" Yeah, listen, these are nice, but, look... at this!"

Prima held up a pliant, amiable Butter Baby, who simply meowed.

" Oh, she's so polite!" Ulgir said, nestled on a couch with several cats piled around her. " What's her name?"

" Stick of Butter Baby," William said.

" Amelia," Kirie corrected.

" Süthe," Nova called from where he was seated, arms folded and obstinate in expression.

Ulgir just smiled blankly at them.

" Oh? When did you decide to give Butter Baby a nickname?" William asked, flitting over to him.

" I cannot allow you to force indignities upon others in the presence of my family," Nova replied stiffly.

" Süthe... Süthe... You're romantic, aren't you, Lyena-Nova?" Ulgir said, poking at Butter Baby's paws.

" Oh?" William politely incited explanation.

" That's the name of the daughter Moa had with the sea," Ulgir said, tapping on her chest to play with a cat. " Even though Cascur said the sea and sky should always remain apart. It's not so much a popular story in the Imperial territory, but, I always liked it."

William gave Nova a very smug, satisfied look, though before he could say anything, the door opened. Nova looked away pointedly.

" The video line with Diurn's open," Redlin said. " Come talk to him."

" Alright, then," Nova said, standing. William could sense Redlin's eyes glance over their proximity, and he repressed the urge to show off. There was still some kind of bitterness roiling in him that made it difficult, somehow.

Nova looked over at him, for a moment, before stepping out.

" It won't take long," he said.