" Ah, Nova, you're back," he called out to him.

" Is your little demon gone?"

" Kirie's got Butter, if that's what you're asking. She went to go see if Lyeha and Neda wanted to go into town with us," William answered.

" Are you still serious about naming it that?"

" What, I thought you didn't like it?"

" ... Just because it looks like a weird furry little person doesn't mean it has to be subject to your indignity," Nova huffed.

" Anyway, isn't it awful that we got walked in on and the mood was completely ruined?"

" We are in the middle of the hotel lobby. Don't go around yelling like that."

" What, who's gonna hear me, Rosenthal?"

He actually paused for a moment and looked around.

" Are you that scared she's going to show up and pull a sword on us again?" Nova asked, acerbic as always.

" I feel sort of bad for her," William said after a moment. " I ended up reading some pretty nasty stuff when I was doing my detective work."

" ... I wish you hadn't looked up anything about that at all," Nova said, sitting next to him.

" Apparently her older sister was the sole survivor of one of those ravaged fleets..."

" I don't want to know, Wille."

" I know you don't. Sometimes stuff just hangs around in my mind and bothers me, though."

" Sucks for you."

William shifted, leaning back on the lobby's cheap sofa.

" ... I thought we were in the civilized world," he said. " So it's odd to see things that remind me of the past."