than you’ll ever be able to remember.”

Lady Georgia continued leading the group towards what was presumably shelter from the rain.

”There’s an ice cave in this direction that many of the knightesses like to take breaks in; it’s not the closest thing to ‘warm’ that you’ll ever find in Belsegallia, but it’s certainly better than dying of a mild drizzle.”

Georgia quickly glances at the non-Riaaki.

”Tell me; what’s your homeland like? I presume that it has exceptionally fair weather, seeing as how terrestrials have such little resistance to even the clearest day in Belsegallia.”

The elf named Lumina seemed to smile, her demeanor more relaxed in Ryesli’s more protective bubble. She would respond to Georgia’s question with a hint of nostalgia, yearning for the warmer days, especially now.

“We are far more suited to the land of Aur Spectra, in an open, grassy field where all sorts of crops grow for us to feast. Temperatures are very wild, being frigid in the winter but summers are perfect.”

Fortuna seems to shake her head a bit, followed by a full body shake in the icy cave. Her feathers now seem to resemble spikes more than anything, no longer the soft puffy white that made most Riaaki jealous.

“The terrestrial kingdoms of Aur Spectra… namely, Sylar, Aoul, and Dhyrosia, are very warm. I have never been, I have lived my entire life in the cloud kingdom of Riaaki Landing where the weather is far nicer. Ryesli would know more, for she is a knight in service at Sylar.”

Ryesli’s mind, however, was fixated on the liquid rain. Such was a trait uncommon to the Riaaki, then again, so was her magical prowess. Most Riaaki couldn’t even dream of using magic as it was absolutely foreign to the species at a whole, yet here Ryesli was, breaking every mould imaginable. Yet her mind would continue to wander back to the reason they flew out here in the first place.

When she speaks, her voice is much softer now, Ryesli is speaking her thoughts aloud, but to herself.

“I would love to speak to as many magic users as possible. The study of magic is incredibly important after all. More knowledge on how magic works can help us all learn how to defend ourselves against those choosing to use their abilities for evil…”


Lady Georgia seemed somewhat confused by Ryesli’s words.

”You’ll have many opportunities to do that while you’re here, if you wish; every Belsedori learns at least some practice of magic, and most are quite accomplished at it.”

Georgia quickly glances at the entrance to the dimly lit cave, which was still howling with wind and through which one could still see a downpour of rain.

”The rain should subside soon; weather in Belsegallia is very capricious, and neither fair nor inclement weather lasts very long here. While we wait, why don’t you tell me about magic in Aur Spectra? As royal guards, I assume that you studied magic formally; surely you’re all well-versed in the practice of magic in your homeland.”

“Well, the Riaaki typically have no abilities in regards to magic and fighting. It is extremely rare to see one of my kind in service at Sylar. I merely know the knights exist.” Fortuna took a step back, gesturing for one of the nights to speak.

“There are plenty of studies we’ve done at Sylar’s academy in regards the phenomenon we call magic. The way we understand it is that it’s a force, like gravity, or pushing someone. Most of the time it’s small, a quick regenerative, or a minor illusion, elemental magic, maybe even being able to see aura, depending on how well you can affect magic force. The knights of Sylar have a category based system based on how much magic you’re capable of. Templar Knights, the first category, have little to no magic ability but are still extremely capable fighters. Magia Knights have some magic ability that makes them that much more deadly in combat, they typically have proficiency with one kind of magic that helps them. Then are the Aural Knights. We were the most powerful class for the longest time, our abilities with magic are very proficient, plenty of us are very capable of manipulating people themselves, like Kade here, who is really great and bringing people to their knees without even drawing a sword.”

Lumina finishes her explanation, then points to Ryesli.

“Then you have something that shouldn’t exist, said to be capable of breaking reality itself. She gets a mythical class of her own, the Spectral Warrior. Don’t ask me why our ancient civilizations decided to call it that.”

Kade seems to tilt his head to the side, flicking his left ear.

“Everything that we understand with magic is through force. That is our best explanation. I would like to add that it isn’t how much magic you’re capable of wielding but how you wield it.”

“I would love to hear about your knowledge on magic!” Ryesli seems to snap out of her thoughts, shaking out her own feathers now to resemble little spikes across her body. “Sorry I wasn’t paying attention. What are we doing?”


”I believe that we were discussing the phenomenon of magic.” replied Lady Georgia.

”Belsedori also have a categorization system for magic, though it is base on application rather than the caster’s ability as yours is. The first category, and the most common, is spellcraft; the ability of an individual to precipitate the occurrence of magical phenomena such as the creation of light or elements such as fire and lightning, physical healing and regeneration, and the movement of objects by magical means. Every Belsedori can instinctively do this without tools or practice to a minor extent, but more powerful spells can create unwanted secondary effects or fatigue the caster unless proper steps are taken. Most Belsedori carry a small wand that makes handling moderately powerful magic safer and less taxing, and warriors like knightesses wield specially modified weapons that function in the same manner.

The second category is alchemy, which I am less knowledgeable in. Hanako or another alchemist can describe it in more detail, but I know that it functions on the idea of magically dismantling ingredients into their composing ‘‘essences’ and reassembling them into new things with different properties by altering the essences’ relative proportions, adding or removing certain ones, applying spells to them, or with any number of other processes. Alchemy can make everything from mundane drinks and magical potions to specialist metal alloys and crystals for use in the creation of enchanted objects if you know what you’re doing.

The third and final category is artifice. Many of its practices are kept secret, but the basic principle relies on the repeated application of enchantments to an object throughout multiple stages of its manufacturing process; it makes extensive use of many kinds of alchemically produced materials, so Hanako may know more details about its application.”

Lady Georgia takes a moment to look at the entrance to the cave, where the rain outside is becoming less intense.

”The weather seems to be calming down; we should be able to travel to the royal palace now. Although, before we do…”

Georgia draws a small silver bell on a handle from a bag on her belt and rings it.

”As I said previously, my consort Hanako will be able to give you more details on Belsedori magic; knightesses don’t learn too much of the theory about magic itself.”

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“It sounds like your people categorize by how magic is manipulated primarily rather than force required. This is truly fascinating.” Lumina seemed generally interested in the explanation, while Fortuna seemed to zone out a bit. Her mind was no longer in the present but somewhere else.

“Perhaps along the way you may talk about those bells?” Fortuna spoke up, tilting her head to the side. “They sound gorgeous.”

The party from Aur Spectra prepared themselves for wherever the Knightess was about to take them.


”You mean this?”

Lady Georgia holds up the bell that she had just rung a moment ago. It appeared to be made of a shiny silver-like material, which was intricately engraved and attached to a handle that had a small red ribbon tied around it.

”It’s one of a pair of what’s referred to as Calling Bells. This is a sending bell; when I ring it, the receiving bell that Hanako has will ring itself and point in the direction of the sending bell. They usually only have enough range to be used in a domestic setting, but Hanako spent a lot of time and effort to extend it when he made these ones. They’ve become a somewhat popular gift among Belsedori couples over the last few months.”

Georgia and the rest of the group continued walking to the south, with her ringing the bell again very two or so minutes of walking. Eventually, after about eight or so minutes, a Belsedori descended from flying overhead and landed somewhat close to Georgia with a faint crunch of snow being compressed underfoot. This new individual looked nearly identical to the other Belsedori, but was between four and five feet tall and seemed to be significantly lighter as well. The styling of clothing and hair was also divergent; metallic armor was replaced by a heavily decorated, pale lavender dress, stockings, and gloves, and the visitor’s snow-white hair was kept significantly longer and styled into a crown braid decorated with jingle bells & a large, plain white ribbon tied into a bow. A translucent white veil on a ruffle-trimmed headband dimmed the light of two luminescent white irises, and a small silver bell identical to the one that Georgia carries jingled faintly from its perch on a pure white choker.

The figure skipped over to Georgia, seemingly unaware of the presence of anybody unusual, and then spoke with a voice significantly softer and higher in pitch than Georgia or any of the other Belsedori’s.

”Hi honey! Did you need me to do something?”

”I’m going to the capital; you said that you needed to buy something there, so I thought that you might want to come along.”

”Of course! Although…”

The figure seems to have taken notice of Fortuna and the others now.

”Um, who’s that standing over there?”

“I am Queen Fortuna of Riaaki Landing.” Her title brought sadness to her face, reminded of tragedy that made her queen in the first place. “Behind me are knights from the academy in Sylar, known as Ryesli, Lumina, and Kade. We seem to have run into long-lost friends by mistake”

Fortuna would remain silent while observing Georgia and Hanako. While Fortuna had thought the Belsedori were a fiercely patriarchal society, here the reality slapped the tiny bird across her face with a sloppy wet fish.

Or perhaps they were just outliers?

“I do appreciate you explaining your sending bell, it seems very interesting.”


”This is my consort Hanako, who will be traveling with is as I stated earlier.”

As Lady Georgia said this, Hanako did a curtsy towards the non-Belsedori; the group then started off in the direction of their destination while talking. Hanako focused on Queen Fortuna’s first statements first, especially the one where she referred to Georgia and the others as “lost friends,” and addressed Queen Fortuna in a soft voice barely louder than a whisper.

”Are you some of Georgia’s friends? I don’t usually leave the house, so I don’t get to see a lot of the people that she talks to when she’s at work; especially if they’re not from Belsegallia. I brought some fresh milk and homemade snacks if any of you are hungry.”

Hanako opened a small bag that he was carrying, which was full of various sweets and a total of two glass bottles of milk.

”What she means is that she’s from somewhere that Belsegallia was friendly with in the past, although I won’t stop you from offering food to them.”

Lady Georgia peers into Hanako’s bag.

”You usually bring three bottles of milk when I call you; I’m not ungrateful or anything, but where did the other one go?”

”I went to visit Laetitia and Yukiko earlier, and I asked Laetitia to warm a bottle of it for breakfast. She wanted to do it with alchemy as a way to show me and Yukiko that she’s gotten better at it. My milk was so totally charred at the end that Yukiko and I couldn’t fix it and I had to drink one of the other ones.”

”Well, at least you can always get more.”

”At least I can; Yukiko said that he might have to start drinking potions if he wants to keep up with how much milk Laetitia’s been ‘toasting’ every day.”

It is at this point that Hanako registered Fortuna’s compliment of his bell; he accepted the statement with a quiet, timid “thank you,” but otherwise tried to avoid speaking to any of the women in the group other than Georgia in a capacity that didn’t involve offering food or responding to questions addressed specifically to him. He also approached Georgia and whispered something to her about “petting,” Georgia’s reply to which was inaudible.

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Fortuna shook her head quickly. She knew where the Belsedori got their “milk” from, according to the books of old, and she wanted nothing to do with it. Goat’s blood was gross enough without the addition of smelted iron. In fact, the combination may be toxic enough to stop even Lumina in her tracks. She shuddered to think how any Riaaki would handle such a drink, considering how fragile their digestive tracks were.

“I hope you do not take offense-”

“You guys have sky sheep too? I’d love a glass!” Ryesli eagerly piped up. In her time among the academy, Ryesli grew accustomed to using the sun as sustenance. She couldn’t really handle to terrestrial food very well, it always led to a miserable night and weakness in the following days. Even then, she would be told that she was tough for a Riaaki, even hearing the story of how simple asparagus, rice, and chicken killed a previous Riaaki student.

The Belsedori seemed like bird-people like them, making a living in the skies. It would make sense that perhaps their food is better suited for the Riaaki?

Lumina and Kade both seemed eager to try, just like Ryesli, though they were stuck in Ryesli’s bubble.

“We may have a lot of information incorrect in our literature back home.” Fortuna seemed to think aloud now. “Our literature claimed that you were humans from a very hot world, for example. That milk you have there is not an unholy combination of goat’s blood and smelted iron, is it.”


”Of course not! It doesn’t have any blood in it at all; I’d be very sick if that was the case. And I have no idea how it could even have smelted iron in it.”

Hanako seemed genuinely offended at the suggestion that his milk had such things in it.

”Not even alchemy could turn such inedible ingredients as blood and metal into anything even resembling milk. And why would I even need to mix milk by hand? I have a practically endless supply of it already.”

Hanako took the bottles of milk out of his satchel and poured three glasses to give to Ryesli, Lumia, and Kade. Belsedori milk, in relation to cow’s milk, contained much more butterfat and sugar and was much sweeter and heavier as a result; it was also nominally pure white, but very close inspection would show it to be very faintly tinted pink.

”You can try it yourself if you don’t believe me. It’s a little heavier than it usually is, but that’s not because it has iron filings in it or anything like that. Although, what’s a sky sheep? Is it an animal of some kind?”

Hanako wasn’t quite sure how a “sky sheep” was related to his milk, but he was eager to get everybody to drink some so that he could dispel any unfathomable misconceptions that he somehow produced milk with blood and metal fragments in it.


“My apologies. Many lifetimes has passed since my people were in contact with yours, enough for tales to be twisted into unrecognizeable shapes…”

Fortuna couldn’t help but take note of Hanako’s words. Why would he have been sick if the Belsedori called goat’s blood “milk”… unless…

The Riaaki queen says nothing on the matter. Instead, she watches the rest of the party enjoy their bits of milk. Even Ryesli seemed to enjoy, showing no signs of the usual pain the Riaaki would be in from foreign food. Fortuna’s almost tempted to try. Almost.

“Wait, you don’t know what the sky sheep are?” Ryesli didn’t let Hanako’s question go unanswered. “They’re really really fluffy mammals that are really important to us! No part of a sky sheep goes to waste, whether it’s the bones, meat, stomach, skin, wool, or even their hooves!”

“They are native to the mountains and the clouds surrounding the mountain range that the Riaaki live above. They use every part. Hooves used to reinforce talons for combat, they eat most of the meat. Brains and eyeballs have their purpose in adhesives and religious divination, respectively. They use the animal’s stomach as a purse, even.” Kade spoke quietly, adding a soft mrrow at the end of his sentences. There was a certain air of expertise in his actions as he spoke about the Riaaki sky sheep, maybe an undertone of slight disgust twinging his voice at parts.


Hanako seemed intrigued by the uses that Riaaki had for Sky Sheep.

”How strange. Sky Sheep don’t live around Belsegallia; instead, we get animal products from things like wild hogs, Four-Winged Moa, and Fir Spiders. Although, how do you know all of those details about butchering animals? I’m not familiar with anything regarding the hunting or butchering process; the closest that I’m allowed to get to that is slicing a ham when I’m making dinner.”

Hanako, now that he was in a conversation with Kade, took the opportunity to ask him about some aspects of life in Aur Spectra.

”And speaking of dinner, what’s it like to cook in your homeland? Trying to roast, grill, or smoke things here is finicky without the use of alchemy because the ambient temperature is so hostile to fire, but using alchemy to make a fire more durable changes the flavor of food that’s cooked with it. I’ve heard that terrestrial places are much hotter than the weather here, so you probably get to make lots of roasted food without a problem. And what kind of fish live there? The few non-Belsegallian fish that I’ve gotten to see have these little scales on them; is that hard to remove when you’re cooking one?”

Off to the side a few meters, Lady Georgia was lightly monitoring how her husband was getting along with the Aur Spectrans. She’d let him interact directly with Ryesli and Fortuna a bit more than she was probably supposed to, but it was more acceptable to let him speak to Kade with less supervision.

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“Cook?” Kade tilted his head to the side. “I hunt. In fact, if it weren’t for laws those tiny birds would be food-”

Lumina jabbed her elbow against Kade’s arm as hard as she possibly could. Kade hissed loudly, his tail now swishing frantically side to side.

“I jest. Aur Spectra has many different kinds living in its borders, mostly living in harmony. The only exceptions are the Riaaki who almost exclusively inhabit the skies, and the Dhyr who are actively hostile to everyone except those hailing from Aoul.” Kade rubbed his hand gently over where Lumina elbow-jabbed him as he explained. “We just hunt and then eat. That’s kinda it. Cooking things is very weird.”

“Kade’s kind, the Aylani, are fierce hunters. They eat raw food, they do not cook. They also make terrible jokes at inappropriate times and make a pile of rocks look intelligent, but they are fierce fighters.” Lumina put a hand on Kade’s head and ruffled his hair as she spoke. “Asking the Aylani about anything more than eating their freshly-killed meals in a slightly more civilized manner is asking too much of them, let alone culinary inquiries.”

“… As far as cooking in Riaaki culture, I was more keen on accidentally burning things to the ground, which is how I ultimately ended up in the academy at Sylar and not tending my own herd. And Fortuna is still pretty young, I do not believe her parents got the chance to teach her how to cook before they were killed.” Ryesli was very talented at many things, but “reading the room” was not one. In fact, Ryesli didn’t notice Fortuna’s small sigh nor did she notice the rest of her companions growing a bit quieter. “Now, I did notice you speak about magic, specifically, alchemy.”