William had not expected Nova to receive such a warm welcome. There were so many people rushing up to greet him that it felt like no one had noticed him yet at all.

" Dammit, where's Kaama? He's late," Nova complained after the crowd had subsided.

" Kaama?" William inquired.

" ... My servant," Nova answered. " He's meant to be here to escort us to the palace."

William thought about it for a moment.

" Oh, is he that one?" he asked cheerfully.

Nova bristled.

" Who cares? None of your business," he snapped in reply.

" So he was?"

" Fuck off. Die."

" You're awfully embarrassed. Weren't you the one talking about busting my back door in the second we got alone? Can't be making empty threats and then get flustered at the last moment."

Nova put a hand on his shoulder.

" William fucking Masterson, we are in public," he hissed. " And I am royalty. And people here have excellent hearing."

" Aren't you always on about how you can do whatever you want as Lyena because you're Lyena?"

" Just because I can act or talk a certain way doesn't mean I should."

" I think that might be some of the most personal restraint I can remember hearing from you."

" Key word there is remember. You have made me put up with so much, Wille."

" Lyena-Nova, over here."

Another Starka man; William evaluated him. His clothes seemed nice, but not as rich as Nova's, and he had a pretty face.

" Ah, Kaama, I've been waiting for you! What's the delay?"

This man, Kaama, seemed taken aback, a bit, by how quickly and strongly Nova had replied.

" ... Well, the Lyeha has been very... robust towards the tailors. They're making her a new kita for the duel, since she doesn't have formal clothes that fit her, and she had a lot of bizarre requests."

William felt a little swell of pride.

Nova seemed to have noticed.

" What did you go around telling her, you mad man?" Nova asked.

" Since we had so much free time in Septim, I just gave her a couple fighting lessons," William answered nonchalantly. " She's only a little bit taller than me, so I think it should work out fine."

" Demon. You're a-" Nova cut himself off, as though suddenly aware of something, and turned back to Kaama. " Well. All our luggage got mixed up in an unfortunate accident, as I called in earlier. So let's go ahead and head back home."

William could feel how Kaama was looking at him; not quite cold, but evaluatory. He wouldn't be surprised if he was taken offguard by his stature, or some such thing. He had seemed a little surprised by Nova's relatively friendly talking with him.

It felt like he knew, which was an uncomfortable feeling.

Well, William also knew, so there. He couldn't help but think of it in that sort of tit for tat way.