When he closed the door to his room, Lesa was there.
" You don't have that other girl with you?" Nova asked.
" She has an actual schedule, so she needs to sleep," Lesa replied.
" You need to, too," Nova replied, and flopped down on his bed.
" I just..."
" I still think you're brash and naïve," Nova cut her off as she looked lost in thought. " But that damnable man told me we'd have to wait for a while to do anything and that I should think it over more."
She bit her lip.
" ... You really like him that much?"
" What, just because I've never been nice before it means I'm not allowed to be nice ever?"
" ... It just... took me off guard."
" You're putting me in a situation where I'm just going to have to cut my losses, you know. Not to mention that Irdat is going to hate the both of us even more."
" Oh, Lesa, if we were to go home, she'd lock the both of us in cages and starve us for a month."
Lesa cleared her throat.
" ...She actually... does stuff like that, though..." she pointed out, twiddling her thumbs.
" What, you think I haven't been in the cage? Lanta and Vivan are the only ones who haven't, at this point."
" ... Surely she hasn't put Lyewa-Diurn in the cage."
" She did the first time I beat him in a duel," Nova replied. " I was about fifteen and he was forty-five, I think? Oh, she was so angry, she thought he'd lost on purpose to save face for having to fight a child. He's never gotten over it. Priceless. You should've seen it."
" ... I heard that your Wille beat him in a duel, too," she said.
" Oh, it was fantastic. Thought he was going to die and then he tore him apart like a wild animal. I hope someone recorded that."
She leaned against the wall.
" ... He doesn't seem like that sort of person, though..."
" You've been deceived."
" But you like him," she said.
" Yes. I was tricked. He's a strategic mastermind."
She looked at him for a long time without speaking, as though heavy thoughts were weighing on her mind.
" ... You seem much softer, Brother."